Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Non-Fiction: The Zero-Mile Diet by Carolyn Herriot

From the very first, The Zero Mile Diet (Harbour Publishing) makes the 100 Mile Diet seem like last week’s news. That’s no accident. Bestselling author and accomplished seed grower and vendor Carolyn Herriot has pushed the idea of sustainability right to the very edge. Never mind being able to find everything you eat within a 100 mile radius. What about finding everything you need right in your own backyard?

For obvious reasons, actually living off your backyard garden plot -- or apartment balcony -- won't be viable for everyone, but there is thoughtful, well-documented material here that is widely useful and deeply interesting. Herriot describes the problems that exist as she sees them: urban crawl driving prices up, an aging agrarian class due, in part, to rising land costs, and the fact -- most disturbing of all -- that we’ve mostly lost the ability to even see that there is a problem.
Help! We have been depending on a system that provides such an abundance of cheap food that it has become unnecessary to grow it for ourselves.
So from there, where? In Herriot’s case, the response is entirely grassroots:

Imagine where we could be in five years if we had a plan? What would it be like if suddenly “edible landscaping” became de rigueur, and everyone started growing plants in their gardens they could eat?
I imagine that, in certain ways, where we’d be is Harriot’s backyard, a rich and gorgeous oasis capable of feeding not only ourselves, but -- as Herriot stresses -- our neighbors, as well.

The Zero Mile Diet takes us through a year in Herriot’s garden. And it’s a gorgeous, eventful year, filled with great photos -- some illustrative, some instructive -- recipes, hints, tips and plans. It’s an astonishing, eye-opening book, destined to be a modern classic. Anyone who has given even half an hour’s thought to these important issues would do well to add a copy to their library.

Labels: , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home