Books for Change
There are few things that inspire me the way that immersing myself into a book does. Being transported into another life, another place, and perhaps another time is magical. When is comes to eating locally, education is paramount. Books allow us the opportunity to see what is really going on in the food system, who is making change, and how we can be a part of it.
Here are my top 10 must reads for eating consciously:
This is the book that started it all for me and led me to start a Farmers Market.
Novelist Kingsolver recounts a year spent eating home-grown food and, if not that, local. Kingsolver’s clue to help greenhorns remember what’s in season is the best I’ve seen. You trace the harvest by botanical development, from buds to fruits to roots. Kingsolver is not the first to note our national “eating disorder” and the injuries industrial agriculture wreaks, yet this practical vision of how we might eat instead is as fresh as just-picked sweet corn. (Publishers Weekly via Amazon)
Truly one of my favorites!
As an increasing number of Americans are overfed and undernourished, Pollan makes a strong argument for serious reconsideration of our eating habits and casts a suspicious eye on the food industry and its more pernicious and misleading practices. Listeners will undoubtedly find themselves reconsidering their own eating habits. In a season filled with rallying cries to lose weight and be healthy, Pollan’s call to action—”Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”–is a program I actually want to follow. (Publishers Weekly via Amazon)
This is a fantastic short read with tips (rules) on how to start eating consciously.
Simple, sensible, and easy to use, Food Rulesis a set of memorable rules for eating wisely, many drawn from a variety of ethnic or cultural traditions. Whether at the supermarket or an all-you-can-eat-buffet, this handy, pocket-size resource is the perfect guide for anyone who would like to become more mindful of the food we eat. (Amazon)
Fantastic read to get you started thinking about ethics and how that relates to food.
Ethicist Singer and co-author Mason (Animal Factories) document corporate deception, widespread waste and desensitization to inhumane practices in this consideration of ethical eating. The authors examine three families’ grocery-buying habits and the motivations behind those choices. This sometimes-graphic exposé is not myopic: profitability and animal welfare are given equal consideration, though the reader finishes the book agreeing with the authors’ conclusion that “America’s food industry seeks to keep Americans in the dark about the ethical components of their food choices.” A no-holds-barred treatise on ethical consumption, this is an important read for those concerned with the long, frightening trip between farm and plate. (Publishers Weekly via Amazon)
I love Marion Nestle, and I love this book!
Nestle offers an expos‚ of the tactics used by the food industry to protect its economic interests and influence public opinion. She shows how the industry promotes sales by resorting to lobbying, lawsuits, financial contributions, public relations, advertising, alliances, and philanthropy to influence Congress, federal agencies, and nutrition and health professionals. She also describes the food industry’s opposition to government regulation, its efforts to discredit nutritional recommendations while pushing soft drinks to children via alliances with schools, and its intimidation of critics who question its products or its claims. (Library Journal via Amazon)
This is a new book on the scene and is a must read!
Fair Food is an enlightening and inspiring guide to changing not only what we eat, but how food is grown, packaged, delivered, marketed, and sold. Oran B. Hesterman shows how our system’s dysfunctions are unintended consequences of our emphasis on efficiency, centralization, higher yields, profit, and convenience–and defines the new principles, as well as the concrete steps, necessary to restructuring it. Along the way, he introduces people and organizations across the country who are already doing this work in a number of creative ways, from bringing fresh food to inner cities to fighting for farm workers’ rights to putting cows back on the pastures where they belong. (Amazon)
Here the charismatic leader of the Slow Food movement, Carlo Petrini, outlines many different routes by which we may take back control of our food. The three central principles of the Slow Food plan are these: food must be sustainably produced in ways that are sensitive to the environment, those who produce the food must be fairly treated, and the food must be healthful and delicious. Amidst our crisis, it is critical that Americans look for insight from other cultures around the world and begin to build a new and better way of eating in our communities here. (Amazon)
A locavore staple!
Schlosser’s incisive history of the development of American fast food indicts the industry for some shocking crimes against humanity, including systematically destroying the American diet and landscape, and undermining our values and our economy. By systematically dismantling the industry’s various aspects, Schlosser establishes a seminal argument for true wrongs at the core of modern America. (Publishers Weekly via Amazon)
This is a great book filled with practical steps like recipes and tips.
Now he reports his own passionate belief in agricultural sustainability and slow food, and he touts a new diet that not only offers guilt-free pleasure but also makes Americans look as good as the beautiful people he hangs out with. His prescription: become aware of where food comes from; choose foods intelligently; pay attention to broad, inclusive nutritional principles; balance intake and exercise; snack judiciously; and make sure that whatever one eats, it’s as attractive to the palate as it is to the waistline. (Booklist via Amazon)
Through the lens of Hartford, Conn.—a quintessential inner city bereft of decent food options apart from bodegas and fast food chains—he explains the successes he witnessed and helped to create: community gardens, inner city farmers’ markets and youth-run urban farms. Winne concludes his tale in our present food-crazed era, giving voice to low-income shoppers and exploring where they fit in with such foodie discussions as local vs. organic. In this articulate and comprehensive book, Winne points out that the greatest successes have been an informal alliance between sustainable agriculture and food security advocates… that shows promise for helping both the poor and small and medium-size farmers. (Publishers Weekly via Amazon)
What are some of your MUST READS when it comes to the local food movement, food politics, or food ethics?