Back-to-School Reading List: Staff Picks

It’s back-to-school season and we have a reading list to enhance your local food education! Our team has compiled their picks for great food reads – from perspective-changing deep dives into the food system, to a peek into the community of those that make food great. Make sure to add one of these to your stack during your next library visit: 

Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer

This book really opened my eyes to the way that meat production in the U.S. has changed over the past 100 years. In fact, it’s the reason why I became a vegetarian! However, this book isn’t just vegetarian propaganda. It goes beyond the typical ethical questions that arise when eating meat, and looks into the industrialization of the meat industry with factory farms compromising the integrity of the meat industry as a whole. This book isn’t a call out to vegetarianism, but to knowing where your food comes from and who is producing it. This is why I cherish our local meat producers even as someone who doesn’t eat meat! 

Madelina, Western UP Local Food Coordinator

Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All by Oran B. Hesterman, PhD

This book was a gift to me from my colleague Carlos Santacruz at the Fair Food Network and it was so eye-opening! It highlights the ways in which our food system is broken – and how to repair it so that future generations have a more sustainable system.

Sam, Northeast Michigan Local Food Coordinator

Kiss the Ground by Josh Tickell

Tackling climate change as an individual can feel overwhelming, but this book really helps to connect how our diet can make an impact. We can heal our bodies and the Earth simultaneously. The author presents regenerative agriculture in a way that is easy to understand. Supporting local agriculture, and choosing to support farmers that use methods that replenish rather than deplete our precious soil can help to reverse global warming. If you don’t have the time to add one more book to your reading list right now- I recommend watching the documentary on Netflix!

Haley, Director of Community Partners

Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner

A beautifully told story of food as connection, healing, and identity. 

Emily, Copywriting and Marketing Specialist

The Secret Life of Groceries by Benjamin Lorr 

I tell everyone to read this book. 

Where does your food come from…and how does it get there? The Secret Life of Groceries explores the history of grocery stores (including how we got Trader Joe’s), long haul trucking in the US, and how products from small businesses end up on the shelf. Told in the style of investigative journalism, this book was a quick read that gives an overview of the inner workings of the American supply (and demand) chain.

Emma, Editor-in-Chief

Chefs’ Fridges by Carrie Solomon

This book was a gift to me, and it was a good one – it really satisfies the inner snoop! I love reading about who has a fridge full of homemade fermented foods, who has an entire drawer of seasonal citrus, and whose fridge consists mostly of condiments or beverages (or even who has bear meat in their freezer.) There are also great recipes that are easy to incorporate into your farmers market finds – Enrique Olvera’s Salsa de Molcajete on pg. 159 is an easy one for in-season tomatoes and chilis. 

Claire, Communications and Outreach Specialist

Curious about our team of local food lovers? Read more about our passionate crew here!

For more great food reads, from kid’s picture books to exposés on the food system, and works of Michigan authors, head to our Bookshop!

Claire Butler is the Content Strategy Specialist for Taste the Local Difference. Contact her at [email protected].

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