It’s not just temperatures that are soring, so is the Ag Team’s excitement about what we’re reading and engaging with this summer. Check out below for your curated summer reading list of our “hot picks” from the food, agriculture and rural space.
Hot pick from Kendra Kimbirauskas, Senior Director, Agriculture and Food Systems
Read Demon Copperhead —-Barbara Kingsolver’s brilliant novel which won a 2022 Pulitzer Prize and spent many months on bestseller lists, is a nuanced, wrenching, and loving portrait of late 1990s rural Appalachia. Gorgeously written and page-turning storytelling. This is also Siena’s bonus pick–it’s that good!
Hot picks from Siena Chrisman, Director of Research, Agriculture and Food Systems
Watch Rural Assembly Everywhere—- I was so inspired and moved by this year’s Rural Assembly Everywhere broadcast featuring a wonderful conversation with author Silas House; an interview with Ash-Lee Henderson and Allyn Maxwell-Steele, co-directors of the legendary Highlander Center; a chat with the organizers of an annual rural drag show; music; and lots more. Put it on while you’re making dinner and get excited by all that’s happening in rural places.
Read “How Washington Bargained Away Rural America“ — An engaging and excellent primer on the politics of agriculture policy, who has won, who has lost, and why these negotiations matter even if you don’t live in a rural community.
Hot pick from Emma Newton, Senior Associate, Agriculture and Food Systems
Read “How Food Inflation Adds to the Burdens Disabled People Carry” — A critical and important read as federal SNAP benefits are gutted and shoppers face sticker shock on the grocery aisle. For too long disability justice has been left out of the food and ag movement, I hope the increased attention means we’re finally ready to have this important conversation.
Hot pick from Chloe Maxmin, Former Maine State Senator and Ag and Food Systems Consultant
Read “Governor Strong-Arms Legislators to Sustain her Veto of Tribal Sovereignty” — Maine’s tribes formed the Wabanaki Alliance in 2020 to fight for sovereignty, as they are the only in the nation without the right to self-govern. I share the words from the Wabanaki Alliance in response to the Governor’s recent veto of tribal sovereignty, an issue at the core of social justice, food justice, and land justice.
Hot pick from Geran Tarr, Former Alaska State Representative and Ag and Food Systems Consultant
Read “Lack of Affordable Child Care is Hurting Young Farm Families’ Ability to Grow Their Businesses” – For decades the average age of the American farmer has been increasing. The 2017 USDA Census of Agriculture found the average age to be 57.5 years old, up 1.2 years from 2012. It’s hard to attract young people to farming and these foundational quality of life issues must be addressed. Farming families want the best for their children and we need to make sure rural communities and the children across rural America don’t get left behind as we work to address the child care crisis facing our country. National organizations like the American Farmers Union have identified child care as a priority in the upcoming Farm Bill reauthorization. Now is the time we can all make a difference on this critical issue.
Want more? Check out Civil Eats’ Summer Reading list with the latest books covering food, agriculture and rural issues.