Gardens of Hope: Cultivating Food and the Future in a Post-Disaster City  (NYU Press, Forthcoming) 

Yuki Kato

Based on longitudinal in-depth interviews with urban growers, local organizations, and archival data, the study examines what motivated a group of individuals to start an urban garden or a farm in post-Katrina New Orleans as the city was undergoing rapid changes.  The central argument of the book is that the growers saw these spaces as a place for practicing "prefiguartive urbanism," or a form of civic engagement to enact alternative futures, now, but as individuals not as a collective social movement. Kato describes multitudes of opportunities and challenges that the growers faced in the post-disaster city, and how they prioritized "doing something, now" over theorizing and organizing as they continued to innovate, adapt, and experiment in the garden. The book offers both inspirational and cautionary tales for those of us moved to take actions in times of crisis and uncertainties, and reveals what we often do not understand about what it takes to start and sustain a cultivation project in the city

A Recipe for Gentrification: Food, Power, and Resistance in the City (NYU Press, 2020)

Edited by Alison Hope Alkon, Yuki Kato and Joshua Sbicca

From hipster coffee shops to upscale restaurants, a bustling local food scene is perhaps the most commonly recognized harbinger of gentrification. A Recipe for Gentrification explores this widespread phenomenon, showing the ways in which food and gentrification are deeply—and, at times, controversially—intertwined.

Contributors provide an inside look at gentrification in different cities, from major hubs like New York and Los Angeles to smaller cities like Cleveland and Durham. They examine a wide range of food enterprises—including grocery stores, restaurants, community gardens, and farmers’ markets—to provide up-to-date perspectives on why gentrification takes place, and how communities use food to push back against displacement.

Ultimately, they unpack the consequences for vulnerable people and neighborhoods. A Recipe for Gentrification highlights how the everyday practices of growing, purchasing and eating food reflect the rapid—and contentious—changes taking place in American cities in the twenty-first century.

The book received an honorable mention by the Association for the Study of Food and Society Edited Book Award in 2021 . 

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Selective Journal Articles 

Broom, Pamela A., Yuki Kato, and Shawn "Pepper" Roussel. 2024. Rewriting the Erased History of Blacks in New Orleans Urban Gardening and Farming. Humanity& Society. DOI:

Kato, Yuki, and Caroline Boules. 2022. "Pandemic gardening: Variant adaptations to COVID-19 disruptions by community gardens, school gardens, and urban farms." Journal of Urban Affairs. DOI: 10.1080/07352166.2022.2110887

Kato, Yuki. 2020. “Gardening in Times of Urban Transition.” City&Community. DOI: 10.1111/cico.12476

Kato, Yuki, Scarlett Andrews Martin and Cate Irvin. 2018. “Availability and Accessibility of Vacant Lots for Urban Cultivation in Post-Katrina New Orleans.” Urban Affairs Review. 54(2):332-362.

Harvey, Daina Cheyenne, Yuki Kato, and Catarina Passidomo. 2016. “Re-Building Others’ Communities: A Critical Analysis of Race and Nativism in Nonprofits in the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.” Local Environment. 21(8): 1029-1046. DOI: 10.1080/13549839.2015.1064100

Kato, Yuki, Catarina Passidomo, and Daina Harvey. 2014. “Political Gardening in a Post-disaster City: Lessons from New Orleans.” Urban Studies. 51(9): 1833–1849.

Opinions/Other Publications

Yuki Kato and Jeanne Firth. 2024. “City Park should embrace, not destroy, Grow Dat Youth Farm.” April 3. Verite News.  

Alkon, Alison, Sarah Bowen, Yuki Kato, Kara Young. 2020. “Unequally Vulnerable: A Food Justice Approach to Racial Disparities in COVID-19 Cases.” Agriculture and Human Values. 

Young, Kara, Sarah Bowen, Yuki Kato, Justin Schupp, Anne Saville, Alison Alkon, Nino Bariola, and Ferzana Havewala. 2020. “the effect of covid-19 on the food system.” The Contexts. Special Issue on covid-19. URL: