Reading about food production


Okay, while I was teaching, I may not have been able to post as regularly as I normally do, but that did not mean that I stopped reading!  I read every day for at least 30 to 45 minutes, generally as I am going to sleep.  It is my way to clear my mind and relax.  So, in the last several weeks I have gotten through a number of books …

Two of these books have been about food production: Food not Lawns & The Joy of Keeping Farm Animals.  One of them is a practical guide to producing your own food and the other is a subversive call to escape the modern industrial food system.  This means that one of them is useful to the practitioner and the other is for the vocal activist.  So, which is which …

Food not Lawns is, as you may be able to tell from the subtitle, not a gardening book!  It is a book for food activists and community groups.  It has very few actual gardening tips but is packed with tips on how to organize a community project (or yourself).  While it is an interesting book, especially a couple of the chapters (try ch. 1, ch. 3 on water, and ch. 6 on seeds), it is not a book that I will recommend to anyone who is looking for gardening resources.  Not only is it too activist for me, it is also too new age-ist for me!  For example, on page 105, she suggests that you plant yourself in the garden.  This is recommended as a literal activity that will ‘connect’ you to the soil.  So, while I would recommend this book to few people, the other book is quite different …

This is the book for the aspiring smallholder – it contains all of the information that one needs to get started with a their own handful of farm animals.  Covering all of the basic farmyard inhabitants, this book provides the information to raise chickens for eggs, goats to make cheese, or cows to fill a freezer with beef!  Complete with standard forms to track all of the animals important details, this is a real reference book for any farmyard library.  Definitely a useful book!