More Food for Thought

Click for more infoThe locavore’s dilemma : in praise of the 10,000-mile diet by University of Toronto professor Pierre Desrochers and his wife, Hiroko Shimizu, is a controversial book on food and agriculture.  The authors argue that most of the gains the world has made in food security have come from the evolution of small-scale agriculture to corporate-driven agribusiness.  Desrochers and Shimizu believe that  multi-nationals like McDonald’s and Walmart have made food both safer and cheaper.  After reviewing the evidence, the authors believe that sustainable farming and eating local will not solve problems with our current food supply system.

Not surprisingly, this book has generated some controversy. For an interesting discussion on it, read an article which appeared in Maclean’s magazine.


Trash Talk: What You Throw Away by Amy Tilmont and Jeff Garside

Trash TalkFrom the Second Nature: Changes and Challenged in the New Environment series comes a brand new book called Trash Talk: What You Throw Away. This great nonfiction title, aimed at children 8 years old and up, discusses a current problem that is only growing and that “poses a problem for people around the world.”

The book begins by comprehensively explaining the problem with the way we treat our waste. By giving historical background and future forecasts, the book helps younger readers (and their parents) understand the magnitude of this issue. Halfway through the book, the focus switches to what we can do to solve this problem, as authors Amy Tilmont and Jeff Garside highlight some of the bright ideas that scientists are working on. With vibrant, eye-catching pictures, a handy glossary, and some inspiring quotes collected at the back of the book, Trash Talk: What You Throw Away is a great nonfiction resource to help bring awareness to this issue.

-Valerie, Manager of Children’s Services

Food for thought

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The seed underground : a growing revolution to save food by Janisse Ray (363.83 R263) is a fascinating new book which  discusses the loss of fruit and vegetable varieties and the genetically modified industrial monocultures being used today. It shares the author’s personal experiences growing, saving, and swapping seeds, and deconstructs the politics and genetics of seeds.  With the current focus on agricultural trends, and especially urban agriculture, this is a timely and very relevant read.

Air quality and idling

Idling our cars to warm up the engines is standard practice during the cold days of winter, but how long is too long?  Government guidelines recommend no more than two to three minutes of idling on cold winter days.  Using a block heater, if you have one, helps with cold starts.  Also, the wise use of remote car starters is important in avoiding excessively long warm ups.

Not only does idling waste fuel, it also contributes to air pollution.  Health Canada estimates more than 5,000 Canadians die prematurely each year because of air pollution and children are the most vulnerable.

For more information on idling and air quality, click here.