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“Grow a Sustainable Diet” — the Book!

8/15/2013 10:29:00 AM

Tags: sustainable diet, garden planning, cover crops, Cindy Conner, Virginia

"Grow a Sustainable Diet" book coverI have written a book about what I've been working on for many years. New Society Publishers will be releasing Grow a Sustainable Diet in spring. This cover says it all. Whether you feel it or not, we are all deeply connected to the earth that grows our food. We need to recognize that and take great care not to spoil our source of nourishment. The information in this book will help you make decisions about what to eat and what to grow if you want to keep your ecological footprint small and feed back the soil as you grow.

Grow a Sustainable Diet includes the garden planning and cover crop information from my DVDs, along with information about coordinating your diet with your garden. I think having a good garden map and knowing how to use it is important, so there is a chapter on garden maps, including permaculture maps. This book also covers having animals in your plan, food storage and preservation, and sheds and fences. Most importantly, this book will help you think through the decisions you make for your diet and your garden. In fact, the last chapter is titled “Rethink Everything”! We need to become students of our own gardens and be prepared for the lessons we need to learn, allowing them to just happen. I recount many lessons my garden has taught me over the years.

With the proliferation of farmers’ markets, many gardeners are eager to join in as growers. I spent over a decade at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College teaching gardeners to do just that. More importantly, however, is learning to eat from your garden. You would think that is a given, but take an inventory of what you have eaten in the last week and mark how many of those things you grew. You might even ask the growers at the markets how much of the food they eat is homegrown. At the college I taught a Complete Diet Mini-farming class. In that class my students explored what it would take to grow all one’s food, along with the crops to feed back the soil, using the least space. If you learn to feed yourself first, you will be better equipped to feed others as you increase your knowledge, skills, and growing area.

Many people can’t comprehend eating only a homegrown or local diet because their present diet consists of food that comes in packages from food processors. If they were so inclined as to want to eat from their gardens, they would need to prepare food in its raw state. That in itself can be both intimidating and an adventure, depending how you look at it. To further complicate things, most likely there are others at the dinner table to satisfy. Grow a Sustainable Diet addresses these issues. It helps you consider the whole of what it takes to get food from the seed to your table, in a way that nourishes you and replenishes the earth. I can’t wait for you to read it!

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