October is National Book Month sponsored by the National Book Foundation. This annual event encourages readers of all ages to enjoy books, and during the month, the National Book Foundation also announces its National Book Awards.
Because I am very involved with my local library (I am a Library Commissioner), I thought I would combine my interests and provide you with a list of some of my favorite sustainable food and farming books.
First off, I love anything by Michael Pollan, but especially The Omnivore’s Dilemma. In it Pollan outlines the food chains that feed us from industrial food to organic and even foraged food. He talks about “our national eating disorder” and the seeming contradiction of our many diet crazes and the current obesity epidemic. He also points out that all food originates with plants, animals and fungi and now, much of what is eaten isn’t really food and the role that agribusiness plays in our food system.
For a quick read, check out Pollan’s Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual that outlines simple rules for eating wisely, and is less than 150 pages.
Next: More good food books
For those who are thinking of chucking it all, moving to the country and starting your own farm, you first might want to read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver. She outlines how she and her family decided to leave their home in Tucson, Arizona and live on her family’s farm in Virginia to eat locally for a year, with much of the food coming from their own garden/farm. They even raised their own poultry and canned their own produce.
Lastly, one of my absolute favorite authors is David Mas Masumoto. He is a second generation Japanese American Farmer, and he writes about the difficulties and the pleasures of continuing with the farming life in Central California, particularly as an organic and sustainable farmer. He is a slow food advocate and his books weave together stories of family and farming. He is a wonderful storyteller and is considered by many to be one of the most important voices of the sustainable food movement. His books include Epitaph for a Peach, Harvest Son: Planting Roots in American Soil, and Wisdom of the Last Farmer: Harvesting Legacies From the Land.