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Summer Reading


I must be in the mood to procrastinate, because instead of reading about peasant agriculture and transnational peasant movements, I am blogging. I’ll get to the other stuff in good time ;).

After having sent out the e-mails and writing the previous blog, it occurred to me that some of you may be interested in reading about farming, homesteading, and the like. So, I thought I’d share a few of our favorites with you.

First and foremost, if you’re interested in reading about homesteading, please please please read books by Helen and Scott Nearing. They have written a number of amazing books, but probably the best to begin with is The Good Life. You can find out more information about these two at The Good Life Center at Forest Farm

Another good one is Sharing the Harvest by Elizabeth Henderson and Robyn Van En. Robyn Van En is attributed as bring the CSA movement to the U.S. (from Japan and Europe). You can also learn more about her at The Robyn Van En Center.

No sustainable farming library would be complete without Elliot Coleman’s The New Organic Grower. This book is written for the gardening and farming audience. You can learn more about Elliot Coleman at his site Four Season Farm. Elliot Coleman is one of the leading farm-to-market folks in the country.

Another leading CSA farmer in the U.S. is Joel Salatin. His farm is based in Virginia and he serves members in the D.C. area as well. He’s come to Raleigh a few times to give lectures. Sadly, Ben and I have been unable to see him, as his lectures are either too pricey for us or, in the case of his coming to Meredith College (when we could afford to see him), we were just unable to go. You can learn more about Joel at Polyface, Inc. He’s written a number of books. One that I’ve been meaning to read, but just haven’t gotten around to is Everything I Want to Do is Illegal: War Stories from the Local Food Front.

For lighter reading, I highly recommend Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. If you haven’t read this yet, it is a MUST! Kingsolver spends a year of her life eating local (minus a few staples such as olive oil) and chronicles the journey she and her family go through in the process. I literally laughed out loud and cried as I read this book (and that does NOT happen often). You can learn more about Kingsolver and the book here.

Of course, if you have read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, you’ve probably also read The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan.He also published In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto. The book that’s on my summer reading list is Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education. According to Amazon: “This isn’t so much a how-to on gardening as a how-to on thinking about gardening. It follows the course of the natural year, from spring through winter, as [Pollan], an editor at Harper’s , chronicles his growth as a gardener in Connecticut’s rocky Housatonic Valley. Starting out as a “child of Thoreau,” [Pollan] soon realized that society’s concept of culture as the enemy of nature would get him a bumper crop of weeds and well-fed woodchucks but no vegetables to eat. Far more serviceable materially and philosophically, he now finds, is the metaphor of a garden, where nature and culture form a harmonious whole. [Pollan] finds ample time for musing on how his own tasks fit in with the overall scheme of existence; thus, there are chapters titled “Compost and Its Moral Imperatives” and “The Idea of a Garden.” Although serious in import, the writing is never ponderous; [Pollan]’s wit flashes throughout, and particularly in anecdotes about his youth: one memorable incident has his father mowing his initials in the front yard after being reproached by a suburban neighbor about his overgrown lawn”. It sounds like it will be a fun and interesting read :). You can learn more about Michael Pollan here.

Well, that should do it for now :). If you have any other books, magazines, websites, etc. you’d like to recommend, please comment below (or e-mail us at parker.patricia@gmail.com or shields.ben@gmail.com).

Thanks again for stopping by!

Patricia & Ben

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