Feed Your Mind

    We explore diverse perspectives to create a wide context for understanding our relationship with food and the environment.


    The ESFL manages apiaries at the Campus Garden and River and Field Campus, and trains students to become beekeepers in an annual spring course.

    • Attracting Native Pollinators
    • The Beekeeper's Handbook
    • A Book of Bees
    • Dancing with Bees
    • Honeybee Biology and Beekeeping
    • Honeybee Democracy
    • Honeybee: Lessons from an Accidental Beekeeper
    • Natural Beekeeping


    Organics recycling is a pillar of our zero waste commitment and advocacy.

    • Community-Scale Composting Systems
    • Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations
    • The Humanure Handbook
    • The Rodale Book of Composting
    • Worms Eat My Garbage


    We explore how our culture evolved as we seek a new paradigm for food.

    • A Language Older Than Words
    • A Small Place
    • An Island Out of Time
    • Collapse
    • The Culture of Make Believe
    • Deep Green Resistance
    • The Dorito Effect
    • The End of Nature
    • Endgame, Vol. 1 and Vol. 2
    • Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal
    • Food of a Younger Land
    • Founding Gardeners
    • The Good Life
    • Guns, Germs, and Steel
    • Ishmael
    • Kitchen Literacy
    • The McDonaldization of Society
    • The Monkey Wrench Gang
    • Nickel and Dimed
    • Reindeer Moon
    • Robert Cole’s World
    • Project Animal Farm
    • Sapiens
    • Secrets of the Talking Jaguar
    • The Story of B
    • The Town That Food Saved
    • The Unsettling of America
    • Upstream
    • Walden and Civil Disobedience
    • Working in the Shadows
    • The Atomic Cafe
    • Baraka
    • The Corporation
    • Earth 2100
    • Everything’s Cool
    • The End of the Line
    • The End of Poverty?
    • Home
    • Human Footprint
    • Just Eat It
    • Koyaanisqatsi
    • Life and Debt
    • Manufacturing Consent
    • Merchants of Doubt
    • Planet in Peril
    • Radiant City
    • Samsara
    • Trashed
    • The Unforeseen
    • Waste Land
    • What a Way to Go
    • The Yes Men Fix the World


    • A Sand County Almanac
    • Anthill: A Novel
    • Braiding Sweetgrass
    • Cows Save the Planet
    • Desert Solitaire
    • Eaarth
    • The Ecology of Commerce
    • Kinship with All Life
    • The Lost Language of Plants
    • The Myth of Progress
    • Nature Wars
    • Oceans
    • Pilgrim at Tinker Creek
    • Sacred Cow
    • Silent Spring
    • The Spell of the Sensuous
    • The Tracker
    • Tree: A Life Story
    • The Weather Makers
    • The World Without Us
    • What We Leave Behind
    • Where the Wild Things Were
    • Blue Gold: World Water Wars
    • Chasing Coral
    • Chasing Ice
    • Dirt! The Movie
    • Flow
    • Life After People
    • Sacred Planet
    • Sharkwater
    • Tapped
    • Years of Living Dangerously

    Education and Learning

    • The Biology of Belief
    • Dumbing Us Down
    • The Earth Has a Soul
    • The Hero with a Thousand Faces
    • Into the Forest: A Novel
    • Into the Wild
    • Last Child in the Woods
    • Listening to the Land
    • My Ishmael
    • The Nature Principle
    • Rewild or Die
    • Unlearn, Rewild
    • The Unschooling Unmanual
    • Walking on Water
    • The Writer’s Journey

    Energy and Technology

    Technology makes us human, and our focus in the ESFL is using appropriate modern technology to support human and environmental health.

    • The Artificial Ape
    • Beyond Oil
    • Cradle to Cradle
    • EMF*D
    • Enough
    • The Home Energy Diet
    • Homeowner’s Guide to Renewable Energy
    • The Road to Wigan Pier
    • Solar Water Heating

    • The 11th Hour
    • Bag It
    • Blind Spot
    • Blood And Oil
    • Blue Vinyl
    • Crash Course
    • A Crude Awakening
    • Crude Impact
    • The End of Suburbia
    • Fuel
    • Gasland
    • The Last Mountain
    • Manufactured Landscapes
    • No Impact Man
    • Powaqqatsi – Life in Transformation

    Fermentation, Curing, and Microbes

    • The Noma Guide to Fermentation
    • Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers
    • Salumi: The Craft of Italian Dry Curing
    • Wild Fermentation

    Food Access and Social Justice

    • Closing the Food Gap
    • The Essential Gandhi
    • Everything I Want to Do Is Illegal
    • Farming While Black
    • Forces for Good
    • The Local Economy Solution
    • Locally Laid
    • Peace Is Every Step
    • Rebuilding the Foodshed
    • The Seed Underground
    • The Social Profit Handbook
    • The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved
    • Farmageddon
    • Fed Up
    • Food, Inc.
    • The Future of Food
    • Ingredients
    • King Corn
    • Our Daily Bread
    • We Feed the World

    Evolution, Health, and Nutrition

    • Adaptogens
    • Adrenal Fatigue
    • The Big Fat Surprise
    • Born to Run
    • Breath
    • The Bulletproof Diet
    • The Carnivore Diet
    • The Coconut Oil Miracle
    • Could It Be B12?
    • The Complete Guide to Fasting
    • Cure Tooth Decay
    • The Dental Diet
    • Diet and Nutrition
    • Deep Nutrition
    • The Dirt Cure
    • Eat Rich, Live Long
    • Eating on the Wild Side
    • Edible
    • Fast Food Nation
    • Grain Brain
    • Heal Your Body, Cure Your Mind
    • Human Heart, Cosmic Heart
    • The Inflammation Spectrum
    • Keto.
    • Lies My Doctor Told Me
    • Long Way on a Little
    • Nutrition and Physical Degeneration
    • The Omnivore’s Dilemma
    • The One-Straw Revolution
    • The Paleo Approach
    • The Paleo Thyroid Solution
    • The Plant Paradox
    • The Salt Fix
    • The Story of the Human Body
    • The Wahls Protocol
    • Wheat Belly
    • Why We Sleep


    The ESFL works with wild foods on a routine basis. We recommend reading multiple books and working with a mentor when learning how to forage.

    • Backyard Foraging
    • Botany in a Day
    • Edible Wild Plants
    • Invasive Plant Medicine
    • The Forager’s Harvest
    • Foraged Flavor
    • Foraging and Feasting
    • Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants
    • Incredible Wild Edibles
    • Native American Food Plants
    • The New Wildcrafted Cuisine
    • Stalking the Wild Asparagus
    • Stalking the Healthful Herbs
    • The Wild Wisdom of Weeds
    • Nature’s Garden
    • Northeast Foraging
    • The Quick Guide to Wild Edible Plants
    • Weeds of the Northeast
    • The Forager’s Harvest


    • The Backyard Berry Book
    • The Backyard Homestead
    • Botany for Gardeners
    • Botany in a Day
    • Bringing Nature Home
    • Chesapeake Gardening and Landscaping
    • Edible Forest Gardens
    • Edible Wild Plants
    • Free-Range Chicken Gardens
    • Gardening When It Counts
    • The Holistic Orchard
    • How to Survive the End of the World
    • The Living Landscape
    • Mediterranean Vegetables
    • Noah’s Garden
    • Planting in a Post-Wild World
    • Pollinators of Native Plants
    • The Resilient Gardener
    • Seed to Seed
    • The Small-Scale Poultry Flock
    • Tending the Wild
    • Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden
    • Wicked Plants
    • Will Bonsall’s Gardening
    • The Botany of Desire
    • What Plants Talk About

    Permaculture and Regenerative Living

    • 5 Acres & A Dream
    • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
    • Build Your Own Earth Oven
    • The Carbon-Free Home
    • Dirt to Soil
    • The Dirty Life
    • Introduction to Permaculture
    • Farming on the Wild Side
    • Farming the Woods
    • Gaia’s Garden: Home-Scale Permaculture
    • The Garden Awakening
    • Getting Food from Water
    • Goodbye, Things
    • Holistic Management
    • Integrated Forest Gardening
    • The Lean Farm
    • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up
    • Miraculous Abundance
    • Natural Remodeling for the Not-So-Green House
    • The New Ecological Home
    • The Nourishing Homestead
    • Radical Homemakers
    • The Resilient Farm and Homestead
    • Paradise Lot
    • The Permaculture City
    • The Permaculture Handbook
    • Practical Permaculture
    • Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture
    • The Solar House
    • The Straw Bale House
    • Toolbox for Sustainable City Living
    • The Transition Handbook
    • Water Storage
    • You Can Farm
    • Your Money or Your Life
    • Zen in the Art of Permaculture Design

    We maintain a library of donated books for our students. To contribute to our collection of food and environmental books, please contact Shane Brill.

    Abbey, Edward
    The Monkey Wrench Gang

    Adams, Ruth
    Say No! The New Pioneer’s Guide to Action to Save Our Environment

    Albright, Nancy
    The Rodale Cookbook

    Baker, Jerry
    Happy, Healthy Houseplants

    Barber, Dan
    The Third Plate: Field Notes on the Future of Food

    Beeby, Alan and Anne-Maire Brennan
    First Ecology

    Blackburn, Elizabeth and Elissa Epel
    The Telomere Effect

    Bloom, Jessi
    Creating Sanctuary

    Boon, J. Allen
    Kinship with All Life

    Burton, Frances
    Fire: The Spark That Ignited Human Evolution

    Childers, Norman F.
    Modern Fruit Science

    Chiras, Daniel
    The New Ecological Home
    The Homeowner’s Guide to Renewable Energy
    The Solar House: Passive Heating and Cooling

    Clarke, Cheryl
    Storytelling for Grantseekers

    Coates, John
    The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: Risk Taking, Gut Feelings, and The Biology of Boom and Bust

    Coleman, Eliot
    The New Organic Grower’s Four-Season Harvest

    Condon, Marlene A.
    Nature-Friendly Garden: Creating a Backyard Haven for Plants, Wildlife, and People

    Crocker, Betty
    Betty Crocker’s Cookie Book

    Cronquist, Arthur
    Basic Botany: Second Edition

    Curtis, Raven
    Biology of Plants

    Defferyes, Kenneth
    Beyond Oil: The View From Hubbert’s Peak

    Denzer, Kiko
    Build Your Own Earth Oven: Third Edition

    Diamond, Jared
    Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
    Guns, Germs, and Steel
    The Third Chimpanzee

    Ehrenreich, Barbara
    Nickel and Dimed

    Ehrenreich, Barbara
    Fasting and Feasting

    Adam Federman
    The Weather Makers

    Fife, Bruce
    The Coconut Oil Miracle

    Fontenot, William
    Native Gardening in the South

    Fortey, Richard
    Life: A Natural History of the First Four Billion Years of Life on Earth

    Foster, Catherine Osgood
    Organic Flower Gardening

    Gatto, John Taylor
    Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Schooling

    Gladwell, Malcolm
    The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference
    Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

    Graham, Linda and James Graham and Lee Wilcox
    Plant Biology: Second Edition

    Harari, Yuval Noah
    Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

    Hartmann and Kester
    Plant Propagation: Principles and Practices

    Hemenway, Toby
    Gaia’s Garden
    The Permaculture City: Regenerative Design for Urban, Suburban, and Town Resilience

    Herve-Gruyer, Perrine and Charles 
    Miraculous Abundance 

    Holzer, Sepp
    Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale, Integrative Farming and Gardening

    Hren, Stephen and Rebekah
    The Carbon-Free Home

    Jarvis, D.C.
    Folk Medicine

    Jensen, Derrick
    Endgame Volume 1: The Problem of Civilization
    Endgame Volume 2: Resistance
    Walking on Water
    Resistance Against Empire
    Listening to the Land
    A Language Older Than Words
    The Culture of Make Believe

    Jensen, Derrick and Aric Mcbay
    What We Leave Behind

    Jensen, Derrick and George Draffan
    Welcome to the Machine: Science, Surveillance, and the Culture of Control

    Jones, Jill
    Urban Forests: A Natural History of Trees and People in the American Cityscape

    Jung, C.G.
    C.G. Jung on Nature, Technology and Modern Life

    Conversations on Collapse: C-Realm Podcast Transcriptions

    Kaufelt, Rob
    The Murray’s Cheese Handbook

    Kincaid, Jamaica
    A Small Place

    Kinderlehrer, Jane
    Confessions of a Sneaky Organic Cook

    Klare, Michael
    Blood and Oil

    Kricher, John and Gordon Morrison
    Peterson Field Guides - Eastern Forests

    Kurlansky, Mark
    The Food of a Younger Land

    Levine, Carol
    A Guide to Wildflowers in Winter

    Little, Amanda
    Power Trip

    Littlefield, Larry J.
    Biology of the Plant Rusts: An Introduction

    Mcbay, Aric, and Derrick Jensen
    Deep Green Resistance

    McKibben, Bill
    Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
    Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet
    Enough: Staying Human in an Engineered age
    The End of Nature

    McKinnon, Harvey
    The 11 Questions Every Donor Asks

    McSweeney, James
    Community-Scale Composting Systems

    Minnis, Paul, and Wayne Elisens
    Biodiversity and Native America

    Morrow, Rosemary
    Earth User’s Guide to Permaculture

    Oliver, Mary

    Parragon Publishers
    Grow Your Own Food

    Patent, Dorothy Hinshaw and Diane E. Bilderback
    Garden Secrets

    Pickett, S. T. A., and P. S. White
    The Ecology of Natural Disturbance and Patch Dynamics

    Platt, June and Sophie Kerr
    The Best I Ever Ate

    Pollen, Michael
    The Omnivore’s Dilemma
    The Botany of Desire

    Quinn, Daniel
    Beyond Civilization: Humanity’s Next Great Adventure
    My Ishmael
    The Story of B

    Ritzer, George
    The McDonaldization of Society

    Rodale Press; Mark Bricklin
    Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Natural Home Remedies

    Rodale Press
    The Calendar of Organic Gardening

    Scout, Urban
    Rewild or Die: Revolution and Renaissance at the End of Civilization

    Seeley, Thomas D.
    Honeybee Democracy

    Shimwell, David W.
    The Description and Classification of Vegetation

    Snow, Dennis
    Lessons from the Mouse

    Sobel, David
    Place-Based Education: Connecting Classrooms and Communities

    Solomon, Steve
    Gardening When It Counts

    Sterba, Jim
    Nature Wars

    Stewart, Tabori, and Chang
    The Beekeeper’s Bible

    Stolzenburg, William
    Where the Wild Things Were

    Terry, Beth
    Plastic Free: How I Kicked the Plastic Habit and How You Can Too

    Thomas, Elizabeth Marshall
    Reindeer Moon

    Thompson, Gabriel
    Working in the Shadows: A Year of Doing the Jobs [Most] Americans Won’t Do

    Thoreau, Henry David
    Walden and Civil Disobedience

    Venolia, Carol, and Kelly Lerner
    Natural Remodeling for the Not-So-Green House

    Waters, Alice
    In The Green Kitchen: Techniques to Learn By Heart

    Weinzweig, Ari
    Zingerman’s Guide to Giving Great Service

    Weisman, Alan
    The World Without Us

    Wulf, Andrea
    Founding Gardeners

    Ziedrich, Linda
    The Joy of Pickling

    Food Terminology

    Get to know the jargon of our research and traditional methods of food preparation.

    Acidification: The process of lowering pH in food by either adding an acid (like lemon juice or yogurt) or promoting acid production in food. Often done at the early stages of fermentation to create a safe environment and enhance flavor and texture in the food. Fermentation itself also lowers pH.

    Aging/Curing: Placing food in the right environmental conditions (such as a space that has controlled temperature, humidity and air flow) so that chemical processes such as fermentation can work on the food over a period of time to release nutrients, increase nutrient density and improve flavor, texture and quality.

    Anaerobic bacteria: Bacteria that work in the absence of oxygen, as in the case of most lactic acid fermentations.

    Backslopping: Saving a yeast and/or bacteria culture at the end of the fermentation process to kick-start the next one. Example, sourdough or yogurt starter.

    Bioavailability: The nutrients that are available for an individual’s body to absorb and process. Things that will impact this include not only the quality of the food but also how it was prepared, the context in which it was consumed, and the health of the individual. An example is corn; when nixtamalized, niacin becomes available and can be absorbed.

    Brining: Soaking a food in salt water and allowing the salt to be absorbed through osmosis.

    Cheddaring: A stage in the cheddar cheese-making process when you shuffle layers of curd to evenly express the whey. It’s how cheddar cheese got its name, however it is not a step typically used in commercially made cheddar cheese.

    Cheese cave: A controlled environment that’s attempting to replicate the humidity, temperature, and air flow of the caves in which the world’s most famous cheeses were created. Typically 55 degrees F, 85 percent relative humidity.

    Crème fraiche: A cultured dairy product made by acidifying cream. The acidification process creates a pleasant sourness, thickens the cream and improves shelf life.

    Culture: A colony of yeast and/or bacteria used to inoculate food to induce fermentation, aging, curing, etc.

    Curds: During the cheese-making process, milk is typically separated into curds and whey through the use of rennet. Most cheeses are made from the curds.

    Decoction: The process of extracting the essence of something typically through heating or boiling plants.

    Enzymes: Catalysts that convert parts of foods into things that are more digestible or nutritious for the human body, for example amylase, which exists in human saliva and converts complex carbohydrates into simple sugars.

    Fat-soluble: Vitamins that require the presence of fat to be absorbed and used properly by our bodies.

    Foraging: The practice of gathering wild food.

    Kefir: An ancient fermented dairy product that provides the human body with a host of valuable bacteria and yeast.

    Kombucha: A lactic- and yeast-fermented beverage that provides the human body with a host of valuable bacteria and yeast. Relies upon SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) to catalyze fermentation.

    Kvass: A fermented Russian beverage that requires stale dark bread as the catalyst.

    Laban: A coagulated sour milk.

    Lactic acid bacteria: The anaerobic bacteria, which produces lactic acid as a byproduct, responsible for most food fermentation.

    Lacto-fermentation: Fermentation that relies upon lactic acid bacteria.

    Nitrates/nitrites: Preservatives added to meats during processing in advance of fermenting or curing to create a safe environment.

    Nixtamalize: The ancient process of increasing the bioavailability of nutrients in maze (corn), an otherwise very difficult food for our bodies to process, through the use of lye. First invented by the Native Americans who first domesticated maze and used wood ash as a source of lye.

    Nutrient-dense: Foods that contain and make available the components—such as high-quality fats, proteins, minerals, enzymes, and bacteria/yeasts—that the human body has relied upon through throughout its evolution. This has depended upon our ability to both gain access to such foods by overcoming a plant’s or animal’s physical defenses (cracking a nut, hunting a mammal), and developing processing technologies, such as fermentation.

    Phytic acid: An acid found in many plant seeds, nuts, grains and legumes that inhibits the absorption of nutrients by the human body. This needs to be deactivated through specific food processing technologies for the body to realize the food’s full value; fermentation and soaking are two typical methods.

    Polyculture: The cultivation of several crops or animals in such a way that they mutually benefit each other and mimic what happens naturally.

    Saccharification: The process of using enzymes to convert complex carbohydrates into sugar that can later be acted upon through yeasts during fermentation to produce alcohol.

    SCOBY: Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast.

    Sprouting: The act of placing a seed, nut, or legume in a moist, warm environment to allow the sprout to form, for the purpose of releasing enzymes, neutralizing phytic acid, and increasing digestibility and taste.

    Starter culture: A yeast and/or bacteria culture used to induce fermentation.

    Terroir: The singular environmental conditions in a particular place, including soil chemistry, climate, and microflora, that contribute to the unique qualities of food and/or beverages produced in that area. An example would be the difference between San Francisco and Parisian sourdough breads.

    Thermophilic bacteria: Bacteria typically used in dairy fermentation (including most yogurts and some cheeses like mozzarella) that withstand higher temperatures.

    Whey: One of the byproducts of most cheese-making and is separate from the curd with the use of rennit.

    Wild fermentation: Fermentation that relies upon wild bacteria and/or yeast specific to a particular place.