Books about sustainable / ecologically responsible eating
January 3, 2018 3:57 PM   Subscribe

I have a friend who is very interested in sustainable eating and responsible farming practices, without resorting to a fully vegan way of life. Are there awesome books I can get them that discuss this approach to growing our food?

They are a very happy and animal-welfare conscious omnivore, but with family members who constantly bring up arguments around food choices. This person often ends up feeling like they are alone in how they view eating. So I want to get them something to read that is similar to their position - that it's possible to raise animals for consumption while minimizing (or better yet eliminating) the problems that come with factory farms and the large meat/dairy industries.

I guess something along the lines of "here's how people are being responsible omnivores." Books would be preferred to articles or blogs, too.

posted by erratic meatsack to Food & Drink (9 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
My first thought is The Lost Kitchen, in Freedom, Maine. Erin French is widely known and opened up this tiny restaurant that has a waiting list all year.

She just came out with a cook book, and I think it will tick all of your boxes.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 4:42 PM on January 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

I might suggest a couple of books on subsistence hunting.

The Mindful Carnivore

The Hunter's Heart: Honest Essays on Blood Sport

I would also highly recommend Hank Shaw's blog, Honest Food. He also has some excellent essays on the topic.
posted by Amity at 4:44 PM on January 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

The Ethics of What We Eat: it's broken into a section on the standard American Diet, a section on veganism, and a section on "conscientious omnivores" which it sounds like is what your friend is (or aspires to be).
posted by orangejenny at 4:58 PM on January 3, 2018

Check out Polyface Farms -- they make an appearance in Omnivore's Dilemma and have developed creative farming techniques to maintain happy animals and healthy plants.
posted by ananci at 4:59 PM on January 3, 2018

The seminal book on ethical eating has to be Peter Singer's Animal Liberation. Singer, a utilitarian philosopher, lays out a simple argument: if racism is a prejudice or attitude of bias in favour of the interests of members of one's own racial group, and sexism is the same for one's own gender, then the carnivore is guilty of speciesism. He goes on to lay out the argument for why animals have interests (because they feel pain, they have an interest in not doing so).
For a more literary exploration of the subject, Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals is also great.

Regarding sustainable farming practices, Jean-Martin Fortier's The Market Gardener shows how a skillfully planned and marketed hectare of land can be made to produce $100,000 without inputs of chemicals or fossil fuels. Also, Masanobu Fukuoka's One Straw Revolution is a classic treatise on natural farming and is beautifully written.
posted by wjfitzy at 5:18 PM on January 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

I really loved Whole Larder Love by Rohan Anderson who focuses on sustainability and localvore stuff. It's more of a Joy of Eating than an ethical exploration but it does delve in to that sometimes.
posted by jessamyn at 5:21 PM on January 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

I highly recommend Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. It's a memoir of sorts. Her and her family fleeing the "industrial food pipeline" for a simpler, healthier way of eating and living. They're omnivores, and this book first taught me the term CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation).
posted by hydra77 at 5:23 PM on January 3, 2018 [4 favorites]

The Third Plate by NY chef Dan Barber is a great read.
posted by lydhre at 5:43 PM on January 3, 2018

Novella Carpenter's Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer might be of interest. Review snippet: "The hardest part of the whole thing (for both Carpenter and the reader) is the knowledge that her animals will someday be served as dinner. Much of “Farm City,” in fact, is about Carpenter’s angst over the need to become a butcher. But she feels she must. “How many people would eat meat if they had to kill it themselves?” she wonders. In her case, she decides, if she eats it, she must kill it."
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:13 PM on January 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

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