There’s a lot to consider in every single meal that we choose to eat. What does it taste like? How many calories does it have? Is it healthy to put into my body? However, there are also questions that we don’t always consider. Was this ethically sourced? Does it have a negative environmental impact? Is the food I’m eating and the way I’m living promoting a more sustainable food system for the world? In this segment of EarthxReads, we’re recommending some books that help spread awareness of detrimental food production methods and ways that you can combat them and eat sustainably!

Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret by Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn

“The award-winning documentary Cowspiracy presents alarming truths about the effects of animal agriculture on the planet. One of the leading causes of deforestation, greenhouse gas production, water use, species extinction, ocean dead-zones, and a host of other ills, animal agriculture is a major threat to the future of all species, and one of the environmental industry’s best-kept secrets. The Sustainability Secret expands upon Cowspiracy in every way. Journey with authors Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn as they discover one shocking statistic after another and interview leading businesses, environmental organizations, and political groups about the subject of animal agriculture and its disastrous effects. Firmly rooted in science and supporting research, The Sustainability Secret reveals the absolutely devastating environmental impact of the meat and dairy industry and offers a path to global sustainability for a growing population.”


Full Planet, Empty Plates by Lester R. Brown

         “With food scarcity driven by falling water tables, eroding soils, and rising temperatures, control of arable land and water resources is moving to center stage in the global struggle for food security. “In this era of tightening world food supplies, the ability to grow food is fast becoming a new form of geopolitical leverage. Food is the new oil,” Lester R. Brown writes. What will the geopolitics of food look like in a new era dominated by scarcity and food nationalism? Brown outlines the political implications of land acquisitions by grain-importing countries in Africa and elsewhere as well as the world’s shrinking buffers against poor harvests. With wisdom accumulated over decades of tracking agricultural issues, Brown exposes the increasingly volatile food situation the world is facing. Lester R. Brown, one of the leading environmentalists of our time, explains why world food supplies are tightening and what we need to do about it.”


Chickenizing Farms & Food by Ellen K. Silbergeld

“Over the past century, new farming methods, feed additives, and social and economic structures have radically transformed agriculture around the globe, often at the expense of human health. In Chickenizing Farms and Food, Ellen K. Silbergeld reveals the unsafe world of chickenization―big agriculture’s top-down, contract-based factory farming system―and its negative consequences for workers, consumers, and the environment. Drawing on her deep knowledge of and experience in environmental engineering and toxicology, Silbergeld examines the complex history of the modern industrial food animal production industry. Arguing that the agricultural industry is in desperate need of reform, the book explains what has happened to agriculture in the twentieth century and explores the limits of some popular alternatives to industrial farming, including organic production, nonmeat diets, locavorism, and small-scale agriculture. Silbergeld’s provocative but pragmatic call to action is tempered by real challenges: how can we ensure a safe and accessible food system that can feed everyone, including consumers in developing countries with new tastes for western diets, without hurting workers, sickening consumers, and undermining some of our most powerful medicines?”


Four Fish by Paul Greenberg

“Writer and lifelong fisherman Paul Greenberg takes us on a culinary journey, investigating the four fish that dominate our menus—salmon, sea bass, cod, and tuna. Examining the forces that get fish to our dinner tables, Greenberg reveals our damaged relationship with the ocean and its wildlife. Just three decades ago nearly everything we ate from the sea was wild. Today, rampant overfishing and an unprecedented biotech revolution have brought us to a point where wild and farmed fish occupy equal parts of a complex marketplace. Four Fish helps us to navigate this new landscape, offering a way for us to move toward a future where healthy and sustainable seafood is the rule rather than the exception.”


Fair Food by Oran B. Hesterman, PhD

“Our food system is broken, and it’s endangering what’s most precious to us: our environment, our health, our soil and water, and our future. In recent years, a host of books and films have compellingly documented the dangers. But advice on what to do about them largely begins and ends with the admonition to “eat local” or “eat organic.” Longtime good food pioneer Oran Hesterman knows that we can’t fix the broken system simply by changing what’s on our own plates: the answer lies beyond the kitchen. In Fair Food, he shares an inspiring and practical vision for changing not only what we eat, but how food is grown, packaged, delivered, marketed, and sold. He introduces people and organizations across the country who are already doing this work in a number of creative ways, and provides a wealth of practical information for readers who want to get more involved.”