Thursday, June 4, 2009

Bookshelf Certification

In the last post I used the term “sustainable agriculture” and “organic”.

Joel Salatin, a small farmer in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, says of the term “Organic” in Everything I Want to Do is Illegal, “It is a non-comprehensive term, it does not include many of the more important variables in a socially and environmentally responsible food system” (105). This obviously becomes a problem in communication between farmer and consumer, or government and people, with the organic certification process. By slapping “organic” on a bag of carrots or apples the consumers makes many assumptions that are not necessarily true. (notice to be slapped with that label the produce in question has to packaged in a bag, often plastic…is that “organic”?...many more variables exist)

He goes on to say, “If you want to certify something, certify the farmers’ bookshelf and magazine rack. This movement has always been about a worldview, a value system. It is lived out from a deep inner conviction, not a codified system of dos and don'ts. If I’m feeding my mind and soul with the right stuff, my heart and hands will probably be in the right place too” (107).

With that, here is what is on my bookshelf and magazine rack:

Wendell Berry—Citizenship Papers
Wendell Berry—The Gift of Good Land: Further Essays Culture and Agriculture
Wendell Berry—Home Economics
Wendell Berry--Sex, Economy, Freedom, and Community
Wendell Berry—The Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture
Wendell Berry—What are People For?
Rachel Carson—Silent Spring
William T. Cavanaugh—Being Consumed: Economics and Christian Desire
Dorothy Day—Loaves and Fishes
Paul Hawken, Amory & Hunter Lovins—Natural Capitalism
John Jeavons—How to Grow More Vegetables
David Joyce—Pruning and Training Plants: A Complete Guide
Ben Lowe—Green Revolution: Coming Together to Care for Creation
Bill McKibben—Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future
Michael Pollan—In Defense of Food: Eat Food, Not Too Much, Mostly Plants
Michael Pollan—The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals
Michael Pollan—Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education
Paul Roberts—The End of Food
Rodale’s Vegetable Garden Problem Solver
Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening
Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening
Rodale’s Complete Guide to Organic Gardening
Machael Schut—Food and Faith
Joel Salatin—Everything I Want to do is Illegal: War Stories From the Local Food Front
David Tracy—Guerrilla Gardening: A Manualfesto

Gourmet Magazine


Ryan Fasani said...

I love knowing that all ENCM related agriculture is inspired by the likes of Berry, Day, and Salatin. By most standards: radicals, extremists, and even...CRAZY. Then again, asking if the bag in which the carrots are packaged is organic is also CRAZY. May our work in this community be equally crazy about empowering our neighbors to have a hand in this agri-effort.

kirsten-e said...

If you were to suggest two books to start out with, on the journey to learning about sustainable agriculture, what would you recommend?

justin.owings said...

id say either Wendell Berry's The Unsettling of America, or Michael Pollan's Omnivores Dilemma. to learn about the problem of industrial ag id start with Paul Robert The end of food, or, one that isnt on there that i just picked up is called Food Politics by Marion Nestle.

justin.owings said...

another really good source is to just go to either the Franklin farmer's market on saturdays or the east nashville one on wednesdays, and talk to the farmers. they'll talk forever, and answer everything.