Marvin is a contract hog farmer in Iowa. He owns his land, his barn, his tractor, and his animal crates. He has seen profits drop steadily for the last twenty years and feels trapped. Josh is a dairy farmer on a cooperative in Massachusetts. He doesn’t own his cows, his land, his seed, or even all of his equipment. Josh has a healthy income and feels like he’s made it.
In The Food Sharing Revolution, Michael Carolan tells the stories of traditional producers like Marvin, who are being squeezed by big agribusiness, and entrepreneurs like Josh, who are bucking the corporate food system. The difference is Josh has eschewed the burdens of individual ownership and is tapping into the sharing economy.
Josh and many others are sharing tractors, seeds, kitchen space, their homes, and their cultures. They are business owners like Dorothy, who opened her bakery with the help of a no-interest, crowd-sourced loan. They are chefs like Camilla, who introduces diners to her native Colombian cuisine through peer-to-peer meal sharing. Their success is not only good for aspiring producers, but for everyone who wants an alternative to monocrops and processed foods.
The key to successful sharing, Carolan shows, is actually sharing. He warns that food, just like taxis or hotels, can be co-opted by moneyed interests. But when collaboration is genuine, the sharing economy can offer both producers and eaters freedom, even sovereignty. The result is a healthier, more sustainable, and more ethical way to eat.
"Supported by national statistics and individual stories, Carolan's informative, anecdotal overview of a culinary revolution covers the sharing economy in fine detail, highlighting the demand for diverse food cultures, individual experiences, and a love for all that goes into the development of food sovereignty." Booklist
"The Food Sharing Revolution provides a personal and richly narrative account of farmers and small food business owners, which enables readers to connect broader food issues with the real-world struggles of people fighting for change." Gastronomica
"Highly readable, if sobering, look at the entire cycle of food production and ways it could be improved, literally from the ground up." CHOICE
"A critically important, insightful and documented study of the economics of the food industry from field to plate, "The Foodsharing Revolution" is an extraordinary and groundbreaking study...highly recommended." Midwest Book Review
"Interested in the potential of a real sharing economy? Carolan's pioneering research on the emergence of cooperation in the food economy is a must-read. Not only does he identify the barriers and opportunities facing farmers, cooks, waste reducers, seed savers, and others, he finds that true collaboration is the route to a larger change in how we live, produce, and consume. Wise, inspirational, and important—this is a gem of a book!" Juliet Schor, author of "Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth"
"The Food Sharing Revolution shines a spotlight on collaborations working to preserve human-scaled food and farm businesses in our communities. Through moving success stories, Carolan offers an alternative to the 'get big or get out' mentality plaguing the food industry. This book is inspiration for family farmers to avoid growing their acreage, their debt, and their backaches, and instead grow their relationships." Diane Del Signore, Executive Director, Community Alliance with Family Farmers
"From co-owned dairy farms to high-end dinner party apps, Michael Carolan heads to the frontlines of the food sharing revolution. Along the way, he asks all the right questions about what the sharing of goods, services, and knowledge means for not only how we produce and consume food, but also how we coexist. A wise and timely book." Susanne Freidberg, author of "Fresh: A Perishable History"
Aknowledgments Introduction: Ownership through Sharing Chapter 1. A Nightmare Realized Chapter 2. When Sharing Is Illegal Chapter 3. The Promise of Access Chapter 4. Social Trade-offs Chapter 5. Putting Shared Technologies to Work Chapter 6. Overcoming Barriers Chapter 7. Walls Make Terrible Neighbors Chapter 8. From Pricks to Partners Chapter 9. Food Sovereignty Notes Index