Kathleen Alcalá

The Clueless Eater

Volcanic Eruption?

March 23, 2015

Tags: owls, blue herons, blue potatoes, carrots, bainbridge, garden, rock farm, Helpline House

Adding lime to the soil at the Rock Farm
No, la jefa of the Rock Farm Community Garden, Anita Rockefeller, spread lime over all of our plots, creating this eerie landscape. I happened to be there Thursday before the evening rain soaked the fine powder into the earth. The darker front rows are my plot, where I turned it in and planted a row of blue potatoes and a row of carrots. Next, we will spread a layer of compost. Supposedly, we should avoid turning the soil too much. This should encourage a build up of compost and keep carbon sequestered in the soil, where it belongs.

Spring is here after an unusually dry (more…)

Clean berries and dirty carrots

July 14, 2014

Tags: garden, sustainability, island, Bainbridge, carrots, berries, Minedoka

Clean berries and dirty carrots
It is that time of the season when, if you are in the right place at the right time, someone will hand you a bag of beet greens. Or a handful of berries. Or leave a dozen fat oysters at your back door!

It took four to five months to reach this point, but every cloudy day, every seed that refused to sprout, every insect, is forgiven when we bite into a salad of our own growing. (more…)

June

June 17, 2014

Tags: June, vegetables, garden, Bainbridge Island, sustainable, gardening, organic, ravens

As the season progresses, the community garden is bursting with life. A neighbor kept my plants watered while we traveled for two weeks, and I returned to kale, mixed greens, and more kale! We have enjoyed it many ways – stir fried, as salads, as a soup with white beans, and in a frittata. We are almost caught up now.

The carrots are well-established, and my yellow tomato plant survived its baptism of copper sulfate and sideways planting – la jefa of the garden, Anita Rockefeller, had me lay the gangly plant on its side and bury it, only allowing about eighteen inches at the top to curve out into the air. It seems to be working.

It rained intensely over the weekend, so there is no need to water. As I harvest and weed, two ravens greet each other overhead, (more…)

Gardening with Frog and Toad

April 20, 2014

Tags: Bainbridge Island, sustainable, seed library, garden, community garden, Rock Farm

This year, I will apply my mad skills in gardening to a 10x10’ plot at The Rock Farm, a community garden on the west side of the island. This lacks the convenience of walking next door to garden in Hilary and Neil’s yard, but affords a larger space with more sun and a Master Gardener to crack the whip if I get too lazy.

In addition, I will be able to (more…)

The Rock Farm

August 29, 2013

Tags: Bainbridge Island, local food, sustainability, farming, Rockefeller, community, garden

Anita and friend at The Rock Farm, a community garden
In July, Phil and Anita Rockefeller invited me (okay, I begged) to see The Rock Farm, a portion of their property that has been turned into community gardens.

When I arrived Sunday at 10:30 am, Phil and Anita were hanging what looked like prayer flags along the eight-foot high deer fence. Up close, I could (more…)

Let's Garden! with Michelle Obama

September 5, 2012

Tags: White house, Obama, kitchen garden, garden, children, Bo

Review:
American Grown: The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America
by Michelle Obama
2012, Crown Publishers 271 pages

First Ladies are expected to champion causes, but as we learned during the Clinton era, it can’t be a cause that implies policy, such as a plan for affordable health care. Previous First Ladies tried to Make America Beautiful, or Make America Read, or just wore clothes really, really well.

Obama’s original project was “Let’s Move!” a plan to encourage school children across the country to get more exercise. One out of three children in the United States is considered overweight, and/or suffering from weight-related illnesses, such as diabetes. But as soon as she started this, Obama realized that diet and nutrition are integral to our health and well-being. By starting a kitchen garden, Obama hoped to “begin a conversation about this issue – a conversation about the food we eat, the lives we lead, and how all of that affects our children.” (more…)

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Selected Works

Creative nonfiction, memoir, environmental sustainability.
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.
Creative Nonfiction
Essays on Family and Writing

The Desert Remembers My Name makes an important contribution to discussions of ethnicity, identity, and the literature of place.”
Bloomsbury Review
Fiction
"...a mesmerizing tale... the author explores the fascinating confusions and contradictions plaguing a culture precariously poised between tradition and modernization."
Booklist
"She never forgot the power of storytelling as testimony."
The Utne Reader
"Kathleen Alcalá's Spirits of the Ordinary is an enthralling book..."
–Paul Yamazaki, City Lights Books

"This book entered my dreams."
–Alberto Rios
Short Fiction
"Thoroughly satisfying."
The New York Times Book Review

"By turns touching, entertaining, and surprising, and uniquely her own."
Publishers Weekly

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