From farm-to-table restaurants and farmers markets, to support for fair trade and food sovereignty, movements for food-system change hold the promise for deeper transformations. Yet Americans continue to live the paradox of caring passionately about healthy eating while demanding the convenience of fast food. Rooted Resistance explores this fraught but promising food scene. More than a retelling of the origin story of a democracy born from an intimate connection with the land, this book wagers that socially responsible agrarian mythmaking should be a vital part of a food ethic of resistance if we are to rectify the destructive tendencies in our contemporary food system.
Through a careful examination of several case studies, Rooted Resistance traverses the ground of agrarian myth in modern America. The authors investigate key figures and movements in the history of modern agrarianism, including the World War I victory garden efforts, the postwar Country Life movement for the vindication of farmers’ rights, the Southern Agrarian critique of industrialism, and the practical and spiritual prophecy of organic farming put forth by J. I. Rodale. This critical history is then brought up to date with recent examples such as the contested South Central Farm in urban Los Angeles and the spectacular rise and fall of the Chipotle “Food with Integrity” branding campaign.
By examining a range of case studies, Singer, Grey, and Motter aim for a deeper critical understanding of the many applications of agrarian myth and reveal why it can help provide a pathway for positive systemic change in the food system.