Book to Action leads to further discussions of food justice and food security

If you follow food from field to fork, you’ll uncover the complex system of food, farms, and communities.  This summer, the County of San Luis Obispo Public Libraries invited readers to discover the SLO County food system with Book to Action, a program funded by the California Center for the Book.

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Tasty titles

Readers were encouraged to discuss Letters to a Young Farmer–a collection of letters from food experts like Alice Waters, Joel Salatin, and Raj Patel–as well as read and discuss The Food Activist Handbook, by Ali Berlow, which offers actionable ideas for supporting local food systems, local farms, and food justice. Adults and teens received free copies of the books, provided by California Center for the Book.

For foodies who wanted more to savor, the Library curated additional reading lists with cookbooks, gardening guides, and food memoirs.

Local showcase

To get the discussion started, the Library reached out on social media channels with local daily food challenges that featured local businesses and area organizations supporting food security and sustainability. Some followers took a fun foodie poll in Instagram stories.

Culinary connection

Online cooking classes introduced discussion topics from Handbook as well as climate-friendly recipes with locally sourced ingredients, tips for shopping at farmers’ markets, knife skills tips, and more.

Designed by Cal Poly nutrition students in partnership with San Luis Coastal Unified School District’s Food Services team, the videos are available to the public, and will be shared with other area school districts, and juvenile hall and jail residents as part of programming.

Visit the Library’s  YouTube playlist of food classes for delicious climate-friendly recipes and shopping tips.

Additional programming for 2021

Food justice and food security are compelling topics, and the Library plans to keep the discussion going.  Look for online community panels, partnerships, and pop-up interactive programs addressing food waste, hunger, and small farms next year.

Blog Post by Erica Thatcher, Collection Development Coordinator, County of San Luis Obispo Public Libraries

2020 Book to Action program example