It’s now cheaper, lighter, and more flexible, but one thing that hasn’t changed about Food Rebels, Guerrilla Gardeners, and Smart-Cookin’ Mamas is its content. Just like the heavyweight hardcover version, it takes on the industrial food system, which, since the book’s initial publication, hasn’t grown any cheaper, lighter, or more flexible. And just like its nearly one pound predecessor, Food Rebels-lite celebrates food democracy, activism, and freedom, values not commonly associated with Big Food. 

If anything, the industrial food system has become as ornery as an old mule and angry as a penned up bull. We see it in the American Farm Bureau that has assembled a $30 million war chest to persuade our fellow citizens that factory farmed, genetically modified, and antibiotic-infused food is not only good for us, but necessary to feed a hungry world. We see it in the food industry’s attempts to preempt local regulations (Cleveland) to ban trans-fats by reserving that right exclusively for the state (Ohio). And we see it in the actions of Wal-Mart and Pepsi who are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars on food charities to use them in the same way that terrorists use women and children to shield them from their attackers. The battle, in other words, is no longer only for healthy food, clean air and water, and a just and sustainable food system; it’s now a fight for freedom and democracy.

Karla Cook, editor of The Food Times, said it well in a new blurb that adorns the paperback’s backcover: “Mark Winne lays out the battle lines for democracy itself….Reasserting our control in the face of power, relearning skills that have atrophied, and rediscovering a triumphant kind of individualism that embraces both the self and community are the goals.”

As I say in Food Rebels, the time has come to get our hands in the soil, our veggies on the chopping block, and our voices down at city hall. The time has come as well to occupy Wall Street, but you’d be remiss if you didn’t also occupy your bookshelf with a copy of Food Rebels, Guerrilla Gardeners, and Smart-Cookin’ Mamas.