14 Food Policy Books To Add To Your Summer Reading List

by Deirdre Appel
food policy

Students around the country are preparing for graduation. While it may not be the one they had imagined, those graduating in 2020 – whether it be from high school, college, or graduate school – have an opportunity to change the world and the food system for the better. As summer draws near, the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center has compiled a list of recently published books in the food policy space to add to your summer reading lists. 

Beyond Labels: A Doctor and a Farmer Conquer Food Confusion One Bite at a Time
Authors: Dr. Sina McCullough and Joel Salatin
Published: forthcoming June 2020
Summary: “In Beyond Labels, Joel Salatin, a farmer who is blazing the trail for regenerative farm practices, and Sina McCullough, a Ph.D. in Nutrition who actually understands unpronounceable carbon chains, bring you on a journey from generally unhealthy food and farming to an ultimately healing place. Through compelling discussions leavened with a dose of humor, they share practical and easily doable tips about: what to eat; how to find it and prepare it; how to save money and time in the kitchen; and how to stay true to your principles in our modern culture.”
Length: 448 pages

Bite Back: People Taking On Corporate Food and Winning
Authors: Saru Jayaraman and Kathryn De Master with foreword by Marion Nestle
Published: May 12, 2020
Summary:The food system is broken, but there is a revolution underway to fix it. Bite Back presents an urgent call to action and a vision for disrupting corporate power in the food system, a vision shared with countless organizers and advocates worldwide. In this provocative and inspiring new book, editors Saru Jayaraman and Kathryn De Master bring together leading experts and activists who are challenging corporate power by addressing injustices in our food system, from wage inequality to environmental destruction to corporate bullying.”
Length: 328 pages

Food Fix: How to Save Our Health, Our Economy, Our Communities, and Our Planet–One Bite at a Time
Author: Dr. Mark Hyman
Published: February 2020
Summary: “In Food Fix, #1 bestselling author Mark Hyman explains how our food and agriculture policies are corrupted by money and lobbies that drive our biggest global crises: the spread of obesity and food-related chronic disease, climate change, poverty, violence, educational achievement gaps, and more. Pairing the latest developments in nutritional and environmental science with an unflinching look at the dark realities of the global food system and the policies that make it possible, Food Fix is a hard-hitting manifesto that will change the way you think about — and eat — food forever, and will provide solutions for citizens, businesses, and policy makers to create a healthier world, society, and planet.”
Length: 400 pages

Food, Freedom, Community: How small local actions can solve complex global problems
Author: Isa Pearl Ritchie
Published: May 17, 2020
Summary: “Local food and strong community networks can provide alternatives to this destructive system, as well as many wider benefits for society and the environment. This book shows alternative food networks, food sovereignty, and social economics, through case-studies or real people and communities in both urban and rural New Zealand, as well as a global lens.”
Length: 332 pages

Food Labeling: Politics and Policies in the United States
Authors: Courtney I P Thomas and Joshua M Oliver
Published: March 27, 2020
Summary: “Authors examine the effectiveness of nutrition labels particularly for consumers with specific dietary needs and restrictions linked to health concerns. They analyze the history of the organic labeling movement and the future of this highly regulated and controversial term. They bring to life the legal battles that have emerged surrounding the labeling of genetically modified and bioengineered foods, and the interactions among federal agencies, state legislatures, Congress, and the judiciary. They scrutinize the future of fair trade certification, and the linkages among trade transparency, human rights, social justice, environmental sustainability, and economic security.”
Length: 144 pages

Fruteros: Street Vending, Illegality, and Ethnic Community in Los Angeles
Author: Rocío Rosales
Published: May 2020
Summary:This book examines the social worlds of young Latino street vendors as they navigate the complexities of local and federal laws prohibiting both their presence and their work on street corners. Known as fruteros, they sell fruit salads out of pushcarts throughout Los Angeles and are part of the urban landscape. Drawing on six years of fieldwork, Rocío Rosales offers a compelling portrait of their day-to-day struggles. In the process, she examines how their paisano (hometown compatriot) social networks both help and exploit them. Much of the work on newly arrived Latino immigrants focuses on the ways in which their social networks allow them to survive. Rosales argues that this understanding of ethnic community simplifies the complicated ways in which social networks and social capital work. Fruteros sheds light on those complexities and offers the concept of the “ethnic cage” to explain both the promise and pain of community.”
Length: 208 pages

The Immigrant-Food Nexus: Borders, Labor, and Identity in North America (Food, Health, and the Environment)
Author: Julian Agyeman, Sydney Giacalone and others
Published: March 24, 2020
Summary: “The book investigates these questions through the construct of the immigrant-food nexus, which encompasses the constantly shifting relationships of food systems, immigration policy, and immigrant foodways. The contributors, many of whom are members of the immigrant communities they study, write from a range of disciplines. Three guiding themes organize the chapters: borders―cultural, physical, and geopolitical; labor, connecting agribusiness and immigrant lived experience; and identity narratives and politics, from “local food” to “dietary acculturation.”
Length: 344 pages

Make America Healthy Again: How Bad Behavior and Big Government Caused a Trillion-Dollar Crisis
Author: Nicole Saphier
Published: April 21, 2020
Summary: “In Make America Healthy Again, Nicole Saphier, a Memorial Sloan Kettering physician, nationally recognized patient advocate, and media personality, reveals how individual negligence and big government incompetence have destroyed America’s health care system. Combining historical events, economic trends, and essential lifestyle advice, with her unique perspective, she offers concrete solutions to address this epic problem.”
Length: 293 pages

Northern Harvest: Twenty Michigan Women in Food and Farming
Author: Emita Brady Hill
Published: May 2020
Summary:Northern Harvest: Twenty Michigan Women in Food and Farming looks at the female culinary pioneers who have put northern Michigan on the map for food, drink, and farming. Emita Brady Hill interviews women who share their own stories of becoming the cooks, bakers, chefs, and farmers that they are today—each even sharing a delicious recipe or two. These stories are as important to tracing the gastronomic landscape in America as they are to honoring the history, agriculture, and community of Michigan.”
Length: 344 pages

Perilous Bounty: The Looming Collapse of American Farming and How We Can Prevent It
Author: Tom Philpott
Published: Forthcoming August 11, 2020
Summary: “In Perilous Bounty, veteran journalist and former farmer Tom Philpott explores and exposes the small handful of seed and pesticide corporations, investment funds, and magnates who benefit from the trends that imperil us, with on-the-ground dispatches featuring the scientists documenting the damage and the farmers and activists who are valiantly and inventively pushing back.”
Length: 272 pages

Politics of Food
Author: Editing by Dani Burrows and Aaron Cezar with texts by Harry G. West, Raj Patel, and Tim Lang
Published: March 24, 2020
Summary: “As an important document of new research and thinking around the subject, this book, copublished with Delfina Foundation, offers reflections on food by prominent artists, anthropologists, and activists, among others. In interviews, chefs, policy makers, and agronomists critically assess and illuminate the ways the arts confront food-related issues, ranging from the infrastructure of global and local food systems, its impact on social organization, alternatives and sustainability, climate and ecology, health and policy, science and biodiversity, and identity and community.”
Length: 240 pages

Take Back the Tray: Revolutionizing Food in Hospitals, Schools, and Other Institutions
Author: Joshna Maharaj
Published: May 5, 2020
Summary:Take Back the Tray is part manifesto, part memoir from the trenches, and a blueprint for reclaiming control from corporations and brutal bottom lines. Maharaj reconnects food with health, wellness, education, and rehabilitation in a way that serves people, not just budgets, and proves change is possible with honest, sustained commitment on all levels, from government right down to the person sorting the trash.”
Length: 238 pages

The Trouble with Snack Time: Children’s Food and the Politics of Parenting
Author: Jennifer Patico
Published: Forthcoming, August 18, 2020
Summary: “In the wake of school-lunch reform debates, heated classroom cupcake wars, and concerns over childhood obesity, the diet of American children has become a ‘crisis’ and the cause of much anxiety among parents. Listening closely to adults’ and children’s food concerns, The Trouble with Snack Time explores those unintended effects and suggests how the ’crisis’ of children’s food might be reimagined toward different ends.”
Length: 256 pages

Uncertain Harvest:The Future of Food on a Warming Planet
Authors: Ian Mosby, Sarah Rotz and Evan D.G. Fraser
Published: May 9, 2020
Summary:Uncertain Harvest questions scientists, chefs, activists, entrepreneurs, farmers, philosophers, and engineers working on the global future of food on how to make a more equitable, safe, sustainable, and plentiful food future. Examining cutting-edge research on the science, culture, and economics of food, the authors present a roadmap for a global food policy, while examining eight foods that could save us: algae, caribou, kale, millet, tuna, crickets, milk, and rice.”
Length: 280 pages

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