ISBN: 9781931498241 Year Added to Catalog: 2001 Book Format: Paperback Book Art: recipes, bibliography, index Dimensions: 6 x9 Number of Pages: 288 Book Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Old ISBN: 1931498245 Release Date: September 1, 2002 Web Product ID: 272
Joan Dye Gussow's This Organic Life is a rollicking good read from start to finish. It is like a long talk with an old friend, filled with candor and immediacy. The author is telling the story of her shared quest with her husband, the late artist Alan Gussow, to learn how to live well but mindfully. Their focus in attempting to do so is to grow their own food. The result is a love story that extends to home and community. It is a domestic adventure story with all the mishaps and triumphs every householder and gardener comes to know. As a scientist and journalist, Dr Gussow has a knack for cutting to the core of complex issues. She regales the reader with wisdom, knowledge, and passion about why we need to care about what -- and how -- we eat. Through her we come to see gardening as connection, as metaphor and as practice of ongoing continuity, of the human family at home in the living world. As she herself concludes, 'It is my meditation, my learning my caring for each thing the Earth has produced as if my life depended on it, because of course, in a larger sense, it does.'
—Nancy Jack Todd
Joan Dye Gussow is an extraordinarily ordinary woman. She lives in a home not unlike the average home in a neighborhood that is, more or less, typically suburban. What sets her apart from the rest of us is that she thinks more deeply--and in more eloquent detail--about food. In sharing her ponderings, she sets a delightful example for those of us who seek the healthiest, most pleasurable lifestyle within an environment determined to propel us in the opposite direction. Joan is a suburbanite with a green thumb, with a feisty, defiant spirit and a relentlessly positive outlook.
At the heart of This Organic Life is the premise that locally grown food eaten in season makes sense economically, ecologically, and gastronomically. Transporting produce to New York from California--not to mention Central and South America, Australia, or Europe--consumes more energy in transit than it yields in calories. (It costs 435 fossil fuel calories to fly a 5-calorie strawberry from California to New York.) Add in the deleterious effects of agribusiness, such as the endless cycle of pesticide, herbicide, and chemical fertilizers; the loss of topsoil from erosion of over-tilled croplands; depleted aquifers and soil salinization from over-irrigation; and the arguments in favor of "this organic life" become overwhelmingly convincing.
Joan's story is funny and fiery as she points out the absurdities we have unthinkingly come to accept. You won't find an electric can opener in this woman's house. In fact, you probably won't find many cans, as Joan has discovered ways to nourish herself, literally and spiritually, from her own backyard. If you are looking for a tale of courage and independence in a setting that is entirely familiar, read her story.
About the Author
Joan Dye Gussow
Joan Gussow is a highly acclaimed nutrition educator who has demonstrated that year-round eating from 1,000 square feet in a suburban riverfront village is possible, life-sustaining, and delicious. She is the author of This Organic Life, The Feeding Web, and Growing, Older and is Mary Swartz Rose Professor Emerita and former chair of the Columbia University Teachers College Nutrition Department. She lives on the Hudson River in Piermont, New York.
Michael Pollan, Joan Gussow & Dan Barber at 92nd St. Y, 1/08