When I decided to start gardening, it was because of reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, so I was firmly on the organic train from the get-go. Organic Gardening explains not only how to use an organic philosophy in your gardens, but why it’s important. My post over at CPL has more info on this book.
In my quest to find books similar to Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, I noticed Farewell My Subaru: An Epic Adventure in Local Living and I was not disappointed. While it’s definitely far less in-depth and covers a broader range of sustainable living topics than AVM, it was very satisfying and a neat peek into one person’s attempt to completely revamp the way he lives. Doug Fine is a journalist (NPR, etc.) who decides to buy some property in New Mexico and put down some roots (literal and figurative). He christens this land the Funky Butte Ranch (ha!) and undertakes a variety of projects: buying a diesel truck and having it converted to run on used vegetable oil, installing solar power, planting a veggie garden, and raising chickens and milk goats. The goats are hilarious, constantly doing goaty things like trying to eat the rose bushes. Not many people are in a position to make such a major change (he must have had a substantial amount of money stashed away to be able to do many of these pretty pricey projects) but it’s not hard to see how a person could choose to do one or two and take things at a pace that works for their particular situation. A very quick read; recommended.
Probably not, but if Bill Moyers could decide, he would be. Moyers interviewed Pollan on his PBS show and if he didn’t convince Pollan to agree that he wants the Secretary of Agriculture post, he did elicit some very good information about food and farming in America. Check out parts one and two of the interview (video and transcript both available).
While Pollan remains optimistic about the future, it’s easy to get caught up in the negativity of the current situation. As Pollan states, agribusiness owns the U.S. government in terms of agriculture, farming, and food. This extends all the way to something as seemingly tangential as school lunches. How many parents would agree that it’s a good idea to let a business decide what into their children’s lunches?
Since I read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle I’ve been keeping a vegetable garden and trying to grow my own food during the seasons it’s possible here in Michigan. It’s comforting to know that if something catastrophic happened, we could hopefully get along without the need for store-bought food for at least a short while. Pollan points out, though, that you need to know how to cook to really get along. This is an area in which I seriously need to improve. I can throw a stir-fry together, but that’s a pretty limited range of kitchen skills. Having read Pollan’s In Defense of Food, I can see the many benefits of reducing the amount of food products in my diet, and being able to cook would help me accomplish this goal as well. As silly as it seems, though, learning to cook seems daunting to me. I should probably look into community education to see if there are any how-to courses for vegetarians.
via Eco-Foodie Junkie