Every once in a while, I’ll let you know about a book I’ve read like “The Art of Eating In” or “Food Matters.” I don’t have the time to read as many books about sustainable food as I’d like — or even to discover the titles of books that are getting published on the subject.

I was happy when I discovered Farmbrarian, a website that reviews books about sustainable food. Through the site, I’ve discovered many titles that I was unaware of. It’s a great resource for those looking to read up on the environment and food.

Erin FisherI asked Erin Fisher, one half of the Farmbrarian team, if she’d answer a few questions for my readers, and she was kind enough to do so.

MNN: Who is behind Farmbrarian?

Erin Fisher: We’re a husband and wife duo with a mutual passion for nutrition, sustainable agriculture, reading and teaching. (Erin, shown at left, is an academic librarian, and David is a student of nutrition.) 

Tell us about the origins of Farmbrarian and what it's all about.

Just like many others, our lives changed after reading Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.” We became fervid readers of books about our food system and completely changed the way we ate. At the time, there was no single source for finding such books, and so Farmbrarian was born.

In the library world, what we do is known as readers advisory — or assisting readers with finding books relevant to their interests. Farmbrarian aims to provide an ever-growing list of book reviews for those interested in learning more about food, farming and sustainability.  

Of all the books you've reviewed, which one has made the most impact on you? Why?

Erin: Temra Costa’s “Farmer Jane: Women Changing the Way We Eat” is a truly unique book. Costa profiles 26 women who are revolutionizing every aspect of the American food system. Activists, farmers, restaurateurs and others are all featured in the mix. In our society, farming is so often thought of as a man’s job. Costa’s book rightfully highlights the many women who are also key players in delivering healthy food to our tables. I’m always telling people about “Farmer Jane.”

DavidDavid: (Pictured, right) One of my favorites was “Twain’s Feast: Searching for America's Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens” by Andrew Beahrs. Mark Twain, like Erin and me, moved from Missouri to Nevada, so it was a great look at what people ate 150 years ago in the only two places I can call home. This personal connection made a great book all the more engaging.

What books are you working on right now?

A number of great books were recently published or are on the horizon. Of all the books on our to-read list, I’m most excited about William Powers’ recent book, “Twelve by Twelve: A One-Room Cabin Off the Grid and Beyond the American Dream.” David is excited to begin reading “Meat: A Benign Extravagance,” a forthcoming book by Simon Fairlie.

Any plans or goals for Farmbrarian for the new year? What would you like to see happen with the website by the end of 2011?

Given the ever-increasing popularity of the sustainable food movement, we know there are more people than ever interested in learning about growing and eating real food. Most of those folks are self-taught. And we created Farmbrarian for them, so our greatest hope for 2011 is to share our site with more readers.

Since you both are committed to our food system, is it safe to say that you love food, too? Describe your perfect meal.

Just like our site’s tag line, we love both growing and eating food. But it’s safe to say we’re much better at eating it. A perfect meal in our minds is both delicious and fulfilling. I love celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday because it combines everything we are passionate about: seasonal eating, giving thanks for the earth’s bounty, and joining around the table with friends and family.


Any meal is perfect when you celebrate all of those things, no matter how simple or fancy the dishes.

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I want to thank Erin and David for taking the time to share their vision for Farmbrarian with us. I suggest you add Farmbrarian to your RSS feeder so you don’t miss a single one of their reviews. 

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Interview with a Farmbrarian
A book review website focuses on books for those with a passion for sustainable food.