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Book Reviews


by Paul West (Pan Macmillan, 2019)

Review by Robyn Rosenfeldt

After his stint on River Cottage Australia in the rolling hills of Tilba in South Coast NSW, Paul West moved to the city. His latest book shares his love of growing food and preparing it for friends and family, all in an urban setting.

West wants this book to inspire readers by sharing the beauty and satisfaction of growing your own food and serving up delicious dishes with fresh produce picked straight from your own backyard.

Divided into three parts – grow, cook and community – there’s lots of information about growing food in small spaces, preparing it into delicious fresh dishes and sharing the process with friends and family.

Beautifully designed and illustrated, this book is sure to inspire many to give gardening a go.


by Helena Norberg-Hodge (Local Futures, 2019)

Review by Robyn Rosenfeldt

Author and filmmaker Helena Norberg- Hodge is the producer and co-director of the award-winning documentary The Economics of Happiness. This, her latest book, connects the dots between our social, economic, ecological and spiritual crises, revealing how a systemic shift from global to local can address these seemingly disparate problems simultaneously.

This is an accessible primer about what is wrong with the current economic global system and what we can do about it. She clearly outlines the fundamental problems in an increasingly globalised system, then shows us a more positive way, with localisation at its heart. She shares reallife examples from around the world, including small local initiatives and local economies that are creating more positive and resilient people and communities.

Helena states, ‘Shifting away from global to local is a systemic strategy to move us from a fragmented and confused world dominated by almost-invisible, distant economic forces, towards an interconnected and diversified world that is the foundation of happy individuals, peaceful societies and a healthy planet.’


by Acadia Tucker (Stone Pier Press, 2019)

Review by Emily Stokes

If you’re starting out on the food-growing journey and would like to know how to bring more perennial plants into your life then this book is for you. Written for the USA but easily adaptable to Australia, Tucker offers direction on adapting our food-growing to suit a changing climate by making the most of hardy, tasty, nutritious perennials.

The first section provides an enthusiastic, plain-language guide to preparing and testing your soil, planning and building your beds, choosing plants and maintaining their health through compost and organic fertilisers. Following, you’ll find a profile of 34 perennial plants in three sections: herbs, fruit and vegetables. Each includes specific instructions on where it thrives, the best way to plant, grow, harvest and store it, and a recipe for each. Dozens of illustrations and a thorough FAQ section mean you’ll be well set up to start your perennial garden from scratch.


by Bruce Pascoe (Magabala Books, 2019)

Review by Emily Stokes

Aboriginal Australians have been growing, harvesting and storing grain, then baking it into bread, for 65,000 years. They not only caught fish, but farmed fish in sophisticated aquaculture systems for at least 40,000 years. They lived in welldesigned permanent houses in villages of over 1000 people.

Bruce Pascoe has pored over the diaries and eyewitness accounts of early European explorers and settlers to glean an extraordinary snapshot of what life was like for Aboriginal people pre-European settlement. Taken from his book Dark Emu, for older readers, Bruce Pascoe has now produced a version to capture the minds of younger Australians.

Sections include farming techniques, buildings, food storage and sustainable futures using native foods. Illustrations and photos weave through a mixture of stories and statements that are both positive and realistic. We can only hope this valuable work lands in the hands of Australian children everywhere.


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