Throughout history, food has done more than simply provide sustenance. It has acted as a tool of social transformation, political organization, geopolitical competition, industrial development, military conflict and economic expansion. An Edible History of Humanity is an account of how food has helped to shape and transform societies around the world, from the emergence of farming in China by 7,500 BCE to today's use of sugar cane and corn to make ethanol.
Food has been a kind of technology, a tool that has changed the course of human progress. It helped to found, structure, and connect together civilizations worldwide, and to build empires and bring about a surge in economic development through industrialization. Food has been employed as a military and ideological weapon. And today, in the culmination of a process that has been going on for thousands of years, the foods we choose in the supermarket connect us to global debates about trade, development and the adoption of new technologies.
Drawing from many fields including genetics, archaeology, anthropology, ethno-botany and economics, the story of these food-driven transformations is a fully satisfying account of the whole of human history.
'Georgic' means 'to work the earth', and this poetic guide to country living combines practical wisdom on tending the land with exuberant fantasy and eulogies to the rhythms of nature. It describes hills strewn with wild berries in 'vine-spread autumn'; recommends watching the stars to determine the right time to plant seeds; and gives guidance on making wine and keeping bees. Yet the Georgics also tells of angry gods, bloody battles and a natural world fraught with danger from storms, pests and plagues. Expansive in its scope, lush in its language, this extraordinary work is at once a reflection on the cycles of life, death and rebirth, an argument for the nobility of labour and an impassioned reflection on the Roman Empire of Virgil's times. Kimberly Johnson's lyrical verse translation captures all the rich beauty and abundant imagery of the original, re-creating this ancient masterpiece for our times.
Since its publication in 1977, The Unsettling of America has been recognized as a classic of American letters. Wendell Berry argues that good farming is a cultural and spiritual discipline. Todays agribusiness, however, takes farming out of its cultural context and away from families. As a result, we as a nation are more estranged from the land—and from the intimate knowledge, love, and care of it.
Sadly, as Berry notes in his Afterword, his arguments and observations are more relevant than ever. We continue to suffer loss of community, the devaluation of human work, and the destruction of nature under an economic system dedicated to the mechanistic pursuit of products and profits. Although “this book has not had the happy fate of being proved wrong,” Berry writes, there are good people working “to make something comely and enduring of our life on this earth.” Wendell Berry is one of those people, writing and working, as ever, with passion, eloquence, and conviction.
“Wendell Berry is one of those rare individuals who speaks to us always of responsibility, of the individual cultivation of an active and aware participation in the arts of life.” —The Bloomsbury Review
“[Berry’s] poems, novels and essays . . . are probably the most sustained contemporary articulation of America’s agrarian, Jeffersonian ideal.” —Publishers Weekly
The Art of the Commonplace gathers twenty essays by Wendell Berry that offer an agrarian alternative to our dominant urban culture. Grouped around five themes—an agrarian critique of culture, agrarian fundamentals, agrarian economics, agrarian religion, and geobiography—these essays promote a clearly defined and compelling vision important to all people dissatisfied with the stress, anxiety, disease, and destructiveness of contemporary American culture.
Why is agriculture becoming culturally irrelevant, and at what cost? What are the forces of social disintegration and how might they be reversed? How might men and women live together in ways that benefit both? And, how does the corporate takeover of social institutions and economic practices contribute to the destruction of human and natural environments?
Through his staunch support of local economies, his defense of farming communities, and his call for family integrity, Berry emerges as the champion of responsibilities and priorities that serve the health, vitality and happiness of the whole community of creation.
Imagine a world where every town has their own local food source, grown in the safest way possible, where no drop of water or particle of light is wasted, and where a simple elevator ride can transport you to nature's grocery store - imagine the world of the vertical farm.
When Columbia professor Dickson Despommier set out to solve America's food, water, and energy crises, he didn't just think big - he thought up. Despommier's stroke of genius, the vertical farm, has excited scientists, architects, and politicians around the globe. Now, in this groundbreaking book, Despommier explains how the vertical farm will have an incredible impact on changing the face of this planet for future generations.
Despommier takes readers on an incredible journey inside the vertical farm, buildings filled with fruits and vegetables that will provide local food sources for entire cities.
Vertical farms will allow us to:
- Grow food 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
- Protect crops from unpredictable and harmful weather
- Re-use water collected from the indoor environment
- Provide jobs for residents
- Eliminate use of pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides
- Drastically reduce dependence on fossil fuels
- Prevent crop loss due to shipping or storage
- Stop agricultural runoff
Vertical farms can be built in abandoned buildings and on deserted lots, transforming our cities into urban landscapes which will provide fresh food grown and harvested just around the corner. Possibly the most important aspect of vertical farms is that they can built by nations with little or no arable land, transforming nations which are currently unable to farm into top food producers. In the tradition of the bestselling The World Without Us, The Vertical Farm is a completely original landmark work destined to become an instant classic.