The Desert Island Book List

Home / The Desert Island Book List - December 8, 2010 , by admin

Oh wait … if I was on a desert island, I wouldn’t need a bunch of gardening/food security books, would I. It would probably be one of those “single palm tree” islands, too, and I would be the one with the hammock. So let’s move this fantasy along – I chew the single palm tree down with my bare teeth and float it to a nice wooded island off  the British Columbia coast. That’s better – Marine zone 8 – something I can handle. I would drag my trusty palm up onto the beach, unzip my waterproof book bag, and there would be …

The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery. Instructions on raising chickens, growing buckwheat, food preservation, fixing fences, tending goats,hydroponics, making cheese, raising bees …complete with joyful comments from past readers. It’s been out forever and deserves to live on. Order it from your book store.

Making Plant Medicine by Richo Cech. The very best beginner into mid range herbalists’ handbook for all the main medicines, and for understanding the plant uses (with the often overlooked time of harvest), and he has kindly worked out lots of messy proportions for us. , or I usually have a few in stock if you’re by.

The Encyclopedia of Edible Plants of North America by Francois Couplan, Ph.D.  Once you know what plant you’re looking at, this book will tell you what part is edible and how to prepare it. An amazing number of ornamental, wild plants and weeds have edible parts. Would be great to have this in an emergency. Order from your nearest bookstore.

Gaia’s Garden, A guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway    Just in case you want to understand permaculture more deeply without actually having the need for three months on a desert island to absorb Bill Mollinson’s  Permaculture Designers’ Manual.  Easy to find in the bookstore.

Oh … Food Security for the Faint of Heart by Robin Wheeler.  Easy to read book on how to prepare for hard times, maximize garden space, glean from the ocean, eat weeds, get through an earthquake, make teas and more. Order from your bookstore or from me at, or I usually have some at home.

You may have noticed that I haven’t suggested you buy from Amazon or Indigo. These giant book buyers may give you a deal, but if you want your favourite authors to survive, you’ll buy from an outfit that will give them their whole 5% of cover price … which the big box stores will not. As far as I can see from my contract, the sale price is coming out of the authors’ hides.

There. That’s a pretty small bookbag, but it contains a huge span of information and ideas. And give me a break –  I was trying to row a palm tree!

(thanks for the idea, Christine!)

Interview With Robin Wheeler

Timely Tips

Get a free chapter from Robin’s book Food Security for the Faint of Heart!  ‘I’m Too Busy Watching Survivor to Live Through a Food Crisis’ is yours when you sign up for Robin’s ezine, where she shares her years of knowledge via email, twice a month.  Rural living tips, food security projects, musings on the politics of food – you’ll get it all, and you’ll learn something every time.

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