Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 406
In The Good Food Revolution, Will Allen presents his personal story of involvement in the changing landscape of American food production and consumption over three decades. Healthful eating is the primary theme, which Allen connects to increasing consciousness and activism regarding the sources of all aspects of diet. Allen...
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In The Good Food Revolution, Will Allen presents his personal story of involvement in the changing landscape of American food production and consumption over three decades. Healthful eating is the primary theme, which Allen connects to increasing consciousness and activism regarding the sources of all aspects of diet. Allen shares his expertise in urban farming, another main theme, and presents this as a key factor that contributes to healthy eating. Allen, who is African American, maintains focus on the theme of race and social justice as it relates to food in America, where race as much as class often limits access to nutrition education, as well as to good food.
Allen refers to the changes in eating habits as a revolution because he has seen such dramatic changes since becoming involved with healthful eating. As the business he founded in 1993, Will’s Roadside Farm Market, became successful, his interest in growing food became further connected to questions of access to that food. Changes in food production, including emphasis on organic foods and increasing plant-based diet, are key components of the revolution that he traces. Getting food into the hands of people who need it is a crucial step in facilitating better eating and, thereby, better health.
Urban farming was Allen’s route into food education and food-related activism. After purchasing a farm in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Allen was soon growing enough produce right in the city to establish his business. As he learned how little food was produced near where it is eaten, he became involved in promoting farming as an occupation within cities, as contrasted to gardening as an avocation. Allen explores the business side of food production as it provides viable work for diverse populations (and reduces dependence on anonymous, large-scale agriculture).
Race and social justice are issues that concern Allen throughout his story. He presents biographical information from before he became involved with food, such as the experience of segregated living in the South. The health disparities between African Americans and people of other races are offered up as a social justice issue. Allen delves into the inequalities of food access, such as inner-city food deserts and proliferation of fast food. Tracing black people’s roles in food production, he shows disparities in ownership of resources, including his own family’s participation in share-cropping.
The author encourages readers to understand health and high-quality diet as social justice issues on par with other civil rights.