I didn’t do a book tour with my first book, so I was eager to hit the road with The Homegrown Paleo Cookbook. Instead of doing the traditional big box bookstores, I thought it would be great to hit some alternative locations. This tour is all about organic farms, independent bookstores, and other unusual destinations.
My first stop was Texas. I was really excited when Julie Quates reached out to me, asking me if I might come to Houston on my book tour. She and Tonja Pizzo organized a book signing event for me at an urban farm deep in the heart of the fifth ward of Houston called The Last Organic Outpost. I was an art major in college, so the intersection of farm and art is really interesting to me. This “Farm Art” sign was the first thing I saw.
This farm serves an underprivileged neighborhood otherwise lacking access to healthy food. It’s a vibrant mix of flowers, vegetables, chickens, and abandoned art cars overflowing with produce.
In the bed of this abandoned truck is a thriving vermiculture (worm farm) project. The farm also produces lots of soil using compost and an interesting vents system under the large piles.
It was an inviting and visually stimulating eden of trash-art and raised beds, with flower-filled nooks for resting from the Texas heat.
I met the head farmer Joe Icet, who refers to himself as a “Guerrilla Farmer”, and is quoted on the farm’s website saying:
“We’re raising a farm from the industrial ruins of the old Comet Rice Mill. We’re putting together an urban farm in the inner City. We’re taking land that basically wasn’t being used for anything of value and turning it into a fertile land area. Everybody’s welcome. Anybody who eats might be interested in what we do.”
I also met a volunteer named Wawa from the island of New Calendonia, near Austrailia, who visits the farm frequently on her days off from her job as a driver, to plant and care for many of the vegetables and flowers at the farm project. She had been there working since early that morning in the high heat and humidity. Many of the vegetables she grows go to feed folks in the neighborhood.
We had a great turnout of both people familiar with the paleo diet and also brand new at “day zero”. I talked a bit about my life on the farm and how I found health through eating nutrient-dense food. I urged the new folks to “save themselves” first, then look towards ways to be more sustainable. Here I am putting air quotes around something. Did I forget to mention how hot it was there? How many authors do book signings in mud boots?
It was a great group… mud, heat, humidity and all.
Thanks again to Julie and Tonja for setting up the event and sharing this incredible farm with me. Here are a few paleo bloggers that joined us: from left to right – April, Kierston Peterson, myself and Charissa Talbot.
At the end of the event, one young man came up and said that his grandfather was a farmer in India, and he wanted to learn more about how to get started growing his own food. He lived in an apartment and wasn’t sure how to find some land. I told him about how I had just met Wawa, who spends her free time growing food here for others. If you don’t have your own land, find a local farm that needs some help so you can learn while you work! I love what The Last Organic Outpost is doing and highly encourage you to check them out if you’re in the Houston area. They could use your support.
Ok, next stop: Berkeley and Palo Alto, California. New post coming soon!