Starting small, ending big


What: FoodWISE Book Release Celebration

When: 6:30 pm Tue., Jan. 14

Where: Community Food Co-op

Cost: $5 (fee can be applied toward book purchase)

Info: http://www.communityfood.coop

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Late last summer, Huxley professor Gigi Berardi signed a contract to publish her book, FoodWISE: A Whole Systems Guide to Sustainable and Delicious Food Choices, shortly before she left the country on sabbatical.

By the time she returned home to Bellingham, she had discovered that what she thought was a small publisher, North Atlantic Books, was actually a distribution division of Penguin Random House. They were putting together an audio book, auditioning actors to read it, and supporting her every step of the way on the path to publication.

“This just doesn’t happen (typically) to academic types like myself,” Berardi says. “A journalistic writing style helps—and that’s what I used for the book. The Pacific Northwest is featured prominently.”

With more than 30 years of experience in farm and food studies, Berardi had long been a proponent and practitioner of the Slow Food movement when she set out to write a definitive food lovers’ guide to making the right choices about nutrition and eating.

The WISE in the title stands for Whole, Informed, Sustainable, and Experience-based, but the book goes beyond one way of thinking. Readers will find out how to comb the aisles of grocery stores with confidence and renewed excitement, discover more about the questionable science behind popular diets and trends, get counterintuitive dietary tips that may surprise them, find recipes, and glean advice about how to be socially conscious when it comes to what’s on your plate.

Berardi says she’s been surprised by the diverse list of endorsements that have been coming in advance of the Jan. 14 launch of FoodWISE at the Community Food Co-op. Everyone from fierce vegans to fierce dairy farmers—not to mention fellow author Michael Pollan—has chimed in, making it clear she’s onto something.

“In fact, I wrote the book to address some of those fierce food beliefs,” she says. “The fiercest are those held by my students—they contributed some of the recipes. The book is a call to stop, then think, then act, to take the ‘WISE’ part of FoodWISE seriously. I say seriously, but humor is a big part of the book.”

Amid the live music, good food and great conversations to be had at the mid-January event, Berardi will highlight local food and farm organizations that are already doing the work she advocates in FoodWISE. That makes sense, as the book addresses the food and the farming challenges and opportunities found in Whatcom County—and far beyond.

“The aim is big, but I believe I’ve developed an approach that helps make sense of food conundrums,” Gerardi says.

“What is interesting: I started to write this for my students, and now it’s on 40 websites around the world, beginning with Target. Target?”

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