Friday, July 17, 2015

In Regard To Food

In Regard To Food

Picture books
A lot of young people don't know much about the routes food
takes (and the people whose labor this entails) before it lands in the
supermarket. Too many people of all ages don't know what can and
can't be composted to keep food garbage from landing up in landfills
where organic waste can create noxious gases. So it was true
serendipity when I discovered a book on each aspect of this process to
pair up beautifully.
Pat Brisson's Before We Eat: from farm to table is a lovely
picture book for the youngest children. As a group is thanking the
people who helped provide the food for their meal, there is a seamless
segue to the wide range of roles involved in its production--ground
plowing through grocery selling. The words are minimal, the woodcut
pictures rich and beautifully detailed. A parent or teacher sharing
this book would do well to think of local places to visit that link in
with the words and illustrations. A visit to a community garden this
time of year would help with the tending, weeding, and harvesting
pictures. If you're near a harbor there may be fishing boats. Even
pointing out grazing cows through a car window can help make a link
between picture and experience.
Mary McKenna Siddals' Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the
Earth is another great book in terms of linking printed word and
picture with hands on experience. A jubilant red haired youngster
invites readers to mix a batch of compost stew. Some of the
alphabetically listed ingredients are pretty much what you'd expect:
apple cores, grass clippings, kitchen scraps... Others were a surprise
to me: laundry lint, coffee grounds, seaweed strands... Ashley
Wolff's richly detailed and whimsical collages couldn't be more
perfect. Way to combine literacy and environmentalism!
The real life application? Start making compost. If the
prospect seems intimidating or space considerations are daunting join
up with other families or try to get a program going in your local
school, religious or civic group, or other organization. Your state's
Cooperative Extension will probably be a good source of information.
When you have yourself a bunch of rich compost inhabited with very
happy earthworms...
...time to take on the planting, tending, weeding, and
harvesting alluded to in Before We Eat. :)
On a personal note, I am enjoying the soft gentle rain Orono Community
Garden needs for our veggies! That beautiful space is getting to look
like a modern day Garden of Eden--minus the serpent.
A great big shout out goes out to ethical food producers and
composters around the world. You're nothing less than rock stars!
Julia Emily Hathaway

Sent from my iPod

1 comment:

  1. I'm delighted to have stumbled upon this lovely post and to find my COMPOST STEW sharing the spotlight with the wonderful BEFORE WE EAT. Thanks so much, Julia, for such a thoughtful review, and for so skillfully weaving the connection between the two books!