Washington, DC - From cookbooks to textbooks, 2015 was a great year for exploring novel food topics, tackling new cuisines, and delving into the complex issues surrounding the global food system. As you consider holiday wish lists, gift lists, and New Year’s resolutions, here are 15 Food Tank favorites published in the past year. Our list of highlights includes both familiar authors and newcomers, and explores topics including ethical meat consumption, global food security, southern cuisine, and seed botany.
A Bone to Pick: The Good and Bad News about Food, with Wisdom and Advice on Diets, Food Safety, GMOs, Farming, and More by Mark Bittman
Bittman, former New York Times food columnist, is known for his compelling articles about the issues of today’s food system and a focus on solutions. This compilation of his most memorable columns covers food production, distribution, and cooking, and represents an invaluable resource for understanding the issues at hand.
The Carbon Farming Solution by Eric Toensmeier
The Carbon Farming Solution explores how agriculture might be an important part of solutions to climate change, rather than a global contributor to the problem. Toensmeier not only explains the scientific concepts and the current state of carbon farming but also explores how policy changes may be important.
The Color of Food by Natasha Bowens
Bowens’ The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience, and Farming is an accessible book that speaks to racial and gender inequality in the food system by sharing the narratives of producers and activists of color. Empowering and inspiring, this photographic biography puts farmers of color back on the map and reveals the power dynamics affecting our broken food system.
The Evolving Sphere of Food Security by Rosamond Naylor
Naylor explores the connection between food security and energy, health, climate, the environment, and national security. Naylor includes personal stories from on-the-ground researchers and policy advisors to trace key areas of food security, revealing the interconnectedness of global food trade with other spheres of security. Exploring topics from food price spikes to global climate change, the book is a must-read from 2015.
The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey by Alan Guebert and Gracie Foxwell
Guebert and his daughter, Foxwell, joined forces this year to recall tales of their experiences on a 700-acre dairy farm in southern Illinois. The book is a collection of stories collected as a memoir of Guebert’s hard work and memories of growing up on a farm. The memoir is also “a blueprint of how farming and food could once again be,” says Guebert.
Lentil Underground: Renegade Farmers and the Future of Food in America by Liz Carlisle
Carlisle’s Lentil Underground tells the story of a group of renegade farmers and food pioneers who are challenging the industrial food system in America through their movement to grow organic lentils. This book takes readers inside the efforts of a small rural community in the American farm belt that has defied corporate agribusiness to develop a million-dollar enterprise.
Pig Tales: An Omnivore's Quest for Sustainable Meat by Barry Estabrook
Estabrook investigates the American commercial pork industry to uncover its hidden truths. The book depicts an array of issues currently present in the industry while also highlighting commercial pig farmers who are taking an alternative approach and embracing a more humane and eco-friendly system of pork production.
Project Animal Farm: An Accidental Journey into the Secret World of Farming and the Truth About Our Food by Sonia Farqui
Farqui, a former investment banker, set out to make a drastic career change, arriving on the doorstep of a dairy farm. When she discovered animal cruelty behind closed doors, she was inspired to search for solutions to benefit animals, a quest that took her around the world. Farqui’s passion for animal welfare and commitment to change make for a wonderful read.
Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food Systems for a Changing Climate by Laura Lengnick
This book blends together the thoughts and experiences of farmers and ranchers with the science behind climate adaptation and resilience to confront the ever-present challenges of climate change. Lengnick explores the role of sustainable agriculture as the future of food production in an ever-changing food system.
Soda Politics by Marion Nestle
In her latest foray into the world of food business, Marion Nestle takes on big soda. Through historical and cultural research, Nestle adds a rich story to her nutrition and public health perspective, resulting in a unique account of the political power of the sugar-sweetened beverage industry in the United States.
Southern Provisions: The Creation and Revival of a Cuisine by David S. Shields
Historian David Shields reveals the forgotten ingredients behind early American cooking in the South, highlighting the takeaways from the current revived interest in Southern cooking as lessons for other regional foodways.
The Triumph of Seeds by Thor Hanson
Hanson’s The Triumph of Seeds: How Grains, Nuts, Kernels, Pulses, and Pips Conquered the Plant Kingdom and Shaped Human History is the evolutionary story of agriculture and medicine, weaving together botany and human history. From capers to coconuts, Hanson describes nature’s greatest invention through a mix of pop culture, culinary history, and biology to create a compelling illustration of the “era of the seed.”
Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food by Megan Kimble
What makes a food unprocessed? Megan Kimble set out to explore that idea, through interviews, practice, and more, and the resulting story reveals many of the complexities of our urban food systems. Throughout Kimble’s year-long journey of eating unprocessed foods, she learns to mill wheat, extract sea salt from the ocean, and more, all while living below the federal poverty line.
Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook by Dana Gunders
Gunders’ handbook is intended to engage well-intentioned home cooks in the fight on food waste. From freezing and drying to changing portion sizes, tools include engaging checklists, simple recipes, practical strategies, and infographics that describe useful tips.
World Hunger: 10 Myths by Frances Moore Lappé and Joseph Collins
Distinguished food writers Lappé and Collins bring our attention to the true causes of hunger by addressing global crises such as population growth and climate change. World Hunger argues that sustainable agriculture can lead the world to food security.
For more books to add to your list, here’s our past reading lists: Fall 2015, Summer 2015,Spring 2015, Winter 2014, Fall 2014, Summer 2014, Spring 2014, Winter 2013, and Fall 2013.