Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Spring of Thinking About Food

As you've no doubt noted over the past few months, we fortuitously chose an excellent time to read Nicolette Hahn Niman's Righteous Porkchop book. Along with our community-wide book discussion, there have been a lot of related issues in the news, including the "Ag Gag" legislation recently passed in Iowa and signed into law by Governor Branstad; and the controversial "pink slime" issue, which has now resulted in several plant closures and the losse of jobs.

It's often difficult to know who to believe in discussions about these contentious issues: both sides have their experts, and to the lay person, who depends upon the experts, everyone sounds equally credible. When issues are important to you, how do you educate yourself to make the right decisions? How do you decide who is credible to you and who isn't? Did you find Niman to be a credible reporter as you read her book? Did you attend our panel discussion last month to hear opposing local viewpoints? What did you think? If you enjoyed Niman's perspective, did the panelists give you pause to reconsider?

All of the metro area libraries (and our partner, Barnes & Noble!) have collections of books and resources to help guide you, on this an other food-related issues, as you work to make the best and healthiest decisions for yourselves and your families. There is a lot of information, and it can be confusing. Your librarians can help guide you to reliable information so you can make educated decisions. And we hope our community discussion this spring has been useful as well.

Please join us on Friday, May 11 at 7 p.m. when Niman will talk about her book at The Hotel at Kirkwood. The presentation is free and open to all. Bring your questions and let's find out all we can from her so we can continue to make good and wise food choices, not only for ourselves, but for our environment and for the animals we are eating.

We will look forward to seeing you on Friday! Thanks for participating in our community discussion.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


So I have a confession. My favorite stage of my garden is now. Sure, I love the stage where I have the fresh vegetables to eat, but right now it is just so pretty. There is a nice layer of green popping up all over and nothing has gotten out of control yet or gotten unruly. Everything looks so healthy and green and managed. Looking at my garden right now, you can't yet tell that I'm an amateur gardener. That a certain percentage of my plants will not make it, that I almost certainly planted things incorrectly. That at some point I'll forget to water on a 100 degree day or will over water right before a huge rain storm. At some point, a portion of my plants will get big and unruly and another portion will just look sad. Some will bear fruit that I don't know when to harvest and I will inevitable waste that food. But not today. Today they look just right. It's the picture of such hope. The start of something wonderful. I think it is great that we joined a CSA this year. Let them worry about making sure things are grown properly and harvested at the right time while I keep my plot of joy in my backyard without the pressure of success. Although, between you and me, I'll probably pretend that those vegetables are fresh from my own garden as I eat them. In my mind I'll try to claim a little vicarious accomplishment.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Meet the Author

The time is fast approaching -- soon we will have the opportunity to meet the author of the Linn Area Reads 2012 selection, Righteous Porkchop. Nicolette Hahn Niman will be speaking this Friday, May 11th at 7 pm at The Hotel at Kirkwood Center. Don't forget to come out to hear her speak and have her sign your copy of Righteous Porkchop. I am very excited to have the chance to meet the woman who wrote the book that prompted all the great discussions and happenings that have been going on this year with Linn Area Reads. I hope to see a lot of you there! Let's also not forget that Hahn Niman is visiting as part of Out Loud! The Metro Library Network Library Author Series. Out Loud! is already off to a great start with fantastic, engaging presentations by Robin Hemley, Kevin Brockmeier, and Marc Brown. Make sure you check out the rest of the Out Loud! schedule as well. It's a good one!