This week, Food Tank has selected 20 books to engage readers in topics that range from sustainable diets to empowerment of women in agriculture. From lentil farmers to food pantry activists, the unexpected food heroes who star in these stories are creating a fair and sustainable food system from farm to fork.

The authors included in this list are exposing injustices in the food system and offering powerful solutions to global problems. Through the well-researched narratives of these writers, Food Tank hopes to engage readers on a food journey that inspires global awareness of the importance of sustainable agriculture.

Below are 20 food books to consider for your summer reading. 

And for more books to add to your list, check out all of our past reading lists: Spring 2015Winter 2014,Fall 2014Summer 2014Spring 2014 Fall 2013, and 15 Books for Future Foodies.

100 Under $100: One Hundred Tools for Empowering Global Women by Betsy Teutsch

This compelling book examines the effective, low-cost solutions available for helping women in developing countries out of poverty. Teutsch reviews a variety of opportunities for women, providing readers with a deeper understanding of the tools available to empower women and alleviate poverty.

A Bone to Pick: The good and bad news about food, with wisdom and advice on diets, food safety, GMOs, farming, and more by Mark Bittman

Bittman, a New York Times food columnist, has spent years writing compelling articles about the issues of today’s food system and how it can be fixed. This compilation of his most memorable columns covers how we produce, distribute, and cook food and is a valuable resource for understanding the issues at hand.

Got Milked by Alissa Hamilton

Turning the popular “Got Milk?” campaign on its head, Hamilton’s book strives to show that milk is not actually essential to humans as we’ve been told. This science-based expose looks to dispel the popular propaganda around the benefits of dairy consumption by explaining why it’s not necessary in our diet and how we can change our dependence on all things dairy.

Growing Tomorrow by Forrest Pritchard COMING SOON!

In his second book, Pritchard takes readers behind the scenes of the sustainable food movement to introduce us to 18 visionary farmers working all across America. Packed full of photos and recipes, the book offers a detailed portrait of the struggles and triumphs of those working in the local farm system. By becoming a narrator for their stories, Pritchard looks to pay homage to each of these individuals, and others, who provide America with its fresh food.

In the Land of Milk and Uncle Honey: Memories from the Farm of My Youth by Alan Guebert and Mary Grace Foxwell

Guebert and his daughter, Foxwell, come together to tell stories from Guebert’s hard work and life farming a 700 acre dairy farm in southern Illinois. The book is a collection of stories pieced together as a memoir of Guebert growing up on a farm, which was large for the time. The memoir “is a blueprint of how farming and food could once again be,” says Guebert.

Lentil Underground: Renegade Farmers and the Future of Food in America by Liz Carlisle

Lentil Underground tells the story of a group of renegade farmers and food pioneers who have challenged the chemically-based food chain in America through their movement to grow organic lentils. This book takes readers inside the efforts of a small rural community in the country’s farm belt that has railed against corporate agribusiness to develop a million dollar enterprise.

Lesser Beasts: A Snout-to-Tail History of the Humble Pig by Mark Essig

Often seen as lazy, dirty animals, Essig argues that pigs have long been taken for granted. In his book the historian traces the role that pigs have played in human culture from Neolithic villages to modern day farms. He illustrates the overlooked abilities of pigs in hopes that they will be better understood as an essential member of civilization since its beginnings.

Living the Farm Sanctuary Life: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Mindfully, Living Longer, and Feeling Better Every Day by Gene Baur with Gene Stone

This guide to living a vegan and animal-friendly lifestyle was written by the cofounder and president of America’s leading farm animal protection organization, Farm Sanctuary. The book discusses the basic tenets of living and eating mindfully and offers lessons on cooking and eating in the Farm Sanctuary way.

Monet's Palate Cookbook - The Artist & His Kitchen Garden at Giverny by Aileen Bordman

This book, with a foreword by Meryl Streep, offers a colorful description of Claude Monet’s two-acre kitchen garden at his home near Giverny, France. Featuring photographs depicting the artist’s life and details about the vegetables he grew, the book brings the garden back to life nearly 90 years after its owner’s death. The book also includes more than 60 recipes linked to the garden.

Pig Tales: An Omnivore's Quest for Sustainable Meat by Barry Estabrook

Estabrook investigates the American commercial pork industry to uncover its hidden truths. The book depicts an array of issues currently present in the industry while also highlighting those who are taking an alternative approach and embracing a more humane and eco-friendly system of pork production.

Project Animal Farm: An Accidental Journey into the Secret World of Farming and the Truth About Our Food by Sonia Faruqi COMING SOON!

After volunteering at a dairy farm several years ago, Faruqi set out to uncover the unanswered questions about the modern animal agriculture process. In this book, she shares what she uncovered about the use of antibiotics, the future of animal agriculture, the role of organic farming, and more after visiting and living on farms around the world.

Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food Systems for a Changing Climate by Laura Lengnick COMING SOON!

In her book, Lengnick takes a look at the future of North American agriculture in the face of a rapidly changing climate. Blending the latest scientific research with personal stories of farmers and ranchers, the book presents a rich accumulation of knowledge for developing a sustainable, climate-ready food system.

The Dorito Effect: The Surprising New Truth About Food and Flavor by Mark Schatzker

In his book, Schatzker seeks to prove that the key to reversing America’s current health crisis is in examining the link between flavor and nutrition. Using scientific research, he argues that the technological developments occurring in food labs have resulted in health foods that feature the tastes we crave but are nutritiously empty, much like junk food.

The Food Activist Handbook: Big and Small Things You Can Do to Help Provide Healthy, Fresh Food for Your Community by Ali Berlow

Berlow shows how small changes can make a big difference in this guide to a healthier, more sustainable food system. From mapping farmland to starting a school garden, Berlow gives readers actions they can take on an individual level in any community. 

The Food Fighters: DC Central Kitchen's First Twenty-Five Years on the Front Lines of Hunger and Poverty by Alexander Justice Moore

This book provides an inside look at DC Central Kitchen, a nonprofit in Washington, DC which aims to help the city’s homeless and hungry population find culinary careers. Focusing on the organization’s tactics, accomplishments, and struggles, the book offers a retrospective look at how an innovative approach to tackling hunger has changed the way we look at what doing good really means.

The Plantpower Way: Whole Food Plant-Based Recipes and Guidance for The Whole Family by Rich Roll and Julie Piatt

This cookbook and guide to plant-based eating was written by ultra-athlete Rich Roll and his wife. The couple share tips for adopting a plant-centric lifestyle in addition to over 120 recipes featuring a variety of plant-based breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks.

The Real Cost of Cheap Food by Michael Carolan

This book offers a critical analysis of the prevailing cheap food industry. Carolan questions the affordability of cheap food by looking at the hidden costs of food production in terms of human and environmental health. The book examines the wider issues of a cheap food regime and offers suggestions for combatting the real expenses of cheapness.

The State of Food and Agriculture: Food systems for better nutrition 2014 by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

This report by the FAO analyzes the role of innovation on today’s family farms. With over 500 million family farms producing the majority of the world’s food, the report illustrates how innovation contributes to ensuring global food security, reducing poverty, and increasing environmental sustainability. The report also addresses how family farms should be supported to capitalize on innovative processes.

Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food by Megan Kimble

A founding editor of Edible Baja Arizona, Kimble spends a year eating whole, unprocessed foods which takes her on many journeys including milking a goat, extracting salt from the sea, and milling wheat. This book chronicles her year of unprocessed food and questions what makes a food processed and how gender, politics, and the economy play in.

Woman-Powered Farm: Manual for a Self-Sufficient Lifestyle from Homestead to Field by Audrey Levatino

This book acts as a how-to guide for women farmers. Levatino shares stories of running her own farm, offering advice for women looking to start anything from an urban garden to a multi-acre agriculture business. The book specifically addresses the different strengths and goals often had by female farmers as opposed to those of men.