by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Gardens

Mar 3 2023

Weekend reading: for kids!

Shannon Saia sent me copies of three books in the series, Gertie in the Garden, aimed at kids ages 6-9.  Here’s one:

The other two are Going Offbeet and Making Peas (puns intentional).

She asked if I would blurb the series.  Once I read them, I was happy to:

The Gertie in the Garden series is so engaging that kids will catch on right away to why growing vegetables and even playing with them will encourage kids to view healthy foods as helping them negotiate their way in the world.  Kids will love these books (and parents will too).

I have to admit to not liking most books aimed at getting kids to like vegetables.  But I liked these a lot.  For one thing, they are focused on Gertie’s struggles to figure out how to get along with others (not easy, in her case), and her social awkwardness feels real—and fixable.

For another, learning how to garden with her grandmother is a relief from those struggles and integrated into her life in a way that again seems authentic.

I think it would be fun to read these to young kids not yet ready to read them on their own.  And the stories raise plenty of issues to talk about as well as offering practical advice about how to grow these vegetables.

Shannon tells me these are available in the usual way through bookstores and online.

Mar 11 2022

Weekend reading: Tamar Haspel’s “To Boldly Grow”

Tamar Haspel.  To Boldly Grow: Finding Joy, Adventure, and Dinner in Your Own Backyard.  GP Putnam’s Sons, 2021.  

I did a blurb for  this book:

In To Boldly Grow, Tamar Haspel gives us a warm, thoughtful, and thoroughly entertaining account of how she and her husband committed to eating and, therefore, growing, gathering, and, yes, hunting “first-hand” food every day.  This is a love story with an inspiring message: if she can raise her own food and have so much fun doing it, you can too.

I copied a few choice quotes, to give you a taste.

On calculating the amount of salt you can get out of seawater:

I shouldn’t have been surprised.  I’m pretty good at math, and this was basic arithmetic.  But that beautiful pile of salt was the next best thing to creating something out of thin air.  You take water out of the ocean, put it on your woodstove, and end up with something people put in froufrou little containers and sell at the same per-pound price as wild-caught salmon.  We were mesmerized by a completely mundane process we could predict with perfect accuracy. (p. 123)

On raising turkeys:

Turkey stupidity is the stuff of legend; they can supposedly drown by looking up in a rainstorm or simply not figuring out they should take their head out of their water dish.  But ours seemed to have something going on in the brains department.  Not the kind of thing that gets you into Yale early admissions, but baseline street smarts.  From the day we brought them home, they were on the lookout for an escape route.  (p. 157)

On eating roadkill wild turkey (Kevin is her husband):

I didn’t know at the time that this bird would set the tone for so much of what we did afterward.  It was the very first time we jumped into a project knowing absolutely nothing, the first time we bumbled through successfully, the first time we made a meal of something we’d gleaned from the world around us.  And it proved we were well matched in this endeavor, because Kevin is the kind of man who brings home roadkill and I’m the kind of woman who wants it.  (p. 169)

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Feb 15 2016

The food movement, Australia

My daily walk to the Charles Perkins Centre at Sydney Uni takes me past Ground Up—the campus community garden.


It has a greenhouse.  And vegetables.


It’s summer here!

Mar 20 2009

The Obama’s garden: happy news!

By this time everyone in the world must know that the Obama’s are planting a vegetable garden at the White House.  Today’s New York Times not only covered it, but on the front page yet.  Planting a garden is front-page news? Indeed it is.  What strikes me most about the reports is how excited everyone at the White House is about it.  The staff can’t wait to start planting and picking.

In the meantime, Slow Food and friends are in Atlanta talking to the CDC about the importance of agriculture to food, nutrition, and health, especially as it bears on school food.  This also could be a great sign.

And if you care what else the Obama’s are doing about food, check out Obama Foodorama, where bloggers cover what gets cooked, what gets eaten, and what’s important about food in deep, daily detail.

March 21 update: Another photo of the Obama garden project appears on the front page of today’s New York Times along with a lauditory editorial (this really is big news), and Eating Liberally’s kat has a comment on farming on 5th Avenue.