With a new decade on the horizon and a stubbornly warm Christmas, now is a great time to pick up a few books, cuddle up under a (thin) blanket, and re-evaluate your understanding of sustainability. Here’s three books to take into the New Year:

Farming While Black by Leah Penniman

Since 1920, about 14 million acres of arable land has transferred from Black to white ownership. Leah Penniman’s Farming While Black is a manual for land reclamation within the food system, a look at power in small-scale farming, and a powerful look at the struggles Indigenous and African-heritage people in America face in the context of food.

Penniman manages Soul Fire Farm in New York, which focuses on food sovereignty and empowering minority communities. Read more about Penniman and her work here.

Silent Spring by Rachel Carson

Silent Spring is a true environmental classic. Rachel Carson’s revolutionary look at pesticides defined the conversation surrounding contemporary environmentalism and is still influencing policy today. 

This one is worth a re-visit (or a visit, if you haven’t read it yet) because, while approaching 60 years old, it provides a lot of insight into modern issues. Bird deaths are still prevalent today, and the anti-science discourse surrounding Silent Spring feels all-too familiar considering climate change denier movements. 

That’s not to say the book has aged perfectly, which is all the more reason to open Silent Spring up again and inspire some discussion.

The Unsettling of America by Wendell Berry

For those unfamiliar with Wendell Berry, he’s a farmer, agrarian theorist, and writer out of rural Kentucky. His writing had (and has–he’s writing today at the age of 85) a tangible impact on how America thinks about factory farming. The line between criticizing factory farming and criticizing regenerative smaller farms is important, and Berry can help you find it. 

By Julia Nall, Communications Coordinator.