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My exploration of The Deepest Roots
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High Country News
A profile in one of my favorite publications.
A review by Rebekah Denn
Bainbridge Community Broadcasting interview
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The Deepest Roots:
Finding Food and Community on a Pacific Northwest Island
by KATHLEEN ALCALÁ
• $28.95 HARDCOVER
• PUBLISHED: September 2016
• SUBJECT LISTING: Biography, Autobiography, and Memoir; Pacific Northwest / History; Food
• BIBLIOGRAPHIC INFORMATION: 296 pp., 7 bandw illus., 5.5 x 8.5 in.
• TERRITORIAL RIGHTS: Not available in South Asia
• SERIES: Ruth Kirk Book Fund
As friends began "going back to the land" at the same time that a health issue emerged, Kathleen Alcalá set out to re-examine her relationship with food at the most local level. Remembering her parents, Mexican immigrants who grew up during the Depression, and the memory of planting, growing, and harvesting fresh food with them as a child, she decided to explore the history of the Pacific Northwest island she calls home.
In The Deepest Roots, Alcalá walks, wades, picks, pokes, digs, cooks, and cans, getting to know her neighbors on a much deeper level. Wanting to better understand how we once fed ourselves, and acknowledging that there may be a future in which we could need to do so again, she meets those who experienced the Japanese American internment during World War II, learns the unique histories of the blended Filipino and Native American community, the fishing practices of the descendants of Croatian immigrants, and the Suquamish elder who shares with her the food legacy of the island itself.
Combining memoir, historical records, and a blueprint for sustainability, The Deepest Roots shows us how an island population can mature into responsible food stewards and reminds us that innovation, adaptation, diversity, and common sense will help us make wise decisions about our future. And along the way, we learn how food is intertwined with our present but offers a path to a better understanding of the future.
KATHLEEN ALCALÁ is the author of a collection of essays, The Desert Remembers My Name: On Family and Writing; three novels, including Treasures in Heaven; and a collection of short stories. She lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington.
"The Deepest Roots is a timely and charming book on how place-based foods infuse community by one of the finest writers ever to emerge from the Pacific Northwest."
-Gary Paul Nabhan, author of Coming Home to Eat: The Pleasures and Politics of Local Food
"A wildly ambitious book. By focusing on the food in one place, Alcalá is able to pull together cultural and cross-cultural experiences, environmental debates, and, perhaps most crucial for me, issues of economic justice that underpin all food production."
-Ana Maria Spagna, author of Reclaimers and Potluck: Community on the Edge of Wilderness