Reviews

One of the articles in A Good Harvest (IC#42)
Originally published in Fall 1995 on page 58
Copyright (c)1995, 1997 by Context Institute


FROM THE GOOD EARTH: A Celebration of Growing Food Around the World by Michael Ableman

Harry N. Abrams, Inc,
New York, NY, 1993
167 pp., $27.50 (paper).

The 176 color photographs in this book are stunning. But From The Good Earth is more than a collection of sumptuous photos; it also contains insightful prose on growing and enjoying food and on our connections to the Earth. Michael Ableman draws on his own experience as an organic farmer, along with the wisdom of those he encountered on his travels to China, the Andes, central Africa, and the American Southwest in creating this poweful book.

– Sarah van Gelder


RACE MATTERS
by Cornel West

Vintage Books,
New York, 1994,
159 pp., $9 (paper)

Unafraid to criticize current black leadership, Cornel West empowers readers with progressive solutions to the crises in black America. From self-love to nihilism to sexuality to Malcolm X, West offers an analysis that both shakes and soothes the soul. Race Matters is vital for people in search of a new understanding of racial oppression in America and what we can do to stop it.

– Laura Veirs


GIVING THE LAND A VOICE: Mapping Our Home Places
Sheila Harrington, Editor

Salt Spring Island Community Services,
Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada, 1995,
67 pp., $16 Canadian (paper)
To order, write: Book Orders, 268 Fulford/Ganges Rd.,
Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 2P6, Canada
tel:604-537-9971
fax: 604-537-9974.

This guide celebrates the idea that maps can be a powerful tool for social and ecological stewardship. Illustrated directions and more than 20 full-page map reproductions, guide the reader through how to map a place, whether it’s your backyard, neighborhood, or bioregion.

The book teaches how to use covenants to protect sensitive areas and provides the resources necessary to create a bioregional map atlas.

Map-makers’ successes include a Salt Spring Island, British Columbia "treasure map" that helped convince provincial ministry officials to protect a canal needed by spawning salmon; watershed maps used by concerned citizens to educate others about endangered salmon in the Mattole Watershed in California; and stewardship zone maps used in the US and Canada to help preseve natural resources.

– Kathryn True


REBUILDING COMMUNITY IN AMERICA:
Housing for Ecological Living, Personal Empowerment, and the New Extended Family
by Ken Norwood and Kathleen Smith

Shared Living Resource Center,
2375 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA 94704,
1995, 406 pp., $24.50 (paper)

The authors present a comprehensive, whole-systems approach to the planning, organizing, and designing of both urban and rural sustainable communities which they call Shared Living Community (SLC) groups. The book includes design drawings and illustrations.

My favorite SLC is the Octagonal Cluster House, which can accommodate an "extended" multigenerational grouping consisting of families, singles, couples, and single-parent families.

Not only does the book offer a very real scenario for a re-vitalization of community generally, but it presents specific tools to achieve it.

– Jane Engel


COMMUNITIES DIRECTORY: A Guide
to Cooperative Living (1995 Edition)
Fellowship for Intentional Community

FIC, Langley, WA, 1995,
440 pp., $20.00 (paper)
To order, write: FIC Publications,
Twin Oaks, Rt. 4, Box 169-IC,
Louisa, VA 23093.

With maps to help identify and find communities from the 540 North American and 70 international communities listed in the directory, the book is a "must" for anyone seriously interested (or even merely curious!) in learning more about the extraordinary diversity of groups and communities that already exist or are in the process of forming.

This newly updated directory includes articles such as the definition of intentional community, how to visit a community, bioregionalism and community, educating children in community, cohousing, and the financial and legal issues to consider when buying community property.

The directory is a companion publication to the quarterly magazine, Communities Journal. Both the Directory and the magazine ($18/year) are available from the address listed above.

– Jane Engel

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