I just published my latest book on-line with Smashwords: Something’s Rotten in Compost City, A Primer on the Politics of Food. It’s been a long time coming. In some ways this book picks up where my last book left off. It’s an account of my life after leaving City Farmer, a non-profit urban agriculture group and the compost demonstration garden in its charge. My attraction to food politics was seeded in that garden and my experiences there shaped my brand of political activism, or what some might call political horticulture. As for the title, this book started as an animated film, a satire on the politics of food with characters drawn from the compost garden.
The question I began to wrestle with at the garden was: why in a world of plenty are people still going hungry? This book is my quest to answer that question for myself. It is my journey through the complicated global food system. I recount my own personal adventures, as well as inspiring stories and models from around the world.
It was a lot easier to be funny about composting I can tell you. In my chapter on seeds, I wrote: “Is there anything funny about suicide? Not that I could find. And that was the whole idea, to write a humorous account of my trip to India while slipping in some information about the sorry state of affairs around seeds. But for the life of me, I could not find one funny thing to say about suicide. The fact that Indian farmers were killing themselves depressed the hell out of me. I was beginning to feel suicidal myself.”
Something’s Rotten is divided into four perspectives. In the Neighbourhood looks at the more familiar food issues like eating, buying and growing locally and how that supports local farmers and a local food system. On the Farm deals with the loss of farmland, pesticide use, the impacts of climate change, and the challenges of going organic. On the World Market grapples with the more complex global issues, genetically modified foods, declining grain stocks and the food crisis, a burgeoning population, the international aid system, an entrenched world economic order, corporate imperialism and farmers’ suicides in India. Hilarious topics all! At the Store looks at the fair trade movement, fruit, and two of my favourite food groups: coffee and chocolate. Here I sum up what I’ve learned about the role of creativity in building resilient food systems and sustainable communities. The section brings it all back home again by identifying products on grocery store shelves that allow us to put our money where hungry mouths are.
In my last book, I encouraged people to feed the earth by composting. In this book, I invite readers to deepen their commitment to feeding the earth. At the end of each chapter I provide concrete ways to strengthen your local food system and help eradicate hunger in the world.
The book is available in a variety of ebook reading formats including Kindle, Epub and PDF. You can download 30% of the book for free to see if you like it first. In addition to Smashwords, it will also be available soon in other ebook stores like Sony, Barnes & Noble and Apple. Hope you’ll check it out.