Join us the FIRST Thursday of the month at 6:00PM at various locations for our book club. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions.
The Sustainability Book Club is a fun and welcoming environment for readers that want to learn more about the environment and sustainability. We meet on the FIRST Thursday of each Month at 6:00 PM. A time for snacks and socializing precedes the meeting. Book club books are discounted at South Main Book Company, or check to see if they are available at the library.
July: A Square Meal: A Culinary History of the Great Depression by Jane Ziegelman & Andrew Coe
From the author of the acclaimed 97 Orchard and her husband, a culinary historian, an in-depth exploration of the greatest food crisis the nation has ever faced—the Great Depression—and how it transformed America’s culinary culture.
The decade-long Great Depression, a period of shifts in the country’s political and social landscape, forever changed the way America eats. Before 1929, America’s relationship with food was defined by abundance. But the collapse of the economy, in both urban and rural America, left a quarter of all Americans out of work and undernourished—shattering long-held assumptions about the limitlessness of the national larder.
In 1933, as women struggled to feed their families, President Roosevelt reversed long-standing biases toward government-sponsored “food charity.” For the first time in American history, the federal government assumed, for a while, responsibility for feeding its citizens. The effects were widespread. Championed by Eleanor Roosevelt, “home economists” who had long fought to bring science into the kitchen rose to national stature.
Tapping into America’s long-standing ambivalence toward culinary enjoyment, they imposed their vision of a sturdy, utilitarian cuisine on the American dinner table. Through the Bureau of Home Economics, these women led a sweeping campaign to instill dietary recommendations, the forerunners of today’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
At the same time, rising food conglomerates introduced packaged and processed foods that gave rise to a new American cuisine based on speed and convenience. This movement toward a homogenized national cuisine sparked a revival of American regional cooking. In the ensuing decades, the tension between local traditions and culinary science has defined our national cuisine—a battle that continues today.
A Square Meal examines the impact of economic contraction and environmental disaster on how Americans ate then—and the lessons and insights those experiences may hold for us today.
August: Milk: A 10,000-year Food Fracas by Mark Kurlansky
We will meet at South Main Book Company
Mark Kurlansky’s first global food history since the bestselling Cod and Salt; the fascinating cultural, economic, and culinary story of milk and all things dairy–with recipes throughout.
According to the Greek creation myth, we are so much spilt milk; a splatter of the goddess Hera’s breast milk became our galaxy, the Milky Way. But while mother’s milk may be the essence of nourishment, it is the milk of other mammals that humans have cultivated ever since the domestication of animals more than 10,000 years ago, originally as a source of cheese, yogurt, kefir, and all manner of edible innovations that rendered lactose digestible, and then, when genetic mutation made some of us lactose-tolerant, milk itself.
Before the industrial revolution, it was common for families to keep dairy cows and produce their own milk. But during the nineteenth century mass production and urbanization made milk safety a leading issue of the day, with milk-borne illnesses a common cause of death. Pasteurization slowly became a legislative matter. And today milk is a test case in the most pressing issues in food politics, from industrial farming and animal rights to GMOs, the locavore movement, and advocates for raw milk, who controversially reject pasteurization.
Profoundly intertwined with human civilization, milk has a compelling and a surprisingly global story to tell, and historian Mark Kurlansky is the perfect person to tell it. Tracing the liquid’s diverse history from antiquity to the present, he details its curious and crucial role in cultural evolution, religion, nutrition, politics, and economics.
September: The Death and Life of the Great Lakes by Dan Egan
“Nimbly splices together history, science, reporting and personal experiences into a taut and cautiously hopeful narrative.… Egan’s book is bursting with life (and yes, death).” ―Robert Moor, New York Times Book Review
The Great Lakes―Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, and Superior―hold 20 percent of the world’s supply of surface fresh water and provide sustenance, work, and recreation for tens of millions of Americans. But they are under threat as never before, and their problems are spreading across the continent. The Death and Life of the Great Lakes is prize-winning reporter Dan Egan’s compulsively readable portrait of an ecological catastrophe happening right before our eyes, blending the epic story of the lakes with an examination of the perils they face and the ways we can restore and preserve them for generations to come.
October: Farmacology: Total Health From the Ground Up by Daphne Miller
n Farmacology, practicing family physician and renowned nutrition explorer Daphne Miller brings us beyond the simple concept of “food as medicine” and introduces us to the critical idea that it’s the farm where that food is grown that offers us the real medicine.
By venturing out of her clinic and spending time on seven family farms, Miller uncovers all the aspects of farming—from seed choice to soil management—that have a direct and powerful impact on our health. Bridging the traditional divide between agriculture and medicine, Miller shares lessons learned from inspiring farmers and biomedical researchers and artfully weaves their insights and discoveries, along with stories from her patients, into the narrative. The result is a compelling new vision for sustainable healing and a treasure trove of farm-to-body lessons that have immense value in our daily lives.
In Farmacology you will meet:
- a vegetable farmer in Washington State who shows us how the principles he uses to rejuvenate his soil apply just as well to our own bodies. Here we also discover the direct links between healthy soil and healthy humans.
- a beef farmer in Missouri who shows how a holistic cattle-grazing method can grow resilient calves and resilient children.
- an egg farmer in Arkansas who introduces us to the counterintuitive idea that stress can keep us productive and healthy. We discover why the stressors associated with a pasture-based farming system are beneficial to animals and humans while the duress of factory farming can make us ill.
- a vintner in Sonoma, California, who reveals the principles of Integrated Pest Management and helps us understand how this gentler approach to controlling unwanted bugs and weeds might be used to treat invasive cancers in humans.
- a farmer in the Bronx who shows us how a network of gardens offers health benefits that extend far beyond the nutrient value of the fruits and vegetables grown in the raised beds. For example, did you know that urban farming can lower the incidence of alcoholism and crime?
- finally, an aromatic herb farmer in Washington State who teaches us about the secret chemical messages we exchange with plants—messages that can affect our mood and even keep us looking youthful.
In each chapter, Farmacology reveals the surprising ways that the ecology of our body and the ecology of our farms are intimately linked. This is a paradigm-changing adventure that has huge implications for our personal health and the health of the planet.
Deep Into Yellowstone: A Year’s Immersion in Grandeur And Controversy by Rick Lambaugh
“Eminent naturalist and wildlife advocate Rick Lamplugh draws from a deep personal wellspring of experience and knowledge to take readers into Yellowstone’s wild heart.” Cristina Eisenberg, PhD, Chief Scientist, Earthwatch Institute
After living and working for three winters in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley, Rick and his wife Mary long to go deeper into Yellowstone. Finally they trust Yellowstone’s pull, leave the security of their Oregon life, and relocate to Gardiner, just outside the park’s north gate. Their year of immersion begins.
Deep into Yellowstone takes you along as Rick and Mary cross-country ski, hike, bicycle, canoe, and backpack through four seasons of Yellowstone’s grandeur.
Along the way, Rick explains important controversies: the outrage over the removal of grizzlies from the endangered species list; the dispute over hunting park wolves along Yellowstone’s border; the debate about whether wolves help or harm the ecosystem and the economy; the fight to stop the slaughter of park bison; the overuse of the park; and their community’s battle to prevent gold mining right on the park’s border.
If you want to visit, learn about, or protect our nation’s first national park, this book is for you. Deep into Yellowstone will give you a stronger love for the park’s grandeur, a deeper knowledge of the controversies threatening the park, and a clearer picture of how to protect Yellowstone.
Contact email@example.com if you have questions. You’re welcome whether or not you’ve read the book. Likewise, if you’re unable to be with us but read the book, we’d appreciate your thoughts.