No One Eats Alone

Cover featuring white dinner plates top and bottom on white background wit

Hardback - July 2017 - AU $38.99

A book arguing that building community is the key to healthy, equitable, and sustainable food.

In today's fast-paced, fast food world, everyone seems to be eating alone, all the time—whether it's at their desks or in the car. Even those who find time for a family meal are cut off from the people who grew, harvested, distributed, marketed, and sold the foods on their table. Few ever break bread with anyone outside their own socioeconomic group. So why does Michael Carolan say that that no one eats alone? Because all of us are affected by the other people in our vast foodscape. We can no longer afford to ignore these human connections as we struggle with dire problems like hunger, obesity, toxic pesticides, antibiotic resistance, depressed rural economies and low-wage labour. + Full description

Carolan argues that building community is the key to healthy, equitable, and sustainable food. While researching No One Eats Alone, he interviewed more than 250 individuals, from flavorists to Fortune 500 executives, politicians to feedlot managers, low-income families to crop scientists, who play a role in the life of food. Advertising consultants told him of efforts to distance eaters and producers—most food firms don’t want their customers thinking about farm labourers or the people living downstream of processing plants. But he also found stories of people getting together to change their relationship to food and to each other.

There are community farms where suburban parents and immigrant families work side by side, reducing social distance as much as food miles. There are entrepreneurs with little capital or credit who are setting up online exchanges to share kitchen space, upending conventional notions of the economy of scale. There are parents and school board members who are working together to improve cafeteria food rather than relying on soda taxes to combat childhood obesity.

Carolan contends that real change only happens when we start acting like citizens first and consumers second. No One Eats Alone is a book about becoming better food citizens.

- Short description


Hardback | July 2017 | $ 38.99
ISBN: 9781610918046 | 208 pages | 229 x 152 mm
Publisher: Island Press, USA


Introduction: Changing the Foodscape
Chapter 1. Monocultures of the Mind and Body
Chapter 2. Knowing Quality
Chapter 3. Shaping Values
Chapter 4. Spatial Distance Versus Social Distance
Chapter 5. One Health
Chapter 6. From Slow Food to Connectivity
Chapter 7. Buying Behaviors Versus Building Community
Chapter 8. Getting Big Versus Getting Together
Chapter 9. Conclusion: Becoming Citizens


Dr Michael Carolan is Associate Dean for Research for the College of Liberal Arts at Colorado State University. He has published more than 150 peer-reviewed articles and chapters. His areas of expertise include environmental and agricultural law and policy, environmental sociology, the sociology of food systems and agriculture, and the sociology of technology and scientific knowledge.