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Food for Thought: Food Tank’s Fall Reading List

Too many choices? Let Food Tank's Fall Reading List narrow them down. (Kenny Louie)

Four times a year, Food Tank will be handpicking a selection of books (mostly newer releases, but several oldies) that have recently educated, inspired, and informed the work of this organization.

Below are Food Tank's "must read" Fall 2013 selections for those who are passionate about a more sustainable food system!

From practical tips on sustainable agriculture on a warming planet to insight on how to make jam, these reads will provide plenty of food for thought.

These 18 books are listed in alphabetical order:

1. 40 Chances: Finding Hope in a Hungry World by Howard G. Buffett with Howard W. Buffett and Foreword by Warren E. Buffett

Howard G. Buffett, son of business tycoon Warren Buffett, primarily identifies as a farmer. In 2006, given the opportunity to head his own philanthropic foundation, Howard G. Buffett embarked on a battle to fight food scarcity in the U.S., along with worldwide hunger. His book contains 40 stories from around the globe highlighting his endeavors to help those who lack food security. 

2. 66 Square Feet: A Delicious Life by Marie Viljoen

A 66 square foot terrace in Brooklyn may not seem like a lot, but Marie Viljoen has drawn enough inspiration from her tiny rooftop garden to create a popular blog and compose a heartfelt book about it. Complete with astounding garden photography and delicious recipes, this book is sure to inspire anyone interested in seasonal eating and growing their own food.

3. Blessing the Hands that Feed Us: What Eating Closer to Home Can Teach Us About Food, Community, and Our Place on Earth by Vicki Robin

Vicki Robin chronicles her month-long endeavor to eat food solely from within ten miles of her Whidbey Island, Washington, home. Reflecting upon her experiment of living as a locavore, the book features lessons on food and farming interspersed with recipes and tips on how to lead a more sustainable life. 

4. Cows Save the Planet: And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth by Judith Schwartz with Foreword by Gretel Ehrlich

Cows Save the Planet takes a “soil’s-eye view” of the problems currently facing the environment. Using soil as her springboard, Schwartz argues that for all the dire issues facing the planet, there is still hope for a bright future. This book is sure to uplift even those most despondent over global warming and the diminishing health of the planet.

5. Eat Drink Vote: An Illustrated Guide to Food Politics by Marion Nestle

Eat Drink Vote presents over 250 cartoons illustrating the complex connections between politics and food choice. Nestle collaborates with The Cartoonist Group to use humorous illustrations to simply explain the complicated intricacies of the food system. 

6. First Food: A Taste of India’s Biodiversity by Sunita Narain and Vibha Varshney

The Centre for Science and the Environment’s Sunita Narain and Vibha Varshney come together to present a delicious look at India’s indigenous food. First Food is a cookbook featuring 100 recipes that showcase the immense biodiversity found throughout India.

7. Food DIY: How to Make Your Own Everything: Sausages to Smoked Salmon, Sourdough to Sloe Gin, Bacon to Buns by Tim Hayward

For anyone who has ever wondered about how to make his or her own bacon, Tim Hayward shows the way. Simple instructions paired with stunning photographs and illustrations make this an indispensable do-it-yourself guide for those with an interest in learning to make their own food.

8. Food Policy in the United States: An Introduction by Parke Wilde

Food Policy in the United States is a textbook for anyone interested in increasing his or her knowledge within the complex field of U.S. food policy. Agricultural economist Parke Wilde discusses the essential topics, from international agricultural trade to food labeling. 

9. From the Ground Up: A Food Grower's Education in Life, Love, and the Movement That's Changing the Nation by Jeanne Nolan with Foreword by Alice Waters

Jeanne Nolan’s book presents her astounding memoir paired with a practical guide to organic farming. From the Ground Up demonstrates the benefits of sustainable agriculture for people, communities and the planet. Anyone interested in the food movement or just keen on growing their own food will delight in Nolan’s exhilarating adventure creating edible gardens across Chicago. 

10. Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers’ Markets, Local Food, and Saving the Family Farm by Forest Pritchard with Foreword by Joel Salatin

Forest Pritchard’s memoir about saving his family farm highlights the real cost of industrial farming. The tale brings the reader along a hilarious and moving path toward the future of family farming, illustrating the importance of sustainable agriculture along the way. 

11. Grand Forks: A History of American Dining in 128 Reviews by Marilyn Hagerty with Foreword by Anthony Bourdain

North Dakota food critic, Marilyn Hagerty, releases her book on American dining featuring 128 past reviews from restaurants such as The Big Sioux (a truck stop) and Grand Fork’s first Taco Bell. Hagerty’s book brings to light topics such as restaurant review elitism and the ever-shifting landscape of the American diet.

12. Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land: Lessons from Desert Farmers on Adapting to Climate Uncertainty by Gary Paul Nabhan with Foreword by Bill McKibben

Traveling across desert lands from North America to the Arabian Peninsula, Gary Paul Nabhan’s guidebook provides expert advice on farming techniques adapted to arid regions. With climate change a pressing reality, this is a must-read for anyone interested in learning new practices to keep their farms, gardens, orchards, and backyards thriving far into the future. 

13. Soil and Sacrament: A Spiritual Memoir of Food and Faith by Fred Bahnson

Traveling as an immersion journalist and religious pilgrim, Fred Bahnson examines the links between food and faith. Over the course of the year, Bahnson visits four gardens – one for each season – run by different faiths and reflects upon how people from across the religious spectrum are reconnecting with their food.

14. The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities by Will Allen with Charles Wilson and Foreword by Eric Schlosser

Former professional basketball player Will Allen has inspired countless people to reclaim their food system. After establishing his organization, Growing Power, along with its two-acre urban farm, Milwaukee's food system has undergone a number of positive changes. His personal journey has also encouraged a number of similar farming programs across the country.

15. The Modern Peasant: Adventures in City Food by Jojo Tulloh

London, like a number of cities, is brimming with small-scale food producers. Jojo Tulloh’s story takes an in-depth look at the shifting landscape of food production in London and offers a number of practical tips and advice on how to become a part of the food movement – one batch of chutney at a time.

16. The No Nonsense Guide to World Food by Wayne Roberts

The updated version of The No Nonsense Guide takes a stark look at the challenges facing the global food system, namely the vast influence of agricultural corporations. Roberts goes on to examine new sustainable models of food production from around the world in hope of building a better food system.  

17. Three Squares: The Invention of the American Meal by Abigail Carroll

Three Squares embarks on a historical journey chronicling American eating habits from colonial times through today. Carroll unpacks the story of how Americans have come to adopt the standard three-meal-a-day routine and what to expect for the future of mealtimes. 

18. What has Nature Ever Done for Us? How Money Really Grows on Treesby Tony Juniper with Foreword by HRH The Prince of Wales

Nature provides humans with a wealth of seemingly “free” resources and services, from water to carbon absorption.  By measuring the economic value of "natural services", Juniper argues that people must stop destroying nature. Told through a number of different stories, this book sees danger and hope for the future of the natural world. 

Please note that several of these books are forthcoming and based on review copies, but they'll be available soon!

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