Some of you have asked about my inspiration for Community Supported Agriculture. Here is my suggested reading list of books about food and the food industry. Some light and lyrical and some with stark depictions of slaughterhouse waste. Regardless, they will change the way you view your next meal.
1. Coming Home to Eat by Gary Nabhan. This is where it began. When I heard Gary’s interview on NPR in 2001, I was immediately drawn to his philosophy of eating locally. Though I’ve still never supped on roadkill, Nabhan inspired me to harvest mesquite trees, eat tepiary beans, and pick cactus fruit. And in keeping with local preference, he’s an Arizona guy.
2. Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. Presented to me by my darling husband, Schlosser documents the costs to our health and our culture of a diet and an industry based upon cheap, fast meals.
3. The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan. The Penn Reading Project identified this as required for incoming freshmen in 2007. I often reference their list for my own reading selections and hence, that’s when I read it. I believe the explanations of an industry evolved and consumer demands are provocative. This also comes as a large CD set for the road warriors.
4. Skinny Bitch by Rory Freedman, Kim Barnouin. I burned through this fast read on a flight home from NYC. The writers are foul-mouthed vegans with sound nutritional advice and explicit details of slaughterhouses. In the end they are forthright and admit that they are not bitches but created the title to sell books. I admire their honesty.
5. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. I love the format of this book. Barbara describes her journey of a year of local eating while her husband’s narrative offers the reasons for doing so. Kingsolver’s daughter also peppers the book with recipe successes enjoyed during the year.
6. The Omnivore’s Dilemma for Kids by Michael Pollan. Imagine my 13 year old son’s delight when he opened this Christmas present. Despite his grimace, I feel accomplished as he now describes how everything he eats is made of corn from the feed given to chickens to the coating on them when served. One small win for momkind.
7. A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle. I’m a convicted Peter Mayle fan and have read everything he’s written. I love his witty yet poetic descriptions of home repair, community and yes, food. Other French food books by Mayle include Encore Provence and Toujours Provence.
8. The China Study by T. Colin Campbell and Thomas M. Campbell II. In full disclosure, I’ve not finished this yet. It is a data packed discourse on how food choice affects health. For me, principle #8 sums it up; good nutrition creates health in all areas of our existence – all parts are interconnected.
9. A Language Older than Words by Derrick Jensen. This disturbing portrait of human behavior is not really a food book. Rather Jensen highlights connections to what we eat and where we live. In one chapter, he describes how killing his own chicken made him a more conscious consumer. His hard questioning lets us know that things can be better than they are.
10. The Lives of Animals by J.M. Coetzee. This is the only fiction on my list. That said, it is fiction with moral conviction and it inspires emotion. I read this with a group of extremely talented and literate individuals from the Kelly Writer’s House. I was challenged by both content and discussion.
What have you read that if shared might inspire others?