The long days of summer provide the perfect time to catch up on “regenerative” reads. Whether you’ll be at the edge of a lake or under a shady elm, we hope you’ll have a glass of lemonade and a great book in hand. We’ve selected a few current favorites most of which are centered on the themes of relationship to and love of place.
Finding The Mother Tree: Discovering the Wisdom of the Forest
Suzanne Simard (Knopf 2021)
This long-awaited book by Suzanne Simard, a brilliant pioneer of plant communications, will make you rethink everything you thought you knew about the lives of our tree friends. A professor of forest ecology, Simard's profound love for and connection to the majestic forests of her native British Columbia is evident on every page.
English Pastoral: An Inheritance
James Rebanks (Penguin, 2020)
James Rebanks (author of another favorite The Shepherd's Life) grew up farming with his grandfather in the Northwest of England. English Pastoral traces his family’s multi-generation journey from diversified traditional, to industrialized, and ultimately to nature-friendly farming. Along the way Rebanks examines the pressures farmers face to provide food at the cheapest possible price and why this extractive model leaves so many rural communities in crisis. Ultimately, however, he offers us an alluring path forward: one making room for the survival of flora and fauna that make the landscape home.
All We Can Save: Truth Courage and Solutions for the Climate Crisis
Edited by Ayana Elizabeth Johnson and Katharine K. Wilkinson (One World 2020)
All We Can Save is a collection of essays and poems from women at the forefront of the climate movement. It’s organized in an ingenious way and we particularly loved hearing from so many emerging young leaders. Soil Centric’s advisor Judy Schwartz’s essay “Water is a Verb” is timely reading for those of us in the parched Western U.S.
Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants
Robin Wall Kimmerer (Milkweed Editions, 2013)
In this uplifting book, Robin Wall Kimmerer, a botanist and a member of the Potawatomi Nation, explores our reciprocal relationship with the natural world. Kimmerer’s emphasis on nature’s generosity and beauty invites you to fall in love with Mother Earth all over again.
Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations
David R. Montgomery (University of California Press, 2007)
An instant classic, we like to reread this book every couple of years because it sheds light on age-old questions about why civilization after civilization has ceased to exist. We’ll give you a hint, they exhausted the soil’s fertility. Soil depletion isn’t the history typically covered in school, but it’s a story we no longer afford to ignore.