Posts Tagged ‘Guest review’

The Town That Food Saved by Ben Hewitt

Click to find at a library near you!

Based on the title, I expected a different story than the one told here.  In fact, I was expecting to learn about a happy community with a well established local food culture showing the rest of us how it could be done.  What I wasn’t expecting was the author asking really tough questions about the feasibility of local food systems. Can communities in a country that prides itself on independence (really, the illusion of independence) embrace the interdependence necessary to build and maintain a local food system? What defines a local system?  Is it truly local if the people who live nearby can’t afford to buy it? How do communities react when the media pays attention only to those who have just recently discovered local food, while overlooking those who’ve been eating and producing it their entire lives? The author’s pragmatism challenged my local-food passion throughout the story and I was starting to worry that building alternatives to the current industrial food system is all a pipe dream. The good news is…I’m not going to tell. You’ll have to read the book.

Slow Food USA recently reviewed this book as well. Check out their comments here. Guest review kindly submitted by Shelley of Local Food Northern Nevada.


03 2010

The Locavore Way by Amy Cotler

Click to find at a library near you!

The Locavore Way: Discover and Enjoy the Pleasures of Locally Grown Food (2009) by Amy Cotler is a comprehensive, easy-to-read guide on how to find, buy, and cook locally grown food. She covers every aspect of eating locally: from the basics, like what to look for at farmer’s markets, to the more complex, like how to buy meat and poultry in areas where local food is not available in stores. Recipes and tips for preparing many vegetables and fruits help those of us less experienced with creating meals with fresh food. The author also stresses the importance of consumer expectations of the companies, restaurants, and schools linked to our meals and how to effectively advocate for change. The Locavore Way includes a great resource section to get you started, and my favorite – testimonials from farmers, chefs, and families who make local food a part of their lives.

Thanks to Storey Publishing for the review copy and to one of Reno’s own locavores Shelley of Local Food Northern Nevada for the review! Shelley’s site is a great resource for area residents, check it out!


02 2010

Spotlight on Children’s Books: Part 1

Click to find at a library near you!

The Curious Garden  – Written and Illustrated by Peter Brown

One day, in a city devoid of vegetation, a curious boy named Liam stumbles upon a smattering of dying wildflowers and plants growing along an abandoned railway. Though he knows little about gardening, Liam resolves to do what he can to save the tiny garden. As a result of Liam’s dogged determination, the plants flourish. Before long, Liam’s garden begins to spread, not just along the railway, but also throughout the entire city. As the garden grows, so does the community’s involvement in it, until Liam becomes just one of many gardeners in the city.

Inspired by the growth of a real garden along the abandoned Highline railway in Manhattan, this gentle story celebrates both the beauty of nature and the power of one individual to make a difference. The lovely acrylic and gouache illustrations, which include many wordless spreads, depict the almost magical transformation of the city from a bleak place to one full of lush greenery. In a concluding author’s note, Brown encourages his young readers to follow in Liam’s footsteps and look for nature all around them. Recommended for ages 5-8.

Click to find at a library near you!

Over in the Garden – Written by Jennifer Ward, Illustrated by Kenneth J. Spengler

This charming take on the traditional counting rhyme “Over in the Meadow” illuminates the roles played by different critters in a garden. The bright gouache illustrations depict ten large, cheery insects, from pouncing mantises to buzzing bees and glowing beetles. Children will practice both their counting and detective skills, as each spread contains a hidden number reflecting the number of insects on the page. Readers wishing to learn more about the creatures in this tale will find additional information about many of them presented in a “Fun Facts” section in the back. The book concludes with a musical score for those unfamiliar with the tune to Over in the Meadow. Recommended for ages 3-6.

Reviews graciously contributed by our friend Cassandra who works as a Children’s Librarian in the Boston area. If interested in submitting a guest review, contact us!


01 2010