reading list

When I’m not in the garden or the kitchen, I’m reading. Here’s some books to inspire, aggravate and enlighten, in no particular order.

The 100-Mile Diet: A year of local eating Alisa Smith & J.B. MacKinnon

Written right here at home, this is a lovely book by a lovely couple. An uplifting, hopeful and pretty realistic look at the possibilities and challenges of eating close to home.

Fruitless Fall: The Collapse of the Honey Bee and the Coming Agricultural Crisis Rowan Jacobsen

A fascinating look at Colony Collapse Disorder and the impact it is already having on agriculture. If this doesn’t inspire you to go out and buy some Mason Bees, I don’t know what will.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals Michael Pollan

If you haven’t read anything about the current food crisis, this is the place to start. A crash course in where our food comes from.

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto Michael Pollan

A follow up to the Omnivore’s Dilemma.  The very fact that such a book exists is a testament to how confused we are about the simple question of what to eat for dinner.

The End of Food: How the Food Industry is Destroying Our Food Supply – And What You Can Do About It Thomas F. Pawlick

This is a scary read. You might not want to eat anything but homegrown veggies for a while afterward. Definitely eye-opening about what is happening to our food and was one of my main motivations to grow my own. I wasn’t sure what was more frightening – the levels of toxic chemicals now found in whole foods like eggs, veg and meat, or the drastically diminished nutritional levels in produce.

The War in the Country: How the Fight to Save Rural Life Will Shape Our Future Thomas F. Pawlick

This was fantastic, and no less shocking than The End of Food. This book was the final straw for me and factory farmed meat. Puts the human side of the story into the conversation about food. Particularly great read because he writes from a Canadian perspective about Canadian farms and communities. A meaningful call to action.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life Barbara Kingsolver

If you need a break from all that heavy stuff, this is a nice change of pace. A lighthearted story of a family’s adventures in local, ethical eating.

Enough: Breaking Free From the World of More John Naish

Enough work, enough technology, enough information, enough food, enough stuff Naish talks about why we always seem to need more, and how we can break the cycle.

In Praise of Slow: How a Worldwide Movement is Challenging the Cult of Speed Carl Honore

Any book with a chapter titled The Benefits of Working Less Hard is a book I want to read. And you should too, just not too fast.

Slow Food Nation: Why Our Food Should Be Good, Clean and Fair Carlo Petrini

From the father of Slow Food. Heavy, but worthwhile read.

Bringing it to the Table: On Farming and Food Wendell Berry

The best thing about Berry is that he was writing about food and farming before some of the people currently writing about it were even born. He’s a farmer with a pen of gold. Read it and weep. Or laugh. Whatever.

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