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New in paperback!
Contact: M'Bilia Meekers, Publicity Manager (206) 221-4994 /

Timely Food Memoir of Bainbridge Island Forthcoming in Paperback UW Press will release The Deepest Roots by Kathleen Alcalá in January

"Alcalá explores [issues] relevant beyond Bainbridge's boundaries . . . from the meaning of a homeland to questions of who has power in the modern world and who has responsibility. . . . The stories raise[e] as many difficult questions as they answer."—Seattle Times

Seattle, WA—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, and 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, now available in paperback, 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 book of short stories. She lives on Bainbridge Island, Washington.

To request a review copy or set up an interview with the author, please contact M'Bilia Meekers by telephone at (206) 221-4994 or by email at

January 2019
360 pp., 7 b&w illus., 5.5 x 8.5 in
$22.95 / 15.00 paperback / ISBN 9780295999708
Biography, Autobiography, and Memoir; Pacific Northwest / History; Food




"One of the finest books of 2016 that I read was Deepest Roots! It made me appreciate the great Northwest all over again, and the lessons to be learned here."

     - Jane Danielson, co-owner, The Eagle Harbor Book Company, 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


"The perspective presented in The Deepest Roots believes the land can tell us what it needs and entire generations of people lived on the land harmoniously and without destroying it by listening to it. Can we become those types of people? Taking all of these stories together begins to paint a picture of what needs to happen for us to inhabit that future."

     -Lisa Gresham is the Collection Support Manager for Whatcom County Library System, where she selects adult nonfiction titles for the collection.