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Subsistence Agriculture in the United States

Subsistence Agriculture in the United States

This book examines subsistence agriculture practices in the United States, including hunting, fishing, gardening, gathering, and keeping livestock. It frames subsistence activities as “shadow structures” in response to industrial capitalism.

Publisher’s summary

Focusing on ethnography and interviews with subsistence food producers, this book explores the resilience, innovation and creativity taking place in subsistence agriculture in America.

To date, researchers interested in alternative food networks have often overlooked the somewhat hidden, unorganized population of household food producers. Subsistence Agriculture in the US fills this gap in the existing literature by examining the lived experiences of people taking part in subsistence food production. Over the course of the book, Colby draws on accounts from a broad and diverse network of people who are hunting, fishing, gardening, keeping livestock and gathering and looks in depth at the way in which these practical actions have transformed their relationship to labor and land. She also explores the broader implications of this pro-environmental activity for social change and sustainable futures.

With a combination of rigorous academic investigation and engagement with pressing social issues, this book will be of great interest to scholars of sustainable consumption, environmental sociology and social movements.



Colby, A. (2022). Subsistence Agriculture in the US: Reconnecting to Work, Nature and Community. Routledge, Abingdon.


Read more here. See also the TABLE explainer How can we reduce food-related greenhouse gas emissions?

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