Sunday, June 11, 2006

Working on an Organic Farm; Book Coming Together

photo courtesy of

The pub date for our next book, about green consumer choices that really matter, has been pushed back to fall of 2007. So suddenly we have more time, which is very nice, as I've been driving myself insane working 14 hours a day. Sara Kate has been working hard on the book too - as her jobs allow - on a unit about the fishing industry. She interviewed a PhD who works for a fish sticks company, who dropped one of the many little gems Sara has discovered about the fisheries world. The scientist told Sara Kate that the workers at her company often pee in the vat where fish sticks are being mixed. Just for the hell of it, because they can.

Sara Kate is working on a unit now about soy products and dairy products. I eat a hell of a lot of soy....but I wish it was local. It's not. I do try to get organic soy products, so I'm not funding companies like Monsanto and Archer Daniels Midland who have already genetically modified most of our soy, corn and cotton crops, and are gearing up to tinker with the rest of our vegetable seed stock. Organic certification is our strongest weapon right now against genetic modification of our food supply.

Sara Kate and Matt are working on an organic farm in the mts of NC - Mountain Harvest Organics. The farm workers are Carl and Julie, the owners, and Mandy and Trapper, the other two hired workers. The farm has 35 clients who get a box of organic veggies and fruits every week, so it's a CSA. (A CSA - for Community Supported Agriculture - is a farm that signs up clients for a yr at a time, for an annual fee. The clients take whatever organic produce the farm has available for any given week.) The farm also sells organic produce at the North Asheville Farmers Market every week, and at the Waynesville Farmers Market.

Alan has done some pieces for the book too. He's written about the longleaf pine community, which used to dominate the Southeastern coastal plain, but has been almost completely replaced by loblolly pine plantations. E.O. Wilson, Harvard biologist and Pulitzer Prize winner, told me in an email last week that at least 90% of the biodiversity in a native forest is lost when the forest is replaced by a pine plantation. Alan did a piece about train travel and bus travel too, for the new book's section on green travel options. Bus travel, as it turns out, is the form of travel least costly in terms of energy use and overall environmental impact. Alan is getting ready to write something for the book about stream restoration - his job at present.

We are still looking for contributors on other topics - anything to do with green travel options, green housing, and eco-friendly diets. If you're interested in writing something for the book, email us at with your idea. You don't have to be an expert. We're interested in ordinary struggles of people trying to make sustainable choices.

"Some of them were dreamers....who were making plans and thinking of the future."
Jackson Browne, After the Deluge

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