Books!

Recently I was in Powell’s ‘City of Books’ in Portland and while perusing the Food/Sustainability section I finally got to see in person, my good friend Temra Costa’s book about women in the sustainable food movement. Temra rules. We met, obviously enough, at a conference on food justice. She lived in Davis at the time I was traveling for work to Sacramento every few months or so and we’d hang out. She’s a super hard worker and very busy, so that often meant I was tagging along in what she was already doing- like scavengering the city for figs. Have you ever ate a fresh fig straight from the tree? She’d climb the tree, pick one and eat it, pass one down, which I would eat and then every third one would actually make it into the bike basket.


Also in this section was my friend Erik Knutzen’s book that he co-wrote with his wife, The Urban Homestead.


I ran into him last at the Echo Park Farmers Market (duh, right?) and they are working on a new book right now. I’ve been on a tour of his house during the 2009 Big Parade Staircase Walk and it is super amazing. A small farm right in the city!

Now any of you vegans out there know that the sustainable food movement not only includes animal products, but actively promotes them and are often anti-vegetarian. It’s very frustrating. Sustainability aside, it is still an ethical issue. As if eating local makes a difference to the animals raised and killed! I don’t want to be the militant vegan that no doubt has fueled the fire for localvores, in fact, I want to do the opposite. Vegans need to be more in touch with these folks and understand this movement, because it is a very important part of the puzzle.

The book I was looking for was On A Dollar A Day. I knew about the blog and hadn’t realized it was a book until a friend in Portland recommended it. Turns out that the authors are not only vegan, but old hardcore kids! (Out of context ‘hardcore’ kids sounds funny, it’s a sub-genre of punk rock that was very influential to me as a youth, and today).


Can someone eat on a dollar a day? What about on Food Stamp allocations? I love books where the authors are actively figuring something out as they write. You feel their struggle in trying to not only create meals from the resources they are limited to, but also to vegan-ize them. I’m most of the way through it and I highly recommend it.

The next day I was in the Powell’s that’s in the airport (Portland, I love you!) and what do I see? My friend Kalee Thompson’s book Deadliest Sea. Full circle, as she’s the partner of the guy who organizes the Big Parade Staircase Walk! On last year’s walk I had just started the book I am working on and I bugged her with a million questions about the process. I haven’t read this yet, but she’s a former editor of National Geographic Adventure (RIP!) and an awesome person so I know it’ll be good.

So stoked on my friends! And I can’t write a post about books and not mention Born To Run. I could not put this book down, except to go running. It’s about more than running and ultra-running, it’s anthropological in his look at the Tarahumara, but also about us, Western Culture. The author looks at the shoe industry and is not afraid to name names. It all comes together when a mysterious desert dweller organizes an ultra-run in Copper Canyon. So rad.


This book takes running out of the athletic realm. I see it now like back-packing or bike touring. We are born to run and to move, so get out and do it. I can’t wait to run an ultra-marathon, which I guess is obvious to anyone who knows me…

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