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Food for City Building: A Field Guide for Planners, Actionists & Entrepreneurs by [Roberts, Wayne]
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Food for City Building: A Field Guide for Planners, Actionists & Entrepreneurs Kindle Edition

5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Length: 359 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

A Field Guide for Planners, Actionists & Entrepreneurs!

With a foreword by Carolyn Steel of Hungry City, Wayne Roberts' new book will do for for city-food connections what Raj Patel's Stuffed and Starved did to link hunger and obesity, what Marion Nestle's Food Politics did to tie together government agencies and food monopolies and what Michael Pollan did to connect corn and porkbarrel politics.

"The most original, thought-provoking contribution to local food policy in more than a decade."
Michael Shuman, The Small-Mart Revolution

You don't have to look hard to find books on food problems and city problems. Roberts puts them together to create solutions.

Profiling the kind of imaginative and cost-effective solutions he developed over 10 years as manager of the Toronto Food Policy Council, Roberts lays out frameworks that lead to remedies such as:

  • How to expand the number of rewarding food careers for youth

  • Addressing the need for healthy food and dignity for the hungry and malnourished

  • How to develop age-friendly food systems for yesterday's baby boomers

  • How to open up mainstream opportunities for people engaged in urban and regional agriculture

  • How to get buy-in for official plans that foster economic rejuvenation, environmental protection and social inclusion.


This book is for everyone who cares about the future of local governments and will be especially useful for...

  • City planners and economic developers

  • Campaigning public health workers

  • Non-profit leaders

  • Foundation and city visionaries

  • Students & teachers in the fast-expanding field of food studies

  • Entrepreneurs, innovators and outliers who are inspired to see opportunity where others see problems.


"A stand-out contribution to food studies."
Alison Blay-Palmer, Director, Laurier Centre for the Study of Sustainable Food Systems

"Distills a decade of groundbreaking work as head of the Toronto Food Policy Council and globe-trotting expert on urban food security into a funny common sense field guide."
Jennifer Cockrall-King, Food and the City

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1802 KB
  • Print Length: 359 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Hypenotic Inc.; 1 edition (March 13 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00J3BJ5W6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #205,808 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition
Food is the thing. Everyone is interested. But when we tie food and the operation of society together, we get a subject that is so complex that it intimidates.

Growing up in Montreal, my friends and I used to go to Belmont Park. One of the attractions there was a House of Mirrors: one way in; one way out ... lots of laughs and confusion in the middle. But it is not always fun to be confused, and certainly not when important social issues need to be understood. Wayne's book inverts the experience: Food for City Building gives us a myriad of entry points into the discussion, and rather than a confusion of mirrors, everywhere we turn is a clear picture of how things are connected.

Understanding how the human project can perpetuate in a benign way is at the core of everything that needs to be apparent in a globalized society. That is what our fixation on Big 'S' Sustainability is all about. Nothing in that discussion is more important than understanding how the essential things operate at the local level. Few things are more essential--physically, socially, culturally, economically, commercially, environmentally--than food. And 'the city' is coming to have greater and greater impact on matters of locality in an increasingly urbanized world.

Sure, this is a book for foodies. But it is, more importantly, a book for all of the rest of us who need to get at this essential topic and turn it into insight, policy, action, and business in the city that we call home. This not a book about Toronto and food (merely). If you read it carefully, it is a book about everything.

Walt Palmer
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Format: Kindle Edition
As a public health worker in Northern Ontario working in the area of food systems Roberts' Guide is invaluable. I work with a number of newly forming food networks/food policy councils and we constantly grapple with our purpose being that of community food programers or food policy developers. Roberts' insight into the real world of food policy development provides clarification on how the two are interwoven and are both necessary for effective food systems work. The most important lesson I will take from this Guide is the need to take a positive approach with food system work and to look for 'win-win' solutions. Roberts' shares tales of his adventures in the world of food and beyond that are interesting and informative. This is a great read and an essential read for anyone working in food systems.
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This is much more than a memoir of the author’s decade at the helm of the Toronto Food Council, and about much more than food systems, the focus of the author’s career. Written in retirement, looking back not only at triumphs but also mistakes and lessons learned (some learned very slowly over decades), it provides sage advice to anyone trying to make ANY kind of change happen in their community. Roberts’ first person, folksy voice masks the powerful perspective of a brilliant mind working with a solid theoretical foundation, well documented evidence, all tempered by decades working for a just and healthy food system inside the Realpolitik environment of the growing megalopolis of Toronto.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This book can simultaneously introduce newcomers to food policy while challenging what we thought we knew about food in cities. Roberts continues to have the accessible and illuminating voice that is needed as the modern food system evolves. Rather than just identifying problems, this book offers ideas, and justification for those ideas, allowing it to be damning but persuasively hopeful. With comprehensive experience with the problems of the past, and refreshing insight into the solutions of the future, Roberts seems to stand on his own seminal shoulders in the field. With a bibliographic tone, the work is able to be personal and local, but through its reflection and deeper analysis, powerfully global. It is fitting, therefore, that this work promotes a way of thinking that is simultaneously local and global, with small goals based on big ideas, many actors but an organized system, and a focus on common interests rather than ideological distractions. The book paints a complex system where it is not us vs. them, but rather, us vs. the problem, making clear that it is precisely through our common problems that we need to unite. Though it is as a result of his retirement from the Toronto Food Policy Council that this book has been made possible, this work makes all the more evident how necessary Roberts' influence still is.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa741551c) out of 5 stars 8 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa743bf60) out of 5 stars Wayne Roberts hits the nail on the head March 27 2014
By Karen Burson - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
This is the book that needed to be written about the present and future of food work in municipalities. Roberts starts with a snapshot of the life that I have lived day in and day out since 2006, when I began my journey into the world of food and food systems. His razor sharp analysis of today's food work environment builds assurance that "he knows of what he speaks", making his map to the future of food that much more compelling. The next ten years will tell.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa743bfb4) out of 5 stars Wayne Roberts is more than a visionary when it comes to urban food policy - he is a generous mentor July 31 2014
By rick passo - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Wayne Roberts is more than a visionary when it comes to urban food policy and strategy: he is an activist and mentor, an experienced community organizer who has the background, the tenacity, the perspective and the commitment and the practical knowledge to make and to SHARE his expertise to enable and to empower others toward action.
I personally have benefited greatly from becoming exposed to his vast global network of urban food and community building experts. I have been awed how he has reached out to me and has guided my "growing interests" in urban agriculture in my adopted home town of Las Vegas, Nevada. I have been humbled by his selflessness and inspired by his generosity.
This field guide contains a vast array of anecdotes, examples, plans and templates for change, strategies and formulas for collaborative, community efforts. I am confident that I will refer back to its guidance and to its insights for many years to come.
HASH(0xa74a4b40) out of 5 stars Build a Real City! Plant Some Veggies! May 6 2015
By Steve Bivans - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The United Nations has declared 2015 as the Year of the Soil. They’ve probably never declared a year more accurately. That’s not because there’s anything particularly special about 2015; it’s because EVERY year is the year of the soil. Without it, there would be no United Nations, or the people to fill the building, or the people to which they issue such proclamations. From the soil, comes all life. With their proclamation, the U.N. has also declared that the future of farming is in small-scale, urban agriculture, if the human species is to survive into the foreseeable future.

Wayne Roberts is way ahead of them. He’s been working to promote urban ag for over 20 years in his city of Toronto. In this book, he lays out the whys and wherefores for those who would listen and who want to take action to make our cities sustainable. Wayne makes a compelling argument that it is local, city governments and local, neighborhood organizations that are the hope of the future. He lays out in detail just how central ‘food’ is to the function of our cities, and why a focus on food production, within the city, is the best, cheapest, and most sustainable thing cities can do to ensure that they survive into the future.

While most cities have ignored the central role of food production in the past, allowing it to fall between the cracks of vertical-thinking bureaucracy, this is no longer an option. Cities and their citizens must take action to integrate food back into their systems, into their city plans. That’s not just because our Earth is warming up rapidly, though it is. It’s also because food can help to manage all of the problems that cities face, every day.

The benefits are numerous: from saving funds on waste-water treatment, to lightening the load of rain water in our storm drain systems, to eliminating organic material from waste collection, to slashing our reliance on waning fossil fuel energy, to bringing food into the city and getting consumers to that food, to the cooling effect of green roofs, to feeding our most at-risk citizens, to creating local, tax-paying jobs in a food-oriented city, to creating beautiful gardens where people meet, making those places less attractive to criminals, to building stronger, friendlier communities. That’s the short list! Food touches everything that humans do on this planet. Everything. If we aren’t thinking about that, what the hell are we thinking about?

Read the damned book! Then get off your ass and into action! Don’t just talk about it. Don’t form another ass-sittin’, Think Tank. Instead, do as one of Wayne’s friends, Will Allen, likes to say, “Form a Do Tank!” Think while moving! And get to work!
HASH(0xa86d3bd0) out of 5 stars I am having a love affair with this book! Nov. 27 2014
By David - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have found THE guidebook for catalyzing systemic change in Charlotte. I have so much gratitude for the time and experience that Wayne Roberts has invested in this book. I am challenging our Food Policy Council's board and panel of experts to read this together and follow his lead around advocacy and engaging local government entities. One of my favorite quotes from the book that resonates with my own vision:

"Instead of food being locked into a nutrition and disease prevention straightjacket, I dreamed food could be positioned at the centre of a city agenda for health-producing job creation, multicultural inclusion, neighborhood revitalization, poverty reduction and dynamic urbanism."

HASH(0xa74a4c6c) out of 5 stars Great book March 1 2015
By Sonia Faruqi - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
I am the author of Project Animal Farm (July 2015), a book that traces my journey investigating animal farms around the world, toward the aim of improving the lives of farm animals. Having immersed myself in food industry issues for years, I can say with enthusiasm that this book by Wayne Roberts is a work of thoughtful passion. It discusses the importance and relationship between food and cities. More specifically, it talks about the food movement, local food, food planning, food jobs, senior citizens, and garbage. Highly recommended for anyone interested in food issues!