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Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Let's Eat: Sustainable Food for a Hungry Planet. Written by Kimberley Veness. Orca Book Publishers, 2017. $19.95 ages 9 and up

"I love quinoa, and it's super easy to grow. Our garden on Vancouver Island was about the size of a backyard swimming pool, complete with a 2-meter-wall (7 foot tall) deer fence with large stones at the base to keep the wild rabbits from burrowing under. The tall, colorful buds of quinoa rested lazily on the top of the fence."

The Orca Footprints series has been very successful, and deservedly so! They tell readers about issues of importance and do it in a way that is accessible and educational. In this newest edition, Kimberley Veness teaches those who read her book about the many traditional ways that food comes to our tables.

Today, there are opportunities for children to learn first-hand about food production through visits, planned activities, and even video access to growers and producers. She has included four chapters: Let's Eat, which raises awareness of some of the challenges faced when trying to get food to the table; Small is Beautiful, which takes into consideration family farms and those who produce food for us in a much more personal way; Urban Foodscapes, where the larger centers offer new ways of growing indoors, or in gardens designed for rooftops, and purchasing locally prepared foods from the food trucks often seen on city streets; and finally A Farm for the Future, which is pretty self-explanatory. Here readers can consider advances in food production and what the future may hold for each of us.

As we have come to expect, the design invites us to check out the many exceptional archival and contemporary photos provided, and the text is written to grab attention with small bits of useful information:

"FARMING FACT: Twelve percent of land on Earth, more than 1.5 billion hectares (3.7 billion acres), is being used to grow food. That's an area nearly twice the size of Australia, and it's expanding every day."

From Farm to Table, Farming Fact, Chew on This sidebars, as well as clearly captioned photos,
suggestions for learning activities, and charts provide everything needed to guide us through this relevant and thoughtful book. A resource list for further learning, a glossary and an index are also helpful.

My daughter has lived in Victoria for more than ten years now, and I was quite proud to be able to share some of what I learned when reading this fine book. She did not know the Mason Street City Farm which is within walking distance of downtown Victoria. Now she does. Their family has not yet been lucky enough to sample a local food truck, owned and operated by Aidan Pine:

"I met Aidan Pine one summer while working at a farmers' market. In the course of a year, his family went from raising 20 chickens to 200 to keep up with orders at the truck, and that was just the poultry. All the produce, lamb, pork and chicken he serves from his food truck come from the farm. It isn't unusual to serve 50 pounds of beets in one week. People can't get enough of his farm-fresh flavors!"

If you  live in Victoria, or are visiting, be sure to see if you can find the Juma food truck, and give local food a try!

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