Published on November 10th, 2009 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg6
Green Books Campaign: From Seed to Table
Editor’s note: This review is part of the Green Books campaign. Today 100 bloggers are reviewing 100 great books printed in an environmentally-friendly way. Our goal is to encourage publishers to get greener and readers to take the environment into consideration when purchasing books. This campaign is organized by Eco-Libris, a a green company working to green up the book industry by promoting the adoption of green practices, balancing out books by planting trees, and supporting green books. A full list of participating blogs and links to their reviews is available on the Eco-Libris website.
Thinking about giving gardening a try? While the traditional growing season has ended in most parts of the US for this year, it’s not too early to start planning for next Spring. You may want to check out books on starting a backyard garden, and there are plenty of them out there. You may also want to find some of the books that offer suggestions and recipes for the produce you grow. And, if you need encouragement to grow organically, there are still more books on that subject.
If you want a book that covers all three of those areas, though, your choices get much more limited. Janette Haase’s From Seed to Table: A Practical Guide to Eating and Growing Green* not only provides readers with gardening instructions and tips, recipes and menus, and essays on the environmental issues surrounding agriculture and food production, but does so in a month-by-month structure that gives you the information you need when you need it.
Haase’s book isn’t simply a practical guide, though: the author notes in her introduction that she wanted to create a work that “[explored] what it means to eat seasonally and locally…” So, each monthly section provides garden advice (yep, even in the dead of winter… and there is growing you can do then), meal suggestions based on what would be seasonally available to the home gardener, and then a “Food for Thought” section examining a “big issue” surrounding food production: the benefits of organic gardening, the impact on climate of large-scale agriculture and food distribution, and the waste produced by the current system all receive attention. From month to month, a reader understands the impact of his/her food choices on the larger environment.
As you might imagine, this isn’t a book for reading from cover to cover: rather, its designed for picking up every month to figure out next steps in producing a backyard bounty for the family table. The “Food for Thought” sections, however, are well worth reading several at a time… and coming back to later.
Published by Ontario-based Insomniac Press, From Seed to Table has a definite Canadian slant to it (the author is also from the Great White North). I found little, though, that wouldn’t work well for US-based readers… perhaps with just a little additional research on planting in your region. The book is published on recycled paper, though I was unable to find out the exact recycled and post-consumer content used.
While From Seed to Table could certainly work well as a stand-alone guide to starting your own garden, and enjoying the food it produces, I’ll likely use it alongside Mel Bartholomew’s All New Square Foot Gardening*. And I can’t wait to try some of the recipes…