Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Friday, November 22, 2019

A book (or magazine subscription) instead of wine as a host gift for Thanksgiving

Once again, I am publishing this about one week too late, since Thanksgiving is a week away. But these are books on my reading list, and I think they make a great gift to a Thanksgiving host instead of a bottle of wine (except fewer people read).

Right now I am reading Food Town USA. It isn't a definitive framework for creating a locally-centric regional food system, but the book, which features discussions of seven different communities across the country, highlights lots of innovative programs and good ideas.

Another provocative book also published by Island Press is Darrin Nordahl's Produce: Cultivating Our Parks, Plazas, and Streets for Healthier Cities.

One "public produce" idea from Food Town USA is the Tomato Independence Project in Greater Boise/Treasure Valley, Idaho, which I will try to put in the strategic plan for DC's Eastern Market as a community outreach initiative.

A community-focused illustration of Nordahl's thesis is presented in The Urban Garden: How One Community Turned Idle Land into a Garden City and How You Can, Too.

It explores the programs of Garden City Harvest, a non-profit in Missoula, Montana.  They sponsor a variety of a farm projects, community gardens, school-based gardens, and CSAs, and the book discusses the impact of participation on individuals and the community.

It's in the vein of The Town That Food Saved, about a very small Vermont town which is reorienting its economy around artisanal food production.)

Edible City has been out for a few years, and explores Greater Toronto's food system. It's a model for cities in how to cover this topic in a readable way, but focused on planning and policy.

The book was published by Coach House Books as part of series called uTOpia, addressing various concerns in the Toronto region from a variety of perspectives.  That series too is a model of the value of having local publishing houses focused on publishing titles relevant to their region.)

The Chesapeake Table: Your Guide to Eating Local is authored by Renee Brooks Cataclaos, who once was the publisher of the now defunct Edible Chesapeake (it's been replaced by Edible DC).

Hopefully you can find equally locally focused cookbooks that would be regionally appropriate. E.g., another one that caught my eye is The Pacific Northwest Seafood Cookbook: Salmon, Crab, Oysters, and More.

Or cookbooks from farmers or public markets or even supermarkets like the Cooking from Scratch: 120 Recipes for Colorful, Seasonal Food from PCC Community Markets from the venerable Seattle food co-op or the cookbook from San Francisco's Bi-Rite Market, Bi-Rite Market's Eat Good Food: A Grocer's Guide to Shopping, Cooking & Creating Community Through Food.

San Francisco's La Cocina is a "community kitchen" supporting women food entrepreneurs.  They just published a cookbook, We Are La Cocina: Recipes in Pursuit of the American Dream, featuring recipes from 50 of their participating chef entrepreneurs.

Community Table: Recipes for an Ecological Food Future is published by the Ecology Center of San Juan Capistrano, California. One of the elements of the book that caught my attention is the Community Table Accord’s 10 Principles:


DC area chefs that have authored books that caught my eye include Kwame Onwuachi (Notes from a Young Black Chef: A Memoir) and Jose Andres (We Fed an Island: The True Story of Rebuilding Puerto Rico, One Meal at a Time).

Toni Tipton-Martin (I remember she was a food writer and editor such as for the Cleveland Plain Dealer many years ago when I worked for the Center for Science in the Public Interest) has just had her new book, Jubilee: Recipes from Two Centuries of African American Cooking: A Cookbook, published. There are reviews out and recipes available.

Whole Food Cooking Every Day: Transform the Way You Eat with 250 Vegetarian Recipes Free of Gluten, Dairy, and Refined Sugar was picked by Bon Appetit Magazine as a great gift cookbook. I read a piece about the author, Amy Chaplin, and it made a good case for getting the book.

Bon Appetit's Cookbook Gift Guide.  The Bon Appetit "The Cookbook Gift Guide That Covers EVERYONE You Know: 2019 Edition" is another resource for choosing a host/ess gift too. The difference between their list and mine is that they don't have an urban planning/community development agenda.

MagazinesEdible Communities is a group of publications such as Edible DC or Edible Brooklyn, that cover local markets.  When I travel, I always look to these publications for locally relevant coverage about local restaurants and the food ecosystem.

Although in some areas there are independents like Devour Utah (Salt Lake) and Savor (Virginia).

Regional lifestyle magazines like Sunset, Yankee Magazine, and Southern Living are great gifts and subscriptions are less than $15.

For other ideas, go to the magazine section at Barnes & Noble and look what they have to offer, which includes Cook's Illustrated, Milk Street, Hobby Farms, All Recipes, and special news-stand publications that are diet specific, or in the highbrow section, specialty publications on food like diets.

Even though I left on bad terms, the Nutrition Action Healthletter from the Center for Science in the Public Interest would be a great gift.  The organization does good stuff.

Mary Jane's Farm is a magazine that I saw in a rural homestead and it had some great recipes.


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