Kick off 2022 with these 20 Food Tank recommended books. Trace the history of corn in Helen Anne Curry’s endangered corn and discover the roots of modern conservation strategies. Or join efforts to fight climate change from your kitchen with Alejandra Schrader’s plant-based recipes The Low Carbon Cookbook and Action Plan. If you’re looking for more inspiration, try Everybody Eats: Communication and Pathways to Food Justice, to find out how residents of a mid-sized city in North Carolina got together to improve their local food system.
The 20 books on this list will help readers envision a more sustainable and resilient food system for the future.
1. AgriCultura: urban agriculture and heritage potential of the agrarian landscape, edited by Lionella Scazzosi & Paola Branduini.
Agriculture is inspirational reading for any stakeholder in the food system – from local officials to farmers to citizens. With chapters that touch on urban gardening in Italy, Australia, Mexico, and more, these examples help show how cultural heritage can be used to improve landscapes and the quality of life in urban settings. And they advocate for collective action locally and globally.
2. It changes everything: capitalism VS climate, by Naomi Klein.
Ranked number five on the New York Times bestseller list and PEN America Literary Award finalist, Naomi Klein’s It changes everything tackle the climate crisis. Klein explains why people need to abandon a free market ideology, restructure the global economy, and rebuild political systems.
3. Endangered corn: industrial agriculture and the extinction crisis, by Helen Anne Curry.
In this book, historian Helen Anne Curry investigates the history of corn in Mexico and the United States to reveal a hidden narrative of how cultivation has shaped modern conservation strategies. endangered corn works to understand how cultural narratives shape science and advocates new strategies to protect cultural diversity.
4. Everyone eats: communication and pathways to food justice, by Marianne LeGreco and Niesha Douglas.
Everybody eats tells the story of Greensboro, North Carolina, where in three years, the local food community reduced its rate of food difficulties by eight percent. An inspiring story told through eight case studies, this book shows that by engaging neighborhood voices, mobilizing creative resources, and nurturing conversations, communities can be transformed.
5. Agriculture for our future: the science, law and policy of climate-neutral agriculture, by Peter H. Lehner and Nathan A. Rosenberg.
This book examines specific policies and legal reforms that can help make the U.S. agriculture sector climate neutral. In Agriculture for our future, Peter H. Lehner and Nathan A. Rosenberg show how farmers and ranchers can be part of the solution to the climate crisis and build a more resilient food system.
6. Feeding Istanbul: the political economy of urban provisioning, by Candan Turkkan.
Feed Istanbul dive into the history of Istanbul, Turkey, which was once the capital of the Ottoman Empire. Author Candan Turkkan examines how the city fed its people to argue that food policy and urban supply policy should be at the forefront of sovereignty discussions.
seven. “Food connects us all” – Grassroots voices from North America on the importance of building agroecology, fighting for policies and participating in global struggles, by ActionAid USA.
Available online, this ActionAid USA publication amplifies the stories of grassroots movements in the United States and Canada fighting for agroecology and food sovereignty. His featured stories spotlight civil society groups including Food Secure Canada, the Southeastern African-American Farmers Organic Network, Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples Mechanism, and more. Together they demonstrate how, through global coalitions, people can transform the food system.
8. Food 5.0: how we feed the future, by Robert Salek.
Food 5.0 examines the question of how to feed the world’s population. Author Robert Salk argues that technologies such as sensors, robotics and machine learning can help farmers bear the burden of the growing global food supply. Salk also hopes to inspire readers to support a food system that takes advantage of new innovations.
9. Eat something in Jackson, by Joseph C. Ewoodzie Jr.
In Get Jackson something to eat, Joseph C. Ewoodzie Jr. traces contemporary African American eating habits—including food availability and food access—in Jackson, Mississippi. Through this lens, he explores the interplay of race and class in the contemporary urban south and strives to challenge the perception of a homogeneous black community in the United States.
ten. Local food systems and community economic development, edited by R. David Lamie and Steven C. Deller.
Edited by two professors, R. David Lamie and Steven Deller, this book examines how the development of the food system is perceived and discussed. The book addresses four arguments critical of the current food system, balancing each with a counter-argument. Thanks to this approach, Local food systems and community economic development aims to strengthen the foundations of academic research and lead to a more sustainable food system.
11. The Low Carbon Cookbook and Action Plan: Reduce Food Waste and Fight Climate Change with 140 Sustainable Plant-Based Recipes, by Alejandra Schrader.
The Low Carbon Cookbook and Action Plan features 140 plant-based recipes to help readers fight climate change from their kitchen. In this book, Alejandra Schrader discusses the carbon footprint of the food supply chain and encourages cooking with local ingredients. It also includes a foreword by Gunhild Stordalen, Founder and Executive Chair of the EAT Forum.
12. Food supply policy in Colombia, by Felipe Roa Clavijo.
Felipe Roa-Clavijo looks at the Colombian food system in the aftermath of the nationwide strikes of 2013-2014. Food supply policy in Colombia reveals conflict, politics and the socio-economic effects of food provision. And by analyzing the tension between the development of alternative agri-food systems working within national food markets, Felipe Roa-Clavijo works to reframe the debate around the future of food.
13. The problem of feeding cities: the social transformation of infrastructure, affluence, and inequality in America, by Andrew Deener.
Author Andrew Deener offers a sociological and historical examination of the American food system over the past century by The problem of urban food. Denner profiles food bank workers, public health advocates and many others for arguing that the food supply is more about profit margins. Ultimately, he argues, the country needs to rethink the way it eats.
14. Regeneration: ending the climate crisis in a generation, by Paul Hawken.
A New York Times Bestseller, Regeneration offers a comprehensive guide to tackling the climate crisis in a generation. The book discusses regenerative actions and policies to transform oceans, forests and industries, as well as a checklist of steps readers can take to make their way of life greener. Together with the non-profit Regeneration Organization, Hawken is also launching a series of initiatives including an online video series, program and podcasts to further guide global citizens looking to take action. .
15. Ripe Figs: Recipes and Stories from Turkey, Greece and Cyprus, by Yasmine Khan.
Through recipes, author of tales of saffron and Zaitoun, Yasmin Khan explores the meaning of borders, identities and migration in an interconnected world. ripe figs contains a variety of recipes that represent nuances of the Mediterranean, including chicken with pomegranate and sumac, candied pumpkin with tahini and date syrup, and zucchini and feta fritters.
16. The Secret History of Home Economics: How Pioneering Women Harnessed the Power of the Home and Changed the Way We Live, by Danielle Dreilinger.
In The secret history of home economics, journalist Danielle Dreilinger explores the evolution of the home economy throughout history. Dreilinger concludes with recommendations to help revive the field, including diversifying the profession, embracing life skills, and advancing the progressive, scientific, and ecological vision within home economics.
17. The $16 Taco, by Pascale Joassart-Marcelli.
Geographer Pascale Jossart-Marcelli follows three urban San Diego neighborhoods whose marginalized communities must cater to the tastes of wealthy white newcomers. By exploring gentrification and emotional, cultural, economic and physical displacement, Jossart-Marcelli demonstrates how food-related development can come at the expense of the communities they claim to celebrate.
18. From technology to the table, by Richard Munso.
In Technique at the table, Richard Munso introduces readers to 25 innovations, including lab-grown meat and 3D-printed pastries, designed to transform the food system. Munso thinks there is an urgent need to rethink the food system. And he argues that entrepreneurship and disruptive technologies offer a new way to tackle the climate crisis, hunger and obesity.
19. This is your mind on the plants, by Michael Pollan.
In his recent book, Michael Pollan explores three medicinal plants: opium, caffeine and mescaline. Through history, science, memory and participatory journalism, It’s your mind on the plants shows how legal and illegal drugs reflect human needs and aspirations, their relationship to the natural world and their ways of thinking.
20. We Are the Land: A History of Native California, by Damon B. Akins and William J. Bauer.
we are the earth argues that California’s history and land were not shaped by Manifest Destiny, the Gold Rush, or colonial society, but by the region’s indigenous peoples. The book examines Indigenous activism in the late 20th and early 21st centuries and struggles for statehood, genocide, and land rights.
Photo courtesy of Brandi Redd, Unsplash
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