Culture

Published on November 10th, 2009 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

6

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…

*These are affiliate links, and sustainablog will receive a percentage of any sales made through them.



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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



  • http://www.savvyverseandwit.com Serena (Savvy Verse & Wit)

    I really would like to garden more, but the apartment living is not really conducive to it when there isn’t must light during the day.

  • http://www.brimfulcuriosities.com Janelle

    I’m always looking for ideas on how I can optimize my garden and grow my own foods. Sounds very practical.

  • http://www.earthwormworks.com/ Bill

    Yes, I’ve found that I have to adjust most gardening books written to accomodiate our growing conditions here in Florida. Learned it the hard way. You offer good advice about checking out your local extensions services so you can make adjustments.

  • http://www.denverpost.com/diggingin Susan (Digging In)

    Serena should check out the books and blogs of another great gardening Canadian: Gayla Trail of You Grow Girl. She does all her veggie gardening on a rooftop! In Toronto, even! I don’t think Gayla has even ever had a yard.

  • Mark

    I took Janette’s workshop in 2010 and learned a lot. Last year I asked her to help me start a market garden and she did. It was quite interesting putting what I learned to use. Her book is so practical because (like it says) it takes you from the seed to the table. Also, besides having the reward of eating your own food and saving money you also can gain some spiritual benefit from it. We have a fifty acre farm and I decided to expand my gardening space by starting another garden in the lower field near the meadow. As I worked away there in the spring I discovered 4 boblink birds flitting about on the fence posts. I discovered that they are rare and this is due in part because they nest in hay fields and then when the hay gets harvested the nest gets ruined and the young die. At our farm we always take the hay off late because we don’t have our own equipment and rely on neighbor farmers so the hay comes off after the bobilinks have hatched. It’s interesting the things you’ll learn gardening that you didn’t expect to.

    • http://sustainablog.org Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

      Thanks so much for sharing your experience, Mark!

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