Farmers markets are much more than places to buy produce. According
to advocates for sustainable food systems, they are also places to
"vote with your fork" for environmental protection, vibrant
communities, and strong local economies. Farmers markets have become
essential to the movement for food-system reform and are a shining
example of a growing green economy where consumers can shop their way
to social change.
Black, White, and Green brings new energy to this topic by
exploring dimensions of race and class as they relate to farmers
markets and the green economy. With a focus on two Bay Area
markets--one in the primarily white neighborhood of North Berkeley,
and the other in largely black West Oakland--Alison Hope Alkon
investigates the possibilities for social and environmental change
embodied by farmers markets and the green economy.
Drawing on ethnographic and historical sources, Alkon describes the
meanings that farmers market managers, vendors, and consumers
attribute to the buying and selling of local organic food, and the
ways that those meanings are raced and classed. She mobilizes this
research to understand how the green economy fosters visions of
social change that are compatible with economic growth while
marginalizing those that are not.
Black, White, and Green is one of the first books to carefully
theorize the green economy, to examine the racial dynamics of food
politics, and to approach issues of food access from an
environmental-justice perspective. In a practical sense, Alkon offers
an empathetic critique of a newly popular strategy for social change,
highlighting both its strengths and limitations.