Antonio Roman-Alcalá


Urban Ag: Taking steps toward political ecology

Practitioners of urban agriculture have a lot to be proud of, including forming part of a “food movement,” which is increasing in size and influence. People are questioning food systems conventions and the dominant forms of food production (industrial farming) and distribution (globalized trade) are being opposed more and more by communities around the globe. Urban agriculturists—with their claim for a viable alternative to the broken food system—seem to have at this moment a certain cultural cachet.

March 7, 2013


On The Prince’s Speech: The Future of Food

The content of “On The Future of Food” (a speech given in May of 2011 by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales at Georgetown University and recently published by Rodale Press) shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with the Prince or sustainable agriculture. The two have been connected since at least 1985, when HRH converted his farmland to organic, wildlife-friendly practices…That he is so personally knowledgeable on the subject—as well as being in a position to influence discourse and policy at such a high level—gives him some clout to tell us what is wrong in the food system and what can be done about it.

March 2, 2012


To profit or not to profit on the food movement?

When one considers one’s actions as activism, done for the purpose of creating social, political, or economic change, and not just personal fulfillment, it behooves one to have a “theory of change.” The “anti-capitalist” theory of change holds that solutions to market failures can’tt come from the market (recalling Einstein, “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”), and this is hard to square with a “green economy” theory of change, which believes that a capitalist economy can be reformed, through business, into one that is less destructive to people and the environment.

August 3, 2011


Action on Farm Bill

At many of the screenings of the movie, I’ve been asked “what to do” about the farm bill. Well, it is complicated, and many issues and opportunities to act will be coming up this year as we get closer to voting time (in 2012), but here’s something that’s already happening.

May 26, 2011


San Francisco passes progressive urban agriculture policy

This week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed one of the most progressive pieces of legislation for urban agriculture in the nation. The new legislation has amended the zoning code to allow agricultural activities in all parts of the city, as well as defining the parameters by which urban agriculturists can sell their products.

April 25, 2011


Reviving anarchy for the sake of sustainability

One thing that fascinates me about political theorist Murray Bookchin’s writing is how prescient it is. His essay, “Ecology and Revolutionary Thought,” was written in 1965, six years before Earth Day, and almost a half-century before now. Yet its content is as relevant as ever, if not more so, given society’s increasing interest in all things “green.” Bookchin even references future ramifications of climate change, long before many had even considered it.

August 26, 2010

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