The author spent twenty years operating her own nursery, and turned over to growing food crops at the Garden Path Centre in Victoria, British Columbia, so she definitely has the credentials to write a gardening book. I found, however, while reading the first couple of chapters of The Zero Mile Diet, that she also has the chops: I started taking notes, and soon there were more than I could handle. I'm going to have to buy this book because I learned so much in the first three months (the chapters are laid out in months), that I didn't have room for notes. In fact, I didn't finish really reading the book, I just skimmed ahead, because I know I'm going to buy it.
For instance, I knew that blueberries liked acid soil, but I didn't know that strawberries and potatoes do too. I knew that dolomitic lime was a good source of calcium and magnesium, but I didn't know that lime makes clay soil release water, thus improving it that way as well, and although I knew that liming the soil raises the pH somewhat, I didn't know that acidic soil is a prime environment for the organisms that cause scab and canker which are the two worst problems for fruits trees, and that liming your soil around your fruit trees annually will substantially help them fight off these diseases. This was just a little bit of what I learned in the January chapter.
The book is peppered heavily with lovely color photographs, for which we all know I'm a sucker, and lightly salted with lots of recipes, which I particularly like, because they help you use the stuff that's in season. She covers perennial vegetables rather in depth- we've all heard of artichokes, asparagus, and sunchokes, but have you ever heard of Oca? Good King Henry? Sea Kale? Sprouting Broccoli? I'm intrigued.
She covers edible weeds, and weeds that feed beneficial insects. The only wish I could have for this subject would be for good color photographs- identifying weeds properly would be such a huge help. The only one I know for sure is the dandelion. She also only recommends open pollinated varieties, with suggested cultivars, because she firmly believes in seed-saving as the key to self-sufficiency, and includes seed saving information for each kind of vegetable.
I love this book! There are too many good reasons and copious subject matter to cover here, really. I want this book!
Borrow it first, if you can, and find out for yourself; there's just too much good stuff in it. You'll think you have to get one too.