Thanks to TikTok, corn has been trending all week. Yes, that’s right, corn. A novice gardener myself, this got me thinking about planting my own crops and growing organic food. Whether you live in a city and tend to a little box garden, use a community garden, or have land of your own to grow crops, these books will help you live a healthy life centered around a working farm. They also will help you value and appreciate the beauty of our land’s biodiversity and grow closer to the food you eat. So, check out these three fascinating books. They are abundant with useful information to help you learn more about gardening and sustainable agriculture.
Welcome to the Agrihood: Housing, Shopping, and Gardening for a Farm-to-Table Lifestyle by Anna DeSimone
(House & Home / Sustainable Living)
In this must-have book, award-winning author Anna DeSimone explains that sustainably sourced, locally grown food is healthy, preserves farmland, and lowers your carbon footprint. It is a fascinating exploration of agrihoods: eco-friendly, healthy communities centered around a professionally managed farm.
Agrihoods have been recognized as some of the best places to live in America. The best part is, agrihoods can be located anywhere, including major cities and metro areas. Not only does the book teach you how to live in an eco-friendly agrihood, you also will learn how to grow your own organic food with helpful tips and planting guides. Shop from the “farmer you know” and learn the story behind your food.
There is value everywhere in this book. In addition to its practical tips to help you grow organic food – either on your porch, balcony, or in your backyard – its content teaches how sustainable agriculture helps the environment. One aspect that really stands out is its emphasis on urban agriculture. American cities are being revolutionized with rooftop farms that bring fresh and sustainable foods to areas with little to zero farm land.
Whether you live in New York City or in America’s heartland, this book will revolutionize your understanding of agriculture, and teach you how to truly connect with your food.
Growing Simple: The Story of Old World Garden Farms by Jim Competti and Mary Competti
(House & Home / Sustainable Living)
If you are looking to plant your first garden, eat healthier, and become responsible for your own food, this is one of the best books for you to read.
In 2010, authors Jim and Mary Competti were seeking ways to become more responsible for the food on their table. They decided to start from scratch and convert an overgrown 3 acre field into a self-sustaining farm that could feed their family. They had a few requirements – build the farm using recycled materials when possible, grow food without chemicals or pesticides, and create it all without incurring debt.
The result was Old World Garden Farms – a website created to document the entire process. They now grow almost all of their own food while raising chickens, keeping bees, and maintaining a fledgling orchard and vineyard planted in 2013. If you want to embark on your own agricultural and sustainable journey, this book is the perfect place to learn.
I recommend this book to everyone who is looking to slow down and live a more meaningful and simple life. Its pages are abundant with all you need to know about gardening, cooking, and canning. Soon, you will be able to establish a system of your own to grow, harvest, and preserve foods. Whether you want to establish a full self-sustaining home, or just grow a few fruits and vegetables, Jim and Mary Competti are the perfect teachers. Regardless of where you live, there are so many ways to innovate when gardening, cooking, or taking on DIY projects. If you want to start making the homestead of your dreams, this book needs to be in your list.
From Our Hands to Yours by Linda Y. Flake, Mika Highsmih-Hasan and Nicole Travis
(Photography / Regional)
When was the last time you went to the grocery store? When you purchased a bundle of carrots, a carton of blueberries, or a bag of potatoes, did really think about where that food came from?
Most of us do not. I try to be mindful of where my food comes from and I admit that sometimes when I’m in a rush, I will just grab those organic peppers without really thinking about their origins. It is normal and natural for us to take these beautiful fruits and vegetables for granted. But every little veggie or berry has a story. From Our Hands To Yours does a fantastic job sharing it.
The book uses beautiful photographs to share your food’s story. It sheds light on the faces behind the labor in the orchards, vineyards, and fields across the country that provide us with fresh fruits, vegetables, and other agricultural products. Its pages share the unseen faces that make our access possible.
Each striking photograph is complimented with a brief vignette. The authors share the faces, and the stories, that are behind the food you eat.
It is important for every American to read this book. Although the grocery shelves will always be packed with greens, colorful fruits, and seemingly endless bounty, it benefits us all to deepen our connection with products on the shelf.
This book will be particularly appealing to you if you live in New Jersey. Every photo and story belongs to one of the many New Jersey famers who put their heart into growing and harvesting organic and sustainable crops that feed the masses. Get closer to your food. Know where it comes from. And see the faces of those who produce it. Our world will be a better place because of it.
Summer may be ending, but Fall gardening season is just beginning! You can leave a comment below if there are any other gardening topics that interest you, and our team will follow up with book recommendations that will help you along your journey. Happy reading, and happy gardening!
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