Agricultural Literacy Week 2021 Book List

Check out these suggestions from the Vermont Department of Libraries to increase your agricultural literacy! Many of these books were chosen to accompany our events, but they make great reads on their own as well.

Ages 0-4 years

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.

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.

The First Strawberries (Jun 1998)
Author: Bruchac, Joseph Illustrator: Vojtech, Anna
From an award-winning Native American storyteller comes this captivating re-telling of a Cherokee
legend, which explains how strawberries came to be. Long ago, the first man and woman quarreled. The
woman left in anger, but the Sun sent tempting berries to Earth to slow the wife's retreat. Luminous
paintings perfectly complement the simple, lyrical text.

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 years

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.

We Are Water Protectors (Mar 2020)
Author: Lindstrom, Carole Illustrator: Goade, Michaela
Inspired by the many Indigenous-led movements across North America, We Are Water Protectors issues
an urgent rallying cry to safeguard the Earth's water from harm and corruption—a bold and lyrical
picture book written by Carole Lindstrom and vibrantly illustrated by Michaela Goade.

Ages 9-10 years

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

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.

Native American Gardening: Stories, Projects, and Recipes for Families (1996)
Author: Caduto, Michael & Bruchac, Joseph
Readers will learn about the relationships between people and the gardens of Earth, seed preservation,
Native diets and meals, natural pest control, and the importance of the Circle of Life.

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.

Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera (Feb 2020)
Author: Fleming, Candace Illustrator: Rohmann, Eric
Get up close and personal with Apis, one honeybee, as she embarks on her journey through life,
complete with exquisitely detailed illustrations. Candace Fleming and Eric Rohmann describe the life
cycle of the hard-working honeybee in this poetically written, thoroughly researched picture
book, complete with stunning gatefold and an essay on the plight of honeybees.

Ages 13-17 years

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.

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.

For the Love of Soil: Strategies to Regenerate Our Food Production Systems (2021)
Author: Nicole Masters
Despite the challenges food producers face, Masters’ book shows even incredibly degraded landscapes
can be regenerated through mimicking natural systems and focusing on the soil first.

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.

Growing a Revolution (2017)
Author: David R. Montgomery
Combining ancient wisdom with modern science, this book lays out a solid case for an inspiring vision
where agriculture becomes the solution to environmental problems, helping feed us all, cool the planet,
and restore life to the land.

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.

One Size Fits None (2019)
Author: Stephanie Anderson
Stephanie Anderson argues that in order to provide nutrient-rich food and fight climate change, we
need to move beyond sustainable to regenerative agriculture, a practice that is highly tailored to local
environments and renews resources. This book will resonate with anyone concerned about the future of
food in America, providing guidance for creating a better, regenerative agricultural future.

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.

Pastoral Song: A Farmer’s Journey (2021)
Author: James Rebanks
James Rebanks profiles his family’s farm across three generations, revealing through this intimate lens
the profound global transformation of agriculture and of the human relationship to the land.

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 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

The Economics of Sustainable Food: Smart Policies for Health and the Planet (2021)
Author: Nicoletta Batini
This book details the true cost of food for people and the planet. It illustrates how to transform our
broken system, alleviating its severe financial and human burden. The key is smart macroeconomic
policy that moves us toward methods that protect the environment like regenerative land and sea
farming, low-impact urban farming, and alternative protein farming, and toward healthy diets.

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)
Author: Young, 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)
Authors: 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.

This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm (2018)
Author: Ted Genoways
Following a farming family from harvest to harvest, Ted Genoways explores the rapidly changing world
of small, traditional farming operations. He creates a vivid, nuanced portrait of a radical new landscape
and one family’s fight to preserve their legacy and the life they love.

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.

We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast (2019)
Author: Jonathan Safran Foer
The task of saving the planet will involve a great reckoning with ourselves―with our all-too-human
reluctance to sacrifice immediate comfort for the sake of the future. We have, he reveals, turned our
planet into a farm for growing animal products, and the consequences are catastrophic. Only collective
action will save our home and way of life. And it all starts with what we eat―and don’t eat―for


Kiss the Ground (2020)
A revolutionary group of activists, scientists, farmers, and politicians band together in a global
movement of "Regenerative Agriculture" that could balance our climate, replenish our vast water
supplies, and feed the world.

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.

The Pollinators (2019)
The Pollinators is a cinematic journey around the United States following migratory beekeepers and
their truckloads of honeybees as they pollinate the flowers that become the fruits, nuts and vegetables
we all eat. Hear from farmers, scientists, chefs and academics along the way to give a broad perspective
about the threats to honeybees, what it means to our food security and how we can improve it.

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.

The Biggest Little Farm (2018)
The Biggest Little Farm 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.

The Need to Grow (2019)
The Need To GROW follows pioneers of cutting-edge technology as they fight to localize sustainable food
systems and regenerate Earth's dying soils.

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.

Vermont Farm Kids: Rooted in the Land (2018)
“Vermont Farm Kids: Rooted in the Land,” was produced by Maria Reade, a farmer, freelance writer,
and photographer, and James Chandler, a local filmmaker. This short documentary depicts the unique
and poignant stories of kids and young adults (ages 10-28) who’ve grown up on a farm in Vermont. The
film expresses the importance of what it means to each child to grow up on their own farm, and how
those experiences have shaped their lives.