"The tragic reality is that very few sustainable systems are designed or applied by those who hold power, and the reason for this is obvious and simple: to let people arrange their own food, energy and shelter is to lose economic and political control over them. We should cease to look to power structures, hierarchical systems, or governments to help us, and devise ways to help ourselves." - Bill Mollison

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Pennies Worth Of Thoughts

I recently purchased one of the most revolutionary books on gardening I have ever read... for only one cent. A new and exciting book all about growing ones own fruits and vegetables. It consists of almost 1,000 pages that contain some of the most up-to-date information on organic growing that I've come across.

Some of the radical topics covered in the pages of this book include:

1. Growing food not lawns in these unprecedented economic times is much more feasible then having to pay for it at the local grocer and a better use of our precious resources.

2. Explores the many benefits of organically grown food, and suggests people have to make a conscious decision to stop buying food that has been drenched in poisonous pesticides and opt for organic produce in the grocery stores, farmers markets, and especially your own back yard.

3. Exciting information that shows a diet high in fruits, vegetables and leafy greens can greatly increase ones health and help to prevent many life-threatening diseases that afflict us in today's modern world. In the forward Dr. John Duge states:

"My 4 children, I think, are just about the healthiest and smartest in Southern California. Practically never ill, rarely a cold and, " concludes the busy doctor, "mostly the result of eating fruits and vegetables from our organic garden."

4. New and exciting ways of gardening such as the no dig method, intensive planting techniques, soil fertility, gardening in harsh climates, furrow irrigation, creating super compost, and season extenders such as green houses and cold frames are all discussed at length.

This book truly is ahead of it's time, written by a visionary in the organic movement, J.I. Rodale.

Unfortunately, although new to me, it is far from being a new garden book as it was first published over fifty years ago in 1958. I purchased it for 1 penny not including $3.99 shipping as a used book on Amazon.com.

Apparently not many people read it back then - I know I did not as I had yet to be born. From my perspective, it seems the only difference between now and then is that everything has gotten much worse...Where are all the home gardens? Why is organic produce the newest thing to hit many "stupermarket" shelves?

I've recently read a couple of other older books on health and nutrition. One written in the early 1900's by a dentist and naturalist Weston A. Price. called "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration." He found that the health issues of modern civilization were not present in those cultures sustained by homegrown diets. However, within a single generation these same cultures experienced all modern ailments with the inclusion of Western foods in their diet; refined sugars, refined flours, canned goods, etc... Another, "Centenarians of the Andes" written in 1975 studied the effects of diet in relation to longevity. From the books introduction:

It seems that those people who have the best chance of a healthy and active old age are those who use their minds and bodies much, even toward the end of their span. This is certainly true of the centenarians in southern Ecuador.
-the greatest ages were found in the areas where people lived on a subsistence diet, and one very low in calories.

The conclusion reached was that diet and exercise as nature intended not only greatly increased life expectancy but also prevented disease.

Had the information that was available to us then been followed early on we would certainly not be in the sorry shape we are today as a nation - health wise anyway. We truly are blind to the obvious. How sick does society have to become before they realize the simple solution to health?

So, not only is every one's health suffering but my wallet is really aching due to the high cost of medical insurance. Insurance that although I am forced to pay an exorbitant amount of money for, I really do not use, and am seriously considering doing away with altogether. What happened to the days when you could barter eggs, produce, or whatever with a local doctor?

So many questions but, alas, I am fully aware of the answers.. I just don't like them very much.


Michelle said...

And not only does growing one's own fruits and vegetables (or at least a portion thereof) provide a healthy source of food, it's great exercise as well. I have a number of friends that do envy the time that I can devote to my garden, if only because it is good exercise. And, btw, 1958 was a good year to come into the world!

Mr. H said...


I have to agree with you, 1958 sounds like it was a great year. With your beginning, the creation of another great source of information thanks to J I. Rodale and the "Battle of Hayes Pond" all taking place how could it not be.

I just read about the Lumbee indians and the 1958 "Battle of Hayes Pond", and that will keep me smiling all weekend.

lisa winter said...

what a great post. i think we sometimes get so enamored with modern technology that we forget really great information that we all ready have. a couple other oldie but goodies, is gene logsdon's small scale grain raising and anything written by scott and helen nearing - like The Good Life.

Mr. H said...


I have a good collection of Nearing and Logsdon books. Although I am still trying to get an affordable copy of Logsdon's oh so elusive "Small Scale Grain Raising". You have sparked my interest in "Food Politics" I will have take a look at it.

Thanks for stopping by

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