Wednesday Recommendations: Wilding, Doughnuts & Eating with Strangers

It’s been a while since there’s been a moment or two free to write a #WednesdayRecommendations post but, it’s Wednesday and I’ve got 10 minutes so here goes:

READ: ‘Doughnut Economics’ by Kate Raworth. I got hold of this after listening to the author on the ‘Reasons to be Cheerful‘ podcast, and I’m so glad I did! This is one of those books that totally changes the way you see the world – causing you to totally re-examine everything you think you know about the way things are done, or have been done – and why. It challenges our modern understanding of ‘growth’ and how we measure value – and is therefore much wider ranging than just economics. Laying out a compelling vision of how things could be (and need to be) done differently – the book is full of hope and practical steps for how humanity can re-organise to truly prosper, whilst re-generating our ravaged planet.

READ: ‘Wilding’ by Isabella Tree tells the story of her family’s decision to end the loss-making intensive agriculture farming business they inherited at Knepp on the South Weald. The book charts their incredible 20 year journey of discovery as they stopped ‘conventional’ farming, and gradually allowed (and prompted) nature to re-colonise and essentially heal the land. In common with ‘Doughnut Economics’, this book turns accepted views, and ways of doing things, upside down. I’m particularly struck by the way that this has been written as a summation of 20 years of quiet observation, and how that observation leads to a far deeper understanding, which in turn leads to (eg) the radical suggestions that the early British ‘wildwood’ must have been closer to wood pasture than forest; and that our understanding about the preferred habitats of many wild species are based on where they were able to survive when their really preferred habitats had been denied them by human activity.

LISTEN: The Food Programme ‘Eating With Strangers‘ which was broadcast last year, explores various examples of where strangers get together to eat – from Supper Clubs to Sikh Temples. It’s a fascinating programme on a number of levels, but particularly resonant for me, having recently enjoyed the Curating Coventry Supper Club at The Pod, the Stories on our Plate supper, and having linked up with the amazing Langar Aid during Spon Spun Festival. There’s lots of discussion about the connective potential of food but the clincher is probably “You can’t really hate someone you eat with.” Definitely worth a listen!

As always, let us know if you take us up on any of the recommendations – and what you make of them – and let us have your recommendations for reading and listening too. Cheers!