Monday, June 22, 2009

Summer Reading

In vacation mode, traveling through Canada for the past few days, I have found myself with (some) time to read. Coincidentally, the book I brought with me (The Omnivore's Dilemma), a back issue of Mother Jones, and New York Times columnist Kristoff's Saturday column have shared a common theme-- long-term sustainability of our food systems and by extension, our planet.

As all three sources correctly predicted, my limited exposure to issues tied to food production involve a basic understanding of my three options for purchase as a consumer of food -- conventional, organic, and local. My purview to date has been strictly limited to my individual preferences. As I read more and more on my recent hours in cars, airplanes, and ferries, I realized that definitions--both formal and informal--are malleable and assumptions based on a very loose reality are prevalent in the context of the food industry. This worries me. This is what you and I put into our bodies every day.

Feeling a bit hoodwinked, and somewhat shamed at my own lack of knowledge, I have decided to draft a summer reading list that answers at least a few of my questions: What are my options, if a trip to Whole Foods does not do the trick? How can we convince people who only care about minimizing their individual chemical intake, and thus purchasing organic, that this is only a short-term solution to a long-term problem? How can we spread the agriculture movement from a rural fight to a collective movement that also includes urban regions?

Any suggestions on a few books to add to my list?

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