As the debate about genetic engineering and the presence of harmful chemicals in the food supply intensifies, erstwhile Galloping Gourmet Graham Kerr, joins the ranks of those who prefer to grow their own organic veggies. Being a novice, he prepares himself by doing a fair amount of reading and by consulting experts. He documents the process in GROWING AT THE SPEED A LIFE: A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF MY FIRST KITCHEN GARDEN. He organizes the information in clear, charmingly down home language, beginning with a confession about his previous lack of competence in horticultural matters, “Until this year, I never met a plant I could not kill. I was my very own herbicide.”
He goes on to share with the reader all the basics a beginner needs in order to become a successful food grower, starting with a need-to-know list adding with a hundred vegetable recipes and ending with an appeal to share the harvest. It is the interconnectedness of gardener and neighbors, the care not to do more damage to an ailing planet that lifts this modest book to a higher level, ”My kitchen garden is a metaphor for our community. The soil is a gathering place… All my adult life I’ve tried to sow a few good words to encourage my neighbors to eat together, to share good things, to find joy in their journeys.” I found Kerr’s writing modest, touching and inspiring. If I have any quibbles about his book is that I would have preferred it to include photos to illustrate each chapter. But that is small flaw that can be corrected next time he shares his gardening experience.