Monday, April 9, 2012

Tales from the Dirt Side

I love this book! I'd had it on hold at the library for some time and it came available just in time for the long hours I logged travelling to visit family for the holiday weekend.

It is sooo good. It's the tale of three women who each run their own successful, organic farms on Vancouver Island and together own and operate Saanich Organics which distributes local, organic food through a box delivery program and to restaurants and grocery stores.

The book literally gives the reader "all the dirt" on how they do it. There is a chapter written by each woman, devoted to their own farm enterprises, how they started out, what they learned along the way, mistakes they made and rewards they reaped. Rather than being repetitive, these chapters reflect the individual personalities and styles of the women, and their unique approach to how they farm. Chapter four is a discussion of organic farming in general and why they are so passionate about it. Chapter 5 covers the details of their co-owned business.

This book is incredibly rich and full of so much invaluable information, but it's not at all a dry nuts and bolts manual. It is alive with personal stories, humour, blood, sweat and tears. It feels almost as if you are an apprentice on one of their farms, working along beside them while they share their wisdom and experience with you.

I love how open and forthcoming they are with all that they know. There is no hoarding of proprietary knowledge or trade secrets. They genuinely want to see more farmers growing healthy, organic food and make a decent living from it and they are happy to support the movement every way that they can.

This book is essential reading for anyone interested in small-scale, organic agriculture. Even if that is not your plan, it's still a great read for learning about organic farming, getting good gardening tips or just to be inspired by three beautiful, strong, smart ladies who are doing amazing work in the world.

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