Advance Praise


Forbes (Sep 28, 2019) reports that Food Tank, a New York City based think tank has recommended FoodWISE as one of 19 new books related to food and the food system. Food Tank contributing author Jared Kaufman describes the selection: “In these books, farmers and researchers talk about what it takes to practice sustainable agriculture; activists detail the process of reconnecting to their homes and lands, and scholars chart the paths of food through history, war, and school lunches. Here are the 19 books anyone concerned about the food system should add to their reading list this fall.” Kaufman says of FoodWISE: “Berardi, a professor at Western Washington University, encourages people to eat food W.I.S.E.: Whole, Informed, Sustainable, and Experienced with friends and family. Food Wise is a practical guide to choosing food that meets these goals. Berardi explores supermarket aisles, popular diets, and media messages about healthy foods to help people make decisions about how to eat nutritiously and sustainably.”

Foreword Review HEALTH & FITNESS Food Wise: A Whole Systems Guide to Sustainable and Delicious Food Choices. Gigi Berardi’s passion for food is apparent in her guidebook FoodWise. Against a deluge of dieting suggestions, fads, and conflicting studies on nutrition, Berardi’s book acknowledges that it can be hard to know which aisle to choose at the grocery store. She suggests adopting a strategy in which you stop, think, and act … The title acronym, WISE, stands for Whole, Informed, Sustainable, and Experienced … It features a range of activities that can lead to a more WISE existence, acknowledging that individual choices will vary and that differing circumstances play a role in how far people are willing or able to go to be WISE. The book’s mission is most of all one of self-discovery.


“It is often asked whether we should ‘eat to live’ or ‘live to eat.’ Gigi Berardi persuades us that we can and should do both, as eating FoodWISE is good for our health, good for the animals and environment in our care, and also profoundly enjoyable. That conclusion is based both on science—remembering that food production is primarily a biological rather than a technical process—and on empathy. As Professor Berardi demonstrates, empathy for other living beings can and should be extended to the animals and people involved in food production round the world, to other workers in the food chain, and to our families and friends sharing our food—through the deeply personal principles, stories, and recipes she shares with us in every page of this life-affirming book.”—Michael Appleby OBE, professor, Jeanne Marchig International Centre for Animal Welfare Education, University of Edinburgh

“Often the world of food is complex and confusing, with marketing messages that mislead even engaged consumers. FoodWISE empowers interested eaters with tools to approach their food in a more thoughtful, sustainable, and healthy way, all the while illuminating some of the pitfalls of our current food system. No fad diets here—just a call back to whole foods and mindful eating.”—Marie Burcham, J.D., director of domestic policy, The Cornucopia Institute

“Food scholar Gigi Berardi wades into the troubled waters of advice about what to eat and proposes some truly wise and inspired guidance. FoodWISE offers the nuanced, honest answers you’ll never get from a diet book, with a possibilist spirit reminiscent of Frances Moore Lappé.”—Liz Carlisle, author of Lentil Underground and Grain by Grain

“Gigi Berardi’s FoodWISE moves beyond inflexible notions of black and white to critically—and unapologetically—examine the grey. By the end of the book, I realized that her seemingly common-sense approach had led me to a profound knowledge about how to be a self-conscious and responsible consumer.”—W. Cornell, M.S. Geography, cheesemaker (affineur), food connoisseur

“For all of us who find ourselves overwhelmed with food choices –‘Which apple is most sustainable? Ethical? Affordable? Should I even be eating an apple in April?’ –Berardi’s FoodWISE provides a clear set of unpretentious and practical ideas to guide our eating and cooking. Interspersed with compelling case studies, personal experiences, and sound science, the book reflects an ethic of care for the people and ecological systems that co-produce our food.”—Kate J. Darby, associate professor of environmental justice and sustainability, Western Washington University

“If you want to be an informed consumer of food, here’s your definitive guide. So many answers to so many questions! Berardi gives background to the background—perspective to the perspective—providing a rare, detailed guide to the food world nexus. If you can’t figure out what to eat after reading FoodWISE, you might as well just stop eating.”—Steve Ettlinger, author of Twinkie, Deconstructed

“Berardi gently and often humorously guides readers through the intricate threads of the food web from soil to eater, that is, from manure and soil to me and you. Her goal is to share her own expanding pleasure based on a lifetime of the experience: that eating is more rewarding the more we are connected to the source of our food. You and I can tug on threads of the food web if we stop, think, and act based on awareness of mostly invisible people, practices, and relationships that placed an egg or lettuce or a Twinkie before us—especially if we reacquaint ourselves with cooking and gardening. This is a guide, partly about how to choose how we engage with the food system, but even more about how to think and act based on knowledge, experience, and good judgment. Although changing direction of the food system requires comprehensive social and policy changes, Berardi helps us make ourselves healthier and the food system more sustainable by aligning our choices towards emerging ways of doing food WISEly. And you may want to try some lovely recipes!”—Harriet Friedmann, professor emerita of sociology, Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, University of Toronto

FoodWISE asks us to stop, think, and then act when making food choices. Why? Because every bite we take has impacts on people, place, and planet. To support us approaching our food choices in this way, Gigi Berardi takes us on a journey of self-reflection around our food values and beliefs and how these influence the decisions we make every day in relation to buying, growing, cooking, and eating food. It’s also a journey of learning about our food systems, their current complexities and challenges, and what we need to make them more sustainable.  It is a challenging journey partly because any journey that involves looking at one’s own beliefs is usually challenging, but also because it discusses environment, health, and economic issues that may feel too big for the reader to take on. Gigi however grounds all this, where else but in the kitchen—with real world recipes—placing the ability to make a difference easily within reach of the reader. This is a unique and valuable aspect of the book, it doesn’t only provide the evidence to support the lofty ideals of a more sustainable and healthful food system—it gives us practical tools we can use every day to support FoodWISE choices right in our own kitchens.”—C.K. Ganguly (Bablu), executive director, Timbaktu Collective, Chennekothapalli village, Anantapur District, Andhra Pradesh, India, and board member, IFOAM Organics International

“The dairy industry has changed over the fifty years since I have been in business. The little farms are not efficient, the countryside is filled with empty silos of dairy farms, no longer milking.  These small farms are being absorbed by their neighbors—no matter if they are dairy or cash crop farms.  The little farms go out of business and their larger neighbors get bigger. The changes in the upper air currents from the tropics and the arctic has led to severe flooding in the central United States—we need to understand that climate is changing. It’s made the spring here in New York very wet. I believe there will be a shortage of corn for beef and poultry and hogs and we may face food shortages and/or severe price increases. Gigi Berardi’s FoodWISE touches on some environmental concerns but, at its heart, really keeps the farmer in mind. That’s what we need right now. Nothing’s going to change unless we appreciate farmers and support policies that aid all farmers.”—Ed Gates, Seneca Valley Farms, Burdett, New York

“If you ever find yourself in solitary confinement or the equivalent with one book to read, make sure it’s FoodWISE. Rarely is so much wisdom, common sense, and original thinking elegantly pressed between two covers in a world hungry for food and even hungrier for the full story about the staples of life.”—Charles Geisler, emeritus professor of development sociology, Cornell University

“Why treat nature’s food as just another manufactured consumer commodity and agbiz profit center? Gigi Berardi offers a bigger, richer ethic as the centerpiece of a sustainable future.”—Jim Hightower, former Texas Agriculture Commissioner, populist author, radio commentator, and editor of The Hightower Lowdown

“This a culinary journey that is rooted in the kitchen—yet travels the complex agricultural web to methodically unpack for the reader all its nuances. FoodWISE in an incredible body of work – it covers several aspects that I am involved with and that are close to my heart. Gigi takes a critical look at organic farming, climate change, food marketing and fads, vulnerable communities, labor, GMO, and more. Yet, Gigi’s approach does not paint an apocalyptic picture of the times to come. Without glossing over the hard facts, she successfully creates a multi-faceted robust framework that is absolutely logical and critical for our time. At its core, FoodWISE is a clarion call asking us to explore the omnipresent agricultural web and aid us towards an experience-based thinking relationship to food. She cautions against the obvious—making uninformed and oversimplified food choices without pausing to reflect on nutrition, impact, and sustainability. However, what stands out to me personally is the immense love and enthusiasm with which Gigi has gone about in this body of work. A clear sign of this is how she firmly places good, wise food back on the table by sharing some absolutely beautiful recipes as well. Congratulations on this labour of love, it will certainly be recommended to many!—Manisha `Molly’ Kairaly, craft and food activist, South India

“More people are becoming aware that what we choose to eat, how it’s grown, processed, or cooked has a profound impact on the health of our families and the planet. No other purchase decision we make will have a more profound impact on our present and long-term quality of life—this book really endeavors to connect the dots.”—Mark Kastel, director of the organic watchdog project at Beyond Pesticides

“This book is a very accessible and far-ranging primer to help people think about food in a broad context. Gigi Berardi thoughtfully and skillfully explores the myriad ramifications of the decisions we make each day about what to eat, from a flexible whole foods approach to nutrition, to important environmental, social, and economic implications. If you want to know more about important issues in food today, and how to make better food decisions, you’ll love this book.”—Sandor Ellix Katz, author of Wild Fermentation and The Art of Fermentation

“As a sensory scientist, it’s exciting to see a food-systems book that takes the sensory experience of food seriously, and reminds the reader that the ways foods taste are meaningful beyond simple matters of liking and disliking.”—Jacob Lahne, assistant professor of food science and technology, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

“Our small planet faces big troubles—climate chaos, hunger, obscene inequality, and much more. So, it’s time to dig deep, tapping the power of hope to fortify our courage. Gigi Berardi’s FoodWISE approach—focused on whole farms and foods, trustworthy information, sustainability, deep experience, and empathy—can enable us to take charge: transforming the way we use resources and eat so that we are creating solutions together. That’s power!”—Frances Moore Lappé, Small Planet Institute, author of Diet for a Small Planet, coauthor of World Hunger: 10 Myths and 17 other books

“As a traditional dairy farmer in Western Washington, I am very encouraged by Gigi’s efforts to get my voice out there to the non-ag attached generation coming into society.  Although I may see things differently in some of her conclusions—based on science and dirt-under-my-nails experiences—I so appreciate her effort to get students onto real farms where real people are working hard (and for little reward) to give the populace the safest and cheapest food in modern history.  This, while constantly being attacked by either regulators or ill-informed consumers.  Getting students to see the effects of broad rules and regulations in regions with many different soils, weather, crops, and practices is imperative. Why? Because the next generation of bureaucrats and regulators need to understand the effects of such rules on the farmer—and at a personal level.  Berardi is always respectful and I think honestly listens to our plights in agriculture.”—Troy Lenssen. Third generation Washington state dairy farmer. Lenssen Dairy LLC

“FoodWISE by Gigi Berardi–ecologist, journalist, shepherdess, and cheesemaker–is an indispensable guide for anyone who wants to make informed choices about what to eat. The author explores food through a wide range of topics: history, agriculture, ecology, sustainability, climate change, food policy, the labor force, and cooking. The section on nutrition, The Informed Science of Eating, could be a course in itself. In her engaging down-to-earth style Professor Berardi makes the latest scientific research accessible and the results may surprise you. (Yes, fat is good!) The recipe section WISE Stories to Share is interspersed with history and personal anecdotes of the author. You will want to be in the kitchen with her making Gigi’s Tassajara Bread! And the next time you go to the grocery store, being more FoodWISE, you will follow her mantra to ‘Stop–think–then act.’”—Mother Noella Marcellino, Ph.D., Benedictine nun of the Abbey of Regina Laudis and Our Lady of the Rock Monastery; artisanal cheesemaker and microbiologist, specializing in the biodiversity of cheese-ripening fungi; contributing author to the books Cheese and Microbes and The Oxford Companion to Cheese; with she and her work featured in The New Yorker (as “the cheese nun”), Andrew Weil’s Healthy Aging, as well as in Michael Pollan’s book and Netflix documentary series: Cooked.

“If you’ve ever pestered the waiter for the origins of that meat on the menu, frowned at the fine print on packaged goods, got dizzy trying to follow the debate on fats and health, or just found yourself falling a bit out of love with eating, FoodWISE is the book for you. It’s restorative as it is informative, and I love Gigi Berardi’s mantra: stop, think, then act.”—Michael Moss, investigative journalist and Pulitzer Prize awardee, author of Salt, Sugar, Fat

“Looking at problems like climate change, pollution, hunger, and obesity, it becomes obvious that our way of thinking and living is unhealthy. According to Albert Einstein, the solution needs a different way of thinking. WISE and mindful eating is a first step towards a healthy diet from a healthy, fertile soil on a healthy planet. This book is an inspiration and imparts concrete experiences.”—Dr. Jasmin Peschke, nutrition scientist, Section for Agriculture at the Goetheanum, Dornach, Switzerland

“Today, on a planet that is devastated by humans, there is no real pleasure without sustainability and awareness. Through her book, Gigi Berardi shows you that a sustainable life is strictly connected to a tasteful existence: how to reach it? Good, clean, fair, and healthy food is the key.”—Carlo Petrini, founder of the worldwide Slow Food movement and  University of Gastronomic Sciences, Pollenzo, Italy; and author, Slow Food Nation and Slow Food Revolution

“What should I eat?  With a reasoned approach and careful research, Gigi takes us by the hand and coaches us through this most intimate conundrum. She cuts through the clever speak and ignorance, one theme or fact at a time, to offer a roadmap out of being lost in a million-choice food world. And so, this book equips us to tackle one of the most important decisions we make: what to feed ourselves.”—Joel Salatin, Polyface Farms, Swoope, Virginia and author of Fields of Farmers, Your Successful Farm Business and a dozen other books on profitable, small-scale farming

“FoodWISE is a passionate, extremely well-informed argument that we should be much more thoughtful about what we eat, for our own good and for the good of our planet. It is full of practical suggestions, including recipes. Reading Gigi Berardi’s book will change your approach to shopping, cooking, and eating.”—Barry Schwartz, professor emeritus of psychology at Swarthmore College and visiting professor at Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley; and author of The Paradox of Choice and co-author of Practical Wisdom.

“FoodWISE is a scintillating, readable foray into what it means to eat mindfully, based on thorough scientific research, holistic thinking, and personal experience. Gigi Berardi’s wide-ranging exploration of the effects of our food choices on personal health, agricultural sustainability, and climate change is deeply appealing to a biodynamic farmer who has produced most of his own food for more than half a century.”—Henning Sehmsdorf, Ph.D., S&S Homestead Farm, Lopez Island, Washington and co-author, Toward Sustainable Agriculture Systems in the 21st Century.

“With a refreshing frankness mixed with clear compassion, Berardi navigates the many complexities of food in FoodWISE.  Starting with the farmers who produce food, to the environmental and social considerations of producing and consuming it, to a basic scientific description of food, to ways to participate in a new relationship with it following the FoodWISE principles, nothing is left out of this compelling approach to eating.  Using an accessible writing style, Berardi synthesizes a large body of work with her well referenced narrative that is sure to please and inform both an interested public and the eager scholar alike.”—Ruth Sofield, professor of environmental toxicology and chemistry, Western Washington University

“Gigi does an amazing job breaking down our food ecosystem and explaining what we are actually putting in our bodies. Anyone genuinely interested in eating healthily and being educated needs FoodWISE.”—Ethan Stowell, Founder + CEO Ethan Stowell Restaurants, Seattle and author, Ethan Stowell’s New Italian Kitchen

“As a recent graduate in nutrition and dietetics, I left the US some decades ago to discover Italy and a whole new way of looking at food and eating.  At the same time in the US, the “no fat” and “microwave- everything” culture was taking off, and the consequences did not take long to manifest themselves.  So many years later, I hope that now FoodWISE will help readers to reevaluate what they eat, where their food comes from, how it is produced, and how they prepare it.  Certainly, knowing what we are eating and how it is produced is the way to good health, sustainability, and love for the planet.”—Ann Vaughan-Martini, emerita professor of food and wine microbiology, Università degli Study, Perugia, Italy

“Professor Gigi Berardi takes her classroom passion for teaching about food and sustainability and transforms it into an accessible message for anyone who loves food!  Taking it beyond simply where our food comes from, Berardi enlightens all on how food connects us with the world around us.”—Grace Wang, Ph.D., academic program director, sustainability, Western Washington University

 “FoodWISE is the harvest of a lifelong passion for food and farming. It is a cookbook at its best: Providing the intellectual, emotional, factual, and scientific ingredients—sharing ways of how to mix them into a coherent whole, while encouraging us to let go of old recipes and considerations so as to create new ones.”—Johannes Wirz, Ph.D., co-director, Research Institute at the Goetheanum, Section for Natural Sciences, Dornach, Switzerland and board member and research director, Mellifera e.V. Biene-Mensch-Natur, Rosenfeld, Germany

“If ever there was a time for people to connect to their food it is now. Food Justice is climate justice and sustainable food production is essential for the healing and regeneration of our planet and ourselves. Berardi helps us get there with this latest treasure—giving us a deeper sense of where our food comes from and how our dietary choices provide a critical connection to this earth.”—Jill MacIntyre Witt, author of Climate Justice Field Manual