8 Popular Sustainable Food Books

New books about sustainable food are increasingly available. Whether it’s sustainability from a global perspective or what you do in your own kitchen, the following eight sustainable food books will change the way you think about growing and eating food. They offer varying insights into the problems and the solutions.

Eat Less Water

(Published November 2017)

Did you know that chocolate has four times the water footprint than that of a pound of beef? This fact and many others appear in this well-written engaging book. Activist Florencia Ramirez shows us how food production and consumption impacts global water usage in her book Eat Less Water.

She took a journey of 16,000 miles and spent seven years researching and interviewing farmers and food producers who are leading a new vision when it comes to agriculture and water use. Her journey includes visits to a Hawaiian coffee farm, rice paddies in Cajun Louisiana, a Boston chocolate factory and beyond.

This book is an eye-opening account of the environmental threat of water diversity but it is also a useful cookbook. The author’s fascinating narrative also teaches us how to eat less water by saving water in the kitchen.

She argues that we need to be conscious of how the food choices we make in our kitchens impact our most important resource: water. Every chapter in the book offers us recipes that will help us to eat a less resource-intensive, more sustainable diet.

Growing a Sustainable City?: The Question of Urban Agriculture

(Published December 2017)

Urban agriculture offers promising solutions to all kinds of urban problems – unemployment, empty lots, food insecurity and stormwater runoff.

Growing greens where they will be consumed to reduce the carbon footprint burden of transportation is an increasing urban food trend. Many cities have a broad goal of sustainability but a question arises in how to incorporate urban agriculture into policymaking.

Growing a Sustainable City by Christina Rosan and Hamil Pearsallanalyzes the development and role of urban agriculture policies. Their intriguing case study of Philadelphia shows how growing food in a city symbolizes sustainability, economic revitalization and even gentrification.

They conduct interviews with urban gardeners and farmers as well as city officials and show how tensions appear along class, generational and race lines in the transition to sustainability. In a large city, there’s a struggle to manage competing sustainability objectives when it comes to urban agriculture.

Both challenges and opportunities arise when urban agriculture becomes part of formal city policy. Read how a city goes through growing pains as it tries to reinvent itself as economically competitive, livable, and economically competitive.

Nourished Planet: Sustainability in the Global Food System

(Published June 2018)

In the bookNourished Planet, the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition discusses food sustainability and approaches it from a global perspective.

The book is edited by Danielle Nierenberg and draws on the diverse knowledge and experience of renowned global food sustainability leaders. It makes the compelling argument that sustainable regenerative farming is the only way to nourish people and the planet.

Our global food system relies on the planet remaining productive and verdant and current practices are negatively affecting environmental and human health. Filled with practical information and suggestions on how to eat well, the book also offers essays and interviews that give insight into some key issues that impact our global food system.

There’s the paradox of obesity and malnutrition, the issue of food wastage and the fact that crops are used for biofuels and animal feed while people go hungry. Together the food sustainability experts offer us a road map toward sustainable growth, food for health, food for culture and, above all, food for all.

Sustainability: A Love Story

(Published in August 2018)

If there’s a part of you that’s sick of hearing about the destruction of the planet and what you need to do to prevent it, Sustainability: A love story could be the book for you. Author Nicole Walker tries to figure out with the rest of us how to live sustainably in a way that’s realistic for us.

Walker, a professor at Northern Arizona University, addresses the devastation that surrounds us with playful irony. She manages to pair the domestic with the environment in ways that aren’t just moving but, also insightful and surprising.

The book gives us many sad-funny moments as she ponders on a variety of issues such as what recycling reveals about our drinking habits.

Walker feels that if we look at sustainability from a global perspective, it’s difficult to wrap our minds around it because it’s just too big. But if we think of little things we can do and small changes that are happening, that’s where hope lies. She appeals to our personal commitment to sustainability – whether this is to our world, our families, or ourselves.

Food Is the Solution: What to Eat to Save the World

(Published March 2018)

In Food Is the Solution, the author Matthew Prescott, a leader in the environmental food movement, shows how what we eat determines the kind of world we live in and on. He believes that our diets are so meat-heavy that we are destroying the planet. We can help to solve major environmental issues by incorporating more plants into our diets.

The book features investigative reporting, great infographics, and essays from notable contributors. Ellen DeGeneres suggests checking out this book, saying it’s full of recipes that are good for the earth and good to eat.

Prescott shows us how to prepare plant-based foods in a collection of recipes. With an urban food trend of eating fresh, healthy, interesting foods and an increasing growth in veganism, these delectable recipes are timely. His all-vegan recipes include Creamy basil-chickpea lettue cups, Blackened brussels sprouts with capers and raisins and Oatmeal with chi-poached pears.

The Authoritative Guide to Becoming a Sustainable 21st Century Farmer

(Published September 2018)

Forrest Pritchard and Ellen Polishuk offer today’s agricultural dreamers a modern, all-purpose handbook in form of[2]  The Authoritative Guide to Becoming a Sustainable 21st Century Farmer. The authors are leading figures in sustainable farming and the book covers the challenges of starting your own farm. Do you have what it takes to be a farmer in the 21st century? The book asks these questions and more.

Find out what sustainable farming really means, and how a small (one acre) and medium-sized farm are able to survive, despite the odds. It addresses how you can access land, education and other needs with limited capital as well as how to actually reap a profit. It is more than just a guide to sustainable farming but a call to action for those who want to grow wholesome food for a living.

The authors don’t pretend that making this dream a reality is not a challenge. However, they believe it is well within the reach of those who want to do it and there’s no greater satisfaction than that which comes from growing wholesome food.

One Size Fits None: A Farm Girl’s Search for the Promise of Regenerative Agriculture

(Published January 2019)

Author Stephanie Anderson argues in One size fits none that if we want to provide nutrient-rich food and fight climate change, we need to move beyond sustainable to regenerative agriculture.

Agricultural progressives use sustainable farming as their rally cry but as much farmland is already degraded, we have to go beyond maintaining the status quo. Regenerative agriculture is a practice that is closely tailored to local environments and it renews resources.

In this book, Anderson follows a number of different farmers in the United States. One is an organic vegetable farmer in Florida who grows microgreens (eating microgreens is an increasing urban trend).

In New Mexico, we meet a small farmer who is revitalizing communities. In North Dakota, a farmer who combines graining farming and livestock is turning his farmland back into a prairie. The author covers varied operations to show how we can give back to the earth, rather than degrade it.

Hungry for Disruption: How Tech Innovations Will Nourish 10 Billion by 2050

(Published April 2019)

Hungry for disruption explores change in the food industry and author, Shen Ming Lee, offers a vision for the future where we embrace scientific and technological advances in the decades to come. The author believes the food industry is hungry for disruption and that new solutions are needed to solve pressing food production problems. We will need to use tech innovations to increase production as resources become scarcer.

The author explores how breakthrough innovations in genomics, smart agriculture, food waste management and cellular agriculture, will play a key role in the future of food. She offers hope that re-imaging our food system by utilizing technological advances will give us the means to nourish the world in a sustainable and inclusive way.

In the book, you will read the story of a Dutch farmer who is dubbed the “Elon Musk of Potatoes”. He produces more than two times the global average potato yield, while reducing herbicide, water and fertilizer use by up to 20%. You will find out how drone pollinators are helping to save us from the great decline in bees and achieving crop set increases.

You will find out why Richard Branson believes that by 2030, we will no longer be killing animals for meat. Re-imagining foods is an urban food trend that’s likely to increase in the future.

Final thoughts

These eight books offer a wide array of perspectives about sustainable food, from a more global perspective to urban agriculture and what we can do in our own kitchens. From using technological innovations to re-imagine food systems to regenerative agriculture and eating a more plant-based diet, there are many ways in which we can change the future by changing the way we relate to food.

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