17 books to read in the Spring of 2017
Spring is here! And that means it's time to grow your knowledge about the agricultural industry and learn how to shorten the supply-chain behind all your favorite summer foods. We've got just the thing to nourish your (intellectual) appetite. Pick up one or more of the books from the list below and in the time it takes to sprout a seedling, you just might be a sustainable gardening or food policy expert (or maybe you'll even be ready to join our community of freight farmers!)
The Botany of Desire: A Plant's-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan: Published in 2002, this book solidified Pollan as one of the most trusted food experts in America. Through telling the stories of four familiar plants and how they satisfy basic human desires, Pollan investigates who is really domesticating whom.
Biting the Hands that Feed Us: How Fewer, Smarter Laws Would Make Our Food System More Sustainable by Baylen J. Linnekin: Linnekin explores how in some cases, U.S. food policy exacerbates rather than relieves issues such as food waste, hunger, inhumane livestock conditions, and disappearing fish stocks. He urges readers to be wary of solutions that rely solely on regulation to make the food system greener and calls for the empowerment of the often underrepresented and unseen workers who feed us.
Fixing the Food System: Changing How We Produce and Consume Food by Steve Clapp: Written by Washington Insider Steve Clapp, this eye-opening book investigates the future of food and the role policy can play in improving it. Divided into three sections, this book examines challenges present within the mainstream food production system, analyzes changes in food policy, and offers viable solutions for the future.
Growing a Farmer: How I Learned to Live Off the Land by Kurt Timmermeister: In this personal narrative, Timmermeister recounts his journey stumbling into the farming business after purchasing land on Vashon Island. Timmermeister initially moved to this area property to be closer to the restaurants he runs in Seattle, but soon became fascinated with finding out where the food he consumed came from.
Cities of Farmers: Urban Agricultural Practices and Processes by Julie C. Dawson and Alfonso Morales: This work examines the plausibility of full-scale urban food production from cultivating crops in abandoned parking lots to rooftops. Cities of Farmers empowers consumers by arming them with the tools they need to contribute to their local food system and take matters into their own hands.
The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food by Dan Barber: You might recognize Barber from Netflix's popular series Chef's Table. As a Chef, Barber believes that in order to convince people to eat in a way that's good for the planet, it has to taste amazing. In this New York Times bestseller, Barber envisions a new national cuisine that is as sustainable as it is delicious.
Rosemary Gladstar's Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner's Guide: 33 Healing Herbs to Know, Grow, and Use by Rosemary Gladstar: This introductory guide takes you though the medicinal uses of herbs and plants and how to make your own natural cures for common ailments. From peppermint tooth powder to creaky bones cayenne rub, this hands-on volume has it all.
American Catch: The Fight for Our Local Seafood by Paul Greenberg: From the New York bestselling author of Four Fish: The Future of the Last Wild Food comes a deep dive investigation into the tragedy of the collapse of fisheries all across the U.S. to the Gulf of Mexico. In spite of global challenges, however, Greenberg visits the sites of several initiatives working to address issues in the seafood industry.
Betting on Famine: Why the World Still Goes Hungry by Jean Ziegler: In this food policy staple, Ziegler lays out the many complexities and hypocrisies present within the food system in a clear, and accessible way. No matter your level of knowledge on food policy, this book is a must-read.
The Urban Farmer: Growing Food for Profit on Leased and Borrowed Land by Curtis Allen Stone: Land tenure and access to land can be a huge barrier to new farmers, yet in North America, there are over 20 million acres of underutilized lawns. This hands-on manual provides actionable strategies to making a living growing food in your own backyard (or someone else's).
Butter: A Rich History by Elaine Khosrova: Maybe you've never stopped to consider exactly how the butter on your plate got to be there, but after this tasty read, you'll be a well informed (and well fed) expert on the subject. Woven between rich recipes, culinary superstar Eline Khosrova details everything from the pleasure dairies of France to the sacred butter sculptures of Tibet.
Food and the City: Urban Agriculture and the New Food Revolution by Jennifer Cockrall-King: This comprehensive look at urban farming systems across the globe traces the local food movement from vacant lots to the roofs of skyscrapers. This uplifting book will inspire you to take our your gardening gloves and take the food system into your own hands.
The Permaculture Transition Manual: A Comprehensive Guide to Resilient Living by Ross Mars: In the face of climate change and an economy that demands continual growth, it's clear that the way we grow food will have to change to embrace the principals of sustainability. This highly practical how-to guide is filled with information on permaculture design principles to grow food in any climate.
Seeds on Ice: Svalbard and the Global Seed Vault by Cary Fowler: In one of the earth's harshest climates lies the key to maintaining earth's biodiversity. This beautifully photographed book tells the tale of how the most diverse seed collection ever assembled came to be buried inside a frozen mountain.
Restoration Agriculture by Mark Shepard: Shepard investigates the technical and economic feasibility of large-scale permaculture farming as well as how the practice can address not only our nutritional needs but the needs of building and fuel as well. This practical manual presents an alternative to business as usual in the agricultural sector.
The Perfect Peach: Recipes and Stories from the Masumoto Family Farm by David Mas Masumoto, Marcy Masumoto, and Nikiko Masumoto: This mouthwatering cookbook filled with sweet and savory peach recipes is interjected with essays from this four-generation farming family. The first cookbook from the farm that is widely regarded to have the best peaches in the nation, if you love peaches, you'll love this book.
Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine by Sarah Lohman: What do black pepper, vanilla, curry powder, chili powder, soy sauce, garlic, MSG, and Sriracha have in common? According to Sarah Lohman, they're the eight flavors that forever changed how Americans eat. In this culinary history of the US, Lohman explores how these particular flavors ended up on our plates, and perhaps more importantly, why.