Books Worth Reading: Eat Your Greens!

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I am a gardener and also a doctor, so I spend a lot of time thinking about what could improve health for individuals and communities. When it comes to simple and practical innovations, I’m firmly convinced of this: there is no better thing that we can do for our own health and our families’ health than cook, serve, and eat more leafy greens. You can take me at my word,or you can read Eat Your Greens, by David Kennedy. Mr. Kennedy has collected a lot of information about why growing and eating more leafy greens is important, and gives information about some obscure greens. He is the founder/director of Leaf for Life and he wants everyone to be healthier.

Whenever I review a book, I want to talk about what it is and what isn’t. This is not a gardening book, and it isn’t a cookbook. It is a book about the importance of leafy greens to improving health worldwide. Lots of plants are given equal importance, no matter how relatively unsuited they are to cultivation in temperate America; this author thinks globally. Read it anyway, if you need to be convinced that the best thing you can do with your home garden plot is to grow a good supply of greens. A plentiful supply of fresh imageunsprayed greens is just about guaranteed to improve your health and your family’s health. There are some really good books about how to cook your crop. This one is to stretch your thinking in other directions.

Be sure to review the chapter on edible cover crops. If you want to improve your soil and eat some greens at the same time, try the cover crops that Kennedy recommends.

So, my personal opinion, after years of home gardening and given that I have trialed moringa and Chaya and many other chic greens discussed in this book, goes something like this: forget the obscure stuff unless you love to fool with that sort of thing (I do, but that’s not where the bulk of our green veggies come from.) Grow what grows well in your area. Grow kale, lots of kale, and chard and spinach and leaf lettuce, and harvest amaranth and lambs-quarters and purslane from your weedy patch. Grow any green leaves that you like to eat, and then eat them. Lots of them. Use cover crops in your little yard-farm, and feed leafy greens to your chickens and other livestock so that they will enrich you indirectly. Recognize green leaves as the most extraordinary solar collectors in the world, and let them feed you the energy of sun, earth, and water. Think about how to preserve them for winter. Keep them on your table. I will be trialing some of Kennedy’s ideas like Green Tofu, or leaf-juice curd, and I’ll let you know how it comes out for me. But please, eat your greens!

Oh, and please consider buying this book and other great books at your local independent bookstore. This is a genuine case of use it or lose it.

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