Suggested Reading and Watching

We’ve put together a list of books related to food systems, food sustainability and the impact of food on the environment and climate change. Some of our committee members and volunteers have written shorts blurbs about their favourite titles. Have you read something you would like to share? Let us know.


The Stop by Nick Saul and Andrea Curtis
Random House Canada, 2013

In the 1990s Nick Saul became executive director of a Toronto food bank. Believing that food systems should be about justice, dignity and good health, not handouts, Saul and his staff have created an extraordinary community food centre providing gardens, kitchens, classes, support groups and delicious, nutritious food. The Stop is the story of this transformation. Strong on the challenges facing food banks and those living on low-income diets, the book conveys an exuberant picture of the many ethnicities and cultures that find a place at The Stop, while never shying away from the central issue. People need more money in order to eat well and prevent hunger.


Farmageddon: the true cost of cheap meat by Philip Lymbery and Isabel Oakeshott
Bloomsbury Publishing, 2014

farmageddonThis important and engagingly written book draws on evidence from massive factory farms across the globe, exploring the claim that the intensification of agriculture is an economic good that provides us with cheap food. Authors Lymbery and Oakeshott allege that it actually pushes the real price of food upwards.
They pose some uncomfortable questions en route: are UK farm vets colluding with factory farming rather than safeguarding animal welfare? Why are higher animal welfare standards still not being upheld? And can intensive farming ever really be sustainable? Sadly, the conclusion reached is that many intensive farming practices not only compromise the welfare of farmed animals, but that mega-farming is frequently bad news for our health and environment too.
Philip Lymbery is head of Compassion in World Farming (CIWF); Isabel Oakeshott is a former political editor of the Sunday Times.

41kWEbljT0L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Swallow This by Joanna Blythman
Fourth Estate, 2015

How ‘natural’ is a natural food flavouring? What keeps pitta bread ‘fresh’ for months in its bag?  And why do our salad leaves smell of chemicals?  Determined to understand what the food industry does with our supposedly unprocessed food, investigative journalist Joanna Blythman accessed factories, suppliers, and industry insiders to reveal what we’re really eating.


How Bad Are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything by Mike Berners-Lee
Profile Books, 2010

In this entertaining book Berners-Lee aims to give us a sense of the carbon impact of everything we do or think about. Furnishing us with the carbon footprint of around 100 items, he hopes, will enable us to acquire a carbon instinct for the many other items that fill our lives. The choice of items – many of them food – ranges entertainingly from a pint of tap water to a burger, via daily desirables such as a mug of tea, a pint of milk and a box of eggs. Accessible, amusing and wise, this book points us all toward adopting the 10-tonne lifestyle: a total carbon footprint of 10 tonnes a year. Mike Berners-Lee is the founding director of Small World Consulting, specialising in organisational responses to climate change.


Not on the Label: what really goes into the food on your plate  by Felicity Lawrence
Penguin, 2004

if you have ever doubted the credibility of the information on your food label, Lawrence’s cutting exposé of the British food industry will do little to rekindle your faith. In this collection of investigations into everyday supermarket items, Lawrence starts in an English packhouse and goes as far prawn farms in Vietnam, making a stop at the arid and exploited agricultural fields of southern Spain. An eye-opening read, Not on the Label examines the human as well as environmental costs of our current food system, as Lawrence puts the spotlight on labour and migration issues within the industry and makes a strong case for further investigation.


Tristram Stuart, founder of Feedback, delivers his TED talk and delves into the shocking data of wasted food, calling for a more responsible use of global resources:


Online Reading