What We're Reading - Summer 2018


Looking for some good reading on gardening, cooking, and justice? Here are some of our staff's latest recommended reads!


The Food Lab

by J Kenji López-Alt

Though one could see this book as more of a technical manual for executing perfect specific dishes, I read it more as a culinary education/science self help book. Don’t go setting this book down on a flimsy coffee table! It will crush it into a thousand pieces. Inside you will find tons of science and food experiments that put old myths to rest and in the meantime learn how to make a boiled egg that you can peel easily and not want to throw against a wall. You know, practical science stuff. Enjoy.
— David, Meals Coordinator

Woman-Powered Farm

by Audrey Levatino

I really have enjoyed the book Woman-Powered Farm by Audrey Levatino. It’s a compilation of practical how-to advice for things from utilizing a chainsaw effectively to marketing products at a farmer’s market, but also has a rich introduction that describes how women have long had a formative role in agriculture and food production. It also highlights the need for inter-dependency and community.  I specifically enjoyed how so many of the skills and explanations are valuable for people at all levels of self-sufficiency, not just those who farm or produce food on a large scale. 
— Elizabeth, Office Coordinator

Unearthing Seeds of Fire: The Idea of Highlander

by Frank Adams

I am reading an incredible book right now called Unearthing Seeds of Fire about Myles Horton and the beginnings of the Highlander Folk School, a Southern hub for so many activists engaged in economic, environmental, equitable justice movements. It chronicles a lot of labor history across Tennessee, especially coal mining, union strikes, and the conditions for low-wage laborers throughout Appalachia. Myles Horton was educated at my seminary Union Theological Seminary in NYC where his ideas for leadership development and popular education—people teaching other people from their own lived experience—led to an organized, active local community. It’s really wonderful to read how he struggled to balance his own ideas for change against the ideas that collectively sprang up from the communities he was working in.
— Tallu, Executive Director

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

by Barbara Kingsolver

Although this book was published in 2007, it’s message is loud and clear and always been one of my favorites! This is Kingsolver’s story of her family’s journey of deliberately eating food produced from the same place where they worked.  They vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grown themselves or learn to live without it. The story begins as they’re packing their bags, leaving their home in Arizona and beginning a new life in rural Appalachia.
— Anne, Operations Manager

Sistah Vegan

by A. Breeze Harper Sistah Vegan

Sistah vegan is a voice of anti-oppression, food justice, and veganism. It’s amazing to read black female voices discuss the black community’s health crisis along with racism, classism, and sexism and how black liberation relates to dietary beliefs and practice. I love how the activist in this book talks about real problems and ways we as a community can grow ourselves out of the current system of oppression. I relate to this personally as a black vegan activist, but I believe it would be overall enlightening for anyone that the book chooses.
— Mariah, Volunteer Coordinator

Braiding sweetgrass

by Robin Wall Kimmerer

In her book, Robin Wall Kimmerer, weaves a web of stories through a complex and profound set of perspectives. Trained formally as a botanist and ‘informally’ through the teachings of the animate world as a member of the CItizen Potawatomi Nation, Kimmerer’s book has offered me a new way to experience the world. She shares that ‘science polishes the gift of seeing, indigenous traditions work with gifts of listening and language,’ and in each chapter, she focuses on a plant or specific story to exemplify this wholesome way to experience the natural world. I am finding her perspective and her sharing of what she’s learned from the animate world as both a galvanizing tool and words of palpable hope in a time when it is in desperate need!
— Sally, Growing Together Program Manager

What have you been reading this summer? Let us know in the comments.