Saturday, July 21, 2012

did you read? {3}: sustainability edition

Hey, remember that series I said I'd start writing back in February, then posted twice and kinda forgot about after that? Woops! Best laid plans and all that jazz. It's all good because I'm coming back at ya' with another post today, and I hope to make the series at least a monthly thing, since I've actually been reading quite a bit of worthwhile material.

If I haven't already smacked you in the face with this little bit of 411 about my life, 'tis the year of the urban/suburban sustainable homestead. Here are some of my favorite reads in that genre...



Adding the Urban Farm Handbook to my fledging homesteading stock made me ponder the other books about sustainable farming and eating I've encountered. I've written of the book previously, but to summarize what I've said before, it has become my go-to resource for all my gardening questions--most recently the question was "How do I save squash seeds?" {Answer: let a squash get old on the vine, and after it's good and mushy, harvest the seeds and let them dry}. In my post about eating the locavore way, I mentioned two of the classics (Omnivore's Dilemma and Fast Food Nation), but there are additional great resources I'd like to recommend to you in rounding out your bookshelf.


While it's similar to the pick above, Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living is another great one; as I noted once before, I recommend borrowing it from your library. I'm so tempted to purchase it today, as it's only $11 on Amazon. Cheap! I love gathering information online as well {most recently, how to prune tomato suckers. Who knew?!}, but to me, nothing beats a good book for teaching me about the natural world. It has fantastic pictures and was written by two long-time homesteaders, so it seems worth the purchase for institutional wisdom alone, as it were.


I really enjoyed another recent library pick called EcoMind: Changing the Way We Think, to Create the World We Want. I haven't bought a copy yet but plan to grab the first one I come across in a used bookstore. When my kids grow old enough to question the state of environmental impact and why it remains as destructive as it can be, I want to be proud of my response of the work that we're doing to repair it. I believe in the good of humanity, and I hope my children will become eternal optimists as well. Our future may depend on it. I jotted down some of EcoMind's great points as to why we should look on the bright side of our current ecological state:

  1. We're living an aberration now compared to all previous humanity, 
  2. We already know how to fix our situation (i.e. have knowledge of renewable energy sources). According to author Frances Moore Lappe, "We are in big trouble, but it's not for want of answers,
  3. It's not all locked up, meaning there is still time, 
  4. And a lot of people care.  Lappe again: "[Our problem is] that too many of us feel powerless."

Is there anyone who doesn't love Barbara Kingsolver? Based on how much I've enjoyed her fictional novels, I knew I'd enjoy her work of nonfiction, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. I had no idea just how much I would love it. Confession time: I've actually had a copy of this book since before Vivi was born, and I'm only just getting to it more than four years later. Truthfully, the lapse of time has more to do with my great lifestyle change (hello, five-minute bedtime reading) than what I think of this fabulous work. It was such a pleasure being a fly on the wall of their small Appalachian cabin while they tried to eek out a year's worth of food on their own, particularly after enjoying Prodigal Summer years ago. When reading Animal, I was placed back in that lovely land she writes about so well.


Jane Goodall's book, Harvest for Hope: A Guide to Mindful Eating, is another that's been sitting on my shelf waiting to be read for a few years. I can't remember how or when I picked it up; it's possible I just love her so much that when I heard she had written about food I grabbed a copy right away. Now that our real food journey is kicking into high gear, I am finally dusting it off to read it.


Editor's note: This post is part of Fight Back FridaySeasonal Celebration Sunday, The Homestead Barn Hop, Homesteader Blog CarnivalMonday ManiaReal Food Wednesday, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways, and Your Green Resource.

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