The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved
August 5, 2010
I just finished reading this book and while the focus on dumpster dining is only a small portion of the text, it is fascinating and well worth the read. Katz brings together diverse aspects of American underground food activism and offers an insightful and fun read through bread clubs, raw milk, seed saving, neutraceuticals and foraging (amongst other contemporary food movements). His chapter on feral foragers brings together not only stories of Food Not Bombs and dumpster dining, but also looks at foraging for mushrooms, weeds, roadkill and insects. Also fascinating is the balancing of attention to health and dumpstering – much of the text is concerned with protecting health with quality and nutritious food. When Katz recounts his own dumpstering experience he notes how much quality produce he found (something he wasn’t actually expecting). I have the same experience every time I dive – so much produce, so little time! I am also reminded of my ongoing question of garbage metaphors and meanings – not only when does food become garbage, but questions and presumptions of junk food. His presumption was that the bins would be filled with junk food and I wonder if that presumption is linked to how we categorize the space of dumpsters as necessarily containers of junk(food).
Read the whole article here.
Fight for Your Right to Real Food
Gaiam Real Goods
Spring 2007 Resource Guide
"... Every chapter from The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved exudes Katz' deep and contagious passion tor great food; just a few pages will inspire ;md compel you to give over some sod to zucchini vines, or join a CSA, or frequent your farmers' market more than your supermarket, or just taste a real tomato again. Katz gives you many ways to begin — exploring 10 foodie themes, from local vs. organic to slow food, food as healing, vegetarianism and more. He points out that societies, including Cuba, have survived economically forced food crises like the ones he warns of— through "intensive cultivation of yards and parks and rooftops." He introduces you to inspiring everyday people who are producing their own food or otherwise leading quiet culinary mutinies. And he shows how bold steps like theirs can make your family and community less dependent on things like bags of potatoes trucked in from 900 miles away."
Read and discuss an excerpt from the book our interview with Katz at www.realgoods.com/foodrevolution
THE ERA OF AGRI-ACTIVISM HAS ARRIVED!
December 29, 2006
Forget about low carb diets. 2006 was the year of the low carbon diet.
“Local and sustainable” is the new “farm fresh,” according to the NY Times, which cited “food miles” as one of the year’s catchiest catch phrases. The agricultural culture war that’s been fermenting on the foodie frontier finally exploded this year, bombarding us with books about our fuelish food system.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma put Michael Pollan at the top of the literary food chain; Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics and What to Eat, was omnipresent, bursting Big Food’s bubble on every media outlet from NPR to CNN to last Wednesday’s NY Times:
“This is the year everyone discovered that food is about politics and people can do something about it,” she said. “In a world in which people feel more and more distant from global forces that control their lives, they can do something by, as the British put it, ‘voting with your trolley,’ their word for shopping cart…”
“I see this happening everywhere, and it is enormous,” Ms. Nestle said. “It’s the recognition that food ties into extremely important social, economic, environmental and institutional issues. Ordinary people don’t have access to these really important issues except through food.”
Call it “gateway activism,” a term I learned from The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved, a funny and fascinating new book by food activist Sandor Ellix Katz. Subtitled “Inside America’s Underground Food Movements,” Katz’s book charts the intersection of food and politics from every angle, giving a comprehensive, thoroughly annotated overview of how agribusiness and perverse government policies have hijacked our food culture and corrupted the American diet.
Katz finds a silver lining to this toxic corporate cloud in the Small is Beautiful boosters: the seed savers, dumpster divers, feral foragers and agrarian activists all over the country who’ve rejected Monsanto’s monolithic monoculture in favor of a more seasonal, sustainable food chain.
In his quest to document every avenue of food activism, Katz takes a walk on the wild side with the Wildroots Collective, a group that puts the car back in carnivore by recycling roadkill. They eat insects, too; Katz shares Wildroots’ recipes for grasshoppers and crickets, which are best roasted over a pan and taste something like popcorn. “They’re surprisingly tasty and filling…crickets are incredibly high in calcium and potassium.”
Wildroots recommends sautéing slugs and sun drying earthworms, which can then be “ground into a very nutritious flour, which can be used as a soup thickener.” But if the idea of eating bugs doesn’t appeal to you, you can at least chew on the strange historical tidbits Katz dishes up, including these two:
The infamous Abu Ghraib prison where U.S. soldiers abused Iraqi prisoners was “previously home to Iraq’s national seed bank and research facilities.” Katz cites a report from the UN’s Food & Agriculture Organization which documents how our invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan resulted in the destruction of “generations of seeds of all crops” and the loss of “much seed expertise.” No doubt Monsanto will be happy to sell the Iraqi farmers their patented, genetically modified seeds.
In the U.S., government agencies are contemplating a ban on non-native invasive plant species, which may be a sneaky way to undermine the “grassroots free trade of seeds and plants” that lets home gardeners and small family farmers cultivate rare and heirloom varieties. Katz finds a forerunner to this current bout of botanical zenophobia in Hitler’s Central Office of Vegetative Mapping, which in 1942 declared a “war of extermination” against a particularly invasive variety of impatiens, citing the threat this “Mongolian invader” posed to “the beauty of our home forest.”
This is one of those rare books that anyone, no matter how much or how little you know about our corroding food chain, will find enlightening and entertaining. Will it inspire me to scoop up freshly flattened squirrels on my backcountry bike rides? Probably not, but I will definitely give the chickweed pesto recipe a try.
Then again, maybe eating roadkill is not as radical as it sounds. Our friend Joel, a skilled hunter, has carved up the carcasses of deer that collided with his car, and brought home the venison. When life gives you meat, make meatballs. Beats leaving Bambi for the buzzards.
The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved is a smorgasborg of activist anecdotes, horticultural history, and literally wild recipes. All the ingredients for a great read. Go Inside America’s Underground Food Movements and get to the bottom of what’s eating America.
November 25, 2006
Sandor Ellix Katz’s book The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved introduces us to people who moving the field closer to the table. The people we meet in this book are reclaiming their right to not only eat healthy, wholesome food but are asserting their right to grow and produce what they eat for themselves and offer for sale.
If your friends and family refer to you as a “foodie” then when you read Katz’s book you will meet people who are journeying along a similar path.
From road kill gourmets to bread club members, the people you encounter while reading Katz’s book have rejected the mass industrial food complex that dominates North American food choices. Katz introduces us to people who know there are choices and who are willing to act upon that knowledge. Taking charge of your food supply, even in a small way, is a liberating and healthy act.
Library Journal Review
December 15, 2006
Katz, Sandor Ellix. The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America's Underground Food Movements. Chelsea Green. Dec. 2006. c.400p. illus. index. ISBN 1-933392-11-8 [ISBN 978-1-933392-11-0]. pap. $20. AGRI This is the story of the consumer revolution against globally industrialized agriculture and corporate domination of food production, processing, and distribution systems. Katz (Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods) asserts that there are alternatives to the dead, unhealthy, homogenized food commodities this system provides. He visited farmers' markets, food cooperatives, and communities in search of local initiatives that restore traditional food production and distribution methods and revive local economies. Katz found a broad movement of people and organizations involved in preserving native varieties, practicing humane and sustainable treatment of land and animals, supporting local producers and marketers, and using food to improve health. Of particular note is the rapidly growing "slow food" movement, which rejects standardized fare and focuses instead on cuisine that has served ethnic and cultural preferences in the past. Each chapter cites references for further reading and organizations involved in keeping the programs active. This work is sure to enlighten readers and motivate many to join the revolution. Recommended.- Irwin Weintraub, Brooklyn Coll. Lib., NY
Katz (Wild Fermentation) strives for total inclusiveness by writing about every challenge to the "chemical-driven agricultural mainstream" he can think of from the protests against genetically modified plants to the fight to legalize unpasteurized milk, with slow food, veganism and supermarket dumpster diving thrown in for good measure. But he addresses the issues in simplistic, agitprop terms, describing a world where the government collaborates with profit-driven corporations to flood the market with unnatural foods that are killing people. Even the criminalization of marijuana is characterized as an act of agricultural hegemony comparable to the Inquisition. Katz wants to challenge this state of affairs with a multicultural agrarian uprising, and writes with moving sincerity about how his own experiences on a queer-friendly commune in Tennessee have shaped his politics. He ends each chapter with a list of organizations to contact for more information, as well as several recipes that exemplify his low-tech, all-natural approach—his pesto, for example, is made from chickweed picked in the wild. At times, the calls to re-embrace mother earth and "cherish the biota in all its glorious diversity" become hyperbolic, but Katz's comprehensive reporting is sure to mobilize any reader on at least one issue.
Whole foods: not as simple as they seem
November 22, 2006
"The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America's Underground Food Movements," by Sandor Ellix Katz (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2006, $20).
If you wish to reclaim a connection to the food you eat, consider Sandor Katz' (author of "Wild Fermentation") newest book. "The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved" champions various causes against our modern food supply. From seed-saving as a political act to the role of food in healing, it's an invaluable handbook.
A passionate crusader, Katz is also funny, quirky and eminently likable. Each chapter contains one of his low-tech recipes and ends with multiple resources pages including supportive books, films and organizations.