Sandor Ellix Katz, author of Wild Fermentation, gives readers a thorough look at nearly every aspect of the modern food movement in his book The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America’s Underground Food Movements (2006). I can think of no better person to explain the push for sustainable farming, wholesome food and healthy communities than someone who lives as Katz does: as part of an independent, intentional community in Tennessee.
In addition to exemplifying the revolution everyday, Katz is an excellent writer. The book is full of well-articulated arguments in favor of much needed change. While I consider myself knowledgeable on many aspects of the food movement, I learned a lot from the book, including some things that were truly eye opening.
For example, the chapter “Seed Saving as a Political Act” details a clear American intent to destroy Iraq’s agricultural infrastructure. Katz explains, “An internal State Department document from February 2003, a month before the U.S. invasion…included seed and plant patents as part of the U.S. economic agenda in Iraq.” Sadly, the U.S. was very successful, and the invasion destroyed “almost all generations of all seeds of all crops.” In summation, Katz says, “It appears from these facts that an element of the U.S. military agenda is to disrupt agricultural self-sufficiency and create dependency on the high-tech global seed market, while imposing the legal framework to permanently disempower local farmers.” Discouraging and eye opening, indeed. (48)
Katz channels many resources for the book. He quotes authors like Wendell Berry, Frances Moore Lappé and Joel Salatin, and cites books like The Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening. In addition, personal stories and recipes are dispersed throughout. Though the book’s organization seems random, it still manages to read smoothly.
The book is unlikely to reach the mainstream audience tapped by authors like Michael Pollan, but that in no way diminishes its value to the movement. Readers interested in a lengthy look at topics like seed saving, vegetarian ethics (warning: he’s not vegetarian), Slow Food, land rights and water consumption will find a good source in The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved.