by Marion Nestle
Jul 7 2011

Food politics books: so much to read, so little time

I haven’t been reviewing books on this site, mainly because so many of them flood into my office that I cannot keep up with them.  But the public relations reps for a couple of recent books have been pushing hard for mentions.  The books are good, important contributors to the food movement, and deserve readers.

I’m listing them in alphabetical order by title in two batches, now and tomorrow.  Some of them I’ve blurbed, some not, but all have plenty of useful and interesting to say.  Enjoy!

Butcher’s Guide to Well-Raised Meat, Joshua and Jessica Applestone and Alexandra Zissu, Clarkson Potter, 2011. The owners of Fleisher’s butcher shop in Kingston, New York, tell the story of how a couple of vegetarians came to open butcher shops that specialize in grass-fed and organic meats, done right.  I know lots of vegetarians who would eat meat from animals raised sustainably and humanely, and this book is a how-to guide to finding the right butcher or doing it yourself.

Cultivating an Ecological Conscience, Fred Kirschenmann, Kentucky, 2010: Kirschenmann describes himself as a farmer-philosopher and so he is as he ruminates on his vision for sustainable agriculture as practiced on his own farm.  My blurb points out that he’s “right up there with the other agronomic philosophers–Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson…It should inspire everyone to start planting and to think deeply about the food we eat.”

Fair Food, Oran Hesterman, Public Affairs, 2011: Hesterman is an agronomist who used to work with the Kellogg Foundation and now heads the Fair Food Network to work for sustainable food systems in Michigan.  The book advocates for public policies that promote sustainability and food justice and explains how to work toward that goal.  You want to change the system but don’t know how?  Start here.

Farm Together Now, Amy Franceschini and Daniel Tucker, Chronicle Books, 2010: The authors interviewed and photographed 20 farmers throughout the country who are producing food in ways that advocate for food justice, sustainable agriculture, and local food movements.  The book should inspire anyone to get out and farm.

Milk, Deborah Valenze, Yale, 2011: I blurbed this one: “Milk is the place to go to begin understanding how we got from dairy maids to industrial milk production and the current debates about the value of raw.”  This is a serious work of history with great illustrations.

More to come….