Peachtree City Library will begin its first city-wide reading initiative this month called One Book, One Peachtree City, encouraging all residents to read the same book at the same time to create a citywide book club. The book selected for One Book, One Peachtree City is The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food by Janisse Ray. The book is available now at Omega Book Center in Peachtree City.
“I think our residents are going to love Janisse Ray,” says Peachtree City Library director Jill Prouty, who worked with David Rast of the City’s Planning & Zoning Department to select the book. “We wanted the book to reflect who we are as a community – something people could rally behind – and I think we hit the nail on the head.”
Writer, naturalist and activist Janisse Ray is author of four books of literary nonfiction including the much heralded, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood (Milkweed Editions, 1999). She is on the faculty of Chatham University’s low-residency MFA program and is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow. She holds an MFA from the University of Montana, and in 2007 was awarded an honorary doctorate from Unity College in Maine.
In The Seed Undergound, Ray takes us across the country where a renaissance of local food, farming, and place-based culinary traditions is taking hold. And yet something small, critically important, and profoundly at risk is being overlooked in this local food resurgence: seeds. We are losing our seeds. Of the thousands of seed varieties available at the turn of the 20th century, 94 percent have been lost — forever.
With a signature lyricism that once prompted a New York Times writer to proclaim her the Rachel Carson of the south, Ray brings us the inspiring stories of ordinary gardeners whose aim is to save time-honored open-pollinated varieties like Old Time Tennessee muskmelon and Long County Longhorn okra—varieties that will be lost if people don’t grow, save, and swap the seeds. Ray also tells her own story—of watching her grandmamma save squash seed; of her own first tiny garden at the edge of a junkyard; of falling in love with heirloom and local varieties as a young woman; and the one seed—Conch cowpea—that got away from her.
All community members are also invited to join their neighbors and friends for special events presented during the months of July and August. One Book, One Peachtree City culminates on Saturday, August 18 at 2 PM, with a book talk and signing with Janisse Ray at City Hall in Peachtree City. Events scheduled for July include a panel book discussion at the library on Thursday, July 19, at 7 PM, and a workshop at City Hall presented by Peachtree City Garden Club on Saturday, July 21, at 10 AM: “Grow Your Taste Buds with Herbs,” where attendees will learn the ins and outs of growing herbs in Georgia and will receive their own herb to take home.
More programs are planned for August and all are free and open to the public. The full schedule of events as well as background information about The Seed Underground and One Book, One Peachtree City can be found online at www.peachtree-city.org/library or by calling Peachtree City Library at 770-631-2520.
One Book, One Community is presented by the Peachtree City Library with support from Peachtree City Planning & Zoning Department; Friends of the Peachtree City Library; Peachtree City Garden Club; Peachtree City Farmers Market; Peachtree City Community Garden; USDA-Agricultural Research Division/UGA-Griffin; Southern Conservation Trust; Fayette Woman Magazine; and Omega Book Center.