I started listening to this book and for the first hour or so, wasn't sure what I had gotten myself in for. It seemed (and maybe still seems, I'm not sure) a big advert for this town. However, Ben really does explore some really interesting and worthwhile questions about the whole local food economy idea that other books (including Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Vegetable Miracle) simply don't cover. Its very much an in depth view and discussion of what local food really means, what impact that has and what it means to this one small town. And Arthur (whose accent I didn't at first like and then it grew on me over time, really fitting the words from the mouths of some of the locals) really added character to each of the different people in the story, making them very distinct and separate from each other. All in all, a very good (and different book), well orated and well written.
Although not someone I would normally choose to listen to, the story of Novella in Oakland, what animals she went though had me at times in tears of laughter and I learnt a great deal from her story! Before this story, I had considered keeping a Pig but no-way now! Bees are still a possibility.
Karen's Oratory was superbly on target, it just had an air of authenticity that I've only ever heard from Bill Wallis, really made the trials and successes a joy to listen to!
One of the best of this genre of audio books I have heard.
It was funny in some places, but if the author really believes what he is saying in relation to much of his gardening advice, its really quite dubious. He has some good stories, Bill Wallis' performance is (as always) superb, it makes a mildly interesting listen, but I wouldn't recommend purchasing it if you have something else on your list.
I enjoyed listening to Michael Pollan read the book, and his tales of growing up, his grandfather and father, moving houses and growing crops were all interesting. What I found extremely dull and only listened to since I'd paid for the audio book (I couldn't skip as easily as a printed one) was the endless philosophy on topics - especially whether or not we *should* garden. If you are into philosophy or gardening as a holistic concept, this may be for you, but it was not for me.
I'm not sure anyone other than Joel would have done justice to this book. Its very easy to get past the Christianity and the other tendencies towards right-wing - he does tell you his belief system up front - and pick out the real innovative, interesting and informative elements in this story. His indignation with bureaucracy really comes through and it led me to investigate what the story was here in New Zealand. To some degree, he is preaching to the converted in me as a listener, which helps my high rating but I was surprised at just how much I learnt from the audio book. I'd recommend it to anyone who enjoyed Michael Pollan's books or Barbara Kingsolver's Animal, Vegetable, MIracle and I'd recommend watching his talk at the GooglePlex on YouTube as well.
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