Archive for April 15th, 2008

Curiouser and Curiouser…Updates from my Crazy Life

Sharon April 15th, 2008

I was interviewed the other night, and I found myself explaining to the woman interviewing me that I couldn’t wait to get my life back after the books were done – and then listing off all the new projects I have already agreed to/am considering taking on.  There was a definite note of skepticism in the interviewer’s voice when she asked me about how, exactly, all this stuff will work toward a lower-key life.  And I admit, I have no freakin’ idea.  Ah well – as usual, my plan is something along the lines of “it’ll work out.”

 Meanwhile, since people keep asking me about the books, I thought I’d let y’all know where things stand.  _Depletion and Abundance: Life on the New Home Front_ is rapidly becoming a reality – you can go to Amazon and see a pre-order form for it (no picture of the really spiffy cover yet, though).  But do me a favor, and wait if you are planning to order it – you’ll be able to pre-order through me shortly – or you can ask your local independent bookstore to carry it. 

The official date that the books come off press is August 2, but I gather it will be sometime in September before the books are in most stores.  Independent booksellers get their first, which is great –  I admit, I prefer to think of small booksellers profiting from my book whenever that’s possible.  Did I mention the cover is really spiffy, yet ;-) ?  I admit, my head is a little turned by seeing my name on a really, truly book I wrote! 

Also, if you want to hear me go on a bit, the interview I gave to Jason Bradford on Global Public Media is now available online.  In fact, since it is no skin off my nose, if you really want to listen to me ranting, I’ve linked to my first interview with Jason, on the 100 million farmers idea.

http://globalpublicmedia.com/low_energy_methods_for_home_food_preservation_and_storage 

 http://globalpublicmedia.com/sharon_astyk_on_the_reality_report 

Also Tom Philpott, farmer/writer extraordinaire (and author of several of the best essays on the food price issue I’ve ever read) also did me the incredible kindness of inviting me to blog over at Grist as well as here.  This is a new audience for me, and I’m going to be reprinting some posts from here, as well as producing some new material as I go along.  The first post you may recognize, but I think it is increasingly timely.  Check it out – and I’m told I should mention that you should click on one of those funny buttons that say “digg” or “stumble” – I have no idea whatsoever what they do, but I’m supposed to say so.  I hope they don’t launch rockets ;-) .

http://gristmill.grist.org/story/2008/4/13/1412/53386 

Also, you may have noticed the button for Crunchy Chicken’s glorious charity ”Goods for Girls” – if you haven’t seen her latest update, including video of girls opening up their packages and an essay about the problems the pads help solve, you really should.  It turns out that some girls, in order to continue their educations were trading sex for disposable menstrual pads.  Can I just say in a world of sad things, that strikes me as one of the saddest – and I’m so grateful that Crunchy has created this wonderful project for young women in Lwala!  I’m feeling guilty because I swore I was going to sew some pads – and I haven’t gotten it.  I’m assuaging my guilt, however, by sending some Gladrags, and will save the sewing for all the free time I’m sure to have once A Nation of Farmers goes to press. 

Meanwhile, the success of the Food Storage class continues to linger - a friend is turning my food storage material into a searchable CD-rom that will be available, and there’s talk of making a book out of it in my copious free time.  I’m still getting requests to run it again – so I’m going to.  I’ll run it during the month of August, with an emphasis on preserving the harvest, since that’s booming harvest time anyway.  Don’t email me to sign up yet – I’ll let you know when I have more details and a schedule.  That of course means I’ll be running lots of posts about food preservation and storage again in August here on the blog – hopefully right when you are trying to get yours done. 

Meanwhile, I’ve got the amazing talents of Deanna, Shasha, Aaron, Matt, Edson, Steve and Chris working with me on a terrific new project – but I can’t tell you what it is.  All I can say is that it involves Poultry, English Pub signs, Victory Gardens, Boobs and Beer – and that’s just what we’ve come up with so far.  My feeling is that with a combo like that, how can we fail to save the world?

 Ok, I lied, I can tell you.  You may not remember this, but back during the 197os there were some kick-ass magazines out there that focused on serious home food production, small scale farming, appropriate technology and cooking – Organic Gardening and Farming and John Shuttlesworth’s old The Mother Earth News were the bibles of people who were serious about feeding themselves.  But both magazines have, over time, changed their focus, and become more oriented towards casual homesteading and product reviews for middle class folks.  They aren’t bad, but for the city dweller trying to bring food security to their neighborhood, to the person looking for ammunition to change their town’s poultry laws or the small home farmer who wants to produce staple crops, they don’t have as much to offer.  And while reading the back issues is great, times have changed a little.

So we’ve decided we should fill that niche – we’re creating a new online magazine about growing, living and eating really local.  More details to come, but I think this is going to be a really cool thing.  We’re on the cusp of a real sea-change in the way people relate to food – and I think this could be powerful.

Oh, and one of the very neatest things we’re doing is we’re going to do in-depth reports, first from our own gardens, which range across the nation, but we also want reports from around the world.  We’re looking for garden correspondents who want to send in regular reports (probably starting in mid-summer – we’re still getting things together).  We’re particularly interested in reports from non-US residents around the world (I know it is lame, we’re all Americans – forgive us ;-) ), and from regions of the US we don’t cover (we’ve got 1 person in the SE, two in the PNW, three in various parts of the midwest and 2 in the NE) such as the Southwest, Hawaii, Alaska, Southern Florida. 

We’re also looking for participants dealing with major difficulties – contaminated urban soil, hostile homeowners associations, low rainfall, no experience; and those practicing exciting forms of agriculture - rooftop city dwellers, community gardeners, permaculturists, orchardists, people raising small livestock.  We want to know what it is like where you are, what it is like to garden there, what other people wanting to grow food around you need to know, how you deal with very cold or very hot or very wet or very dry conditions.  So if you are interested in becoming one our correspondants and sending in reports from your field, let me know – email at [email protected], and let me know where you do your writing now, if you have a blog (not required, but we’re curious if you do).  We’re going to collect names and build up a list of people!

Other than the kids, the homeschool, the farm and the garden, the coming goats, poultry sheep and the possible visiting cow, that’s about it.  I just can’t even begin to think what I’m going to do with all that free time…

 Cheers,

 Sharon