Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

How to Move Like a Gardener
Rainbow Stew
Vegetable Literacy
Nourishing Hope for Autism: Nutrition and Diet Guide for Healing Our Children

Our Maine Grain and Oilseed Newsletter
21st Century Greens: Leaf Vegetables in Nutrition and Sustainable Agriculture
High Tunnel Operation in Harsh Climates: Lessons Learned
Training Manual for Applied Agroforestry Practices – 2013 Edition

How to Move Like a Gardener –
Planting and Preparing Medicines from Plants

By Deb Soule
Under the Willow Press, Rockport, Maine, 2013
246 pages, paperback, $33 from

Reading a chapter of this book each evening is like cherishing a little time in Deb Soule’s gentle presence daily. Others say they read How to Move straight through, they loved it so much.

Divided into five parts, the book covers the basics of herb gardening in A Gardener’s Notebook; a comprehensible introduction to biodynamics in Biodynamics: Agriculture in Service of the Earth and Humanity; how gardening (and eating foods and using herbs) changes with the seasons and phases of the moon, in Living in Harmony with the Seasons; how different plant parts grow in relation to the cycles of the moon and the seasons and in relation to the four elements of earth, air, fire and water in Energetic and Elemental Associations of Plant Parts; and information about individual herbs in Growing, Harvesting, and Using Medicinal Plants.

The exquisite color photos of plants, people and other animals, on almost every page, enhance the ability of the book the feed the reader’s intellect and spirit. Professional photographers represented are G. Michael Brown, Mary Crowley, Susie Cushner, Lynn Karlin and Stephen Orr. Deb and her staff and friends contributed other photos.

CR Lawn describes the book this way: “Way beyond food, flowers, or medicine, gardening as the mindful rhythm in harmony with all living souls.”

How to Move Like a Gardener is the perfect winter (or anytime!) read to keep you in touch with the garden while educating you about making a calendula tea eye wash for tired eyes or when and how to transplant sacred basil and how to rotate it in the garden.

– Jean English


Rainbow Stew
By Cathryn Falwell
Lee & Low Books, New York, N.Y., May 2012
32 pages, $17.95

Rainbow Stew, written by Gorham, Maine, author Cathryn Falwell, colorfully depicts three children passing a rainy day by helping their grandfather pick vegetables from his garden – green beans, yellow peppers, purple cabbage, red tomatoes, brown potatoes and more. They bring their “basket full of colors” to the kitchen, then “peel, slice, chop, and dice.” They add herbs, and then cook, until grandfather’s famous Rainbow Stew is ready to eat. Written for ages 5 to 7, the catchy rhyming text, colorful art and happy family scenes will delight children as they learn just enough for that age about gardens, vegetables and cooking tasty stew. The last page features a Rainbow Stew recipe.

Not only is this a delightful book for kids and families, but it can also create a valuable event at farmers’ markets, schools or parks. In September, children in Gorham got to “step into a book” during the Gorham Farmer’s Market Rainbow Stew Day. Falwell worked with the Portland Public Library to create a StoryWalk for the market based on her book. StoryWalks involve a series of signs featuring individual pages of a book spread throughout an indoor or outdoor space. They encourage reading and physical activity. At the Gorham market, families could visit the pages of Rainbow Stew and complete several book-related activities, including making a virtual bowl of rainbow stew from paper. Falwell also signed books.

– Jean English


Vegetable Literacy
By Deborah Madison
Ten Speed Press, 2013
406 pages, hardcover, $40

Deborah Madison is one of my heroes, my mentor and my kitchen companion. Every cookbook she writes ends up on my kitchen shelf of regularly used references. Her books are full of simple yet elegant and delicious plant-based recipes. Any time I am in the same old same old cooking rut, I pull one of her books off the shelf, and magic happens. My mind blooms with culinary inspiration, and I dash to the pantry or the garden to start picking ingredients.

In Vegetable Literacy, Madison's latest creation, she goes beyond seasonal cooking to explore relationships. She teaches us to think in a broader scope about the food we grow and how to make decisions about its use in the kitchen. She cooks and gardens with 12 families of the edible plant kingdom, working with the premise that because of the shared characteristics of plants within each family, they are interchangeable. She pairs or substitutes vegetables and herbs within each family. She observes the weeds and makes connections with the related plants we cultivate in our gardens. She observes the soil fertility and plant health. She watches the insects and the weather and how they relate to pollination, how everything is interconnected. She takes these connections into the kitchen.

The chapters and recipes are organized by plant family, including the carrot, mint, sunflower, knotweed, cabbage, nightshade, goosefoot, lily, cucurbit, grass, legume and morning glory family. Each chapter features individual vegetables within the family. For example, the carrot family includes angelica, anise, asafetida, carrots, caraway, celery, celery root, chervil, cilantro, cumin, dill, fennel, hemlock, lovage, osha, parsley, parsnips and wild carrot.

I love how the sections within the chapter are set up. Specific vegetables have a section that starts with information and reflections on the vegetable, then a list of selected varieties, information on using the whole plant, a great section called Kitchen Wisdom, another called Good Companions, and finally In the Kitchen, which features Madison's simple yet always delicious and elegant recipes for the featured vegetable. The book has 300 recipes, including inspirations such as Golden Beans with Fava Beans and Mint; Pea, Leek and Sorrel Soup; Asparagus and Leek Flan; Salsa Verde with Chinese Celery; Roasted Parsnips with Horseradish Cream; and Buckwheat-Five Spice Free-Form Apple Tart.

Finally, the book is filled with gorgeous photography by Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton. Many are for aesthetic appeal; many inform about plant varieties or types. Yet this is not a coffee table book. It is simply a pleasure. In an age of online searches, I buy very few cookbooks. The ones I buy take me on a journey. I am buying the experience. I am sitting at my kitchen table, yet transported to a garden, a kitchen, a relaxing world of delicious food and shared experience and knowledge. Vegetable Literacy is such a book.

– Roberta Bailey


Nourishing Hope for Autism: Nutrition and Diet Guide for Healing Our Children
By Julie Matthews
Healthful Living Media, 2008
236 pages, paperback; $30 from

We saw this book on the reading shelf at the Belfast Co-op Store café and thought some MOF&G readers would like to know about it. (Thanks to Jack Kertesz for pointing it out.) Matthews talks about how diet affects behavior, cognitive ability and symptoms related to autism spectrum disorders. She covers the science, discusses different diets (Feingold, low oxalate…) and gives practical ideas for choosing diets and supplements.

– Jean English



Our Maine Grain and Oilseed Newsletter provides production and research information to Maine’s grain and oilseed producers. Information includes tips on production, fertility, marketing, pest management and more.

21st Century Greens: Leaf Vegetables in Nutrition and Sustainable Agriculture is a free, downloadable PDF that covers traditional and potential uses of leaf vegetables; diseases related to the industrialized diet; growing, cooking, fermenting and drying leaf vegetables; eating cover crops; and more. Free at or buy a printed copy for $24 from

High Tunnel Operation in Harsh Climates: Lessons Learned, by Greg Schweser, Community Food Systems Planner, Univ. of Minnesota Extension Regional Partnerships, September 2013. Severe weather, including tornados, high winds, hail and excessive heat, can threaten the high tunnel infrastructure and the crops within. After operating under such weather extremes for more than 10 years, Klawitter has identified solutions to keep his high tunnel operational.

Training Manual for Applied Agroforestry Practices – 2013 Edition. This newest version of the Agroforestry Training Manual is designed for natural resources professionals and landowners and includes worksheets and exercises for use as an educational tool. The manual describes establishing and managing five agroforestry practices, plus success stories of Midwestern landowners using agroforestry on agricultural and forested lands. Additional chapters include planning for agroforestry; wildlife habitat and agroforestry; marketing principles and economic considerations. Appendices include tree, shrub, grass and forage information for agroforestry plantings and timber sales suggestions. The additional resources section at the end of each chapter has been updated and expanded.