Interview with Sheherazade Goldsmith, Editor of “A Slice of Organic Life”
Steve: What was the thought process behind the “A Slice of Organic Life”?
Sheherazade: I think there is a huge misconception that living an eco friendly life usually means being self sufficient therefore living in the countryside. I wanted to prove that this is not the case. That you can live anywhere and still make a contribution to the environment without actually making any sacrifices. The books projects are divided into sections that reflect the type of homes people have and what things they might be able to do.
Steve: I guess we are part of that misconception, since we do live in a very rural area, are off-grid, and pretty self sufficient. But I found very good ideas on becoming even more so. one person can’t begin to know everything.
This book was a group project, wasn’t it. articles submitted by a variety of writers, collated and managed by you?
Sheherazade: Yes. I was very fortunate that through my husband’s magazine ‘The Ecologist‘ I had access to some amazing writers such as Pat Thomas and Matilda Lee. The book is a reflection of the changes I have made to my own lifestyle. The projects are all things I have tried out myself and have found not only enjoyable but also very easy. As you said previously this is a journey in sense and how nice to discover something new everyday
Steve: two of my extended family members have read the book, my dad is reading it now, and some of our community members are buying their own copy. My Dad is the one who raised me with a yearning for a closer tie to the earth, and a simpler lifestyle. I’m 42 now, he’s retired and now lives in town, and has started to implement some of your ideas.
Sheherazade: It’s so wonderful to hear things like that. Very flattering. I hoped that the book would inspire people to make as little as 2 or 3 changes to their lives. As we know collectively these small changes such as using energy efficient light bulbs or buying local can make an enormous difference. I also found that once you start considering what effect you have on the environment you can’t stop. It’s like a domino effect.
Steve: this was our first year that we switched from row gardening to the square foot method. Much less labor intensive, and makes gardening more fun. I find that if things are broken down into small, easy steps, folks will tend to try it sooner, and stick with it.
Sheherazade: Again, there is a huge misconception that being green is more labour intensive, more expensive and means giving up all your creature comforts. As you have discovered through your gardening this is not actually true. More often than not you are improving your lifestyle be it through eating food that has a better taste because it is seasonal and grown without all the usual highly toxic chemicals or using chemical free cleaning products in the house. There is nothing more satisfying than cooking with home grown produce.
Steve: has living simply and healthy been a lifetime goal of yours, or something more recent?
Sheherazade: No certainly not a lifetime goal. In my twenties I couldn’t have cared less. But when I became pregnant I started to consider what sort of future I wanted for my children and the value of good nutrition.
Steve: I totally agree. I sometimes give away a cheap compost bin kit that I get from a company called Harbor Freight to folks. Get people used to composting organics instead of tossing them away as waste. This then leads them to want to do something with that compost, typically a garden. Baby steps….
I was raised on my Dad’s knee, reading Mother Earth News, and other sustainability and renewable related materials. It’s been a life time thing for me.
Sheherazade: Having been a city girl I am know raising my children in a rural environment and they absolutely love it. In a sense I am learning about these issues with them and together we have great fun tending to our animals, growing strawberries and making jams.
Steve: my youngest is 16, and he and his brother (18) are heavy into cars and trucks. so I have taught them about running veggie oil, biodiesel, and ethanol, instead of preaching “automobiles are bad”. This works with their innate love of mechanical things. The gardening they are not interested in, but the homemade wind turbines that we build, and the lister veggie generator does grab their attention.
Steve: I want to thank you for your time today, and for producing such a wonderful reference. I’m sure it will kick start a lot of people into positive action. If you have any thought you’d like to share with our readers in the future, please send them to me, and I’ll make sure they get published. Thank you again for being patient through the technical issues.
For those who would like to experience this reference, full of useful, and easy to implement steps in efficiency and healthy living, you can find it at http://www.green-trust.org/bookshop/