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Local and Sustainable Food

See also: Pittsburgh Local Food and Farmers' Markets.

The premise of the local food (locavore) movement is that eating supermarket food that is shipped in from 3,000 miles away is wasting energy resources, bankrupting local farmers, enriching large corporations and resulting in food where flavor is being replaced by chemicals and hormones.


Selected Books

For additional titles, browse the library catalog under the subject Local Foods.

Goodall, Jane
Harvest for Hope: a Guide to Mindful Eating
TX631.G66 2005
Goodall, famous for her studies of primates, turns her attention to the food (and supermarket) chain.
Grescoe, Taras
Bottomfeeder: How to Eat Ethically in a World of Vanishing Seafood
TX385.G68 2008
What to do? Deplete the ocean's supply by eating wild-caught fish or pollute its waters by eating farmed fish? What a quandary. It's enough to make you a vegetarian!
Johnson, Paul
Fish Forever: The Definitive Guide to Understanding, Selecting, and Preparing Healthy, Delicious, and Environmentally Sustainable Seafood
TX747.J63 2007
Fish is one food that in Pittsburgh is generally not a "Local" food. If you are concerned about sustainability issues and still want to eat fish, pick up this IACP Cookbook of the Year.
Kingsolver, Barbara
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
S521.5.A67 K56 2007
Novelist Barbara Kingsolver and her family move from Tucson, Arizona to rural Virginia and vow to buy only food raised in their own neighborhood, grow it themselves, or learn to live without it. Amusing and informative with a website for downloading recipes. It is also available for downloading as an eBook.
Lappé, Frances Moore and Anna Lappé
Hope's Edge: the Next Diet for a Small Planet
TX392.L28 2002
The Lappés address the problems of globalization and industrialization of agriculture, advocating a plant-based diet.
McWilliams, James E.
Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly
GT2850.M375 2009
McWilliams offers alternatives to local food purists on the one side and agribusiness on the other. He is currently a fellow in the Agrarian Studies Program at Yale University and an associate professor of history at Texas State University,
Pollan, Michael
In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto
RA784.P643 2008
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." In other words, eat unprocessed, unadulterated foods and not manufactured food-like substances.
Pollan, Michael
The Omnivore's Dilemma: a Natural History of Four Meals
GT2850.P65 2006
This award-winning ecological and anthropological study of eating offers insight into food consumption in the twenty-first century, explaining how an abundance of unlimited food varieties reveals the responsibilities of consumers to protect their health and the environment.
Ryder, Tracey and Carole Topalian
Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods
TX715.R9933 2010
Edible Communities is a network of regional food magazines in the United States and Canada that celebrates place-based foods (see Edible Allegheny). The book profiles local food artisans who are making a difference and provides 80 seasonal specialty recipes that incorporate local foods from every region of the United States.
Salatin, Joel
Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front
S605.5.S345 2007x
Joel Salatin is owner of the Polyface Farm in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia that Michael Pollan writes about in the Omnivore's Dilemma. Salatin explains how the current system with all of its regulations and inspections favors industrial, global corporate food systems and discourages community-based food commerce, resulting in homogenized selection, mediocre quality, and exposure to non-organic farming practices.
Shafia, Louisa
Lucid Food: Cooking for an Eco-Conscious Life
TX741.S493 2009
Any book that has rhubarb on the cover and offers recipes for gingko nuts and amaranth gets my stamp of approval. Divided up into fall, winter, summer and spring, this book will help you cook and eat in season.
Smith, Alisa and J.B. MacKinnon
Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally
TX360.C32 B78 2007
Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon were shocked when they realized how far supermarket food travels. So for one year they pledge to eat only food produced within 100 miles of their Vancouver home: the 100 mile diet.

Web Sites

  • Civil Eats
    Civil Eats is a blog that promotes critical thought about sustainable agriculture and food systems with a focus on food politics. The editors are mainly from New York and San Francisco but they cover issues across the country.
  • Edible Communities
    Edible Communities offers more than 52 regional publications emphasizing local foods and farms in distinct culinary regions throughout the United States, Canada, and Europe. Read more about how it started in this New York Times article.
  • Edible Communities Publications
    Some of the Edible Community publications are available in digital editions so that you can browse them online, some have selected articles online and many of them offer an email newsletter you can subscribe to. Below are some digital editions.
  • Epicurious: Seasonal Cooking
    Slow and Local food is largely about eating what is in season. Check out these recipes for ideas on how to use seasonal produce.
  • Farm to School
    Farm to School connects schools (K-12) and local farms with the objectives of serving healthy meals in school cafeterias, improving student nutrition, providing agriculture, health and nutrition education opportunities, and supporting local and regional farmers.
  • Food Co-op Initiative
    Interesting in starting a Food Co-op that benefits its workers, the community and the environment? Co-ops can provide a supportive working environment, community spaces and programs, and can support local and sustainable farming practices.
  • Food Routes
    Where does YOUR food come from? Spending just $10 a week on local food can have a significant impact on your local economy and for family farmers in your region.
  • Local Harvest
    The freshest, healthiest, most flavorful organic food is what's grown closest to you.

  • Sustainable Table
    Sustainable Table is a consumer campaign developed by the Global Resource Action Center for the Environment (GRACE) to educate the consumer about the Sustainable Food movement.
  • USDA: Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food
    Even the US Department of Agriculture is getting on the band wagon with this USDA-wide effort to create new economic opportunities by better connecting consumers with local producers.
  • yumpittsburgh
    yumpittsburgh is part of a Penn State project which strives to strengthen the local food infrastructure in Western Pa by connecting the supply and demand sides of our foodshed, the producers and the consumers.