Wednesday, June 22, 2011
I'm a nerd. Every since I can remember, I've been curious about the origins of almost everything. I watch the History Channel (Cities of the Underworld was a particular favorite). I listen to NPR (going to a taping of Wait,Wait, Don't Tell Me is a dream date for me). I read 3 or 4 books at the same time and countless magazines (but, I *swear* I'm letting my USWeekly subscription expire this year). Oh, and then there are those 6 little degrees I've earned. (What?! I like school!) These days, given the opportunity, I will talk your ear off about anything related to food. (Seriously. My friends know not to bring it up. If we are out with someone who hasn't been warned, there is a lot of eye-rolling and subject changing that takes place.)
So, of course, I'd prepare for this trip/non-profit/massive endeavor by learning. Having already completed a slew of books on nutrition, the food system and food politics, this spring and summer my reading list hones in on food justice issues. At the time of this post, I'm reading Food Justice by Robert Gottlieb and Anupama Joshi. It's an extremely thorough account of all the issues relating to food equity, along with history and case studies. I love it. I'm also reading Edible published by the Edible Communities (they probably have a magazine for your area, visit their site to see). The book is divided into regions of the US and features stories of advocates for fresh, local food. Some of the content is beyond the scope of my trip, but I've still derived some fabulous ideas from it.
In the spring, I read both of Mark Winne's books. Closing the Food Gap is mostly about Winne's work with the Hartford Food Policy Council and tactics the organization used to address food access in the city. I'm using his breakdown of methods (community gardens, food banks, CSAs, food stores) as part of the framework for the type of places I'll be visiting around the country. Food Rebels, Guerrilla Gardeners, and Smart-Cookin' Mamas is collection of outstanding individuals and organizations in the U.S. that are working to fight back against industrial agriculture. Several, like Maurice Small of LocalFoodCleveland, are on my list of possibilities for stops.
My future reading list includes Oran B. Hesterman's Fair Food - an organization whose headquarters in Michigan I also hope to visit on my trip. The Feast Nearby by Robin Mather chronicles a woman who has to start over and learns how to cook healthy food on a low budget. Although not directly related to the food justice issues I'm exploring, I'm always curious to read about people eating sustainably on a low-budget. Adapting recipes to make them affordable and accessible to my classes is always something for which I'm on the lookout. Finally, Barry Estabrook's Tomatoland makes the list. Although I'm unlikely to be working on the food justice issue of workers' rights, I should still be educated about it. Plus, I grew up in Florida, attended school with the children of many migrant workers but was completely unaware of what was happening all around the state in orchards and fields. It's about time I learned.
Don't forget the kitchen! I am so infatuated with Fine Cooking. It might even be true love. I can't bare to subscribe, because the issue hits the newsstand before my mailbox, and I want to be able to hold it as *soon* as I possibly can. FC is unbeatable in its coverage of seasonal ingredients and doles out ideas from the simple (great to adapt for my classes) to the more complex (great to impress a hot date...oh, who am I kidding? I mean my parents). Bon Appetit has started a section on in-season cooking which is fabulous, but FC will forever be my first love. The pictures are gorgeous, its accessible and the recipes are produce driven. Match made in heh-vun.
Finally, I'd like to check out a few documentaries over the summer months. Forks Over Knives- which the Washington Post described as really dry and boring. Luckily, when it comes to food documentaries, this doesn't scare me. I'll just need to wait for the DVD, so I can cook while I watch. Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead is about a guy who discovers (the hard way) how unhealthy he is and starts a juice fast. I'm not down with juice fasting, but my editor loved this flick, so I'm swayed to see it. The Garden Movie because...well, it's an Academy Award nominee.
Suggestions for other reading materials? Films to see?