Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Good books

I've read a few really good books lately so I thought I'd do a post sharing them.

Grub: Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen by Anna Lappe and Bryant Terry

This is a good book about our food supply. They talk about GMOs, factory farms, pesticides, labor practices in agriculture and other issues effecting our food supply. They also talk about the benefits of local and organic foods. The reason I like this book is because it is a great introduction to the problems of our current food supply. It is like the Cliff notes, a good and brief overview of all the problems. For those who are interested in knowing more about what they eat but don't want to invest the time to read Omnivores Dilemma, this book is a great choice. The second half of the book is recipes so the book is even smaller than it looks. I finished it in 2 hours. Oh, and it isn't preachy at all which some food books tend to be.

The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter by Peter Singer and Jim Mason

This book is a great follow up to Omnivore's Dilemma. The authors follow 3 families, one that eats a typical diet, one that eats mostly organic and a vegan family. They research every food they buy and how it was produced. There is a lot of detail in this book about factory farming and traditional agriculture. More detail than in Omnivore's Dilemma. There was an interesting discussion about local food and when it isn't better to buy local. This book was the first time I had heard anyone say that buying local may not be the end all be all of life. The one thing I didn't like about this book is the authors are VERY preachy about the vegan lifestyle. Not being vegan, it was off-putting, but not enough to detract from the book as a whole.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver, Camille Kingsolver, and Steven L. Hopp

I'm sure almost everyone has read this book by now, but in case you haven't run out and do so! This book was written by Barbara Kingsolver (Poisonwood Bible author) about the year she and her family ate totally locally. It starts with their move cross country to a small farm and talks about how they planted and cared for the gardens, what they ate and how they managed to find local food in the winter. I was surprised by how enjoyable a book this was, I thought the premise sounded a bit boring but it wasn't at all. Barbara has a great writing style and I really got into their story. She provides enough personal details that you feel you really know the family. And the recipes are great!
On Good Land: The Autobiography of an Urban Farm by Michael Ableman and Alice Waters

This is the most recent book I read, reading almost all of it last night. It is another quick read. This book is about a small farmer that was surrounded by small farms when he bought his farm but now, 20 years later is the only farm left and is now surrounded by suburban neighborhoods. Some of the pictures in the book are amazing, there is one of him plowing a field just feet from the backyard pool of one of the new houses that was built. The book tells of how he held onto the farm, the battles he had to do once the neighborhoods went in (they tried to make him get rid of his compost piles and roosters) and how he eventually became part of the new community that built up around him. This is a great read for anyone interested in farming.
What good books have you read lately?


Chile said...

Our CSA farmer is in a similar circumstance as the farmer in your last book listed. He has 40 acres surrounded by subdivisions. Even though he sometimes has challenges, he wouldn't want to give up his farm partly because it would immediately be bladed and turned into more (unnecessary) new housing.

And I think I'm the last person who hasn't read Barbara's book yet. I heard her lecture on it and got a copy of the book autographed for someone else, but haven't had a chance to read it. There are still 183 holds on the 85 copies in our library system. :(

Activist Mommy said...

Thanks for sharing those books. There are too many books out there and not enough time to read them all. LOL

Anonymous said...