"Independence Days" by Sharon Astyk

Welcome to the 2010 Green Books Campaign, hosted by Eco-Libris. Eco-Libris is a company that works with readers, publishers and bookstores to balance out our books, and plant trees for each book we read.

Today for the Green Books Campaign 200 bloggers are simultaneously publishing reviews of books that have been printed on recycled or FSC-certified paper. And here is my contribution:

In the last few decades we have seen major changes in our approaches to food. Supermarkets are no longer just for food (just the other day I purchased my son's snowsuit alongside my groceries) and more and more people are relying on convenience foods. The self-sufficiency of our grandparents' time is long gone.

But another shift seems to be occurring. The current economic crisis means more and more people have less and less money to spend on foods. The local eating movement has gone from being a trend to a necessity as more people rely on farmer's markets and growing their own foods.

If you are one of those people who is making a move to local eating, then Independence Days: A Guide to Sustainable Food Storage & Preservation is the book for you. This book will walk you through every single step of food preservation including buying in bulk, storing food, and technique. And even if food preservation doesn't seem like an option for you, this book still has some easy and necessary tasks that you can do to reduce your reliance on industrial agriculture.

This is a fascinating book. It begins with food storage which applies to everyone. Astyk covers the many reasons people need to have stocked food pantries and helps you examine your own life to find out what your needs are. I've always kept a little extra food on hand during the winter months just in case of a snowstorm, but this book has helped me to develop that a bit further.

I will admit there were times it was a little depressing to think about why I would possibly need to keep 60 pounds of oats on hand at all times, but Astyk provides a realistic view of why food pantries are important. Hurricanes, snowstorms, power outages, or job loss are all reasons why it is important to have extra food on hand.

The second half of the book goes into food preservation, the tools needed, the different techniques, and how and when to preserve different food. In addition to this, Astyk includes various family favourite recipes using foods that are stored and preserved.

I can pretty much guarantee that after reading the first few chapters of this book you will already be clearing space in your cupboards and making a list of foods to stock up on. Don't worry if it seems as though it will cost a lot of money, Astyk gives you some tips on how to stock up on the cheap.

There is something for everyone in this book. You don't have to live on a farm or have a large plot of land to have need for this book. I live in a high-rise in the city and I have walked away from this book with many tips and ideas. I may not end up in my kitchen making jam or pickling vegetables but I definitely feel as though I have begun to take charge of my own food security.


  1. 60 pounds of oats?! I really hope that there never comes a time when you need to have that much stored. I am quite good at keeping a well stocked store cupboard and could probably survive for a few months on the lentils/beans etc that I have stored up, but I am interested in this book. At the moment I tend to freeze everything, so have large amounts of pureed apples etc in there, but never pickle/jam anything. Thanks for drawing this to my attention - I'll keep an eye out for it.

  2. wow! 60 lbs of oats?? This book seems to have enlightening information! Thanks for the review and your sweet comment on my post! I LOVED Love Struck! I couldn't agree with you more about the canadian chic-lit! It was fun!

  3. this is the second book I've seen on the food sector and preserving food. Sounds like a good book

  4. This sounds like a great book! I wish I knew more about food preservation (and wasn't so intimidated by it).

  5. I can definitely relate to keeping a stocked pantry. In Texas we have to stay mindful of the
    hurricane season which is from May until November so it's crucial to keep some non-perishable items.Thanks for sharing this book I am always looking for ways to save money on food.

  6. This sounds like a great book. I just got a freezer this year so I could preserve more from my garden but I'd like to do more.


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