New book: “Our Food, Our Right”




This outstanding introduction to today’s community-based food movements is designed by Annie Brulé of SEEDS, the social ecology project on Washington state’s Vashon Island.  This review was written for the publisher’s website at

Local food is all the rage these days, and rightfully so.  People across the US are increasingly frustrated by the chemical-laden, processed calories that pass for food in most major supermarkets and are increasingly looking to alternative sources, from farmers markets and farm share programs to co-ops and natural food stores. But with food prices rising everywhere, healthy food is in danger of becoming even more of an elite niche market, accessible only to those with surplus income to spend. While some of us will pay more for food that is local, organic and fair-trade, many of our neighbors are often limited by shrinking household budgets to food that is nutrient-deficient, genetically engineered, and potentially hazardous to health.

Fortunately, new movements committed to food justice and food sovereignty are challenging this paradigm, and a new book, Our Food, Our Right, by the Seattle-based Community Alliance for Global Justice, offers a comprehensive, inviting, and highly accessible introduction to all the inspiring new efforts to democratize our food system and make good food accessible to all. Filled with stories from local efforts in the Seattle area and beyond, the book helps us see a much broader scope of challenges to agribusiness dominance and illuminates often-invisible efforts based in immigrant neighborhoods, innovative community garden projects, and on sustainable local farms, among others.

We get a glimpse into Native American kitchens, new efforts to organize farmworkers, and the front lines of resistance to agribusiness control and GMOs from as far away as Brazil and Kenya. The book also features interviews with an impressive array of farmers, mainly youthful ones, whose farms are urban, subscription-based (CSA), biodynamic, or located on formerly vacant lots. The interviews offer an opportunity to understand each farm’s unique challenges, accomplishments, and how they benefit from community support. There are numerous photos and illustrations, and even a section of color photos.

Uniquely for a book of this type, there are also 22 recipes, often relying on wild edibles as well as garden vegetables, along with a healthy share of fresh salmon – probably the Northwest’s most important signature food. There’s also an excellent how-to section offering tips on gardening and winter food preservation. In short, this book offers something to everyone who’s concerned about the future of our food, with numerous inviting starting points for those who are just starting to learn about the new community-based food movements. It’s an outstanding resource for libraries, schools, community centers, and for everyone you know who’s concerned about the state of our food system and wants to know what to do about it.