Before I began blogging, I lurked at other people's blogs. I roamed the green blogosphere and soaked up everything I could on Climate Change, mass extinctions, Peak Oil, and such. One of my favorite blogs to hang out was at Sharon Astyk's Casaubon's Book
At that time, Sharon had not yet become a published author. Then, she was just a prolific blogger. Very prolific. Every other day or so, she wrote a long tome about Peak Oil, living on a farm, low energy living and all other kinds of topics that made me think but even more made my stomach hurt. And, while I thought Sharon was probably right when she intimated that "this is the end of the world as we know it", I got tired of walking around with a burgeoning ulcer and a overheated heartbeat.
I quit reading Casaubon's Book
(though I do take a peek from time to time). She's still writing those wonderfully long and thoughtful posts that will make you lose sleep . . . or plant a vegetable garden that can adapt to climate change or can something or learn a new skill like knitting or sewing. Any way, I moved on to other bloggers and began writing my own blog. I planted a Victory Garden in my front yard
. I flexed my cooking muscles
. I started knitting again. I trimmed my waste line
. And I didn't question where some motivation might have come from.
Sharon has published two books since I abandoned Casaubon's Book
. I reviewed the first, Depletion and Abundance
earlier this year. It was vintage Sharon. Easy to read. Prolific. A little "end of the world" for me. Felt like a compilation of her blog posts rather than new material.
I hesitated to pick up her second book, A Nation of Farmers
, from the library last month. I sort of figured that I could just stop into Casaubon's Book
for my Sharon fix.
I'm glad I ignored my first instinct.
A Nation of Farmers
is far from the heavy rhetoric and instructional root cellaring of Sharon of old. Instead of focusing on how to grow food on several acres in upstate New York, this book brings food growing - and even more importantly food cooking - to all of us. Even me on my oh so tiny lot in the urban Bay Area.
Sharon and her co-author, Aaron Newton
detail why it is so important for this country, this planet, to have a million new farmers and two million new cooks. Where we, as a nation, went wrong and how far off we really are. How we can grow and cook our own in urban, suburban and country settings. How we start over.
The book even comes complete with fantastic, frugal, low energy and high nutrition recipes from various bloggers including our very own Chile
The book was realistic, easy to read and, considering the subject matter, relatively optimistic. Moreover, it was inspiring. I'm not sure anyone could finish this book and not go outside an plant a garden or into the kitchen and cook a meal from scratch. It instills meaning and pride in much of what we already do and motivation to do more. Note: I am no longer a Victory Gardener. I'm a full fledged farmer
. . . and quite possibly a chef.
I recommend A Nation of Farmers to all shades of green. It's not too heavy for those of us on the lighter side but still plenty informative for those forest green types. I rate it 4 out of 5. Read it and then go grow something.