No One Eats Alone
6 x 9
6 x 9
In today’s fast-paced, fast food world, everyone seems to be eating alone, all the time—whether it’s at their desks or in the car. Even those who find time for a family meal are cut off from the people who grew, harvested, distributed, marketed, and sold the foods on their table. Few ever break bread with anyone outside their own socioeconomic group. So why does Michael Carolan say that that no one eats alone? Because all of us are affected by the other people in our vast foodscape. We can no longer afford to ignore these human connections as we struggle with dire problems like hunger, obesity, toxic pesticides, antibiotic resistance, depressed rural economies, and low-wage labor.
Carolan argues that building community is the key to healthy, equitable, and sustainable food. While researching No One Eats Alone, he interviewed more than 250 individuals, from flavorists to Fortune 500 executives, politicians to feedlot managers, low-income families to crop scientists, who play a role in the life of food. Advertising consultants told him of efforts to distance eaters and producers—most food firms don’t want their customers thinking about farm laborers or the people living downstream of processing plants. But he also found stories of people getting together to change their relationship to food and to each other.
There are community farms where suburban moms and immigrant families work side by side, reducing social distance as much as food miles. There are entrepreneurs with little capital or credit who are setting up online exchanges to share kitchen space, upending conventional notions of the economy of scale. There are parents and school board members who are working together to improve cafeteria food rather than relying on soda taxes to combat childhood obesity.
Carolan contends that real change only happens when we start acting like citizens first and consumers second. No One Eats Alone is a book about becoming better food citizens.
"Unlike many easy-fix food books touting local food as the answer, No One Eats Alone tackles both food and health from a systemic perspective. Its conclusions are likely to challenge eaters on all sides of the food conversation...No One Eats Alone is a singular specimen: a well-researched, thoughtful, and ultimately optimistic book on a popular subject that presents, and successfully defends, the point of view it expresses."
"Beyond eye-opening, this meticulously researched, deeply compelling narrative is a call to action. The revelation within is that what we eat is profoundly social. And therein lie the seeds for the next food revolution. I doubt I'll eat or shop the same again."
Kathy Edin, author of $2 a Day: Living on Almost Nothing in America
"Since time immemorial, stories have been central to human communities. Michael Carolan is a beautiful storyteller, one whose words, as you will feel, are from the heart. And yet, Michael's words are also brilliantly rigorous and thoughtful. What else can I say?"
Bruno Sobral, Director, One Health Institute, Colorado State University
"In highly accessible prose and without resorting to the solipsism of popular food writers, Michael Carolan does what few food scholars have ventured: warmly engages readers to think about where their food comes from. This easy-to-digest book is chock-full of stealth lessons on topics ranging from the Green Revolution to food quality standards to food fortification to social science methods. Carolan invites readers to actively participate in the foodscape, recognizing that changing it will take collective action and not just fork-voting."
Julie Guthman, author of Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism
Introduction: Changing the Foodscape
Chapter 1. Monocultures of the Mind and Body
Chapter 2. Knowing Quality
Chapter 3. Shaping Values
Chapter 4. Spatial Distance Versus Social Distance
Chapter 5. One Health
Chapter 6. From Slow Food to Connectivity
Chapter 7. Buying Behaviors Versus Building Community
Chapter 8. Getting Big Versus Getting Together
Chapter 9. Conclusion: Becoming Citizens