I mentioned a few posts ago that I have started to read to Inspector Climate while he does the dishes. I had first suggested this months ago and he rolled his eyes and said something along the lines of "this is not going to be a thing" and then preceded to ignore me while I tried for a few moments more to convince him it was a good idea.
And then a few weeks ago, I was gchatting with my best friend Anne and I posed the hypothetical question to her that if we (she and I) were married, and she was doing the dishes wouldn't she enjoy it if we could read the same book together and be able to talk about and not have the tv on. In turns out she would enjoy it. So, I brought it up with Inspector Climate again, this time I was more pressing. Let's just try for tonight, I tried.
And so we did.
Then, we tried it the next night. And the next night. After it week it became my favourite part of the day. Last night we finished reading our first book together. And began the second.
To say that I've been a bit shocked (and oh so pleased!) is an understatement. Because when I've written about wanting to grow my own food in the past and the comments have been "me too!" and not "shut up, lady, no one cares about your home grown tomatoes." It gives me so much hope to read those comments. The more I learn about food and how we grow it and consume it and prepare it, the more I believe in it as catalyst for change.
The first book that Inspector Climate and I read together is called "The Town that Food Saved" by Ben Hewitt. There are many reasons for me to like this book, it's about Hardwick Vermont which is only a short drive from my home in New Hampshire. And who doesn't like to read about their home and places they've been!?
But more than that it is about people who are taking food seriously. The people in a community who are taking food seriously, small farmers who grow food for their localities and people who have degrees in composting (yes, that's a thing!). We just have to find them in our town.
There are things I don't like about this book - Mr Hewitt writes engagingly but somewhat verbosely which becomes increasing clear when you're reading aloud and little can't finish a sentence or phrase in one breath. The other part is I wanted this book to be a memoir - a story of the people in the town and what they're doing and some chapters were like that, and they were my favourite. But other chapters were asking questions questions about what scale of local is appropriate which I found less interesting.
I wanted to share some quotes with you though. Some local food for thought.
About Agri-businesses who now grow the majority of food in America. "We struck a deal: The agribusinesses got a guaranteed chunk of our income and our full faith in their ability to keep us sustained. In return, we got to pursue life styles that don't revolve around the soil and toil and that allow us a measure of leisure ime unprecedented in human history. In early 2009, American television viewing reached an all-time record of a stunning 151 hours per month. That's more than five hours per day, and let's be clear about something: You and I don't get sprawl across the sofa masticating pork rinds and watching American Idol unless someone else is growing the food" (Hewitt, 6).
There are pages and pages of why this system is failing us, less and less farmers farming bigger and bigger farms of monocultures that deplete the soil and use tens of millions of tons of chemical fertiliser for a quick fix. Draining aquifers of precious water. You know the drill. It's not pretty.
In the final pages Hewitt writes, "Indeed the real arrogance is the assumption that we can continue getting for less than it is worth and that our bodies, communities, and lands won't rebel against this falsehood" (222).
If growing your own food is a dream for you - or you're just interested in a small town in Vermont with some real characters, I'd definitely pick this book up.