Kristin Reynolds, Critical Food Geographer; Lecturer, Food Studies and Environmental Studies, The New School; Lecturer, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; Distinguished Visiting Faculty of Food Studies, University of Southern Maine.
Urban agriculture is increasingly considered an important part of creating just and sustainable cities. Yet the benefits that many people attribute to urban agriculture— fresh food, green space, educational opportunities—can mask structural inequities, thereby making political transformation harder to achieve. Realizing social and environmental justice requires moving beyond food production to address deeper issues such as structural racism, gender inequity, and economic disparities. Beyond the Kale argues that urban agricultural projects focused explicitly on dismantling oppressive systems have the greatest potential to achieve substantive social change. Through in-depth interviews and public forums with some of New York City’s most prominent urban agriculture activists and supporters, Kristin Reynolds and Nevin Cohen illustrate how some urban farmers and gardeners not only grow healthy food for their communities but also use their activities and spaces to disrupt the dynamics of power and privilege that perpetuate inequity. Addressing a significant gap in the urban agriculture literature, Beyond the Kale prioritizes the voices of people of color and women—activists and leaders whose strategies have often been underrepresented within the urban agriculture movement—and it examines the roles of scholarship in advancing social justice initiatives.