I’m so excited to jump right in to our first ever Bonzai Book Club! The BBC will alternate with the Monday Monthly Mission, and I’ll always announce the book along with the MMM, so you’ll have a full month to get your copy and read ahead if you want. Sound good?
This month we kick off our first BBC with a very special book, one that I’ve been intending to read since it’s release in 2009 (seriously!) Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly, by James McWilliams, is an honest examination of the “local/slow foods” movement and the actual impact that it has in reducing our ecological footprint. This is a controversial book that will probably tell us things we’d rather not hear, but if our goal is to truly be the best environmental stewards that we can, then we need to confront the realities of our efficacy.
McWilliams has been called a sellout, a cynic, and a shill. But McWilliams is actually just an environmental historian specializing in colonial and early American history. He’s also a professor (Texas State in Austin), and brings that sort of rational, straightforward intellectualism to this work. His fundamental premise is that there was no romantic “golden age of agriculture”, and that the idyllic, idealistic “myth of the small farm” is just that – a myth.
I find myself wading into these waters with an equal mix of skepticism and curiosity. I’m going to keep an open mind. I’m really looking forward to learning more about the intricacies of these important issues.
Just Food has six chapters, plus an introduction and a conclusion. I propose that over the next two weeks we read the Introduction, and chapters 1, 2, and 3. That will take us up to page 117, almost exactly half-way through the volume. We’ll meet back here on Monday, 15 August, for our first book club discussion group. (!!!) I’ll provide a series of questions to facilitate dialogue, but the conversation will not be “directed”, so bring your own ideas and topics and questions and comments!
For those on the fence, or for those wanting more, here’s some additional media:
McWilliams interviewed on Canadian radio show Animal Voices
McWilliams interviewed by the awesome ladies of Our Hen House
I’m so excited guys. So. Excited.