2022 Food Policy Center Summer Reading List

by NYC Food Policy Editor

Whether you’re relaxing at the beach, going on a summer camping trip, having a stay-cation, or working like the rest of us, with summertime comes the Hunter College NYC Food Policy Center’s annual summer reading list. From history, to science, to policy, and beyond, this list should have a book for everyone. 

Healing Grounds: Climate, Justice, and the Deep Roots of Regenerative Farming
Author: Liz Carlisle
Publisher: Island Press
Date Published: March 10, 2022
Summary: “In Healing Grounds, Liz Carlisle tells the stories of Indigenous, Black, Latinx, and Asian American farmers who are reviving their ancestors’ methods of growing food—techniques long suppressed by the industrial food system. These farmers are restoring native prairies, nurturing beneficial fungi, and enriching soil health. While feeding their communities and revitalizing cultural ties to land, they are steadily stitching ecosystems back together and repairing the natural carbon cycle. This, Carlisle shows, is the true regenerative agriculture – not merely a set of technical tricks for storing CO2 in the ground, but a holistic approach that values diversity in both plants and people.”
Length: 200 pages
Where to purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound

Milked: How an American Crisis Brought Together Midwestern Dairy Farmers and Mexican Workers
Author: Ruth Conniff
Publisher: The New Press
Date Published: Forthcoming July 12, 2022
Summary: “A unique and fascinating exploration of rural farming communities, Milked sheds light on seismic shifts in policy on both sides of the border over recent decades, connecting issues of labor, immigration, race, food, economics, and U.S.-Mexico relations and revealing how two seemingly disparate groups of people have come to rely on each other, how they are subject to the same global economic forces, and how, ultimately, the bridges of understanding that they have built can lead us toward a more constructive politics and a better world.”
Length: 224 pages
Where to purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound

Getting Something to Eat in Jackson: Race, Class, and Food in the American South
Author: Joseph C. Ewoodzie Jr.
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Date Published: October 5, 2021
Summary:Getting Something to Eat in Jackson uses food—what people eat and how—to explore the interaction of race and class in the lives of African Americans in the contemporary urban South. Joseph Ewoodzie Jr. examines how ‘foodways’—food availability, choice, and consumption—vary greatly between classes of African Americans in Jackson, Mississippi, and how this reflects and shapes their very different experiences of a shared racial identity.”
Length: 320 pages
Where to purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound

To Boldly Grow: Finding Joy, Adventure, and Dinner in Your Own Backyard
Author: Tamar Haspel
Publisher: Penguin Random House
Date Published: March 8, 2022
Summary: “Journalist and self-proclaimed ‘crappy gardener’ Tamar Haspel is on a mission: to show us that raising or gathering our own food is not as hard as it’s often made out to be. When she and her husband move from Manhattan to two acres on Cape Cod, they decide to adopt a more active approach to their diet: raising chickens, growing tomatoes, even foraging for mushrooms and hunting their own meat. They have more ambition than practical know-how, but that’s not about to stop them from trying…even if sometimes their reach exceeds their (often muddy) grasp.”
Length: 272 pages
Where to purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound

How the Other Half Eats: The Untold Story of Food and Inequality in America
Author: Priya Fielding-Singh, PhD
Publisher: Hachette
Date Published: November 16, 2021
Summary: “Inequality in America manifests in many ways, but perhaps nowhere more than in how we eat. From her years of field research, sociologist and ethnographer Priya Fielding-Singh brings us into the kitchens of dozens of families from varied educational, economic, and ethnoracial backgrounds to explore how—and why—we eat the way we do. We get to know four families intimately: the Bakers, a Black family living below the federal poverty line; the Williamses, a working-class white family just above it; the Ortegas, a middle-class Latinx family; and the Cains, an affluent white family.”
Length: 352 pages
Where to purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound

Salmon Wars: The Dark Underbelly of Our Favorite Fish
Authors: Douglas Frantz & Catherine Collins
Publisher: Macmillan
Date Published: Forthcoming July 12, 2022
Summary: “In Salmon Wars, investigative journalists Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins bring readers to massive ocean feedlots where millions of salmon are crammed into parasite-plagued cages and fed a chemical-laced diet. The authors reveal the conditions inside hatcheries, where young salmon are treated like garbage, and at the farms that threaten our fragile coasts. They draw colorful portraits of characters, such as the big salmon farmer who poisoned his own backyard, the fly-fishing activist who risked everything to ban salmon farms in Puget Sound, and the American researcher driven out of Norway for raising the alarm about dangerous contaminants in the fish. Frantz and Collins document how the industrialization of Atlantic salmon threatens this keystone species, endangers our health and environment, and lines the pockets of our generation’s version of Big Tobacco. And they show how it doesn’t need to be this way.”
Length: 368 pages
Where to purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound

Retail Inequality: Reframing the Food Desert Debate
Author: Kenneth H. Kolb (see the Food Policy Center’s interview with Kolb HERE)
Publisher: University of California Press
Date Published: December 2021
Summary:Retail Inequality examines the failure of recent efforts to improve Americans’ diets by increasing access to healthy food. Based on exhaustive research, this book by Kenneth H. Kolb documents the struggles of two Black neighborhoods in Greenville, South Carolina. For decades, outsiders ignored residents’ complaints about the unsavory retail options on their side of town—until the well-intentioned but flawed “food desert” concept took hold in popular discourse. Soon after, new allies arrived to help, believing that grocery stores and healthier options were the key to better health. These efforts, however, did not change neighborhood residents’ food consumption practices. Retail Inequality explains why and also outlines the history of deindustrialization, urban public policy, and racism that are the cause of unequal access to food today. Kolb identifies retail inequality as the crucial concept to understanding today’s debates over gentrification and community development. As this book makes clear, the battle over food deserts was never about food—it was about equality.”
Length: 278 pages
Where to purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound

Gastronativism: Food, Identity, Politics
Author: Fabio Parasecoli
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Date Published: Forthcoming July 5, 2022
Summary: “Fabio Parasecoli identifies and defines the phenomenon of ‘gastronativism,’ the ideological use of food to advance ideas about who belongs to a community and who does not. As globalization and neoliberalism have transformed food systems, people have responded by seeking to return to their roots. Many have embraced local ingredients and notions of cultural heritage, but this impulse can play into the hands of nationalist and xenophobic political projects. Such movements draw on the strong emotions connected with eating to stoke resentment and contempt for other people and cultures.”
Length: 248 pages
Where to purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound

The Secret History of Food: Strange but True Stories About the Origins of Everything We Eat
Author: Matt Siegel
Publisher: HarperCollins
Date Published: Forthcoming August 16, 2022
Summary:The Secret History of Food is a rich and satisfying exploration of the historical, cultural, scientific, sexual, and, yes, culinary subcultures of this most essential realm. Siegel is an armchair Anthony Bourdain, armed not with a chef’s knife but with knowledge derived from medieval food-related manuscripts, ancient Chinese scrolls, and obscure culinary journals. Funny and fascinating, The Secret History of Food is essential reading for all foodies.”
Length: 288 pages
Where to purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound

No Farms, No Food: Uniting Farmers and Environmentalists to Transform American Agriculture
Author: Don Stuart
Publisher: Island Press
Date Published: April 14, 2022
Summary: “America’s farms are key to the preservation of vital ecosystems and a stable climate. Yet farmers and environmentalists have not always seen eye-to-eye about the best ways to manage agricultural landscapes. Since 1980, American Farmland Trust (AFT) has been bringing people together to work for healthy land and a healthy food system. No Farms, No Food traces the development of this powerful coalition responsible for landmark achievements in farmland preservation and conservation practices. It all began with Peggy Rockefeller’s determination to stop the inexorable urban sprawl that was threatening the nation’s agriculture. From this humble start grew a small but astute organization, and more importantly, a formidable constituency of farmers and environmentalists united around a common cause.”
Length: 304 pages
Where to purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound

Koshersoul: The Faith and Food Journey of an African American Jew
Author: Michael W. Twitty
Publisher: HarperCollins
Date Published: Forthcoming August 9, 2022
Summary: “In Koshersoul, Michael W. Twitty considers the marriage of two of the most distinctive culinary cultures in the world today: the foods and traditions of the African Atlantic and the global Jewish diaspora. To Twitty, the creation of African-Jewish cooking is a conversation of migrations and a dialogue of diasporas offering a rich background for inventive recipes and the people who create them.”
Length: 400 pages
Where to purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound

How We Eat: The Brave New World of Food and Drink
Author: Paco Underhill
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Date Published: January 4, 2022
Summary: “In this upbeat, hopeful, and witty approach, How We Eat reveals the future of food in surprising ways. Go to the heart of New York City where a popular farmer’s market signifies how the city is getting country-fied, or to cool Brooklyn neighborhoods with rooftop farms. Explore the dreaded supermarket parking lot as the hub of innovation for grocery stores’ futures, where they can grow their own food and host community events. Learn how marijuana farmers, who have been using artificial light to grow a crop for years, have developed a playbook so mainstream merchants like Walmart and farmers across the world can grow food in an uncertain future.”
Length: 256 pages
Where to purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound

Eating While Black: Food Shaming and Race in America
Author: Psyche A. Williams-Forson
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Date Published: Forthcoming August 16, 2022
Summary: “Psyche A. Williams-Forson is one of our leading thinkers about food in America. In Eating While Black, she offers her knowledge and experience to illuminate how anti-Black racism operates in the practice and culture of eating. She shows how mass media, nutrition science, economics, and public policy drive entrenched opinions among both Black and non-Black Americans about what is healthful and right to eat. Distorted views of how and what Black people eat are pervasive, bolstering the belief that they must be corrected and regulated. What is at stake is nothing less than whether Americans can learn to embrace nonracist understandings and practices in relation to food.”
Length: 257 pages
Where to purchase: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound

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