Agricultural Literacy Week 2020 - Book List

Agricultural Literacy Week is a project of The Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA-VT), Vermont Department of Libraries, and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. This list has been created and shared by the Vermont Department of Libraries.

Ages 0-4

A year on the farm (Jun 2015)
Author: Unstead, Sue
Follows the busy lives of Mr. and Mrs. Farmer on their farm throughout the seasons of the year, including turning over the soil in winter, caring for the baby animals born in spring, watering crops in the summer, and apples and wheat in fall.

Bee-bim Bop! (Sep 2005)
Author:  Linda Sue Park
A hungry Korean American child tells about helping her mother make a traditional Korean dish.

Cooking with Sunshine: How Plants Make Food (Aug 2012)
Author: Lawrence, Ellen 
Explore the process of photosynthesis and how it powers the lives of plants.

From flower to honey (Jun 2002)
Author: Nelson, Robin 
Follow each step in the production of honey.

If you plant a seed (Mar 2015)
Author: Nelson, Kadir
Small acts can have great power.

Lola plants a garden (Aug 2014)
Author: Mcquinn, Anna Illustrator: Beardshaw, Rosalind
After Lola reads a book about garden poems she wants to plant some flowers.

Planting a rainbow (Jun 2003)
Author: Ehlert, Lois
A guide to understanding how to plant bulbs, seeds and seedlings as well as nurture their growth.

Seeds move! (Mar 2019)
Author: Page, Robin
Illustrates some of the different ways that seeds are dispersed throughout nature, from floating in water and scattering in the air, to hitching a ride on an animal's fur coat and being burrowed by ants.


Ages 5-8

At the dairy farm (Jan 2017)
Author: Pendergast, George
Presents information on dairy farming, including what it is, how farmers take care of their cows, and where cow's milk comes from.

Bring me some apples and I'll make you a pie: a story about Edna Lewis (Jan 2009)
Author: Gourley, Robbin
Edna and members of her family gather fruits, berries, and vegetables from the fields, garden, and orchard on their Virginia farm and turn them into wonderful meals. Includes facts about the life of Edna Lewis, a descendant of enslaved people, who grew up to be a famous chef.

Farm (Jan 2016)
Author: Pettiford, Rebecca
Vibrant photographs and carefully leveled text take emergent readers on a trip to a farm and introduces them to the livestock raised and crops grown there.

Give bees a chance (Apr 2017)
Author: Barton, Bethany,
A book about the unsung heroes of the bug world presents a high-energy introduction to bees that provides all kinds of information about our buzzing neighbors.

Hey, hey, hay!: a tale of bales and the machines that make them (Aug 2018)
Author: Mihaly, Christy Illustrator: Cepeda, Joe
A simple rhyming story follows a young girl and her mom as they utilize machines on the family ranch to make hay.   

How did that get in my lunchbox?: the story of food (Jan 2011)
Author: Butterworth, Christine Illustrator: Gaggiotti, Lucia
Easy-to-read text, accompanied by full-color illustrations, introduces young readers to the processes involved in producing food found in lunchboxes.

Maple syrup from the sugarhouse (Nov 2017)
Author: Knowlton, Laurie Lazzaro Illustrator: Mitter, Kathy
Kelsey and her father begin tapping sugar maple trees as family and friends gather to help in the process of turning the harvested sap into maple syrup.

My first cookbook: fun recipes to cook together...with as much mixing, rolling, scrunching, and squishing as possible! (Mar 2020)
A STEAM-supporting recipe collection by the experts at America’s Test Kitchen includes beginner-level snacks and meals that kids can prepare with supervision, from English Muffin Pizzas and Rice Noodle Bowls to Thanksgiving Biscuits and Chinese New Year Pork Dumplings.

Right this very minute: a table-to-farm book about food and farming (Feb 2019)
Author: Detlefsen, Lisl H. Illustrator: Kurilla, Renee
What's that you say? You're hungry? Right this very minute? Then you need a farmer. You have the stories of so many right here on your table.

The secret garden of George Washington Carver (Jan 2020)
Author: Barretta, Gene Illustrator: Morrison, Frank,
A picture book account inspired by George Washington Carver’s secret childhood garden describes how his experiences with growing things helped him develop a love of nature that shaped his adult achievements as a botanist, scientist, and inventor.


Ages 9-12

Backyard cookbook (Aug 2010)
Author: Rees, Rob
Presents recipes that make use of garden fruits and vegetables available during each of the four seasons.

Food and farming (Aug 2009)
Author: Parker, Steve
Easy-to-read text and up-to-date photographs explain the effects of increases in food supply and the things people can do to slow down these changes.

Our farm: four seasons with five kids on one family's farm (Sep 2008)
Author: Rosen, Michael J.
A journal of one year on the Bennett farm in central Ohio. Shows how one family, with the help of relatives and friends, creates a life and livelihood on a 150-acre farm.

Plant, cook, eat!: a children's cookbook (Mar 2018)
Author: Archer, Joe
Explains how to plant seeds, harvest fruits and vegetables, determine which plant parts are edible, spot pests in the garden, and use crops to cook--from bean and bacon spaghetti to polenta chips to tomato, feta, and basil pizza.

The farm that feeds us: a year in the life of an organic farm (May 2020)
Author: Castaldo, Nancy F. Illustrator: Hsu, Ginnie
Follow a farm throughout the year to discover how the farmer grows fresh and tasty food for us to eat in a sustainable and natural way.

Return to Sender (September 2010)
Author: Julia Alvarez
An 11-year-old Vermonter befriends workers from Mexico his father hired to help on the family farm and is challenged to thing about immigration, culture, and friendship in new ways.


Ages 13-17

Cook with Amber: fun, fresh recipes to get you in the kitchen (Oct 2018)
Author: Kelley, Amber
The teenage culinary star provides eighty recipes to encourage readers to start cooking, including such dishes as zucchini puffs, grilled flank steak, overnight ginger-soy chicken, mushroom and sausage stuffing, and campfire mochi sandwiches.

Food and farming (Aug 2012)
Author: Green, Jen
This thought-provoking book looks at the way changing ideas about the environment and sustainability have affected the way we obtain our food, and will do so in the future.

Free-range farming (Jan 2016)
Author: Mickelson, Trina
Explains to readers what "free-range" means and what the benefits of free-range farming are.

Growing and eating green: careers in farming, producing, and marketing food (Aug 2009)
Author: Owen, Ruth,
Come inside for a fresh look at careers in 'green' food, from planting to cultivation, and merchandising to selling. In addition to the "greening" of conventional methods of food production, this book examines careers in alternative energy, equipment, packaging, and delivery systems.

Organic food and farming (May 2014)
Presents essays that cover varying opinions on organic food, discussing such topics as whether organic food is healthier than other food, whether organic farming has a positive effect on the world, and the future of organic food.

Salty, bitter, sweet (Mar 2020)
Author: Cuevas, Mayra
A driven 17-year-old girl whose family life has fallen apart after the death of her Cuban abuela and the divorce of her parents turns to a kitchen apprenticeship in Lyon, France, as the only means to bring order back to her life.

The green teen cookbook: recipes for all seasons--written by teens, for teens (Jul 2014)
A cookbook for beginners and for all those interested in pursuing an eco-friendly lifestyle, includes one hundred favorite recipes and tips for eating on a budget in a healthy and environmentally friendly way.

The story of seeds: from Mendel's garden to your plate, and how there's more of less to eat around the world (Feb 2016)
Author: Castaldo, Nancy F.
An introduction to seed life and its indelible role in today's world includes coverage of the role seeds play in the food supply, the maintenance of secret seed vaults, and the consequences of genetically modified foods on cultivation diversity.

Where have all the bees gone?: pollinators in crisis (Feb 2020)
Author: Hirsch, Rebecca E.
Bees pollinate 75 percent of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts grown in the United States. Around the world, bees pollinate $24 billion worth of crops each year. Some bee species teeter on the brink of extinction. Find out how you can help these important pollinators.



Afterlife (April 2020)
Author: Julia Alvarez
Retired, widowed, college professor Antonia Vega has always been part of the support system for the migrant farmworker population in her small Vermont community. But when an undocumented, pregnant teenager seeks her help, her perspective on family, humanity, and community expand.

Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants (2014)
Author: Wall Kimmerer, Robin
Kimmerer, a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, and founder/director of the Center for Native Peoples and the Environment, brings together modern science and ancient indigenous wisdom. She demonstrates the relationship and reverence between Native Americans and the natural world, shows gifts and lessons of plants and outlines the forces of degradation that threaten the environment.

Brewing local: American-grown beer (Oct 2016)
Author: Hieronymus, Stan
Brewers have always been at the forefront of the locavore movement, using not only locally-grown, traditional ingredients, but also cultivated and foraged flora to produce beers that capture the essence of the place they were made.

Chicken: a history from farmyard to factory (Jun 2020)
Author: Josephson, Paul R.
Science historian Josephson presents a thought-provoking exposé of the poultry industry. He traces the history of how the red jungle fowl from Southeast Asia became the modern domesticated chicken and shares how different cultures have incorporated chickens into various religious practices, literature, and gendered economies (with women often having taken charge of poultry management).

Dirt to Soil: One Family’s Journey into Regenerative Agriculture 1st Edition (October 2018)
Author:  Brown, Gabe
Dirt to Soil tells the detailed story of the Browns’ trials and errors as they built a diverse, resilient, no-till farming operation that operates completely without synthetic fertilizer, herbicides, or fungicides. The book provides an in-depth look at what it takes to build soil health.

Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land (2018).
Author: Penniman, Leah
co-founder of Soul Fire Farm is committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system. She layers modern activism and the practices and spirit of ancestors while offering an indispensable how-to on establishing and running a farm.

Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement (2018).
Author: White, Monica M.
The University of Wisconsin-Madison assistant professor of environmental justice challenges the existing portrait of oppression and exploitation of black people to demonstrate how agriculture was the site of resistance. She connects today’s urban farmer-activists to historic African-Americans who built sustainable communities through agriculture.

Hippie food: how back-to-the-landers, longhairs, and revolutionaries changed the way we eat (2018)
Author: Kauffman, Jonathan
A narrative history of the alternative-foods movement of the past half century explores the diverse fringe trends, charismatic personalities and counterculture elements that have rendered quotidian wholefoods, from whole grain bread and tofu to yogurt and brown rice, part of the mainstream American diet.

Land Justice: Re-imagining Land, Food, and the Commons (2017)
Authors: Editors Williams, Justine M. and Holt-Gimenez, Eric
The book’s chapters written by activists and scholars, explores the history of land theft, dispossession, and consolidation in the United States … and alternative ways forward toward democratized land justice, based on redistributive policies and cooperative ownership models.

Liquid gold: bees and the pursuit of midlife honey (May 2020)
Author: Morgan-Grenville, Roger
Two men decide to become beekeepers, learning about nature and about themselves in the process.

Stand Together or Starve Alone: Unity and Chaos in the U.S. Food Movement (Nov 2017)
Author: Winne, Mark
This book explores the root causes of food-related problems in the 20th and 21st centuries and explains why collective impact―the social form of working together for a common goal―is the method that needs to be employed to reach a successful resolution to hunger, obesity, and the challenges of the industrial food system.

The allure of fungi (Jan 2018) Author: Pouliot, Alison
Although relatively little known, fungi provide the links between the various organisms and ecosystems that underpin our functioning planet. The Allure of Fungi presents fungi through multiple perspectives - those of mycologists and ecologists, foragers and forayers, naturalists and farmers, aesthetes and artists, philosophers and Traditional Owners.

The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience and Farming (2015)
Author: Blair
Blair, owner of Native Mountain Farm, compiles stories of farmers of color from First Nations to modern immigrants while tracing her own families roots in the soil. Her photographic portraits illustrate the stories.

The earth in her hands: 75 extraordinary women working in the world of plants (Mar 2020) Author: Jewell, Jennifer
The Earth in Her Hands celebrates the important contributions women make to the wide world of plants--in the fields of horticulture, environmental science, botany, floral design, farming, landscape architecture, herbalism, food justice, and more.

The Food Explorer: The True Adventures of the Globe-Trotting Botanist Who Transformed What America Eats (Feb 2018)
Author: Stone, Daniel
Stone’s book follows the travels of the young botanist David Fairchild as he travels the world in search of new fruits and vegetables that could be grown in the United States. Part food book, part travelogue, Stone’s evocative writing brings the reader inside Fairchild’s mind as he visits locations around the world still unknown to the West. 

The secret life of cows (Jun 2018)
AuthorYoung, Rosamund
The author distills a lifetime of organic farming wisdom, describing the surprising personalities of her cows and other animals.

The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen (2017)
by Sherman, Sean with Dooley, Beth
Sherman, the Oglala Lakota chef and founder of The Sioux Chef, dispels outdated notions of Native American fare; no fry bread, dairy products, or sugar here. The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Kitchen features healthful plates that embrace venison, duck, blueberries, sage, amaranth, and abundant wildflowers.

Uncertain harvest: the future of food on a warming planet (May 2020)
Author: Mosby, Ian
In a world expected to reach a staggering population of 9 billion by 2050, and with global temperatures rising fast, humanity must fundamentally change the way it grows and consumes food. Examining cutting-edge research, the authors present a roadmap for a global food policy, while examining eight foods that could save us: algae, caribou, kale, millet, tuna, crickets, milk, and rice.


Barbecue (2017) - Cooking over fire is an ancient and universal practice, and this beautifully shot food documentary aims to showcase its rich history and global appeal. Australian director Matthew Salleh travels to 12 countries, from South Africa and Mongolia to the Syrian border, uncovering the multitudinous ways that different cultures grill meat—and what it all really means.

Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011) You’ll rethink everything you think you know about sushi after watching this acclaimed documentary. The engaging film follows Jiro Ono, who is widely considered the greatest sushi chef in the world, and gives a peek behind the curtain at Sukiyabashi Jiro, his Michelin-starred, 10-seat omakase sushi restaurant hidden in a Tokyo subway station.

Out Here (2013) a full-length documentary film about the experiences of queer farmers across the country, created by the Queer Farmer Film Project and directed by Jonah Mossberg of Milkweed Farm in Brattleboro, Vermont. The film explores the dynamic relationships between gender, sexuality, and agriculture and in the process created a network and community of queer farmers.

Sustainable (2016) - Following the seasons on a farm owned by a seventh-generation Illinois farmer, Sustainable shines a light on the beauty and necessity of sustainable farming and the downsides of industrial agriculture. The film emphasizes the benefits of sustainable farming for the land and our health—all through the lens of farmers and chefs who have made a commitment to sourcing local ingredients.

Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat (2018) - Based on the best-selling cookbook of the same name, this four-part docu-series breaks cooking down into four key elements: salt, fat, acid, and heat. Author and chef Samin Nosrat travels the world to explore how these four simple characteristics play a role in every delicious meal—even if we don’t realize it.

The Biggest Little Farm (2018) follows two dreamers and a dog on an odyssey to bring harmony to both their lives and the land. John and Molly Chester make a choice that takes them out of the city and onto 200 acres in the foothills of Ventura County, endeavoring to build a diverse farm in complete coexistence with nature. The film chronicles eight years of daunting work as they attempt to create the utopia they seek, planting 10,000 orchard trees and over 200 different crops, and bringing in animals of every kind.

Theater of Life (2016) - Theater of Life, asks, “What if food waste could feed the hungry?” The film takes you behind the scenes of Italian chef Massimo Bottura’s gourmet soup kitchen. They use food waste to create dishes of the highest caliber for refugees and homeless people. $5000 for an hour.