As the dog days of summer kick in, one of our favorite pastimes is catching up on reading about farm and food issues—ideally alongside a pool, beach or lake. Even if there is no water-based vacation in your future, we hope you get a chance to lounge in a yard or park—or even next to a fan somewhere indoors—while perusing one of the many latest books about farms, conservation and local food. Here we offer five reading suggestions from staff at American Farmland Trust.
In this collection of essays, arborist and gardening writer William Bryant Logan explains why the Earth’s soil is so special—and why it’s essential to life as we know it. In elegant prose, Logan describes how our planet’s dirt—a resource we lose when farmland is developed or farmed without the necessary conservation practices—is fragile, but must be protected because we owe our very lives to it.
This coffee-table-book-sized collection of recipes and meditations on cooking by Northwest chef Tamara Murphy is the perfect resource for anyone who likes to shop at farmers markets. Murphy, a James Beard Award winner, reminds us that simple is often best when we cook with real food grown by local farms, and her recipes—many containing only a few ingredients—celebrate healthy, whole, seasonal farm-fresh goods.
The food system is broken, argues Dr. Oran Hesterman, who runs the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based nonprofit Fair Food Network. Agricultural runoff into waterways, soaring rates of obesity and diet-related illnesses, and chronic loss of farmland to urban and suburban sprawl are all symptoms. In this book, Hesterman offers a vision for fixing the problems by changing not just what we eat but how our food is grown and sold—and by shifting the public policy that shapes much of our current farm and food system.
A recent article tagged the current generation the “gourmet generation,” as young people increasingly are being more food-aware and interested in the issues surrounding local farms and food. This cookbook by two young authors is a good place to start for budding young food enthusiasts, especially for those who live in cramped dorm rooms or urban apartments with little access to expensive cooking gear.
What would a summer reading list be if we didn’t plug ourselves? Stay on top of the latest issues in farm and food policy—and receive more in depth information about what American Farmland Trust is up to as we fight to save the land that sustains us, by subscribing to our thrice-a-year full color magazine.
P.S. You can never read too many great books. If we missed your favorite summer farm and food read, leave us a comment on our summer book list post!
About the Author: Kirsten Ferguson is Editor/Writer for American Farmland Trust. She works in the Saratoga, NY office and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org