Literature and Website Reviews

Here is our list of recommended magazines, books, and websites:

Magazines – Here is what is on our coffee table these days (not including tons of seed catalogs!)

  1. Organic Gardening  – great information and a nice place to get ideas on what to grow, how to grow it, and listings n the back on garden products.
  2. Mother Earth News – a great source of information on the related topics of natural, healthy living.

Books – We encourage your suggestions here too.  Our list covers what we feel are the reads that really stuck with us.  We are not dust jacket book writers, so if you need a book summary check out Amazon or better yet, your local bookstore (if you still have one).

  1. The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s Eye View of the World, Michael Pollan – Who knew plants could be so interesting?  This book is written from a really cool and unique perspective.  It is amusing enough to entertain even just the mildly curious and deep enough to capture the attention of the most enthusiastic gardener.  Highest recommendation possible!
  2. In Defense of Food, Michael Pollan – No, we are not related to the author.  He just writes really intriguing books related to something really important to us all – food. We promise at least one of your perceptions on food will be changed by reading this book. For us it was to focus more on eating whole foods and to stop trying to take supplemental micronutrients. Mother Nature seems to make the most well formulated nutritional support there is!
  3. Farm City: The Education of An Urban Farmer, Novella Carpenter – An amazing, inspiring read by a woman who, against almost all odds, created an urban farm right in her small yard. Technically, the yard was not even hers!  We do not want to spoil a great story, but the most inspiring part is how she changed an entire community and engaged the least likely people along the way to developing her thriving urban farm.  A must read if you need even a small nudge to get you off the fence and into the garden.
  4. Eating on the Wild Side, Jo Robinson – We listened to this as a book on CD. The author explores the ideas and practices of eating foods that are more wild than what are generally available from our commercial food supply. She makes an interesting case for seeking out foods that are closer to what our ancestors ate and not so highly processed or bred into hybrids designed to appeal to the human desire to eat sweet, starchy foods. We like that she presents scientific information to back up her claims and gives practical ways to put her recommendations into practice. In addition, we learned a ton about storing, handling and preparing edible plants to maximize their health benefits. Finally, we are encouraged to learn that our practices of growing organic, mainly heirloom edible plants has taken us back in “food time” and allowed us to eat plants that are potentially better for our family and friends. Be sure to visit the author’s website for updated food recommendations related to this book.
  5. Radical Homemakers: Reclaiming Domesticity From a Consumer Culture, Shannon Hayes – by just looking at the title one may think this book is all about politics or socially irresponsible corporations. Sure, there is some mention of these topics. However, we feel the real message this book offers is centered around awareness. So many people go through life unaware of the constant push or pull being exerted upon them by strong social, political and economic forces. Put more simply, why do we always seem to desire more? More possessions, more food, more of everything we encounter. Our society is set up to ensure consumer demand never dies. Consumer demand fuels corporate growth and corporate growth is good for the world. Right? Maybe not, and that is why we added this book to our recommended reading list. What simple steps can families take to relieve some of these pressures and reconnect with what really matters–quality of life. Our definition of quality life is measure in smiles and laughter, not cars, boats and overpriced jeans. We also like that the author and publisher worked to produce their book as locally as possible while printing on recycled paper!
  6. Henrietta’s Guide to Caring For Your Chickens, Isabel Thomas – our little 7 and 9 year-old backyard farmers reviewed this book as we researched backyard chicken keeping. You can read their reviews here. They both recommend this book to other kids!

Websites – There are so, so many, but we find ourselves revisiting a few more than others.

  1. www.motherearthnews.com – a great source of information for gardening, homesteading, natural health, and more.
  2. www.organicgardening.com – a favorite magazine of ours with a well-built and organized website filled with timely information.
  3. www.kgi.org – Kitchen Gardens International – a cool site dedicated to growing your own food.  What a concept!
  4. www.urbanfarmonline.com – Urban Farm is a magazine with a website that contains lots of information on sustainable living, gardening, livestock, and more.

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