By Danielle Nierenberg and Alaina Spencer
To celebrate summer, Food Tank is highlighting 18 food and agriculture books to add to your summer reading list. These books tackle topics like food policy, animal welfare and seasonal eating and allow readers to travel to Australia and Puget Sound without ever having to leave home.
1. Blessing the Hands that Feed Us: Lessons From a 10-Mile Diet, Vicki Robin
Robin takes the term local to heart by embarking on a month-long experiment eating only foods sourced within a ten-mile radius of her home on Whidbey Island. She reconnects with her community, environment, and body as she learns to rely less on packaged goods and more on her neighbors. Blessing the Hands that Feed Us tells the personal story of Robin, but extends to universal lessons on ways to better live within the confines of community.
Because of the industrial food system, food shifted from family farms to large-scale productions requiring packaging and canning. Consumers moved from regularly producing their own food to relying on pre-packaged goods. Zeide chronicles this change through the story of the canning industry, explaining how food industry leaders used science, marketing, and politics to convince the hesitant public.
Tomine shares his love of nature with his children as they forage, gather, cook, and eat from the natural world around Puget Sound. Closer to the Ground tracks the uncertainty of weather, explores the local land, and offers seasonal recipes while teaching readers to live like children, full of curiosity and adventure. As a fly-fishing guide and conservation advocate, Tomine shows readers how to live harmoniously with the natural world.
4. The Community Food Forest Handbook: How to Plan, Organize, and Nurture Edible Gathering Places, Catherine Bukowski and John Munsell Forthcoming July 2018
Community food forests are springing up across the U.S. to create greater access to nutritious food and enhance environmental stability. In this book, Bukowski and Munsell provide a guide to implementing and sustaining community food forests including building engagement, working with diverse peoples, navigating public policy and managing site evolution. By diving into the civic aspects of establishing community food forests, Bukowski and Munsell provide the roadmap for people to come together, create change, and provide a site that can feed all people.
5. Eat for the Planet: Saving the World One Bite at a Time, Nil Zacharias and Gene Stone
Sharing new research, Zacharias and Stone explain how everyone can play a part in reducing climate change through their food choices. Eat for the Planet presents interesting infographics and strong arguments to support the evidence that minimal, everyday changes influence the health of the environment. By switching out meat for more plant-based meals, anyone can have a significant and positive impact on the Earth. As Zacharias and Stone believe, one bite at a time can save the world.
6. Food and Animal Welfare, Henry Buller and Emma Roe
Buller and Roe bring together new research and case studies to guide readers through animal welfare issues beginning at the farm and ending at the plate. Food and Animal Welfare investigates the ways animal welfare is defined, advocated, and implemented. The book goes on to explore the possibilities of a standard of care for animals and the ethics of selling welfare as a product.
7. Food Policy in the United States, Parke Wilde
In this second edition of Food Policy in the United States, Wilde updates all recent matters impacting U.S. food policy. This includes policy changes in the 2014 Farm Bill and possibilities in the next one, the end of the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty, halted child nutrition legislation, changes in food-labeling, and influences of the 2016 presidential election. This edition uses real-world controversies to examine economic principles, various policies, and nutrition science with a greater focus on food justice, sustainable agriculture, and food security.
8. Forage, Harvest, Feast: A Wild-Inspired Cuisine, Marie Viljoen Forthcoming August 2018
In her new cookbook, Viljoen aims to make foraging and collecting wild foods accessible and understandable to the average cook. Not only does the work present recipes for cocktails, entrées, desserts and fermented foods, but Forage, Harvest, Feast also gets the reader out into the world of foraging to create deeper connections with foods. Viljoen highlights native plants that are unused and forgotten to bring them back into the culinary scene. She also emphasizes the use of invasive plants that hold economic and culinary potential. By focusing on both native and invasive plants, Viljoen hopes bring together new flavors and dishes and connect people to their food.
Author, journalist, and nutritionist, Kristen Lawless, chronicles how the industrial food industry is changing our food preferences, influencing our brains, altering our microbiota, and impacting our gene expressions. In Formerly Known as Food, Lawless suggests that our degrading diet is actually changing our bodies. She makes the case for how this is happening and what it means for our survival. This book sheds light on just how influential the industrial food industry is on our bodies, our society, and our future.
10. Good Apples: Behind Every Bite, Susan Futrell
Futrell takes readers into the orchards, storage rooms, laboratories, warehouses and marketing meetings to explain how consumers and eaters can support the farms providing food for our communities. She goes deep into the growth and distribution of apples to illustrate just how much and what is at stake in the way we set up our food system. Good Apples explains the ecological and economic constraints that apple growers, pickers, and buyers face to display the importance of supporting family farms.
11. How to Nourish the World, Hans R Herren
How to Nourish the World tells how Herren's foundation, Biovision, develops and applies ecological methods to enhance self-sufficiency of people living in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia. Biovision spreads their understanding of the environment to local peoples through grassroots projects like the cultivation of medicinal plants and teaching malaria prevention. This book displays how Herren and Biovision work to improve people's lives by preparing and exchanging knowledge about the natural world.
12. The Natural Cook: Eating the Seasons from Root to Fruit, Tom Hunt
Hunt teaches cooks and eaters alike how to make simple, delicious meals without wasting anything. The Natural Cook highlights seasonal, flavorful, and plant-based dishes with a focus on 26 seasonal 'hero' ingredients. Three easy cooking techniques accompany each of the 26 featured ingredients showing readers how to make a quick, simple dish. After the techniques, Hunt gives three globe-inspired recipes to incorporate even more seasonal produce. Following each recipe are Hunt's notes giving readers tips and tricks on using the leftover or extra produce so nothing gets thrown away.
13. Nourished Planet: Sustainability in the Global Food System, Barilla Center for Food & Nutrition and Danielle Nierenberg (editor)
As the global food system grows ever larger and more intertwined, Nourished Planet provides a comprehensive roadmap to feed the world sustainably. The book contains essays and interviews from international experts in all food system fields including farming, environmentalism, activism, and economics. In coming together, these professionals offer a new path toward global sustainability to include growth, culture, and health for everyone.
14. One Shot: Trees as Our Last Chance for Survival, John Leary
One Shot is the story of how Leary believes we can reverse desertification, water scarcity, hunger, poverty, and climate change by restoring agricultural lands with various combinations of trees and crops. Based off of his fifteen years doing humanitarian work with failing communities, Leary tries to explain the impact of the world's agriculture on peoples and the environment. Spanning the globe from Africa to America, One Shot connects the world's most urgent challenges to agricultural practices and offers hope in the restoration of forest gardens and tree planting.
15. Plant Powered Beauty: The Essential Guide to Using Natural Ingredients for Health, Wellness, and Personal Skincare (with 50-plus Recipes), Amy Galper and Christina Daigneault
Natural beauty experts, Galper and Daigneault, unmask the secrets of the beauty world by telling readers how to understand beauty labels, deconstruct ingredient lists, make educated choices about products, and better know how their skin works. In addition to demystifying beauty products, Plant Powered Beauty contains more than 50 simple recipes to create plant-based skincare and beauty products that work with your skin. This book connects readers back to natural beauty through plants and healthy living.
16. RetroSuburbia: The Downshifter's Guide to a Resilient Future, David Holmgren
This Australian-based book provides a manual for readers to downshift and simplify their homes, backyards, gardens, neighborhoods and lifestyles to be better organized and sustainable for the future. While the book encourages the reader to dramatically change their life, it promises a more meaningful and hopeful way of life. RetroSurbia is divided into three overarching sections: the Built, the Biological, and the Behavioral to clearly guide readers on their path to simplicity and resilience.
17. The Story of Soy, Christine M. Du Bois
The Story of Soy traces the history of soy from ancient Asia to the twenty-first century tracking the vastly differing views of soy along the way. Traversing the globe and time, Du Bois examines the diverse subjects of soy including its place in disaster relief, its influence on meat production, its impact on international conflicts, and its often controversial nutrition benefits. From the Buddhist missionaries to the European colonialists, The Story of Soy tells an overlooked account of one of the world's biggest crops.
18. Why You Eat What You Eat: The Science Behind Our Relationship With Food, Rachel Herz, PhD
In Why You Eat What You Eat, neuroscientist Rachel Herz explores how psychology, neurology and physiology shape and influence our eating habits, taste preferences, and food consumption. Herz reveals various factors that influence our eating patterns, including the way our beliefs affect the amount of calories burnt, the influences of television on how much we eat, and how our physical surrounding impacts how food tastes. Through examining our complicated relationship with food, Herz offers tips and techniques to improve our experience and relationship with food.
By Victoria Masterson
Using one of the world's problems to solve another is the philosophy behind a Norwegian start-up's mission to develop affordable housing from 100% recycled plastic.
Sustainable Homes<p>UN-Habitat says an <a href="https://unhabitat.org/un-habitat-aims-to-use-plastic-waste-to-support-housing-for-all" target="_blank">estimated 60% of people living in urban areas of Africa are in informal settlements</a>. At the same time, between 1990 and 2017, African countries imported around 230 metric tonnes of plastic, "which mostly ended up in dump sites creating a massive environmental challenge," the agency adds.</p><p>UN-Habitat deputy executive director, Victor Kisob, said the aim of the partnership with Othalo was to "promote adequate, sustainable and affordable housing for all."</p>
Artist's impression of an Othalo community, imagined by architect Julien De Smedt. Othalo<p>Othalo's process involves shredding plastic waste and mixing it with other elements, including non-flammable materials. Components are used to build up to four floors, with a home of 60 square metres using eight tons of recycled plastic. A factory with one production line can produce 2,800 housing units annually.</p><p>Following successful laboratory tests, Othalo's factory in Estonia has started producing components to build three demonstration homes for Kenya's capital, Nairobi; Yaoundé, the capital of Cameroon and Dakar, the capital of Senegal.</p><p>Othalo founder Frank Cato Lahti has been developing and testing the technology since 2016 in partnership with <a href="https://www.sintef.no/en/" target="_blank">SINTEF</a>, a 70-year-old independent research organization in Trondheim, Norway, and experts at Norway's <a href="https://en.uit.no/startsida" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">University of Tromsø</a>.</p>
Othalo founder Frank Cato Lahti. Othalo<p>Almost <a href="https://www.un.org/development/desa/publications/2018-revision-of-world-urbanization-prospects.html" target="_blank">seven out of every 10 people in the world are expected to live in urban areas by 2050</a>. More than 90% of this growth will take place in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean.</p><p>"In the absence of effective urban planning, the consequences of this rapid urbanization will be dramatic," UN-Habitat warns.</p><p>Lack of proper housing and growth of slums, inadequate and outdated infrastructure, escalating poverty and unemployment, and pollution and health issues, are just some of the effects.</p><p>Mindsets, policies, and approaches towards urbanization need to change for the growth of cities and urban areas to be turned into opportunities that will leave nobody behind, UN-Habitat says.</p>
Pioneers of Change<p>Reimagining cities and communities for greater resilience and sustainability was a key topic at the<a href="https://www.weforum.org/events/pioneers-of-change-summit-2020" target="_blank"> World Economic Forum's Pioneers of Change Summit 2020</a>.</p><p>The digital event brought together innovators and stakeholders from around the world to explore solutions to the challenges facing enterprises, governments and society.</p><p>Opening the summit, <a href="https://www.weforum.org/events/pioneers-of-change-summit-2020/sessions/opening-plenary-8f731cbc65" target="_blank">Stephan Mergenthaler, the Forum's Head of Strategic Intelligence and a member of the Executive Committee</a>, said: "We need to change the way we produce, the way we live and interact in our cities to make this transition to net-zero emissions a reality…</p><p>"And as this year has illustrated so dramatically, we need to make every effort that we keep populations healthy, if we want to avoid jeopardizing all this progress."</p><p><em>Reposted with permission from </em><em><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/11/un-africa-recycled-plastic-housing/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em><a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/r/entryeditor/2649069252#/" target="_self"></a></p>
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By Brett Wilkins
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By Dolf Gielen and Morgan Bazilian
John Kerry helped bring the world into the Paris climate agreement and expanded America's reputation as a climate leader. That reputation is now in tatters, and President-elect Joe Biden is asking Kerry to rebuild it again – this time as U.S. climate envoy.
Energy Is at the Center of the Climate Challenge<p>The <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/1/" target="_blank">effects of climate change</a> are already evident across the globe, from <a href="https://theconversation.com/100-degrees-in-siberia-5-ways-the-extreme-arctic-heat-wave-follows-a-disturbing-pattern-141442" target="_blank">extreme heat waves</a> to <a href="https://science2017.globalchange.gov/chapter/12/" target="_blank">sea level rise</a>. But while the challenge is daunting, there is hope. Solar and wind power have become the <a href="https://www.irena.org/publications/2020/Jun/Renewable-Power-Costs-in-2019" target="_blank">cheapest forms of power generation globally</a>, and technology progress and innovation continue apace to support a transition to clean energy.</p><p>In the U.S. under a Biden administration, long-term national climate legislation will depend on who controls the Senate, and that won't be clear until after two run-off elections in Georgia in January.</p><p>But there is no shortage of <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2020-biden-climate-change-advice/" target="_blank">ideas for ways Biden</a> could still take action even if his proposals are blocked in Congress. For example, he could use executive orders and direct government agencies to tighten regulations on greenhouse gas emissions; increase research and development in clean energy technologies; and empower states to exceed national standards, <a href="https://www.reuters.com/article/us-autos-emissions-california/defying-trump-california-locks-in-vehicle-emission-deals-with-major-automakers-idUSKCN25D2CH" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">as California did in the past with auto emission standards</a>. A focus on a just and equitable transition for communities and people affected by the decline of fossil fuels will also be key to creating a sustainable transition.</p><p>The U.S. position as the world's largest oil and gas producer and consumer creates political challenges for any administration. U.S. forays into European energy security are often treated with suspicion. Recently, France blocked <a href="https://www.wsj.com/articles/frances-engie-backs-out-of-u-s-lng-deal-11604435609" target="_blank">a multi-billion dollar contract</a> to buy U.S. liquefied natural gas because of concerns about limited emissions regulations in Texas.</p><p>Strengthening cooperation and partnerships with like-minded countries will be critical to bring about a transition to cleaner energy as well as sustainability in agriculture, forestry, water and other sectors of the global economy.</p>
Creating a Global Sustainable Transition<p>How the world recovers from COVID-19's economic damage could help drive a lasting shift in the global energy mix.</p><p>Nearly one-third of Europe's US$2 trillion economic relief package <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-07-21/eu-approves-biggest-green-stimulus-in-history-with-572-billion-plan" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">involves investments that are also good for the climate</a>. The European Union is also strengthening its 2030 climate targets, though each country's energy and climate plans will be critical for successfully implementing them. The <a href="https://joebiden.com/clean-energy/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Biden plan</a> – including a $2 trillion commitment to developing sustainable energy and infrastructure – is aligned with a global energy transition, but its implementation is also uncertain.</p><p>Once Biden takes office, Kerry will be joining ongoing <a href="https://www.un.org/en/conferences/energy2021/about#:%7E:text=The%20overarching%20goal%20of%20the,2030%20Agenda%20for%20Sustainable%20Development.&text=Accelerate%20delivery%20of%20United%20Nations,related%20issues%20at%20all%20levels." target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high-level discussions on the energy transition</a> at the U.N. General Assembly and other gatherings of international leaders. With the U.S. no longer obstructing work on climate issues, the G-7 and G-20 have more potential for progress on energy and climate.</p><p>Lots of technical details still need to be worked out, including international trade frameworks and standards that can help countries lower greenhouse gas emissions enough to keep global warming in check. <a href="https://www.carbonpricingleadership.org/what" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Carbon pricing</a> and <a href="https://www.csis.org/analysis/how-can-europe-get-carbon-border-adjustment-right" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">carbon border adjustment taxes</a>, which create incentive for companies to reduce emissions, may be part of it. A consistent and comprehensive set of national energy transition plans will also be needed.</p><p>The global shift to <a href="https://www.irena.org/publications/2019/Jan/A-New-World-The-Geopolitics-of-the-Energy-Transformation" target="_blank">clean energy will also have geopolitical implications for countries and regions</a>, and this will have a profound impact on wider international relations. Kerry, with his experience as secretary of state in the Obama administration, and Biden's plan to make the climate envoy position part of the National Security Council, may help mend these relations. In doing so, the U.S. may again join the wider community of countries willing to lead.</p>
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By Maria Caffrey
As we approach the holidays I, like most people, have been reflecting on everything 2020 has given us (or taken away) while starting to look ahead to 2021.