Sustainable-Food Resources

The following websites, organizations, books and films are some of my favorites on the topics of finding, eating and preserving healthy, local, sustainable food.

How to Find Local Food

    Fresh carrots on a table at a farmers market
  • EatWild: a source for safe, healthy, natural and nutritious grass-fed beef, lamb, goat, bison, poultry, pork, dairy and other wild edibles; also provides comprehensive information about the benefits of raising animals on pasture.
  • a site dedicated to connecting local producers with shoppers.
  • Local Harvest: a national directory to help you find farmers markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area.
  • provides local listings of pick-your-own (also called U-pick or PYO) farms in the United States, Canada and other countries; also includes crop calendars for each local area to tell you what is available to pick throughout the year as well as illustrated directions to show you how to preserve the harvest.
  • USDA National Farmers Market Directory: provides convenient access to information about U.S. farmers market locations, directions, operating times, product offerings, and accepted forms of payment.

Books on Eating Local, Sustainably Produced Food

Book cover for The 100 Mile Diet
  • The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon. By eating foods only sourced withing 100 miles of where they live, a determined couple demonstrates how the daily need to eat can create lasting community by consciously connecting, in the most basic way, with the immediate environment.
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver: The author and her family take readers on their journey away from the industrial-food pipeline to a rural life in which they vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. This book makes a passionate case for putting the kitchen back at the center of family life and diversified farms at the center of the American diet.
  • In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan: This manifesto shows us how we can start making thoughtful food choices that will enrich our lives, enlarge our sense of what it means to be healthy, and bring pleasure back to eating.
  • The Feast Nearby by Robin Mather: a book that proves eating local, healthy food can happen on a limited budget. The author chronicles her year-long project: preparing and consuming three home-cooked, totally seasonal, and local meals a day—all on 40 dollars a week. Excellent recipes throughout.

Good Food Films

  • Dirt!: discover how our soil sustains us, and how the way we grow our food is destroying this essential resource.
  • Food, Inc.: a look into the industrial food system; examines the costs of putting value and convenience over nutrition, animal welfare and environmental impact.
  • King Corn: examines many aspects of corn, a key industrial food crop with many associated problems, from government subsidies and chemical inputs to its (ugly) place in animal feed lots.
  • Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?: a beautiful yet alarming film that provides an inside look at bees—pollinators that are essential to growing food, and that we are killing off thanks to industrial, chemical-laden systems.

Home Canning and Food Preservation

    Putting a jar of jam into a boiling water canner
  • Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving: a book that is likely the most popular guide to home canning and preserving; provides recipes and techniques.
  • The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest by Carol W. Costenbader: includes step-by-step illustrated instructions, informative charts and a host of delicious recipes; covers freezing, canning, drying and pickling produce fresh from the market or garden.
  • Food in Jars: a blog dedicated to canning, preserving and the art of putting up.
  • How to Can app: a free app that provides canning instructions and recipes right on your smart phone or tablet (available for Apple and Android).
  • National Center for Home Food Preservation: a source for current research-based recommendations for most methods of home food preservation.
  • Put 'em Up! by Sherri Brooks Vinton: a comprehensive home preserving guide for the creative cook, from drying and freezing to canning and pickling.

General Websites on Sustainable Food and Farming

  • The Cornucopia Institute: supports the ecological principles and economic wisdom underlying sustainable and organic agriculture, and provides investigative information to consumers and family farmers.
  • The Environmental Working Group: a team of scientists, engineers, policy experts and more who pores over government data, legal documents, scientific studies and laboratory tests to expose threats to your health and the environment, and to find solutions; covers information about pesticide residues and food chemicals.
  • Organic Consumers Association: an online, grassroots nonprofit public interest organization campaigning for health, justice, and sustainability. The OCA deals with crucial issues of food safety, industrial agriculture, genetic engineering, children’s health, corporate accountability, fair trade, environmental sustainability, and other key topics. 
  • Slow Food USA: a global, grassroots movement with thousands of members, which links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment. From this site, look for a Slow Food chapter in your local area, and check out any upcoming events.

Specific Foods: Industrial Production vs. Your Alternatives

  • The Astonishing Story of Milk: Learn about the modern dairy cow, what’s in supermarket milk, and how much more delicious and nutritious milk can be.
  • The Best Eggs to Buy and Eat: my breakdown of which eggs are best for you, our planet and the hens.
  • Fresh Food Reflections: information about pesticide residues, choosing certified-organic produce, and finding healthy, sustainable fruits and vegetables.
  • Grass-Fed Basics: information about pasture-based vs. grain-fed (mainstream) livestock.
  • The Threats from Genetically Modified Foods: Genetically modified foods and crops pose serious threats to human and animal health, and an alarming amount of food products on grocery-store shelves contain genetically modified ingredients. Learn more here.

Top photo by Flickr/AuthenticEccentric; book cover by Random House; canning photo by Shelley Stonebrook; eggs by Flickr/woodleywonderworks