PEACHTREE CORNERS -- As the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 approaches, I’ve been wondering what I would do this Sunday, pondering how I would choose to appropriately commemorate this historic and tragic event.
Those questions were fortuitously answered this morning; a book dubbed, “Food For My Daughters” was in my mailbox, a thoughtful gift from my friend Judy for my 40th birthday.
The day after 9/11/01, Pattie Baker, a Dunwoody resident, wife, mother of two, writer, gardener and local advocate of sustainability (and a native New Yorker), stood in her local Publix supermarket and imagined the possibility of terrorists "hitting" the U.S. food supply.
She stocked up on staples like Cheerios, peanut butter, and bottled water. In addition, she made a decision that, if nothing else, she would learn how to grow food for her daughters. That day, she planted a seed.
This small and seemingly inconsequential decision changed her life and the lives of those around her. Today, 10 years later, Pattie has transitioned the majority of her yard (front and back!) into a kitchen garden that easily feeds her family of four. She was a driving force behind the creation of the Dunwoody Community Garden and established a team of gardeners to supply donations to a local food pantry.
Her book, "Food for My Daughters: What one Mom decided to do when the towers fell (and what you can do, too)," shares thought-provoking stories about sustainability, resiliency, and life; valuable tips for taking positive action in an uncertain world; and even versatile recipes for using the new abundance growing outside your kitchen door or in your community garden plot.
"I had no idea that when I took that simple action of planting a seed that so many positive, life-changing things would happen as a result," stated Baker. "I never imagined I would learn from, and along with, so many other people, and that I'd help start community gardens; feed those in need; launch the sustainability commission for the newest city in the United States and influence that city's Comprehensive Land Use Plan; write a series of blogs and articles that would lead to me specializing in sustainability as my calling; and ultimately, raise my daughters with the life skills they simply weren't learning anywhere else."
"I was increasingly called on to help others take some of these steps as well, and I wrote this book to provide information and inspiration to make it easier for them to do so," Baker explained. "Ultimately, however, this book is a gift for my daughters, and my future grandchildren. It contains basic knowledge that has skipped not one, but two generations, and is intended to help bridge this gap.
"Food For My Daughters is 260 pages of thought-provoking first-person stories about a wide range of topics relating to sustainability, plus many useful sidebars, including 11 Woes, Wows, and What You Can Do Now, and A Baker's Dozen of seasonal recipes. It is printed on demand to reduce excess production and is available on Amazon for $15, a portion of which will help grow food for those in need.
I know Pattie personally as a fellow member of the Peachtree Corners CSA (which, for the first time, she did not join this year since her garden is an ever growing abundant resource of food for her family).
I've been following her blog, FoodShed Planet for years. She is an extraordinarily talented writer who has been published extensively in local, regional and national venues. She specializes in sustainability and an urban farmer who grows food, community and knowledge for those in need. She’s served as a role model, mentor, cheerleader and advocate for the local food movement.
This Sunday, I will start reading her book, remembering the lives lost 10 years ago to the day, and evaluating what more I can do to further ensure the food safety for my own daughters.