CD & Book Reviews

GROWN & GATHERED: TRADITIONAL LIVING MADE MODERN

by Matt and Lentil Purbrick (Pan Macmillan 2016).

Review by Robyn Rosenfeldt

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This book is a visual feast of growing, gathering, nurturing, trading and eating. Lentil and Matt Purbrick take you on a journey through the seasons, sharing their experience of returning to nature and the lessons they have learned.

The ‘Grow’ chapter shows you how to grow vegetables and fruit in whatever space you have, using the most earth-friendly practices. ‘Gather’ explains how to forage for things like mushrooms, native greens and wild fruits. ‘Nurture’ provides guidance on raising your own animals, from chickens and bees to cows. ‘Eat’ features over 100 delicious, nourishing and creative wholefood recipes, giving you the skills to eat a natural wholefood diet; it covers everything from how to prepare and sprout grains in a traditional way, to making and maintaining a sourdough culture, and techniques and recipes for preserving and pickling.

The pages are illustrated with stunning photography – you can almost taste the food and smell the earth. This book will be the next kitchen-garden bible.

GROW DO IT

by Formidable Vegetable Sound System (2016).

Review by Robyn Rosenfeldt

book

The latest CD by Charlie Mgee and the Formidable Vegetable Sound System is for kids of all ages. It’s beautifully presented, in a hardcover booklet including recipes, activities and tips for reducing plastic, along with the lyrics for all the songs.

Although Charlie Mgee claims the basis of his music might be a bit nerdy – songs about permaculture (in the previous album Permaculture: a Rhymer’s Manual, 2014) and now songs about making kimchi and not using plastic – the music is funky, rockin’ and makes you want to groove.

All the musicians who play on this CD are highly acclaimed in their own right, and when they come together they create a tight, highly finished sound that will definitely get you bopping.

This is an album that the whole family can enjoy, and it communicates some important messages that you’ll find yourself singing about for days to come.

THE NEW WILD: WHY INVASIVE SPECIES WILL BE NATURE’S SALVATION

by Fred Pearce (Beacon Press 2015).

Review by Ian Lillington

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Fred Pearce has been writing for New Scientist magazine since 1992, and uses his skills as an investigative journalist to ‘cut through the crap’ around invasive species. He says what many permaculturists have known for years: that nature does not go backwards, and that the obsession with ‘indigenous only’ is an expensive exercise in creating museums of plants and animals that reflect how some people think an area might have been before an arbitrary date (e.g. 1778 in Australia, or 1491 in North America).

Pearce has observed, over twenty-five years, that nature is far stronger than we give her credit for. Much of the best restoration on the worst damaged land is by introduced plants. Pearce gives examples from dozens of countries, where those introduced plants support indigenous species as well as, or better, than the originals.

The book could be seen as an apology for big business destroying the environment. It is, at least, a respected science writer showing another side to the story. Although disputed by some ecologists, Pearce says that modern ecology shows that there is no one single ideal ‘climax vegetation’. Instead there are multiple options for complex ecological climax, and nature is always changing. It’s time to get out of the way and let nature take its/her course …

THE NEW CREATE AN OASIS WITH GREYWATER: INTEGRATED DESIGN FOR WATER CONSERVATION

by Art Ludwig (Oasis Design 2015), revised and expandedsixth edition.

Review by Robyn Rosenfeldt

book

This book describes how to choose, build, and use a simple greywater system – it shows that some can be completed in an afternoon, for under $50. Going deeper, it explains how to integrate efficient fixtures, user habits, plant selection and location, rainwater, greywater, and freshwater irrigation for your soil and site conditions. There are pages of in-depth instructions and diagrams, about how to design and create a household greywater system to suit your context. This sixth edition features a dozen extra pages, complete information on the laundry to landscape system, extensive revisions to every page, and many new photos and figures.

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