Stand Together or Starve Alone
Unity and Chaos in the U.S. Food Movement
by Mark Winne
November 2017, 178pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Praeger

Hardcover: 978-1-4408-4447-8
$65, £50, 57€, A90
eBook Available: 978-1-4408-4448-5
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Obesity affects more than 30% of the U.S. population while food insecurity is a problem for 45 million Americans. How can we solve these problems?

America has a perplexing, multifaceted problem that combines hunger, obesity, and unhealthy food. This book examines how this situation was created and shows how people working together can resolve this longstanding issue.

The United States—one of the world’s wealthiest and resource-richest nations—has multiple food-related problems: declining food quality due to industrialization of its production, obesity across all age groups, and a surprisingly large number of households suffering from food insecurity. These issues threaten to shorten the lives of many and significantly reduce the quality of life for millions of others. This book explores the root causes of food-related problems in the 20th and 21st centuries and explains why collective impact—the social form of working together for a common goal—is the method that needs to be employed to reach a successful resolution to hunger, obesity, and the challenges of the industrial food system.

Authored by Mark Winne, a 45-year food activist, the book begins with background information about the evolution of the U.S. food movement since the 1960s that documents its incredible growth and variety of interests, organizations, and sectors. The subsequent sections demonstrate how these divergent interests have created a lack of unity and constitute a deterrent to achieving real change and improvement. Through examples from specific cities and states as well as a discussion of group dynamics and coalition-building methods, readers will come away with an understanding of a complicated topic and grasp the potential of a number of strategies for creating more cohesion within the food movement—and realizing meaningful improvements in our food system for current and future generations.


  • Taps the available evidence and interviews with some of the nation's leading food activists and academics to unveil compelling strategies to end hunger and reduce obesity
  • Explains why the problems of obesity and food insecurity persist despite attention, organizations, and agencies focused on these pervasive problems
  • Demonstrates how the solutions to America's food problems lie not in more money and programs but in the coordination of people working together constructively and creatively
Mark Winne is senior advisor to the Center for a Livable Future at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He is cofounder of the Community Food Security Coalition, where he also worked as the Food Policy Council Program Director. His published work includes Closing the Food Gap: Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty and Food Rebels, Guerrilla Gardeners, and Smart-Cookin' Mamas: Fighting Back in an Age of Industrial Agriculture. From 1979 to 2003, Winne was executive director of the Hartford Food System, a Connecticut nonprofit food organization. He was a Kellogg Foundation Food and Society Fellow, a Johns Hopkins School of Public Health Visiting Scholar, and a member of the U.S. delegation to the 2000 Rome Conference on Food Security. Through his own firm, Mark Winne Associates, he speaks, trains, and writes on topics related to community food systems, food policy, and food security. His website is


"[T]he most important book going on today’s food movements. . . his book is a seedbed for city food advocates in all countries. I read his book through my city lens, and invite you to see how his book can help city-based food organizers everywhere. . . . I thank Mark Winne for prodding me to think of such joint city ventures. I am sure many other people will have their own reasons to thank him for a life well lived, and thoughtfully dedicated to food security that benefits the entire community."—Dr. Wayne Roberts, author and former director of the Toronto Food Policy Council, February 15, 2018

"Winne’s firsthand knowledge strengthens the book, and although he draws on the literature at times, he is not merely an academic making recommendations without understanding their potential effects on the ground. . . . Winne provides a solid treatise that will appeal to both students and practitioners within the food movement. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty and professionals."—Choice, August 1, 2018

"Mark Winne continues to blaze the trail towards a national food policy. With humor, passion, and from-the-field reporting, he maps the many travelers and miles along this inspired journey. Stand Together or Starve Alone charts the next steps integral to establishing a food movement in the United States where cooperation and collaboration are hallmarks and where hunger and food insecurity will not stand."—Cindy Gentry, Food Systems Coordinator, Maricopa County Dept. of Public Health

"In this book readers will find a combination of history, personal tale, and principled critique of the modern food movement over its nearly fifty-year duration. Mark Winne has been both leader and participant for decades—on hand for many of the movement’s defining moments. I would encourage anyone who wants to understand where the food movement came from and what it could be to read this book."—Mike Hamm, C.S. Mott Professor of Sustainable Agriculture, Michigan State University

"Unafraid to call out the role of money, funders, and larger-than-life personalities, Winne offers a sharp and informative analysis of the food movement. Read this book if you want to understand what drives the food movement, why it has fractured, and how it might unite."—Brian Depew, Executive Director, Center for Rural Affairs

"Those of us in local food work are often torn between picking the lowest hanging fruit for quick small wins, or toiling endlessly (and hopefully) in the food system thicket for little glamor but longer-term, systemic gains. Both are important; both are exhausting; neither is enough. If we had time to look up from our work, the best question might be 'How do we start making real progress?' This book gives us more than an inspirational answer. It arrives at just the right time for a movement that is paradoxically energized, but running on fumes. Mark Winne writes a crisp, engaging history of how we got here and offers clear guidance on how we can move forward. A must-read!"—Janie Burns, Treasure Valley Food Coalition

"Food systems work is like running a marathon through three feet of mud—it’s painstakingly challenging and requires endless endurance, persistence, and patience. Stand Together or Starve Alone: Unity and Chaos in the U.S. Food Movement is a mindful reflection of Mark Winne’s decades-long marathon of improving the health, access, and security of our food system. This book is an essential tool in the food system toolbox, packed with critical inquiry, systems principles, and relationship-building strategies. A trailblazer in his own right, Winne has gone the 'extra mile' in delivering this must-read."—Angie Tagtow, MS, RD, LD, Former Executive Director, Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, U.S. Department of Agriculture

“Mark Winne provides those passionate about the food system an approach that can and does make a difference. Finding common ground, being inclusive, and challenging our own assumptions is critical if we want to make meaningful progress toward an equitable food system in which everyone benefits.”—Gina L. Cornia, Executive Director, Utahns Against Hunger

"My current windows onto the food movement are my dinner plate and my small community garden plot. I’m so glad Mark Winne has maintained his passion, drive, and memory so we can see a bigger picture of the movement. I think he’s right that poverty is the real issue, and I applaud his book’s brave suggestion that we can solve this massive problem together!"—Jack Hale, Founding member of Hartford Food System and Hartford Food Policy

"Mark Winne’s reflections are profound and guaranteed to motivate anyone to work towards a more just food system for all. No matter if you are new to food systems work or have years of experience, you will find something inspiring within Stand Together or Starve Alone."—Yvette Molina, Director of Community Services, Elijah’s Promise; Cochair of the Community Engagement Workgroup, New Brunswick Community Food Alliance; Member of Leadership Team, Closing The Hunger Gap Conference 2017
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts.
Accept All Cookies | Decline.