Many of our health and environmental problems stem from a food system riddled with pesticides, preservatives and over processing. Temra Costa's Farmer Jane celebrates women who are fighting back by working to change the way America eats and farms.
This engaging book profiles 30 inspirational women whose innovative farming pursuits aim to produce wholesome, natural foods, protect the earth and wildlife, treat farm workers fairly and stimulate local economies.
These rebels for a cause include:
Now, it's trendy to talk about "sustainability" but what does it really mean?" We asked Temra, who co-hosts the Green960 radio program, to give us the scoop on her new book's message.
What is sustainable farming?
Great question! "Sustainable" is used for all sorts of things these days - sustainable business growth, sustainable solutions, sustainable this and that. In the context of my book, I use the word "sustainable" to refer to a farming system that is regenerative to the land and communities. Sustainable farms must work to regenerate the soil, use water efficiently and foster new relationships. I use the word "sustainable" more than organic as it's my dream that someday the government will label the chemicals that are on our food, not food products that don't contain chemicals (pesticides and herbicides).
Sustainable farms can grow food in perpetuity, that's forever, because they don't detract from the ecology of the landscape, they foster fertility.
Why is it important to baby boomers?
Sustainable farming is important for everyone. Whether over concern about your health or the environment, there is something about our food to engage everyone. Social issues, community, taste, soil, water, air, nutrition, all meet at the intersection of the food system.
How can we support sustainable farming?
I once heard the quote, "You have to eat the view to save it" and if you care about the land and your health, you should be eating from as close to home as possible, or as organically as possible. Everyone can participate by growing their own, purchasing such foods (yes, even in colder climes like where I'm from in Wisconsin) and by educating themselves about the issues.
To get going, read Farmer Jane, The Omnivore's Dilemma or Fast Food Nation. But most importantly, celebrate! Celebrate the flavor of food, of eating together, of learning new things and of teaching them to the next generation. We need everyone to pitch in.
Farmer Jane does a wonderful job showing how you can make a difference. Every chapter includes "Recipes for Action" that'll stir up plenty of ideas whether you farm, work with food or just want to eat better (that's us!). One easy suggestion: support sustainable farms by shopping your neighborhood farmers' market at least once a month. (We're big fans of the one in Grapevine. Join their email list to get money-saving coupons.)
A real eye-opener, this insightful book will help you understand the work women are doing to preserve local farms and put fresh, seasonal, organic food on our tables. You'll also find many ways to plug in to this important cause even if you can't imagine yourself on a tractor.
Author: Temra Costa
Publisher: Gibbs Smith
Penned: May 2010
Time Out: The 224 pages are a quick read because you can pick and choose where to spend your time.
Available: $15.99 from Amazon (paperback)