What Are We Reading?

— Jeff Aldrich, Food Council Member

This month we would like to share a few of the books recommended by Crow River Food Council members. As the following list demonstrates, CRFC board members are a diverse and curious group, and are passionate about food, health, nutrition, cooking, farming and sustainability. We hope you’ll find something here to pique your own interest. And if you have a book you’d like to recommend, please let us know about it in the comments section.

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 2.53.46 PMLocally Laid: How We Built a Plucky, Industry-Changing Egg Farm – From Scratch by Lucie Amundsen (Penguin, 2016). An honest, witty, and enlightening story about a couple in northeast Minnesota who wanted to change the egg business for the better. I’ve heard Lucie speak multiple times and she always has me crying with laughter. Her stories about the emotional pain, humor, and life lessons of mid-sized agriculture will change the way you think about chickens. –Ellie Vanasse

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 2.52.57 PMAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver (HarperCollins, 2007). Author Barbara Kingsolver and her family abandoned the industrial-food pipeline to live a rural life—vowing that, for one year, they’d only buy food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is an enthralling narrative that will open your eyes in a hundred new ways to an old truth: You are what you eat. I’m also enjoying Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn’t Cook from Scratch by Jennifer Reese (Atria Books, 2011). –Katie Henson

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 2.55.01 PMThe Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen Cookbook by Sean Sherman with Beth Dooley (Univ Of Minnesota Press, 2017). Beautifully formatted cookbook with information on foraging, sourcing and preparing indigenous American fruits, vegetables, wild game, grains and fish. I believe that if I’m truly committed to changing/improving the food system, I need to listen to and learn from the wisdom of the people who cultivated the food and land of my region for centuries prior to the arrival of my ancestors. This book has helped me start on this journey of discovery and education. Available at Buffalo Books. –Connie Carlson

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 2.56.05 PMThe Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables by Ben Hartman (Chelsea Green, 2017). Filled with tips on improving production practices on your small vegetable farm, Ben Hartman’s second book on lean farming is a hands-on, how-to guide to reducing waste, increasing efficiency, and becoming more profitable by applying proven principles and practices that have been developed and applied in Japanese industry for years. It includes everything from compost recipes to plant seeding and spacing recommendations, and tables showing the profitability of many common vegetable crops. –Jeff Aldrich

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 2.58.55 PMThe Energetics of Food by Steve Gagne (Spiral Sciences, 2006). “…Steve Gagne shows how to revitalize our connection to food and remedy our physical and psychic imbalances with the wisdom of food energetics. He provides a comprehensive catalog of foods and their corresponding energetic properties and explains how each food affects us at the deepest spiritual level. By demonstrating how to plan meals that incorporate both dominant and compliant foods, he shows how to provide truly healthy cuisine that nourishes the body and the soul” (Publisher description). –Sue Eull

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 3.02.03 PMThe Town That Food Saved by Ben Hewitt (Rodale Books, 2011). “In The Town That Food Saved, Ben explores the contradictions inherent to producing high-end ‘artisanal’ food products in a working class community. To better understand how a local food system might work, he spends time not only with the agripreneurs, but also with the region’s numerous small-scale food producers, many of which have been quietly operating in the area for decades. The result is a delightfully inquisitive peek behind the curtain of the town that has been dubbed the ‘Silicon Valley of local food’” (Publisher description). –Stacy Besonen

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 3.08.10 PMThe Whole30: The 30-Day Guide to Total Health and Food Freedom by Melissa & Dallas Hartwig (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015). “The Hartwigs (It Starts with Food) are certified sports nutritionists and the creators of the Whole30 program, a regimen designed to transform how readers think about food, their bodies, and their lives. Their new book offers step-by-step guidance to help readers implement the Whole30 plan” (Publishers Weekly). –Sue Spike

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 3.09.56 PMThe Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food by Dan Barber (Penguin Books, 2015). “Dan Barber, an award-winning chef, moves beyond ‘farm-to-table’ to offer a revolutionary new way of eating. After more than a decade spent investigating farming communities around the world in pursuit of singular flavor, Barber finally concluded that–for the sake of our food, our health and the future of the land—America’s cuisine required a radical transformation” (Publisher description). I’m also enjoying Street Farm: Growing Food, Jobs, and Hope on the Urban Frontier by Michael Ablemen (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2016). –Mary Jane Miller

Screen Shot 2018-03-06 at 3.14.31 PMVictuals: An Appalachian Journey, with Recipes by Ronni Lundy (Clarkson Potter, 2016) “Victuals is an exploration of the foodways, people, and places of Appalachia. It explores the surprisingly diverse history–and vibrant present–of food in the Mountain South through recipes, stories, traditions, and innovations. Each chapter explores a specific defining food or tradition of the region–such as salt, beans, corn (and corn liquor). The essays introduce readers to their rich histories and the farmers, curers, hunters, and chefs who define the region’s contemporary landscape” (Publisher description). I’d also recommend The New Wildcrafted Cuisine: Exploring the Exotic Gastronomy of Local Terroir by Pascal Baudar (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2016). –Kristi Varner

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