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Public Produce makes a uniquely contemporary case not for central government intervention, but for local government involvement in shaping food policy. In what Darrin Nordahl calls municipal agriculture, elected officials, municipal planners, local policymakers, and public space designers are turning to the abundance of land under public control (parks, plazas, streets, city squares, parking lots, as well as the grounds around libraries, schools, government offices, and even jails) to grow food.Public agencies at one time were at best indifferent about, or at worst dismissive of, food production in the city. Today, public officials recognize that food insecurity is affecting everyone, not just the inner-city poor, and that policies seeking to restructure the production and distribution of food to the tens of millions of people living in cities have immediate benefits to community-wide health and prosperity.This book profiles urban food growing efforts, illustrating that there is both a need and a desire to supplement our existing food production methods outside the city with opportunities inside the city. Each of these efforts works in concert to make fresh produce more available to the public. But each does more too: reinforcing a sense of place and building community; nourishing the needy and providing economic assistance to entrepreneurs; promoting food literacy and good health; and allowing for serendipitous sustenance. There is much to be gained, Nordahl writes, in adding a bit of agrarianism into our urbanism.


New Urban News


Triple Pundit

Publishers Weekly


"What Darrin Nordahl envisions in this lively book is nothing short of a revolutionary way of seeing cities, a kind of edible urbanism, in which every public space from streets to parks to rooftops is a chance to grow food and build community. This is no starry-eyed treatise but a book packed with creative ideas, compelling stories and practical advice, especially for overcoming the obstacles that will be faced in growing more food in the public realm. This is a book that will likely shape the urban agenda for years to come."

-Timothy Beatley, Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities, University of Virginia

"A thought-provoking work about the food-producing potential of urban public space, and a worthwhile read for everyone who does food policy work."

-Benjamin Thomases, Chez Panisse

"This vital book shows how growing food on public land can transform our civic landscape, sprouting the seeds of biodiversity, sustainability, and community."

-Alice Waters, Chez Panisse

"Public Produce gives all the reasons why growing food in cities would be good for alleviating poverty, for building communities, and for public policy. Nordahl is a visionary who shows how easily cities could promote urban agriculture to the great benefit of all concerned. This book is at the cutting edge of today’s food revolution. Read it and get your city council to sign up!"

-Marion Nestle, professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University and author of What to Eat