Darrin Nordahl


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purchase Eating Appalachia :



Dozens of indigenous fruits, vegetables, nuts, and game animals are waiting to be rediscovered by American epicures, and Appalachia stocks the largest pantry with an abundance of delectable flavors. In Eating Appalachia, Darrin Nordahl looks at the unique foods that are native to the region, including pawpaws, ramps, hickory nuts, American persimmons, and elk, and offers delicious and award-winning recipes for each ingredient, along with sumptuous color photographs. The twenty-three recipes include: Pawpaw Panna Cotta, Pawpaw Whiskey Sour, Chianti-Braised Elk Stew, Pan-Fried Squirrel with Squirrel Gravy, Ramp Linguine, and Wild Ginger Poached Pears, among others. Nordahl also examines some of the business, governmental, and ecological issues that keep these wild, and arguably tastier, foods from reaching our tables.

Eating Appalachia profiles local chefs, hunters, and locavores who champion these native ingredients and describes food festivals—like the Pawpaw Festival in Albany, Ohio; the Feast of the Ramson in Richwood, West Virginia; and Elk Night at Jenny Wiley State Park in Prestonsburg, Kentucky—that celebrate them.


“A thoroughly entertaining and thought provoking journey through an undeservedly overlooked region of the country. Nordahl comes away not only with a harvest of rediscovered ingredients and a reconnection to America’s original pantry, but also a network of genuine friendships.”

—Simon Majumdar, author of Eat My Globe and Fed, White, and Blue, and judge on Food Network’s Cutthroat Kitchen and Iron Chef America

“As a native West Virginian, this book transported me back to the amazing meals of my childhood, high in the Appalachians. Join Nordahl as he demystifies the mountains, taking a walking tour of America’s best-kept culinary secrets."

—Forrest Pritchard, professional farmer and author of Gaining Ground and The Farmer in Your Kitchen

“With this entertaining and enlightening book, Darrin Nordahl shines a light on the native foods of Appalachia and the colorful locavores who celebrate them. A fascinating read for anyone curious about regional American foodways.”

—Marisa Bulzone, cofounder 150ish.com


purchase Making Transit FUN! :

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Why do people in Stockholm prefer to take the stairs over the escalator? Why do Londoners enjoy hanging out at bus stops? How to carmakers convince us to buy gas-guzzling, environmentally damaging, wallet-draining machines? It's called the fun theory. What Darrin Nordahl illustrates in this delightful book is that transit can be just as inviting, exciting, and even seductive as the automobile, if designed with the passenger experience in mind.

Throughout the world, creative campaigns, appurtenances, and circulators are being devised to woo the entrenched motorist. The common denominator in each of these strategies is a single, positive emotion: joy. In Making Transit FUN!, Nordahl shows that with the help of architects, urban designers, graphic artists, industrial engineers, marketing experts--and even fashion designers--we can steer people away from their automobiles and toward healthier, more sustainable methods of transportation.

Each chapter demonstrates how the transit stigma can be overcome with innovative design. From the aesthetics of buses to separated bike lanes and pedestrian-priority streets, Nordahl showcases examples from around the world that excite the heart and bring an easy smile.



The Atlantic Cities


National Resources Defense Council


"[Nordahl] might just get motorists thinking that they are missing out on something fun by driving."

-Kelly Nelson, Carbusters

"Nordahl's book is a reminder that transit has only lost when it aims low. We should always be looking for joy, even on the bus."

-Sarah Goodyear, The Atlantic Cities

"[This] potent new e-book, Making Transit FUN!, has all the enthusiasm for buses, trains, and bike lanes that its title's exclamation point implies. Can transit incorporate art? Yes! How about playground equipment? You bet. Even...sex? Oh yeah baby."

-Scott Carlson, Grist


purchase Public Produce :



Public Produce makes a uniquely contemporary case not for central government intervention, but for local government involvement in shaping food policy. In what Darrin Nordahl calls municipal agriculture, elected officials, municipal planners, local policymakers, and public space designers are turning to the abundance of land under public control (parks, plazas, streets, city squares, parking lots, as well as the grounds around libraries, schools, government offices, and even jails) to grow food.Public agencies at one time were at best indifferent about, or at worst dismissive of, food production in the city. Today, public officials recognize that food insecurity is affecting everyone, not just the inner-city poor, and that policies seeking to restructure the production and distribution of food to the tens of millions of people living in cities have immediate benefits to community-wide health and prosperity.This book profiles urban food growing efforts, illustrating that there is both a need and a desire to supplement our existing food production methods outside the city with opportunities inside the city. Each of these efforts works in concert to make fresh produce more available to the public. But each does more too: reinforcing a sense of place and building community; nourishing the needy and providing economic assistance to entrepreneurs; promoting food literacy and good health; and allowing for serendipitous sustenance. There is much to be gained, Nordahl writes, in adding a bit of agrarianism into our urbanism.


New Urban News


Triple Pundit

Publishers Weekly


"What Darrin Nordahl envisions in this lively book is nothing short of a revolutionary way of seeing cities, a kind of edible urbanism, in which every public space from streets to parks to rooftops is a chance to grow food and build community. This is no starry-eyed treatise but a book packed with creative ideas, compelling stories and practical advice, especially for overcoming the obstacles that will be faced in growing more food in the public realm. This is a book that will likely shape the urban agenda for years to come."

-Timothy Beatley, Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities, University of Virginia

"A thought-provoking work about the food-producing potential of urban public space, and a worthwhile read for everyone who does food policy work."

-Benjamin Thomases, Chez Panisse

"This vital book shows how growing food on public land can transform our civic landscape, sprouting the seeds of biodiversity, sustainability, and community."

-Alice Waters, Chez Panisse

"Public Produce gives all the reasons why growing food in cities would be good for alleviating poverty, for building communities, and for public policy. Nordahl is a visionary who shows how easily cities could promote urban agriculture to the great benefit of all concerned. This book is at the cutting edge of today’s food revolution. Read it and get your city council to sign up!"

-Marion Nestle, professor of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at New York University and author of What to Eat


purchase My Kind of Transit :

Amazon | Powells | Publisher | Indie


In My Kind of Transit, Darrin Nordahl argues that like life itself, transportation isn't only about the destination, but the journey. Public transit reduces traffic and pollution, yet few of us are willing to get out of our cars and onto subways and buses. But Nordahl demonstrates that when using public transit is an enjoyable experience, tourists and commuters alike willingly hand in their keys.

The trick is creating a system that isn't simply a poor imitation of the automobile, but offers its own pleasures and comforts. While a railway or bus will never achieve the quiet solitude of a personal car, it can provide, much like a well-designed public park, an inviting, communal space.
My Kind of Transit is an animated tour of successful transportation systems, offering smart, commonsense analysis of what makes transit fun. Nordahl draws on examples like the iconic street cars of New Orleans and the picturesque cable cars in San Francisco, illustrating that the best transit systems are uniquely tailored to their individual cities. He also describes universal principles of good transit design.

Nordahl's humanistic treatment will help planners, designers, transportation professionals, and policymakers create transit systems the public actually wants to ride. And it will introduce all readers to delightful ways of getting from point A to point B.


Tom Vanderbilt | Slate

"Top 10 Planning Books of 2010"

Tim Halbur | Planetizen

Philip Langdon | New Urban News

Lloyd Alter | TreeHugger

John Calimente | re:place Magazine

Matthew Yglesias | Think Progress

Harold Henderson | Center for Building Communities - University of Notre Dame

Jarrett Walker | Human Transit


"A more important book than its title would suggest, My Kind of Transit is the first volume I have come across that comprehensively considers transit in terms of those factors that actually determine whether or not people will choose to ride it. Nordahl's humane and even humanist arguments recognize and celebrate how transit, if properly designed, can be elevated in the public esteem from loser cruiser to mode of choice. With a nod to E.F. Schumacher, I think I will call it Transit as if People Mattered. Please, if your work deals in any way with planning or transportation, do us all a favor and read this book."

-Jeff Speck, co-author of Suburban Nation, The Smart Growth Manual, and former Director of Design, National Endowment for the Arts

"An important book. Transit, says Darrin Nordahl, is not medicine or punishment but open space in motion - something to cherish. Full of information, imagination, and common sense, My Kind of Transit is the way to go."

-Tony Hiss, author of The Experience of Place

"This unique work will inspire scholars and students to research further on this essential and largely untreated topic. It will also pop up on the shelves of those urbanists who ponder wistfully on the loss of great city culture and vital urban social life and imagine the emergence of a more beautiful, more convivial, and livable urban future."

-Susan Zielinski, Urban Planner and Managing Director of Sustainable Mobility and Accessibility Research and Transformation, University of Michigan