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The Green Life: Book Roundup Wednesday: Books About Food

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March 11, 2009

Book Roundup Wednesday: Books About Food

Books about environmentalismEvery Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. Today we're recommending books about food and its relation to the environment.

Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms (by Nicolette Hahn Niman, $24, Collins Living, Feb. 2009): Written by an environmental lawyer who's the vegetarian wife of the man who founded the beleaguered Niman meat dynasty (chapter 6 tells their love story), this lively treatise against factory farms outlines how raising livestock can be done better, with kindness and the environment at the top of the menu, and how and why to choose animal products according to these ethics.

Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness (by Lisa M. Hamilton, $25, Counterpoint, May 2009): Hamilton's book profiles three rural farmers who represent how she thinks America should think about agriculture. Berating typical corporate ag practices as environmentally destructive and promoting smaller, organic, sustainable farming methods as solutions, she narrates her way toward a case for the future of U.S. agriculture.

Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds (by Claire Hope Cummings, $25, Beacon Press, Mar. 2008): The author, an environmental journalist, discusses, somewhat dramatically, how genetic modification reduces seeds' power to naturally regenerate and adapt, and how Big Ag is using GMOs to place profit above nature.

Almost Meatless: Recipes That Are Better for Your Health and the Planet (by Joy Manning and Tara Mataraza Diamond, $22.50, Ten Speed Press, Apr. 2009): A reduced-meat diet is one of the biggest ways to lower your carbon footprint, contend the authors, who present recipes that don't require much meat alongside gorgeously tantalizing photos. Warning: This book isn't for vegetarians, as it does include meat (albeit less than is traditionally called for) in almost every recipe.

New Good Food: Shopper's Pocket Guide to Organic, Sustainable, and Seasonal Whole Foods (by Margaret M. Wittenberg, $10, Ten Speed Press, Mar. 2008): Its subtitle pretty much sums this book up. Wittenberg, the vice president of Whole Foods Market, wrote the portable little volume for shoppers who want to buy only what's truly healthy, seasonal, and environmentally sound.

--Avital Binshtock

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