“To be interested in food but not in food production is clearly absurd.” -Wendell Berry
Interest in where the food we eat comes from is growing. ‘Eat local’ and the 100-Mile Diet are phrases that are commonplace. The impact of what we eat and how it made its way to the end of our fork has become something more people are thinking about. It is by no means a simple topic, but there are ways people are making changes – and there are both small and large steps that can be taken. From growing your own little urban vegetable garden, joining a CSA (community shared agriculture), choosing a diet that treads lightly on the earth, or shopping at your local farmer’s market, these are just a few ways people are making a difference.
Journalist Michael Pollan has written numerous books and articles over the last 30 years, focusing on the ‘places where nature and culture intersect: on our plates, in our farms and gardens, and in our minds’. His answer to the complicated question of what a human should eat to be healthy is summed up in these three simple rules: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants”. He describes his perfect meal this way: “But imagine for a moment if we once again knew, strictly as a matter of course, these few unremarkable things: What it is we’re eating. Where it came from. How it found its way to our table. And what, in a true accounting, it really cost”
Ten years ago, Michael Pollan confronted us with this seemingly simple question and, with The Omnivore’s Dilemma, his brilliant and eye-opening exploration of our food choices, demonstrated that how we answer it today may determine not only our health but our survival as a species. In The Pollan Family Table , Corky, Lori, Dana, and Tracy Pollan invite you into their warm, inspiring kitchens, sharing more than 100 of their family’s best recipes. For generations, the Pollans have used fresh, local ingredients to cook healthy, irresistible meals. Also check out Cooked, and Food Rules by the same author.
Beyond what we already know about “food miles” and eating locally, the global food system is a major contributor to climate change, producing as much as one-third of greenhouse gas emissions. How we farm, what we eat, and how our food gets to the table all have an impact. Diet for a Hot Planet answers the question of “why local’, and also gives practical suggestions on how individuals and communities can take action.
“Every farmers’ market is a sign of hope. Every CSA is a sign of hope. Every chef using local ingredients is a sign of hope…” -Wendell Berry
Access to local food is becoming increasingly more accessible as farmers’ markets spring up around the city and throughout the province. The ability to know where your food is from and who grew it, paired with the added benefits of eating food in season and at peak freshness, make farmers’ markets an invaluable resource.
But what to do with all that yummy food? What do you do with garlic scapes or kohlrabi, or how do you make your own kale salad? The library is brimming with cookbooks that answer these questions and give inspiration for your farmers’ market finds! From Garden to Grill has over 250 vegetarian recipes for the grill that apparently will even make a passing grade with devoted carnivores (give it a try and let us know!)
The Prairie Fruit Cookbook: The Essential Guide for Picking, Preserving, and Preparing Fruit is a fantastic read by local author Getty Stewart. It contains recipes, tips, storage ideas and more, for 11 prairie fruits. In 2010, Getty founded Fruit Share – a local organization that harvests and shares surplus fruit
Today, the average item of food travels over a thousand miles before it lands on our tables. It is a remarkable technological accomplishment, but it has not proven to be healthy for our communities, our land or us. Through stories and simple whole foods recipes, the authors of Simply in Season explore how the food we put on our table impacts our local and global neighbors. They show the importance of eating local, seasonal food–and fairly traded food–and invite readers to make choices that offer security and health for our communities, for the land, for body and spirit.
With over 300 easy-to-prepare recipes featuring local produce such as apples, pumpkins, berries, tomatoes, garlic, honey, maple syrup, cheese and other dairy products, The Farmstead Favorites Cookbook is the ultimate source for the freshest recipes to pair with fresh food. Readers will learn how they can reap the benefits of locally-grown foods that provide healthy nutrients for their families, as well as a connection to the earth and local communities.
Ever wondered what its like for the farmers that grow our food? Dreaming for years of living off the land, I have almost always had a Wendell Berry book on my bedside stack. From Fidelity , a series of five short stories, to the novel, A Place on Earth, Berry exquisitely paints a picture of life in a farming community, and the relationship of individuals to one another and to the land.
“This book is the story of the two love affairs that interrupted the trajectory of my life: one with farming–that dirty, concupiscent art–and the other with a complicated and exasperating farmer.”
Single, thirtysomething, working as a writer in New York City, Kristin Kimball was living life as an adventure, but she was beginning to feel a sense of longing for a family and for home. When she interviewed a dynamic young farmer, her world changed. Kristin knew nothing about growing vegetables, let alone raising pigs and cattle and driving horses. But on an impulse, smitten, if not yet in love, she shed her city self and moved to five hundred acres near Lake Champlain to start a new farm with him. The Dirty Life is the captivating chronicle of their first year on Essex Farm, from the cold North Country winter through the following harvest season–complete with their wedding in the loft of the barn.