From the California estuaries to the research labs of the United States military, the 22 books we’re highlighting will take you on a journey to learn about where food comes from, where the food system is heading, and how we can find ways to make the food and agriculture system more sustainable. The farmers, journalists, chefs, and researchers featured in these books teach us first-hand about the struggles of dealing with climate change and the how to battle it through innovation. Additionally, readers will learn not only how to buy and cook seasonal foods, but also what happens to the molecules in an egg when it is fried.
We hope you’ll be inspired by each of these books as they highlight ways to create a healthier global food system.
Please also take a look at our previous reading lists: Summer 2015, Spring 2015, Winter 2014, Fall 2014, Summer 2014, Spring 2014 , Fall 2013, and 15 Books for Future Foodies.
A Taste of Generation Yum: How a Generation’s Love for Organic Fare, Celebrity Chefs and Microbrews Will Make or Break the Future of Food by Eve Turow
In 2012, Eve Turow set out on a mission to discover just why Millennials are so passionate about food. Through interviews with Millennials and food experts including Michael Pollan and Marion Nestle, Turow searches for the answers to explain this young generation’s obsession with agricultural sustainability and how they will influence food policy.
American Organic: A Cultural History of Farming, Gardening, Shopping, and Eating by Robin O’Sullivan
With the eye of a cultural historian, Robin O’Sullivan takes readers on a journey from the start of the American organic movement to how it became what it is today. Between farms and consumers, mega-corporations and shipping transaction, the book holds a microscope up to the very practice of organic farming in America.
Another Person’s Poison: A History of Food Allergy by Matthew Smith
Food allergies have been the subject of tumultuous debate since the beginning of the 20th century. In Another Person’s Poison, Smith recounts the history of food allergies and speculates about the influence of corporations in the manufacturing and production of food and the consequential rise of allergies.
Brown Eggs and Jam Jars: Family Recipes from the Kitchen of Simple Bites by Aimee Wimbush-Bourque
From the author of the popular food blog Simple Bites, Brown Eggs and Jam Jars will inspire eaters to grow their own food as well as cook comfort foods. With more than 100 recipes, this book’s family friendly meals features wholesome, seasonal ingredients that everyone in the house will love.
Combat-Ready Kitchen: How the Military Shapes the Way You Eatby Anastacia Marx de Salcedo
The military might not be the first thing that comes to mind when looking at aisles of food in the grocery store. But Anastacia Marx de Salcedo says that ready-made and processed foods have a complex and rich history with the United States military. Combat-Ready Kitchen uncovers how the military has given rise to many processed foods, forever influencing public health.
Improving Animal Welfare, A Practical Approach by Temple Grandin
This textbook provides a practical approach to improving welfare when working with animals, including how to audit welfare problems for farm animals. The second edition also includes new up-to-date pain management coverage and an addition on animal welfare in organic farming systems. This book is great for those studying animal or veterinary science as well small-scale animal operations.
One-Straw Revolutionary: The Philosophy and Work of Masanobu Fukuoka by Larry Korn
Masanobu Fukuoka first shook up the world with his book One-Straw Revolution, a manifesto on no-till agriculture. Larry Korn spent 35 years studying under Fukuoka and developed a deep and personal understanding of his thoughts and ideas. One-Straw Revolutionary provides a deeper look into the mindset and philosophy of the late agricultural thinker.
Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food Systems for a Changing Climate by Laura Lengnick
This book blends together the thoughts and experiences of farmers and ranchers with the science behind climate adaptation and resilience to confront the ever present challenges of climate change. Lengnick explores the role of sustainable agriculture as the future of food production in an ever-changing food system.
Tasting the Seasons: Inspired, In-Season Cuisine That’s Easy, Healthy, Fresh and Fun by Kerry Dunnington
The winner of four national book awards, Dunnington’s in-season eating guide presents 250 recipes perfect for any occasion. Dunnington teaches readers to eat for each season and also provides tips and techniques for ecologically sound food shopping and preparation. The book even includes a 365-day challenge to change the way readers live to save the planet.
That Sugar Book: The Essential Companion to the Feature Documentary That Will Change the Way You Think About “Healthy” Food by Damon Gameau
In his documentary, That Sugar Movie, Damon Gameau set out to eat 40 teaspoons of sugar a day for 60 days through only “healthy” foods with shocking results. In That Sugar Book, Damon talks to health experts on how to kick our sugar addiction that has been manufactured by the food industry. Damon also offers advice on how to cook, shop, and read food labels in order lower sugar intake.
The End of Plenty: The Race to Feed a Crowded World by Joel K. Bourne Jr.
In The End of Plenty, Joel K. Bourne Jr. shines a new light on the race to feed a growing world. While the world is dealing with riots and revolutions occurring across nations, consumers and producers must also face the harsh reality of how climate change is altering agriculture. In the book, he introduces readers to the men and women creating innovations that are working to face this difficult challenge.
The Ethical Meat Handbook: Complete Home Butchery, Charcuterie and Cooking for the Conscious Omnivore by Meredith Leigh
Meredith Leigh explains that when done right, meat can be a healthy and sustainable part of any diet. In The Ethical Meat Handbook, Leigh mindfully goes over how to incorporate ethical meat into a diet starting in the garden, through to the butchering process, and finally to cooking and eating.
The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science by J. Kenji López-Alt
Rarely does a book teach readers how to cook foods down to the molecule, as Kenji López-Alt has done in The Food Lab. In it, López-Alt breaks down the science of America’s most beloved foods and teaches chefs modern techniques for producing classic dishes.
The Lean Farm: How to Minimize Waste, Increase Efficiency, and Maximize Value and Profits with Less Work by Ben Hartman
Ben Hartman sets out to prove that small-scale farms are a viable option to anyone looking to start growing food. Through experiences on his own family’s one-acre farm, Hartman teaches the lean principles that were developed out of Japan’s automobile industry in order to maximize efficiency with less work. The Lean Farm will teach readers to work smarter, not harder.
The New Bread Basket: How the New Crop of Grain Growers, Plant Breeders, Millers, Maltsters, Bakers, Brewers, and Local Food Activists Are Redefining Our Daily Loaf by Amy Halloran
Grains have a long and evolving history with Western civilization, from the first nomads to the first factory bakeries. In her book, Halloran profiles the activists, bakers, and farmers today that are redefining the grain’s place in society. Together they are taking the grain back to its roots and once again making it vital to society.
The Oyster War: The True Story of a Small Farm, Big Politics, and the Future of Wilderness in America by Summer Brennan
The Oyster War details the story of a small oyster farm, located in an estuary in California, that the government was working to protect. The battle pits nature against agriculture and explores what it really means to be wild. Brennan’s compelling storytelling takes the reader on a journey from a little oyster farm to the Supreme Court.
The Woodland Homestead: How to Make Your Land More Productive and Live More Self-Sufficiently in the Woods by Brett McLeod
The Woodland Homestead is the new go-to-guide for living productively and sustainably in the woods. The reader will learn from other homesteaders how to live with the land and off the land, how to use tools, how to grow food and find food, and create fuel and furniture. The practical advice in this book will be helpful for those living deep in the woods or just among a few trees.
Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook by Dana Gunders with exclusive offer!
Gunders created this handbook for well-intentioned home cooks to kick their habits and start reducing food waste. Tools include; engaging checklists, simple recipes, practical strategies, and infographics. From freezing excess food to changing portion sizes, this book is full of helpful tips. And Food Tank readers receive an exclusive 25% off plus free ground shipping, just click HERE and use the code “FOODTANKERSWASTELESS” (valid until 12/31/15)!
Waste Not, Want Not Cookbook by Cinda Chavich
Chavich takes the global issue of food waste and brings into the kitchen. Through her loving and respectful view towards food, Chavich teaches readers how to deal with all those old wrinkly vegetables and how to buy and store food properly so readers can live food waste free.
Why Calories Count: From Science to Politics by Marion Nestle and Malden Nesheim
A single calorie may seem insignificant, but billions around the world are getting too many or too few. In Why Calories Count, Nestle and Nesheim dive into the complexities of the calorie and arms readers with the ability to understand nutrition labels and the government and corporate policies surrounding them. This exposé on the calorie will inspire readers to take control of their own diets and act.
World Hunger: 10 Myths by Frances Moore Lappé and Joseph Collins
World Hunger: 10 Myths is the definitive solutions-based book for all those questioning why hunger still exists when there is such an abundance of food. The book takes on difficult issues such as climate change and world population growth, drawing on years of extensive research to create attainable solutions. With their latest book, Lappé and Collins aim to inspire the newest generation of hunger fighters.
Year of the Cow: How 420 Pounds of Beef Built a Better Life for One American Family by Jared Stone
In a quest to understand what he was truly eating, Jared Stone bought 420 pounds of beef and began a year long journey to connect the dots between food and the environment. Along the way, Stone goes on a culinary adventure as he cooks his way from nose to tail, discovering the way that food fuels his life. The end of each chapter features a new recipe to take the reader on a journey as well.
Food Tank wants to know what you are reading and what books are inspiring you! Send your suggestions for our winter reading list to me at Danielle@foodtank.com.
(Danielle Nierenberg is President, Food Tank foodtank.com)