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Book Reviews

A FAMILY GUIDE TO WASTE-FREE LIVING

by Lauren and Oberon Carter (Pan Macmillan Australia 2019)

Review by Robyn Rosenfeldt

This book is one family’s guide to reducing waste in our lives. It’s not judgemental; they’re not telling us what to do. They are just giving us the information, advice, recipes and projects we’ll need to start making change. They explore every aspect of our homes and provide us with simple, practical ideas for reducing waste and finding or creating alternatives—from making staples from scratch, buying food with no packaging, making your own personal care products, growing your own food, to sewing and mending clothes.

You can choose the recipes and projects that suit you, whether it be to make your own toothpaste, bottle up your own tomato sauce, make your own dishwashing powder or share your waste-free ideas with others. With beautiful photography and design, this book gives you both the inspiration and the information to make a start right now.

ON EATING MEAT: THE TRUTH ABOUT ITS PRODUCTION AND THE ETHICS OF EATING IT

by Matthew Evans (Murdoch Books 2019)

Review by Robyn Rosenfeldt

In this book, Matthew Evans (the Gourmet Farmer) explores what is involved in bring meat from paddock to plate. He shares his own experience of raising meat as a small-scale farmer and explores what is involved when meat is produced on an industrial scale.

From feedlots and abattoirs, to organic farms and animal welfare agencies, Evans has an intimate understanding of the farming practices that take place to bring meat to our tables.

He explores why he thinks it is okay to eat meat when it is produced in an ethical way. He believes it is no less cruel and no less harmful than eating vegetables, at least how he rears his animals on his farm in southern Tasmania.

‘We kill animals when we drive, when we fly, when we farm and grow apples. What matters isn’t that you and I eat meat, but rather how those animals live, and just as importantly, die. It’s about respect for the environment, for the farmer, and for the farmed. And that probably means eating less meat.’

He encourages us to be aware of what is involved in meat production and to make choices that support ethical farming, even if it costs us a bit more.

FARMING DEMOCRACY

Edited by Paula Fernandez Arias, Tammi Jonas and Katarina Munksgaard (Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance 2019)

Review by Emily Stokes

Farming Democracy takes us on a journey through the lives of eight family farming businesses, in a revealing warts and all account of how these small-scale farms run—the farming practices, the finances, the labour, and the successes and failures in challenging the industrial farming model.

These farmers are champions for the regenerative agriculture movement—offering consumers real- food alternatives while at the same time improving the health of their soil, increasing on-farm biodiversity, and preserving heritage breeds of livestock and grain/vegetable varieties. Using multiple species, very little machinery, mostly organic practices, and a variety of paid, funded, and volunteer labour options, we see how they aim for financial sustainability while staying small and living a fulfilling life.

The book showcases eight farms— including Fat Pig Farm in the Huon Valley, Tasmania; Old Mill Road Biofarm in Moruya,NSW; Jonai Farm and Meatsmith in Eganstown, VIC; Woodstock Farm in Berrigan, NSW. An important book that provides an argument for these home scale farms not to get bigger, but to multiply, and gives us insight into how agroecological farming can feed the world.

TOMATO: KNOW SOW GROW FEAST

by Penny Woodward, Janice Sutton and Karen Sutherland (Self-published 2018)

Review by Robyn Rosenfeldt

If ever there was a tomato bible, this is it. With nearly 400 pages of information about tomatoes, the authors (Penny Woodward, Janice Sutton and Karen Sutherland, each experts in their fields), cover everything you need to know about how to grow and eat tomatoes.

This book will answer any keen tomato grower’s questions, from choosing the right variety for your situation to sowing, growing, preserving and cooking. There are handy sections on heirloom tomatoes, seed saving, pollination, watering, companion planting, harvesting, storing and cooking. There is also a comprehensive section on pests and diseases, covering all the major players. Thankfully their recommendations aren’t to pull out the nearest spray bottle, but to look more holistically at crop rotations, soil health and hand management.

They feature over 200 varieties of tomatoes each with type, description, use, flavour, season, days until fruiting, history and even the seller listed. The latter half of the book features loads of recipes, including tomato sauce, chutney, pickles, curries, seafood, pasta, pizza, tarts, soups and much more. If it’s tomatoes you want to grow, then get in the know.

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