Michael Ableman: On Good Land: The Autobiography of an Urban Farm
Originally published in 1998, it's amazing how prescient Ableman is in talking about sustainable agriculture in increasingly urban areas. I also got some good gardening tips from him.
Lisa M. Hamilton: Deeply Rooted: Unconventional Farmers in the Age of Agribusiness
The people profiled here have opened my mind and heart to a more multidimensional concept of land, soil, identity and belonging. Truly inspiring.
Novella Carpenter: Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer
She's a great writer, and I identified with the urgency she felt to use what was ripe and ready. I appreciated how much energy it takes her to live out her values.
Keith Johnstone: Impro: Improvisation and the Theatre
about improvizational theater, but I use this book as a guide for working through the noise in order to uncover a writer's authentic voice.
Maria Tatar: The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales
did you know I'm a closet folklorist? in my favorite parallel universe I teach myth, folklore, angst, and structural mythic inquiry of the psyche at UC Berkeley and then sell eggplant and rosemary at the farmer's market every saturday. on sundays i drink motherwort tea and go to quaker meetings.
Wendy Johnson: Gardening at the Dragon's Gate: At Work in the Wild and Cultivated World
there are books that are more how-to, but this is "deeper," and I believe that even a novice gardener could read this and then know exactly what to do next in his or her garden. brilliant, spirited, intense -- my favorite gardening book.
Joe Freitus: Wild Jams And Jellies: Delicious Recipes Using 75 Wild Edibles
fun things to do with serviceberries, squashberries, oregon grape (yes, they are edible, apparently!), and rose hips. user-friendly recipes and eye-opening all around.
Peter Reinhart: Peter Reinhart's Whole Grain Breads: New Techniques, Extraordinary Flavor
his chapati recipe made me a few friends earlier this year. i'm learning a ton about easy dough ferments and what a difference this makes all around. one of his cracker recipes is an ongoing bonding project between e and me. need to get more seeds...
Keith Stewart: It's a Long Road to a Tomato: Tales of an Organic Farmer Who Quit the Big City for the (Not So) Simple Life
he's such a great writer. it's a joy to read about how he came to love growing garlic or potatoes. it's refreshing to hear some nuts-and-bolts economic figures for a small farm. i loved seeing his 2005 planting map. specifics and heart here.
Matthew Wood: The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants
he helps me understand plants on their own terms. it's amazing how he can still bring in his poetic voice even though he's trying to be comprehensive here. indispensible.
Linda Ziedrich: The Joy of Pickling, Revised Edition: 250 Flavor-Packed Recipes for Vegetables and More from Garden or Market
Pickled figs! A whole chapter on krauts and cabbage pickles.
Linda Ziedrich: The Joy of Jams, Jellies, and Other Sweet Preserves: 200 Classic and Contemporary Recipes Showcasing the Fabulous Flavors of Fresh Fruits
carrot marmelade! what to do with ground cherries! a whole book dedicated to jamming without extra pectin or with using home-made pectin from apples and crabapples!