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Two decades ago, when nutritionist Gussow was giving fiery speeches about the importance of eating locally and seasonally, she realized that it was time to put her convictions into practice. In this combination memoir, polemic, and gardening manual, she discusses the joys and challenges of growing organic produce in her own New York garden. Initially, Gussow had planned to write about her misadventures in buying a 150-year-old house on a Hudson River floodplain. That story was incorporated into this book, but many of the boring remodeling details should have been omitted. Interesting points include a description of establishing her new garden, tips on making compost and on growing fruits and vegetables successfully in a northern climate, and various recipes using the garden bounty. Throughout, Gussow stresses the need to live responsibly "in a society where thoughtless consumption is the norm." Her constant reminders that industrial agriculture produces tasteless, environmentally destructive food well intentioned though they may be start sounding like a litany after a while. Yet, despite its flaws and self-righteous tone, this work offers encouragement to urban and suburban gardeners who want to grow at least some of their own produce. A suitable addition to gardening collections in public libraries.
"I love the 'sustainable hedonism' term that has been applied to Joan. Her homespun storytelling serves as an inspiration to all of us that we can be good stewards of ourselves and the earth, all while having a splendid time!"--Janet Luhrs, author of The Simple Living Guide, and Simple Loving and editor and publisher of Simple Living: The Journal of Simplicity
"It's very rare to be moved by a gardening book, but "This Organic Life" has an uncommon depth of feeling."--New York Times Book Review
"Reading This Organic Life could be dangerous... It might make us excited about doing things differently..."--The Times Argus
"highly readable... helps us understand the true cost of food, and the joys and challenges of growing and eating it."--HopeDance Magazine
I used to get this book every spring from my public library, but I haven't been able to find it lately. When I saw it on Amazon, I had to get my own copy. Read morePublished 3 months ago by David C. Jones
I enjoyed reading most of this book. The author's strong opinions that she is sure everyone should adopt are a bit much sometimes. But it is a good memoir. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Ari
I read a chapter here and there and then I imagine what her garden looks like. I imagine all the hardships she went through to make it all work and I marvel at her courage and... Read morePublished 12 months ago by L. Peters
I was hoping for more of a how-I-did-it book for a suburban homesteader. It is, instead, an interesting memoir about how one woman and her husband moved from one home to another... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Lynn Ferda
The author was mentioned by another as a kind of heroine of sustainable living, and he mentioned she's a PhD in nutritioIn so I ordered a Kindle sample. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Natural Health Doc
Down-to-earth, poignant, and humorous book that any gardener or even non-gardener would enjoy.
Information given can be applied to any gardening endeavors, regardless of... Read more
Interesting story of a long time organic gardner. It is NOT A HOW TO ORGANIC GARDENING BOOK. It is more a memoir of a dedicated home farmer and her life story of keeping her... Read morePublished on February 6, 2012 by Mary Kate
I just love this book. This is my second time reading it. Joan Gussow does such an excellent job of drawing the reader into her world. Read morePublished on August 18, 2011 by B.Wakefield
I agree whole-heartedly with Gussow's message, but for some reason I just couldn't picture her home and garden from her descriptions. Read morePublished on July 16, 2011 by C. Davis