Winter reading list: 17 food-related books

Food Tank has gathered the best food reads for winter, from the memoir of a peach farmer to the best manual for permaculture design.

Denis Poroy/AP Images for American Express/file
Shoppers in a San Diego book store on November 26, 2016.

Feed more than your belly this new year: Food Tank has gathered the latest reads for Winter 2016/2017, from the memoirs of an Asian-American peach farmer to the best manual for permaculture design. When Winter’s chill has you feeling gloomy, grab a book from the list below, and come spring time, you could be ready to start your own sustainable garden, talk food policy, and help lead a food revolution.

Biting the Hands that Feed Us by Baylen Linnekin
Biting the Hands that Feed Us examines the counterproductive regulations of the American food system. Linnekin digs into the laws that make “ugly” produce obsolete and that categorize necessary fertilizers as toxic, policies that subsequently make some of our greatest challenges—hunger, food waste, inhumane livestock conditions—even harder to remedy.

Fixing the Food System by Stephen Clapp
Clapp takes a shot at answering some of the toughest questions plaguing the American food system. He examines the problems that currently exist and how reform could change the health, economic, and environmental impacts of food. His proposition for a more sustainable food system is supported by his years working in food policy in Washington and insight from food movement leaders over the past 50 years.

The Farm on the Roof by Anastasia Cole Plakias
High above the concrete blocks of New York City stretches one of the world’s largest rooftop farms. Brooklyn Grange started with one rooftop farm on an old Brooklyn building but has grown to multiple urban farms and several other farming ventures. Cole Plakias recounts the stories of the founders and their experience not only growing plants but also growing a business.

Letters to a Young Farmer: On Food, Farming, and Our Future (forthcoming) by Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture, Martha Hodgkins
Addressing the young and innovative community of the current food revolution, Letters to a Young Farmer offers lessons from an older generation who broke down barriers for the new food revolution. These food leaders offer insight into the ups and downs of life on the farm. The book releases March 2017.

The Future of Family Farms: Practical Farmers’ Legacy Letter Project edited by Teresa Opheim
The average farmer in the U.S. is aging, a fact that threatens the future of family farming. The Future of Family Farms is an essential handbook for family farmers facing business and inheritance decisions, as well as a collection of memoirs and histories from the legacies of family farms in the Midwest.

No One Eats Alone (forthcoming) by Michael S. Carolan
Carolan suggests we put aside our role as consumers to become more involved in the interconnected system of food production. We’ve been distanced from the producers of our own food, rarely interacting—let alone understanding—what goes on beyond the aisles of the grocery store. This gap is slowly closing, he says, and the more connected we become, the closer we get to curing the ailments of the food system, from obesity to labor inequality and toxic pesticides. The book releases in May 2017.

Cities of Farmers by Julie Dawson
Cities of Farmers dives deep into the communities of urban farming in the U.S. and Canada, attempting to pinpoint examples of successful urban farming and reveal solutions to gaps in local food systems. By the end of the book, readers will have a better sense of how to be more active in food production in their own communities.

Miraculous Abundance by Perrine Hervé-Gruyer and Charles Hervé-Gruyer
In the beautiful Normandy countryside lies one of the most innovative organic farms in Europe: Le Bec Hellouin. There is no more picturesque a place for the idyllic, family-owned farm, which uses permaculture and agroecology as a model for a sustainable food system. The book tells the story of how a couple of novice farmers transformed their backyard into a standard for the future.

The Permaculture Transition Manual by Ross Mars
A renowned permaculture expert, Mars shares his knowledge of sustainable gardening techniques in this brimming manual. It’s everything you need to know to get started in building a sustainable lifestyle. In addition to permaculture design and growing techniques, Mars includes information about rainwater harvesting, irrigation, and human waste management.

Seeds on Ice: Svalbard and the Global Seed Vault by Cary Fowler
Deep in the ice of a Norwegian archipelago lie the seeds of the past and the future. With the ever-encroaching impacts of climate change threatening biodiversity, the need to preserve our history for future generations is imperative. Seeds on Ice is a visually beautiful and profoundly informative look at the Global Seed Vault, a frozen cache of our world’s vast edible flora.

Bountiful Harvest: From Land to Table by Betty LaDuke
LaDuke paints her way across Southern Oregon’s local food movement, collecting stories of organic farmers along the way. Through her paintbrush, readers enter the vibrant world of the farms, orchards, and vineyards she visited.

Changing Season: A Father, a Daughter, A Family Farm by David Mas Masumoto with Nikiko Masumoto
As he prepares to pass the responsibilities of his 80-acre organic farm to his daughter, author and farmer Masumoto collects stories from decades of peach farming, including a reflection on the discrimination his family faced during and after World War II. His daughter provides an alternative voice, sharing her experiences as a queer, mixed-race woman in the industry. An array of personal essays charts both their journeys in preparing for a future that’s just peachy.

Multifunctional Agriculture – Achieving Sustainable Development in Africa (forthcoming) by R. Leakey
An academic look at agroforestry and multifunctional agriculture, this book is packed with case studies from an expert in the field of sustainable agriculture and development in Africa. Leakey takes a multidisciplinary approach to studying the methods and practices of agriculture in complex societies. The book will release March 2017.

The Case Against Sugar by Gary Taubes
It’s no secret that America has a sugar problem. The country struggles with diabetes and obesity rates, but the degree to which sugar affects such issues is more of a mystery. New York Times best-selling author Taubes takes a whack at explaining how our bodies react to sugar and how we got to this point. Using scientific research, he debunks myths, reveals who’s responsible for the country’s addiction of epidemic proportions, and makes the case against sugar.

Fertile Ground: Scaling Agroecology from the Ground-Up (forthcoming) by Groundswell International
In Fertile Ground, readers find a comprehensive look at the ways agroecology and other methods of sustainable agriculture can sustain commercial systems while replacing the harmful monocultural practices that we’ve become so used to worldwide. With case studies from around the world, it demonstrates the growth in popularity of agroecological practices in recent years. This book will be released in early 2017.

Grow Create Inspire by Crystal Stevens
A guidebook for happiness, Grow Create Inspire is for readers who are searching for inspiration for a better life. It provides tips for creating a more self-sufficient lifestyle through growing techniques and green practices.

The Unsettlers: In Search of the Good Life in Today’s America (forthcoming) by Mark Sundeen
From a pregnant, classically trained opera singer and her former marine biologist husband to a couple with a decades-old history of organic farming, Sundeen takes an immersive look into the new pioneers in the food system. This book releases in early January 2017.

This story originally appeared on Food Tank.

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