By Ari Ariel on May 13, 2016 for New Books Network.
Resistance to the industrial food system has, over the past decades, led to the rise of alternative food movements. Debate about genetically modified food, sugar consumption, fast food and the obesity crisis (to name a few) is pervasive. Most often, this focuses on individual consumer choice. Garrett M.Broad argues, however, for the importance of community level initiative. He maintains that the vote with your fork movement obscures the structural foundation of the corporate food system. The alternative food movements, as a whole, fail to recognize that the inequities in the food system are connected to histories of racial and economic discrimination.
Broad’s book More Than Just Food: Food Justice and Community Change (University of California Press, 2016) examines the work of community-based food justice groups operating in South Los Angeles, like Community Services Unlimited (CSU). Founded as an arm of the South California Black Panther Party, CSU organizes at a grassroots level to provide community access to food, while using food as a means to foster consciousness and promote a broader movement for social justice. More Than Just Food narrates the stories of these organizations, evaluates the pitfalls and possibilities of community-level initiative, and highlights the problematic position of local groups working with national non-profit organizations, and governmental and corporate agencies. Through his engaged scholarship and nuanced analysis, Broad offers us a study of specific movements in their local context and makes recommendations to help future movements organize and act effectively.