Getting back to the garden
Globe and Mail – Published Friday, May. 20, 2011
Growing food in the city is, as author Deborah Hodge and photographer Brian Harris make clear in this picture book, about more than providing food for hungry people. It is also a burgeoning social movement that “seeks to improve our cities. Gardens create green space and beauty. They provide a home for wildlife and keep us connected with nature. They encourage co-operation and community building.” To the extent that it is about growing food per se, then, “most importantly, urban agriculture allows us to grow our own food and control how it’s produced.”
Sections entitled Growing, Sharing, Eating and Caring, each of which is liberally laced with eye-popping, mouth-watering photographs of food (in a window box, in a honeycomb, on the ground, being prepared as a meal, going into a wide-open mouth) provide a framework for this book.
Growing food can be as simple as a combining seeds, earth, light and water, and as challenging as raising chickens in your back yard or beekeeping. Growing food in community gardens is a way of sharing the job of growing food as well as the harvest. The pleasures of eating – or preserving what the garden has produced – are delightfully evident in full-page colour photographs. Growing, sharing and eating food we’ve grown is an act of caring – for ourselves, for others, for our cities and for the world we live in. Who could resist the call that ends this book: “What will you grow?”
Watch Me Grow: A Down-to Earth Look at Growing Food in the City, by Deborah Hodge, photographs by Brian Harris, Kids Can Press, 32 pages, $16.95, ages 4 to 7