Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fireside Reading

I don't actually have a fireplace, but if I did, these would be the days I'd try to spend in front of it. We've already had more snow than we did all last winter, and today the rain is so cold all I want to drink is warm Ovaltine out of my biggest mug.

It's been awhile since I last posted, and the rain made me think of reading by a fire, which reminded me that I've yet to post a reading list of the best books (and movies) I've come across while working on this project.

-- Right now I'm reading Plenty by Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon. It's the true story of a Vancouver couple and the year they spent eating on the 100-mile diet. They're both journalists and the book is filled with a wealth of information, but I can hardly put it down because the story is so good, so honest, and so funny. And every chapter starts with a quote - each one of which is so well chosen, it carries the weight of 1000 words. One of my favorites is by Carl E. Sagan, "If you wish to make an apple pie truly from scratch, you must first invent the universe." And a Vietnamese proverb they found reminds me that there is nothing revolutionary about knowing where your food comes from: "When eating fruit, remember who planted the tree; when drinking clear water, remember who dug the well."

-- Jerry Pipitone, a stone fruit grower just outside Wenatchee, was the first of the farmers I interviewed to tell me what a huge impact Rachel Carson's Silent Spring had on him. First published in 1962, the waiting list at the library was so long I eventually requested the large print edition to cut my wait time. Credited with launching the environmental movement, this book resonates now as much as it did 50 years ago.

-- A number of the farmers I interviewed star in a movie called Good Food. www.goodfoodthemovie.com. It's a documentary about family farms in the Pacific Northwest and how so many of them are raising crops and animals organically and sustainably, and what that means to us as a community. Inspiring AND entertaining.

-- Recipe For America by Jill Richardson is a fact-filled but still gripping argument for sustainable agriculture.

More later. I promise.