I teach a class called Eco-Nutrition at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. Here are some readings and viewings you might like to explore which expand upon themes in the course.

This is a slide from the third class, about the people who inspire us (click on each photo to go to a website or video to learn more about them)

Some Recommended Books (support your local independent bookstore!)

Blaser, Martin. Missing Microbes: How the Over-use of Antibiotics is Fuelling Our Modern Plagues. (2014) Enlightening discussion of the human microbiome, antibiotic resistance, obesity, GERD and why H.Pylori might not be 100% enemy.

Blythman, Joanna. Swallow This: Serving Up the Food Industry’s Darkest Secrets. (2015) Guardian investigative journalist reveals interesting ingredients in processed foods (and less obvious foods such as fresh fruit salads). Preview, discussing “unprocessed foods” here.

Boyd, David. The Optimistic Environmentalist. (2015) Discusses a range of environmental successes to show us we’re making progress and solving environmental problems, and have the power to make positive change.

Brillat-Savarin, Jean Anthelme. The French thinker who inspired the Slow Food movement with his often hilarious and still relevant thoughts on food, in The Physiology of Taste; Or, Transcendental Gastronomy.

Collen, Alanna. 10% Human: How Your Body’s Microbes Hold the Key to Health and Happiness (2015) All about the microbiome.

Gillam, Carey. Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science. (2017) About Glyphosate and Roundup and the politics around this best-selling pesticide.

Grossman, Elizabeth. Chasing Molecules: Poisonous products, human health and the promise of green chemistry. (2009) Looks at the hazardous chemistry of everyday things, including a hefty chapter on nanotechnology, and how green chemistry may be able to make positive change.

Hart, Robert. Forest Gardening: Cultivating an Edible Landscape. (1991) About growing food in a perennial forest garden; as discussed in the film A Farm for the Future.

Hawken, Paul. Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Movement In the World Came Into Being & Why No One Saw it Coming. (2007) A leading environmentalist and social activist’s examination of the worldwide movement for social and environmental change.

Hewitt, Ben. The Town that Food Saved: How one community found vitality in local food. (2009) Thoughtful look at positive social change in a Vermont town whose population makes their living from local food.

Katz, Sandor Ellix. The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America’s Underground Food Movements. (2006)  Who’s doing what to make the world a better place.

Keith, Lierre. The Vegetarian Myth. (2009) Sustainability and our food supply; detailed discussion of agriculture’s impact on the environment; the ethical dilemmas facing vegan/vegetarian growers; and vegan/vegetarian nutritional issues.

Kennedy, David. Eat Your Greens: The Surprising Power of Home Grown Leaf Crops. (2014) Why consumers should grow their own greens to support an inadequate food system.

Kingsolver,Barbara. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. (2007) One family’s quest to live on local and sustainable food for a year – complete with recipes and thoughtful commentaries from her family.

Mancuso, Stefano & Alessandra Viola. Brilliant Green: The Surprising History & Science of Plant Intelligence. (2015) How we have overlooked the intelligence and sentience of plants, and why that matters.

McAdam, Rhona. Digging the City: An Urban Agriculture Manifesto. (2012) Food security in Canada and what urban agriculture has to say about that.

McKenna, Maryn. Big Chicken: The Incredible Story of How Antibiotics Created Modern Agriculture and Changed the Way the World Eats. (2017) The role of factory farming in creating antibiotic resistance.

Miller, Daphne. Farmacology: Total Health from the Ground Up. (2013) Readable and well-considered journey of discovery by an MD looking at food, farming and health.

Mintzberg, Henry. Rebalancing Society: Radical Renewal Beyond Left, Right and Center. (2015) (free download as a pdf pamphlet, 2014) How individuals have been enslaved and exploited by corporation culture, and how to rebalance society.

Mollison, Bill. Introduction to Permaculture. [2009] A digitized pamphlet that does what it says in the title!

Ohlson, Kristin. The Soil Will Save Us : How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies Are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet (2014) Includes a visit and interview with Allan Savory; good discussion of holistic grazing.

Robinson, Jo. Eating on the Wild Side (2013) How nutrition was bred out of foods by thousands of years of agriculture, and how to make better nutritional choices (buying, growing, eating and storing) in familiar fruits and vegetables.

Salatin, Joel. Folks, This Ain’t Normal. (2012) How to use the lessons of the past to make a better future, by the entertaining & outspoken “grass farmer” made famous by Michael Pollen (and Food, Inc.)

Schatzker, Mark. The Dorito Effect. (2015) Why flavour makes nutritional sense, and how to make better choices.

Schumacher, E.F. Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered. (1973) Sadly never out of date, this collection of essays addresses the impossibility of infinite growth and argues for sustainable development. Available to read online.

Singer, Peter. The Way We Eat: Why our food choices matter. (2006) The ethics of food choices.

Solomon, Steve. The Intelligent Gardener: Growing Nutrient-Dense Food. (2013) How to manage your soil for more nutritious crops.

Stella Natura. Annual calendar: biodynamic planting charts plus essays; proceeds fund a biodynamic-oriented intentional community in Pennsylvania that includes adults with developmental disabilities.

Tasch, Woody. Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing as if Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered. (2010) Inspired by the ideas in EF Schumacher’s Small Is Beautiful (see above)

Warner, Melanie. Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal. (2013) Exploration of the health effects of fast and processed foods commonly eaten in North America: the conflict between convenience and nutrition.

Williams, Florence. Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History. (2012) Why are pesticides and environmental toxins showing up in breast milk, why do girls hit puberty as young as 7 in North America, why is the incidence of breast cancer (in men as well as women) on the increase, and why doesn’t science and medicine understand this essential organ better?

Research sources: Articles/Journals/Magazines/Reports/Factsheets/Websites


Acrylamide – Health Canada’s information page health-canada/services/food-nutrition/food-safety/chemical-contaminants/food-processing-induced-chemicals/acrylamide

Acrylamide in Food and Cancer Risk U.S. National Cancer Institute

Survey Data on Acrylamide in Food: Individual Food Products  U.S. FDA


Food Additives in Canada List of Permitted Food Additives

What Foods Are Banned in Europe but Not Banned in the U.S.? Includes Potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil, BHA/BHT and others. (2018) New York Times

Agriculture / Farming / Farming Alternatives

Agricultural Land Reserve British Columbia’s land-use zoning to protect farmland

Agriculture in Canada,” a 2014 study in Human Activity and the Environment.

Agroecology Can agroecology save us from ‘scorched-earth’ agriculture?

Aquaculture Canadian Organic Seafood – an article discussing the 2012 regulations working their way into the Safe Food for Canadians act, which will allow seafood to be certified.

Aquaponics Aquaponics brings fish-fuelled vegetables to Toronto

Demographic Changes in Canadian Agriculture

Farm Size – Canada Canadian farmers prove size doesn’t matter.

Farmland Ownership Is it time to relax land ownership restrictions?

Forest Gardening Forest garden bearing fruit as both food producer, water filter

Forest Gardening How to plant a food forest this winter (2017) Modern Farmer

Island Grains Website describing a local grain-growing project in the Cowichan Valley

Regenerative Agriculture Could This be an Answer to Big Food

Rooftop Gardening Santropol Roulant, Montreal

Soil Health Ploughing on Regardless (2015)

SPIN Farming Pedal power takes Kelowna farmer’s crops to market (2011)

Antibiotic Resistance

Antibiotic Resistance Infographic Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In fast foods Antibiotics in Burgers: Majority of U.S. Fast Food Chains Fail Annual Report Card (October 2018) EcoWatch

Use on Animals: Essential Oils Might Be the New Antibiotics (January 2015)
Antibiotic use in food fuels resistance to vital drugs (intensive pig farming & antibiotic-resistant MRSA; includes video) (December 2015)

In Soil Bacteria Influence of Soil Use on Prevalence of Tetracycline, Streptomycin, and Erythromycin Resistance and Associated Resistance Genes (from Antimicrobial Agents & Chemotherapy, December 2011) Antimicrobial Agents & Chemotherapy

In Surfers Surfers more likely to get antibiotic resistant E. coli in their guts (2018)

Cystitis How Your Chicken Dinner Is Creating a Drug-Resistant Superbug (2012)

Use in Agriculture Why reducing antibiotics in farm animals isn’t as easy as it seems (2018) The Conversation


In Food in Canada

In Rice: How much arsenic is in your rice? Consumer Reports’ new data and guidelines are important for everyone but especially for gluten avoiders (November 2014)

Cooking Rice: Nature magazine reported that a coffee pot works well for cooking rice in a way that removes arsenic.

Biotechnology: GMO/Genetic Engineering/Transgenics/CRISPR

The Birth of Biotechnology (2003) Science

CBAN – Canadian Biotechnology Action Network

CRISPR: THE FUTURE OF FOOD: Scientists have found a fast and cheap way to edit your food’s DNA (2018) Washington Post

GMO Labelling: (U.S.A.) State Labeling Legislation Map

Plants for Human Health: Greening biotechnology and synthetic biology (2017) Journal of Experimental Botany


Why is biodiversity important? (November 2018) Conservation International

Farms without Wildlife Don’t Produce Safer Food (August 2015)

Global Crops are growing more diverse, but just a few still dominate our food system (February 2019) Anthropocene

Harvesting the Research: Agricultural Intensification Threatens Soil Biodiversity (September 2015)

Plummeting insect numbers ‘threaten collapse of nature’. Intensive agriculture is the main driver of the declines, particularly the heavy use of pesticides. Urbanisation and climate change are also significant factors. (February 2019) The Guardian

Biodiversity Videos:

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) & Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD)

BSE Enhanced Surveillance Program (Canada – current data)

Number of reported cases excluding UK (data to 2016)

Mad Cow Disease and Canada’s Cattle Industry (2005)

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease and Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy

Bromide / Bromate

Consumer Group Calls for Ban On “Flour Improver” – Potassium Bromate Termed a Cancer Threat (1999)

Potassium Bromate (2015) EWG

What Foods Are Banned in Europe but Not Banned in the U.S.? Includes Potassium bromate, Brominated vegetable oil and others. (2018) New York Times

Chemicals in the Environment

Exposure and health effects of chemicals: Health Canada’s page on exposure and risks of environmental chemicals.

“Forever” (unregulated, persistent) environmental chemicals: “Long-term exposures have been associated with health problems that include thyroid disease, weakened immunity, infertility risks and certain cancers.” Critics say EPA action plan on toxic ‘forever chemicals’ falls short (2019) Washington Post

Nutrition Can Modulate the Toxicity of Environmental Pollutants (2012) Environmental Health Perspectives


Civil Eats: Website promoting critical thought about sustainable agriculture and food systems

Climate Change

Food Security and Nutrition in the Age of Climate Change (Proceedings of the International Symposium organized by the government of Québec in collaboration with FAO (Québec City, September 24-27, 2017)

Increasing CO2 threatens human nutrition (2014)

Dairy Industry / Milk Products

Green Dairy How a Cow Can Help the Climate

rBGH/rBST and the new NAFTA: Hormones, cows and the new trade deal: What you need to know (2018) CBC News

Modified Milk Ingredients/Milk Proteins Milking meaning from the ingredients label (2010)

White Gold: The unstoppable rise of alternative milks (2019) Guardian


Impact of Home Preparation and Cooking Methods on Levels of Dioxin and Dioxin-Like Compounds in Foods (2010) National Collaborating Centre for Environmental Health

WHO Factsheet

Health Canada factsheet

The Ecologist: covers environment, climate change, farming, energy, food, health, green living, eco-friendly products

Food Safety & Health

[American] Consumer Attitudes toward Food Safety, Nutrition and Health (2012)

Farms without wildlife don’t produce safer food (August 2015)

Safe Foods For Canadians regulations: New rules for Canada’s food safety aim for faster recalls, less bureaucracy (2018) Global News

Food Security

5 Things To Know About Food Insecurity In Canada (2016) Huffington Post

Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems: major report on food security (2019). Free access.

Food Secure Canada:  a pan-Canadian alliance of organizations and individuals working together to advance food security and food sovereignty.

Household Food Insecurity in Canada (2018) PROOF Food Insecurity Policy Research

Food Waste

Denmark wages war on food waste (September 2015)

France to force big supermarkets to give unsold food to charities (May 2015).

How bad is Canada’s food waste problem? Among the world’s worst, report finds (2018) CBC – The Current

Glyphosate (Roundup)

Antibiotic resistance
Breast milk
Endocrine disruptor
Glutathione depletion
Toxicity to human cells
“Seralini Rat Study”

Enlist Duo (proprietary combination of glyphosate and 2,4-D) due to the proliferation of Roundup-resistant weeds) (2014) Ag Canada

Stephanie Seneff: slides, research into glyphosate (& much else) glyphosate, statins, see Weston A Price conference slides November 2014)

Use as a desiccant on cereal crops in Canada (since 1992)

World Health Organization’s monograph on Glyphosate, explaining why it is deemed a probable carcinogen, with links to Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma



Spinning Food: a report on the PR tactics being used to convince consumers that industrial agricultural practices are safe and harmless (June 2015). FOE_SpinningFoodReport_14.pdf

Marketing Boards / Canadian Wheat Board

Marketing Boards in Canada 5 reasons to defend farm marketing boards [2012]

Meat Production; Livestock Management

Enhanced Pork (Seasoned Pork) (2011) The

Enhanced Meat: Got Enhanced Meat? USDA Rule May Make It Easier To Tell (2011) NPR – Health Shots

Hormones Used in Animal Production

Livestock Management to Reverse Desertification Cows Can Save the World


An inventory of nanotechnology-based consumer products introduced on the market

Nanoparticles: Panacea or Pandora’s box? (2014)

Nanoparticle Toxicity:

  • Nanomaterials and nanoparticles: Sources and toxicity (2007) Biointerphases
  • ‘I wash all my food like crazy’: scientists voice concern about nanoparticles (2019) The Guardian


Nanopesticides: Everything You Need To Know About Nanopesticides (2015) Modern Farmer

Nanotechnology + Food: Wait, There’s Nanotechnology in My Food? (2014) Popular Mechanics

What you need to know about nano-food (2013) The Guardian

Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma

What it is (Canadian Cancer Society): non-hodgkin-lymphoma

The 2018 legal ruling that Roundup caused Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in a groundskeeper, and the aftermath: roundup-weed-killer-lawsuit-hits-a-snag-but-monsanto-is-not-off-the-hook

One of the known causes is fire retardants (PBDEs). Global Incidence of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma (& other cancer stats) – maps and infographics (2011) Another link to the condition was found by the WHO, with glyphosate (see above) and the Swedish decision to ban sewage sludge from agricultural use after their findings is discussed in the NFB film Crapshoot, below.

Nutrient Content/Decline

Nutrient Decline in Fruits, Vegetables: the article cited by Pawlick (André Picard, Globe & Mail, July 2002)

Nutrient Decline in Vegetables Dirt Poor: Have Fruits and Vegetables Become Less Nutritious? [2011] and the study they cite: Changes in USDA food composition data for 43 garden crops, 1950 to 1999 [2004].

Nutrient Loss Canadian Study Reports Significant Losses of Vitamins and Minerals in Many Fruits and Vegetables During the Last 50 Years [I believe this research was done in 2002]

Nutritional Content, Measured by Brix (Refractometer)


In Canada: Canadian Organic Growers (COG) – anyone can join and support their work.

Organic vs Conventional Food: Higher antioxidant and lower cadmium concentrations and lower incidence of pesticide residues in organically grown crops: a systematic literature review and meta-analyses. (2014) British Journal of Nutrition

Organic Certification in Canada Canadian Organic Regulations

Organic Fertilizers Urine: Closing the NPK loop. (2011) Permaculture News

Organic Foods vs Pesticides: What the pesticides in our urine tell us about organic food (2019) The Guardian


A good starting point to learn more about it

Permaculture The Permaculture Movement Grows From Underground


What are they and how do they work? New South Wales EPA

Reducing Pesticide Burden through Diet: Organic diet intervention significantly reduces urinary pesticide levels in U.S. children and adults (2019) Environmental Research

PAN Pesticides Database: (includes information on known and suspected toxicity)

Neonicotinoids: Canada bans neonic pesticides implicated in bee declines (2018) CBC

Organophosphates: Risks to children’s health (reduced IQs, memory and attention deficits, and autism for prenatal children) (2018) The Guardian

Organophosphates: Some Organophosphate Insecticides and Herbicides (WHO, 2017) IARC Monographs on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans

Link to Melanoma in farm workers who apply pesticides (2010)

Systemic Pesticides Systemic Pesticides Aren’t On Your Food — They’re In It (2015)

Seed Saving/Seed Sovereignty

Community Seed Banks: What they are, how to set one up….pdf

Seed Security: Food Ark (2011)


Sewage Sludge (Biosolids) in Canadian agriculture: Canadian Biosolids Legislation

Sewage Sludge (Biosolids) – emerging concerns: Organic contaminants in sewage sludge (biosolids) and their significance for agricultural recycling (2009)

Whole Foods Bans Produce Grown With Sludge. But Who Wins? (2014) NPR: The Salt

Slow Food:

Slow Money:

Small Farm Canada

Soil Health: The world needs topsoil to grow 95% of its food – but it’s rapidly disappearing. (2019) The Guardian.


The Science of Taste: special issue of Flavour journal (January 2015)

The Pleasures of Eating Influential and inspiring essay by farmer-activist-poet Wendell Berry

Trans Fats

Trans-Fats Trans-fat consumption linked to memory declines in adults (2014)

Triclosan & Antibacterial Chemicals

Triclosan ban in US FDA Bans 19 Chemicals Used In Antibacterial Soaps (2016) NPR – Health Shots

Urban Farming

Urban Farm Magazine

UN’s Food & Agriculture Association (FAO) Urban Agriculture page urban-agriculture/en/

Urban farms now produce 1/5 of the world’s food (2015) urban-farms-now-produce-15-worlds-food

Film/Video & Audio

24 TED  Talks that will Help Save the Food System. Check ’em out.

A Chemical Reaction Documentary about the town of Hudson, Quebec, which was the first to ban cosmetic pesticides, against the strength of chemical industry legal challenges.

Advice for Farmers (& other people!) – Mary Berry’s keynote from Slow Money 2014

Antibiotics in Intensive Pig Farming => Antibiotic Resistance in Humans

The Archers BBC Radio’s long-running (60 years) agricultural radio soap, created to inform the British public about farming issues.

Crapshoot: The Gamble with our Wastes Important NFB film (2003) that explains, among other things, the toxins (including flame retardants) that we are circulating through the food system by using sewage sludge as fertilizer on commercial crops.

Labeling GMO Groceries

Mr Seed (“The seed with the dirty mouth”)

Preserve Biodiversity, Preserve the Planet (Slow Food)

Vandana Shiva on The Future of Food (3 parts)
part 1: GMOs:
part 2: Biodiversity:
part 3: Organic farming:

Mary Berry’s Lists (Rules for living: What Young Farmers Need to Know) from her keynote address to Slow Money conference.

Money & Politics: CBC interview (May 2015) with Henry Mintzberg who has a vision for making a new social, economic and political equilibrium, one that would benefit people, the planet and the political process itself.

Monsanto & Roundup: Why Are We Being Fed by a Poison Expert?

Dr Terry Wahls: GMOs, Cholesterol & The Microbiome: Interview with Sean Croxton, Underground Wellness Radio

Indigenous Organic Agriculture DocumentaryThe Great Laws of Nature

Joel Salatin – Polyface Farm: Joel Salatin discusses how his family makes a good living without resorting to “chemical farming”

Natural Food Amusing and helpful look at greenwashing.

Pesticides: Organic for reducing exposure by eating organic reduces residues found in urine samples. American remake of a Swedish ad.

Regenerative Agriculture: why the way farmers nourish and protect their crops is important to human health. Farmers Footprint (20.19 minutes)

The Salton Sea: a couple of wildly different takes on this man-made desert sea in central California, fed largely by agricultural run-off: The Accidental Sea (6.36 mins) and The Enigma of the Salton Sea (8.49 mins)

Seeds of Time: about the importance of biodiversity in times of climate change and other risks to agriculture. (Also includes history and purpose of the Svalbard Global Seed

Some People

Will Allen, founded Growing Power, Milwaukee (now disbanded, 2018). Urban agriculture, composting, education.
Wendell Berry. Read his essay The Pleasures of Eating, which includes 7 valuable steps we can all take to eat better.

Linda Gilkeson
, Salt SpringIsland. Gardening author, speaker, teacher, year-round gardening and organic pest control.
Arzeena Hamir Amara Farm, Courtenay. Farmer, food activist.
Lana Popham, MLA, Saanich South. Farmer politician.
Joel Salatin, Polyface Farm, Virginia Farmer, speaker, author, pasture management, meat farming.
Allan Savory, Boulder CO. Speaker on restoring deserts through cattle grazing and land management (see his TED talk)
Vandana Shiva, India. Founder of Navdanya; powerful speaker, author on biodiversity, food security and food sovereignty; big in Slow Food International

Some Organizations

BC Association of Farmers Markets
CBAN – Canadian Biotechnology Action Network
Center for Science in the Public Interest
COG – Canadian Organic Growers
Farm Folk, City Folk
Farm Fresh – guide to Island farms and markets
Gabriola Organization for Agricultural Liberty (GOAL) – Eric Veale’s ag/food security research
Gaia College – classroom and online courses in organic growing:
GRAIN – nonprofit concerned with food security
Haliburton Community Organic Farm
Hutchings Bee Service – entomologist: native pollinator expert
Nanoose Edibles Farm
Navdanya – seed security (India) – Vandana Shiva
Permaculture Principles
Pesticide-Free BC
Saanich Native Plants Certified organic native plant nursery
Seeds of Diversity
Slow Food International
Slow Food Vancouver Island & Gulf Islands
Young Agrarians

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