We’ve just received this photo and a note, transcribed below, from Novella about her visit to Kalamazoo...
Thanks again for the good times in Kalamazoo!
What I really loved about K:
1. It felt like home; everyone there was so welcoming and down to earth. It was like meeting old friends.
2. Conversation. You guys know how to ask questions, be honest, and you all are so curious! It’s an amazing & rare thing these days.
3. Places that matter. I was only in ‘Zoo for one night but got to experience a lot—the Food Co-op, Tabitha Garden and the Art Museum/KIA, and the food trucks on the square, and of course, the Library and K College campus—these are all awesome, beautiful, functional, fun, accessible places where the town can grow and thrive.
Anyway, I had a blast—thanks for the opportunity and I’m telling my friends about Kalamazoo!
Love, Novella (and Franny)
Novella and Franny
It wasn’t until I read Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer for the second time that I really grasped the enormity of Novella Carpenter’s drive to prove herself as a farmer, which, at times she says, felt like “the mission of an imbecile.”
It’s hard to imagine a more unconventional – or difficult - way of carving out an existence for oneself: a squatter on land in an urban neighborhood that initially doesn’t feel safe. But it turns out the garbage strewn lot next to her apartment and Oakland’s “down and out qualities” are just right for Carpenter and her boyfriend, Bill, to put down roots of all kinds.
The rollicking good ride we get to go on with Carpenter includes massive slug extermination in which the slimy, primitive creatures are ripped in two and then squished between boards (this is organic gardening, after all), prolifically pooping poultry, bees, pigs, rabbits, dumpster diving and scrounged stuff from street corners. Carpenter possesses a love of making something useful again, which she describes as “resurrecting the abandoned.” The folks we meet come to life on the page: Lana (“anal spelled backwards”), monks, men that live in wheelless parked cars. The farm changes the neighborhood and the author. Against odds and convention, Carpenter not only exists, but she thrives.
I can’t wait to meet her this week!
~ Donna McClurkan, Reading Together Steering Committee
The topic of buying local food stuffs is not only a significant message of the Kalamazoo Reading Together book selections, but it is also an important message nation-wide.
This morning (4-3-14), on Good Morning America, celebrity chef Mario Batali prepared a meal that cost roughly $1.40 per serving while promoting the purchase of local food from area farmers’ markets. Here in the Kalamazoo area, we have some great ones. Here is a link to a complete listing.
So if you can’t plant your own garden or don’t have room for all of the wonderful fruits and vegetables that can thrive In Michigan, plan to visit one of the local markets!
~ Judy Bosshart, Reading Together Steering Committee