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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

5 Must-Read Food Books For Spring

We’ve gathered a list of new additions to your bookshelf that will inspire you to eat local, forage wild edibles and get your green thumb on.

Each week, Earth Eats shares a comprehensive list of links to food media outlets, including but not limited to film, podcasts, books and blogs.

In the final stretch of a cold winter season, we’re looking towards spring with these five essential reads on gardening, suburban foraging, and eating local. This week’s installment is a short list of must-read books that will nurture your awareness for edible landscapes and cultivate your inner green thumb.

“Blessing The Hands That Feed Us” by Vicki Robin

For one month, bestselling author Vicki Robin eats only local food, sourced from no further than a 10-mile radius around her Washington home. Through the experience, Robin learns that eating local is more challenging than she initially thought. She also discovers faults in the food industry, like society’s cravings for and dependence on high-fat, high-sugar foods. Though challenging, eating local sparks a newfound sense of community between the author and her neighboring farmers.

“Eating on the Wild Side: The Missing Link to Optimum Health” by Jo Robinson

Investigative journalist Jo Robinson provides the scientific research to back up claims that wild, uncultivated foods provide more nutritional benefits than farmed or processed foods. She explains the “nutritional pasts” of fruits, vegetables and grains using both history and cooking so readers know what to buy when searching for the freshest, most wholesome ingredients. Learn how to “forage” at super- and farmers markets by reading Robinson’s comprehensive guide to food ancestry.

“Browsing Nature’s Aisles: A Year of Foraging for Wild Food in the Suburbs” by Wendy Brown and Eric Brown

An American suburban family in a quest to redefine what they want versus what they need for survival, strives to integrate foraged edibles into their everyday meals for one year. The story is a lesson in self-sufficiency and resilience. Not only do the authors learn specifics about palatable flora and fauna, but they come to nurture a symbiotic relationship with the natural environment. Readers likewise acquire valuable knowledge about identifying, preparing and preserving wild edibles within an urban environment.

“Grow This! A Garden Expert’s Guide to Choosing the Best Vegetables, Flowers, and Seeds So You’re Never Disappointed Again” by Derek Fell

“Grow This!” is a compilation of both garden success stories and failures. It offers expert advice on choosing the best varieties of plants and crops for a fruitful garden. After having planted hundreds of seeds, Derek Fell passes on his personal gardening experiences, both good and bad, so that all gardeners can maximize yields while saving time and money.

“50 Foods: The Essentials of Good Taste” by Edward Behr

Suburban foragers, gardeners, and foodies – novices and connoisseurs alike – will satiate their palates with “50 Foods,” a complete guide to enjoying the aromas, flavors, appearances and textures of foods. Edward Behr presents each food’s best qualities – freshness, seasonality, aging properties – then enlightens readers on how to best prepare, serve and consume them. Recognizing what makes a particular food so tasty enhances the sensory experience of eating, and also enriches enjoyment of the natural world through appreciation of good food.

Sarah Ostaszewski

Sarah Ostaszewski is a student of anthropology and fine arts at Indiana University. She dreams of fresh summer tomatoes from her family's garden, and she loves tasting unique ingredients, learning culinary histories, and tracing foods back to their roots.

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