Black, White, and Green: Farmers Markets, Race, and the Green Economy


Product Details

University of Georgia Press
Publish Date
November 01, 2012
5.9 X 0.7 X 8.9 inches | 0.65 pounds
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About the Author

ALISON HOPE ALKON is an assistant professor of sociology at the University of the Pacific. She is coeditor of Cultivating Food Justice: Race, Class, and Sustainability.


Alkon's deeply contextualized ethnography of two Bay Area farmers markets traces the transformation of local food and food justice movements from anticapitalist roots to neoliberal green growth agendas. Black, White, and Green is a must-read for those seeking to untangle the complexity of the 'food movement' and for those who believe we can buy and sell our way out of the environmental crisis.

--Kenneth A. Gould "City University of New York "

Alkon provides readers with a strong sense of the dilemmas of the 'green economy' approach and with plenty of new knowledge about the strengths and weaknesses of local green economies and their (often hidden) dimensions of race and gender. Black, White, and Green is an excellent choice for classroom use in addition to having a more general appeal.

--Stella Capek "Hendrix College "

Alkon's timely study carefully highlights the strengths and weaknesses of farmers' markets and, through them, the contradictions, compromises and exclusions inherent in the emerging green economy. Her rich historical and ethnographic study foregrounds food politics as a contested, deeply racialized, gendered, and class-based space in which meanings and messages, discourses and practices determine who participates. Only through an active cross-pollination of justice and sustainability, she argues, can a more just, inclusive green economy emerge.

--Julian Agyeman "Tufts University "

Alison Hope Alkon investigates the possibilities for social and environmental change embodied by farmers markets and the green economy. . . . 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.


[Alkon's] ethnographic work at two [farmers] markets yields important insights about race, class, food access, social justice, and sustainability (economic, environmental, and cultural). Though her fieldwork is confined to the Bay Area, Alkon's findings can and should be heeded by farmers markets and related 'food justice' programs across the nation, including the South.

--Sara Camp Arnold "Southern Register "

Black, White, and Green provides a fine survey of the politics revolving around farmers markets produce, and discusses sustainable food systems, environmental concerns, community involvement and local economies in context of the evolution of such markets. . . . Any social issues collector will find this an intriguing study.

--Midwest Book Review

This text is often ethnographic, drawing from Alkon's lived experience and participant interviews. It challenges the way that visions of ethical consumerism and locavorism lead vendors and consumers alike to disregard inequalities.

--Book News

Alkon ends her book with a few examples of campaigns born out of the green economy that have tried to impact political issues, including recent urban-based Farm Bill advocacy, the growth of green jobs, and the prevention of farm animal cruelty. The author . . . reminds us that things can change--as long as we keep on asking ourselves who is producing our food, who is selling it, who is able to buy what and, ultimately, who gains.

--Fabio Parasecoli "Huff Post Green "