Monday, August 10, 2009

Monday's green books series: Food, Inc.

Today on our green book review we open our shopping bag and refrigerators and try to figure out how come food became such a problem in the last decades and what we can do about it!

Our book today is:

Food Inc.: A Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About It

Author: Karl Weber (editor)

Karl Weber is a writer and editor based in New York. He collaborated with Muhammad Yunus on his bestseller Creating a World Without Poverty, edited The Best of I. F. Stone, and, with Andrew W. Savitz, co-authored The Triple Bottom Line: How Today's Best-Run Companies Are Achieving Economic, Social, and Environmental Success— And How You Can Too.


Published on:
May 2009

What this book is about? (from the the publisher's website)

Food, Inc. is guaranteed to shake up our perceptions of what we eat. This powerful documentary deconstructing the corporate food industry in America was hailed by Entertainment Weekly as "more than a terrific movie—it's an important movie." Aided by expert commentators such as Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser, the film poses questions such as: Where has my food come from, and who has processed it? What are the giant agribusinesses and what stake do they have in maintaining the status quo of food production and consumption? How can I feed my family healthy foods affordably?

Expanding on the film's themes, the book Food, Inc. will answer those questions through a series of challenging essays by leading experts and thinkers. This book will encourage those inspired by the film to learn more about the issues, and act to change the world.

What we think about it?
I am happy I saw the film Food, Inc. first as it gave me a good context and some background that I found helpful when reading the book. I think that no matter how much we're talking and debating about clean energy, food still remains the most interesting and fascinating issue in the green economy. This book is another proof of it.

The book, which is presenting 13 essays, includes some familiar names such as Erich Schlosser, Michael Pollan, Gary Hirshberg, Muhammad Yunus and others. But at the same time you'll find there essays of Arturo Rodrigez, President of United Farm Workers (UFW) and author Peter Pringle which are less known to the public (at least to me) when it comes to the debate on food issues.

This variety of authors as well as the variety of issues creates a comprehensive guide that covers all the main issues that influence and are influenced by the food industry. And we defenitely need such a comprehensive analysis to get a better understanding how a society (the Western society in general and the American society in particular) allows itself to get to this point where most of us eat food that is making us like the title says "sicker, fatter and poorer". It looks like only the tobacco industry managed to generate a more difficult riddle.

Food, Inc. does not have all the answers, but it's defenitely not just about pointing fingers at the problems, but also
provides directions and alternatives to the status quo, such as the ones offered by Joel Salatin in his essay "Declare Your Independence."

The picture you get from the book is a very disturbing one, but it doesn't mean you can't read it and feel more optimistic. You definitely can. Actually if there is a reason to be optimistic about the future of the food industry it is the voices you hear on this book of some of the best minds around, who are all devoted to make sure our plates will be again a source of joy, but a real one this time.

Bottom Line:
Go see the movie, then read the book and then go to buy your groceries. Actually, just like Michael Pollan suggested in his famous quote not to eat too much ("Eat food, not too much, mostly plants"), I would suggest to read this book in small portions. And not because it's not worthy to read it all at once - it certainly is. It's because I believe it's important to remember the book and its lessons every time we go to shop for food. I can assure you it won't spoil your appetite or your shopping experience - that's not the book's intention. What it will do is helping you to make knowledgeable and better choices once you're in the store, reminding you of the real world behind the packaging illusions you see on the shelves.

You can read more on Hungry For Change, Food Inc.'s blog -

If you're looking for other interesting green-themed books, you are invited to check out our green books page on our website's green resources section.

Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting green reading

A new children's book, "A Lion's Mane" is going green with Eco-Libris!

We're happy to update you on a new collaboration of Eco-Libris - This time we're working to green up a great new children's picture book "A Lion's Mane" by Navjot Kaur.

The publisher, Saffron Press, whose books seek innovative perspectives to challenge bias, is working with Eco-Libris to plant 625 trees for the book's first edition.

And not only that, but the book is also printed on 100% recycled paper to show their commitment to the environment. This combination means Saffran Press makes a very strong effort to make a
positive impact on the environment with this great new book.

So what's this book is all about? here's some more information from the publisher's website:

In this beautifully illustrated story, young readers journey to cultures around the world to explore the meaning of the dastaar, or turban of the Sikhs. Allusive words placed within a vibrant red dastaar help promote our connections as global citizens and encourage dialogue around issues of identity and kinship. A Lion's Mane promises to be a staple on the shelves of all young visionaries.

And here's the book's trailer:

"A Lion's Mane" will be available for purchase through Saffron Press' site in August 2009. We will review the book
on the blog in a couple of weeks so stay tuned. In the meantime you're welcome to join the book's Facebook fans page.


Raz @ Eco-Libris

Eco-Libris: promoting
green reading!