Book Club

SGT July Book Club: Turn Here Sweet Corn

Its July and yes, we all know its been hot. Minnesotans are notoriously aware of the current state of things, especially when they are not in the realm of perfect, sunny and 70. It is appropriate then, that for July, our book clubs have been reading a book by local author Atina Diffley, who is well connected to the weather extremes that effect our lives and our food. However, she might have a bit of a different perspective:


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SGT Book Clubs Kick Off Their Summer Reading

This month, our book clubs are going in divergent directions with two excellent reads. We hope that you can make it to one of the meetings to discuss them, but even if that is not an option, we encourage you to look deeper into these great works.


In Minneapolis, the SGT book club that meets at the Linden Hills Co-op will be reading the Dirty Life. They will be meeting on Wednesday, June 27th from 6:30-8:30 in the Community Room. This extremely entertaining read has been previously reviewed by SGT writer Merie Kirby. Here is an excerpt from her review:


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SGT May Book Club: Farm City

Spring is just about the perfect time to be reading a book that might just inspire you to turn that little plot of unused ground into something productive. You certainly don't have to live in Oakland California, although as you find out in this excellent read, it might make it much more interesting. Of course if you are as bold a spirit as is author and urban farmer Novella Carpenter, you find your own way to make things happen, education included.


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SGT April Book Club: Fair Food by Oran Hesterman

This month, the book club gets ambitious with Oran Hesterman's Fair Food: Growing a Healthy, Sustainable Food System for All. I say this because if you know anything about Hesterman and his Fair Food movement, it is no small deal. He is out to change the whole system. Well, perhaps not even change, but start over and build something new. When something is as dysfunctional as the American food system, indeed, it makes very little sense to try and fix it from within. There are times when something should just be thrown on the scrap heap...according to Hesterman, this is the time for action, our food system isn't going to fix itself.


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SGT March Book Club: American Wasteland

Everytime I think about the SGT book club, one thing that amazes me is that there is always more to read. You would think that every issue about food might one day be used up, but so complicated is our relationship to food, there is a never ending stream of interesting and useful reading within our grasp. So is this month's pick, American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half Its Food (and what we can do about it) by Jonathan Bloom. 


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SGT February Book Club: The Feast Nearby

In all of the discussion about local food, local business, and local farms, how do you really know what it means to "go local". I think that a good place to start would be with someone who has really lived it. Someone who took the challenge of living local with almost no budget, but all of the skill to take local food and use it to the fullest. This is exactly what Robin Mather has done in "The Feast Nearby: How I lost my job, buried a marriage, and found my way by keeping chickens, foraging, preserving, bartering and eating locally (all on $40 a week)".

The book is truly a testament of what can happen if you have no other real, good options. You learn as you go, and if you are kind, you share what you learned with the rest of us. Not only that, you get real lessons and real recipes so that if you decide to eat local, raise chickens, and meet your farmers, this book can help get you there.

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Four Fish: January SGT Book Club

With all of our midwestern talk about sustainably raised land animals, thinking about the fishing industry can often draw a big fat blank. Perhaps the answer is to just eat fewer fish, don't eat those fish which are endangered, look for sustainably caught fish or possibly assume that the ocean is so vast that we could never really deplete it.

Take one look into Four Fish by Paul Greenberg and the issue becomes much more complicated and fascinating. It is one thing to think about trying to control how a herd of cows or a flock of chickens is managed. Consider the vast seas, international borders, politicians, scientists and of course, global demand. Its complicated.

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November SGT Book Club Ponders the Future of Seeds

As someone who has grown up in the midwest, the fact that the SGT bookclub is going to tackle Uncertain Peril: Genetic Engineering and the Future of Seeds," by Claire Hope Cummings, is poignant and exciting. My family began farming in some of the richest farmland in Illinois over 100 years ago and members of my extended family still work that land. Now, it is rows upon rows of tightly packed corn and soybean, no doubt genetically modified to produce at any cost. It still makes me shudder, but I am never quite sure why. Cummings will certainly shed some light on this and perhaps my hesitancy to be proud of the farm will have roots.

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October SGT Book Club This Week!

The Simple, Good and Tasty book club meetings are fast approaching and I expect an interesting and lively discussion this week. Why you ask? It seems that school lunch and what we are feeding our kids was always somewhere in the food discussion this summer and on into Fall. Governor Dayton declared September farm-to-school month and don't forget, the chocolate milk debates that were raging at the beginning of the summer.


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September SGT Book Club: Stuffed and Starved

This month, the Simple, Good and Tasty book club is tackling Stuffed and Starved by Raj Patel. Get ready to dive into the global food system and begin to think in new ways about how it serves or fails to serve humanity. Instead of focusing on individual choices, Raj Patel asks questions about how food is delivered to people, whether it be big box stores in America or third world farmers growing crops for the industrial world. Patel also gives us new insights on why the food system fails to equally to all. Perhaps one of the best qualities of his writing is that what is offered here is not simply a book for the Western world.

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