The PHS McLean Library is a great place to duck in to during a pop-up thunderstorm! The Library is open Monday through Friday, 9 am to 5 pm, in the PHS headquarters at 20th and Arch Streets in Philadelphia. Here’s the new crop of books for August:
American Grown, Michelle Obama.In April 2009, First Lady Michelle Obama planted a kitchen garden on the White House’s South Lawn. As fresh vegetables, fruit, and herbs sprouted from the ground, this White House Kitchen Garden inspired a new conversation all across the country about the food we feed our families and the impact it has on the health and well-being of our children.
Now, in her first-ever book, American Grown, Mrs. Obama invites you inside the White House Kitchen Garden and shares its inspiring story, from the first planting to the latest harvest. Hear about her worries as a novice gardener–would the new plants even grow? Learn about her struggles and her joys as lettuce, corn, tomatoes, collards and kale, sweet potatoes, and rhubarb flourished in the freshly tilled soil. Get an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at every season of the garden’s growth, with striking original photographs that bring its story to life. Try the recipes created by White House chefs and made with ingredients just picked from the White House garden. And learn from the White House Garden team about how you can help plant your own backyard, school or community garden.
Change Comes to Dinner, Katherine Gustafson. Change Comes to Dinner takes readers into the farms, markets, organizations, businesses, and institutions across America that are pushing for a more sustainable food system in America. Gustafson introduces food visionaries like Mark Lilly, who turned a school bus into a locally-sourced grocery store in Richmond, Virginia; Gayla Brockman, who organized a program to double the value of food stamps used at Kansas City, Missouri, farmers’ markets; Myles Lewis and Josh Hottenstein, who started a business growing vegetables in shipping containers using little water and no soil; and Tony Geraci, who claimed unused land to create the Great Kids Farm, where Baltimore City public school students learn how to grow food and help Geraci decide what to order from local farmers for breakfast and lunch at the city schools.
Heirloom Fruits and Vegetables, Toby Musgrave; Clay Perry (photographer). Fruits and vegetables have been a central part of our diets since time immemorial, and the history of their cultivation is rich with intriguing facts: Samuel Pepys’s diary entry for August 22, 1663, reveals that “Mr Newburne is dead of eating Cowcoumbers” (cucumbers); many tomato varieties were first bred in the United States and are still available, from “Striped German” to “Pink Ping Pong” to “Zapotec.”
Today, many traditional fruit and vegetable varieties—the so-called heirloom or heritage varieties—-are disappearing, a catastrophic loss of horticultural heritage and genetic diversity. But gardeners have reason to be optimistic. A group of dedicated growers around the world is seeking to conserve surviving heritage varieties for their significant advantages over newer cultivars: they are more adaptable, they have good storage properties, and they often have a superior taste.
Presented by season, this overview first tells the story of the cultivation of fruits and vegetables through the ages, and then each type is discussed: where it originated, indigenous uses and folklore, how it got its name, legends and beliefs that have become attached to it, and the odd uses to which it has been put.
Homegrown Harvest, American Horticultural Society. Written by the American Horticultural Society’s foremost fruit, vegetable, and herb experts, Homegrown Harvest provides lifestyle-changing advice that gardeners need for growing a year-round supply of healthy edible crops for their table. Specific local and regional advice enables gardeners to decide how and what to grow wherever they live in North America.
The book starts with planning what to grow, then how to grow it- whether in an allotment, containers, a raised bed, or vegetable patch, as well as information on how to get the best from your soil. Next, over the course of 12 seasonal chapters, from early spring to late winter, the book shows how to go from sowing to harvesting with clear instructions that help you stay on top of the joys and challenges of a productive garden. From apples and asparagus, raspberries to radishes, this book shows how to apply age-old techniques in a timely fashion, to get the most from your plot.
The Complete Guide to Saving Seeds, Robert E. Gough; Cheryl Moore-Gough. Learn how to collect, save, and cultivate the seeds from more than 300 vegetables, herbs, fruits, flowers, trees, and shrubs. It’s easy, and it’s fun! Authors Robert Gough and Cheryl Moore-Gough thoroughly explain every step in the seed-saving process. Descriptions of seed biology; tips on how to select plants for the best seeds; and advice on harvesting and cleaning, proper storage and care, and propagating and caring for new seedlings are all presented with clear, easy-to-follow instructions. Chapters dedicated to individual plants contain species-specific directions and detailed information. Gardeners of any experience level will find all the information they need to extend the life of their favorite plants to the next generation and beyond.
The Forest Unseen, David George Haskell. In this wholly original book, biologist David Haskell uses a one-square-meter patch of old-growth Tennessee forest as a window onto the entire natural world. Visiting it almost daily for one year to trace nature’s path through the seasons, he brings the forest and its inhabitants to vivid life.Each of this book’s short chapters begins with a simple observation: a salamander scuttling across the leaf litter; the first blossom of spring wildflowers. From these, Haskell spins a brilliant web of biology and ecology, explaining the science that binds together the tiniest microbes and the largest mammals and describing the ecosystems that have cycled for thousands- sometimes millions-of years. Each visit to the forest presents a nature story in miniature as Haskell elegantly teases out the intricate relationships that order the creatures and plants that call it home
The Good Food Revolution, Will Allen; Eric Schlosser (Foreword by); Charles Wilson. The son of a sharecropper, Will Allen had no intention of ever becoming a farmer himself. But after years in professional basketball and as an executive for Kentucky Fried Chicken and Procter & Gamble, Allen cashed in his retirement fund for a two-acre plot a half mile away from Milwaukee’s largest public housing project. The area was a food desert with only convenience stores and fast-food restaurants to serve the needs of local residents.In the face of financial challenges and daunting odds, Allen built the country’s preeminent urban farm—a food and educational center that now produces enough vegetables and fish year-round to feed thousands of people. Employing young people from the neighboring housing project and community, Growing Power has sought to prove that local food systems can help troubled youths, dismantle racism, create jobs, bring urban and rural communities closer together, and improve public health. Today, Allen’s organization helps develop community food systems across the country.
The London Square, Todd Longstaffe-Gowan. Modern-day London abounds with a multitude of gardens, enclosed by railings and surrounded by houses, which attest to the English love of nature. These green enclaves, known as squares, are among the most distinctive and admired features of the metropolis and are England’s greatest contribution to the development of European town planning and urban form. Traditionally, inhabitants who overlooked these gated communal gardens paid for their maintenance and had special access to them. As such, they have long been synonymous with privilege, elegance, and prosperous metropolitan living. They epitomize the classical notion of rus in urbe, the integration of nature within the urban plan—a concept that continues to shape cities to this day.
The Sustainable Sites Handbook, Meg Calkins. The Sustainable Sites Initiative (SITES) is transforming land design, development, and management practices across the United States with the first national rating system for sustainable landscapes. The Sustainable Sites Handbook features comprehensive and detailed information on principles, strategies, technologies, tools, and best practices for sustainable site design. Contributors to this book are some of the same experts that carefully shaped the SITES rating tool, ensuring thorough coverage of the broad range of topics related to sustainable site design.The Sustainable Sites Handbook offers in-depth coverage of design, construction, and management for systems of hydrology, vegetation, soils, materials, and human health and well-being. Focusing primarily on environmental site design and ecosystem services, this wide-ranging guide also covers issues of social equity, economic feasibility, and stewardship, which are crucial to the success of any sustainable site.
Urban Farms, Sarah C. Rich; Matthew Benson (photographer). Urban Farms provides in-depth profiles of 16 innovative farms located in major metropolitan areas across the country, each operated by passionate individuals and communities committed to growing their own fruits and vegetables and raising animals. Included in these pages are some of the leaders in the movement, from Novella Carpenter’s farm in an empty lot in Oakland to Growing Power’s vast compound in Milwaukee. In addition to stories about the farms and their owners, sidebars provide basic how-to tips for such activities as composting, canning, beekeeping, and growing vegetables. A burgeoning movement that is fast catching on, urban farming taps into many touchstones of the zeitgeist, including environmental awareness, the foodie culture, localism, distrust of mass-production farming practices, and the DIY approach to life and living.
Urban Landscape Design, John Von a Herausgegeben; John A. Flannery; Karen M. Smith. In an age when mankind’s stewardship of the environment is under constant scrutiny, this book tells the positive side of the story. These carefully researched projects demonstrate high quality solutions to man’s urban spatial needs. Innovation and regeneration are the fundamental themes linking the public open spaces, waterfronts, boulevards and squares. Text in English, French, German, Italian, and Spanish.
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