As a writer of fiction, I constantly get the question, “Where do you get your ideas?” The answer is, two places: I get out and play in the world a lot and I read a LOT! I wanted to share some of the books on my shelf, so that you too…can get inspired.
Food and food production was the first topic I tackled. I haven’t read it yet, but Michael Pollan’s new book, In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, sounds excellent. I enjoyed listening to a recent interview with him on Talk of the Nation and have it on hold at my local library. Michael Pollan also did a fantastic job with An Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals. Many people are familiar with Pollan’s writing, but I wanted to make you aware of some titles you may have missed.
I believe I stumbled up Fat Land by Greg Critser first. Being a health and wellness consultant, the subtitle, “How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World,” is what caught my eye. Critser tracks the rise of High Fructose Corn Syrup from the political motivations behinds its creation to the way it has influenced food pricing and “supersizing.”
I then moved on to Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. If you haven’t kicked your Mickey D’s habit yet…you will after reading this book!
With my interest in food production now piqued, The Meat You Eat: How Corporate Farming Has Endangered America’s Food Supply, leapt off the shelf and into my eager hands. Ken Midkiff, former Director of Sierra Club’s Clean Water Campaign, takes the reader on a journey. You learn the driving forces behind the demise of the family farm (sustainable) and the rise of industrial meat production.
By the time I move on to Diet for a Dead Planet: How the Food Industry is Killing Us, I had overhauled my own food buying habits. However, author Christopher D. Cook, really brought home the way government subsidies drive agri-corporations to pursue these destructive methods of farming. In an election year, it is relevant to understand how the Farm Bill touches every aspect of our lives.
This is valuable information and one every parent should be aware of. Industrial meat production threatens our waterways, lakes and oceans. Factory farming of threatens our health through fertilizer and pesticide use, antibiotic resistant strains of bacteria, air and water quality and what nutrition is made available in our grocery stores and schools.
Sustainable Table has a wonderful round-up of the issues.
And…I haven’t even mentioned the humane treatment of animals angle. Suffice it to say, it can–and will–move you to tears. If you prefer a bit of laughter while still understanding the issues, The Meatrix won a lot of awards for a reason!
This may sound more depressing than inspiring. Watch for From My Bookshelf-Part 2. I will deliver the books behind hopeful flip-side!
[This post was written by Lee Welles.]