Several weeks have passed since Novella Carpenter was in town as the final event of Reading Together 2014. During that time, we have been busy collecting statistics, photos, and feedback about this year’s program.
For instance, did you know:
- The two titles circulated more than 3,500 times since they were announced late last summer
- Reading Together brought more than 1,600 people out into the community between early March and mid-April to talk about Farm City and The American Way of Eating
- 100% of survey respondents believe that Reading Together is valuable for our community
Of course, we’ve always believed that last point to be true, but these results affirm it. And it won’t be long before we start the process all over again to select a title (or titles?) for Reading Together 2015. Have a suggestion? Use the Contact link to the right and let us know!
Until next year,
We’ve just received this photo and a note, transcribed below, from Novella about her visit to Kalamazoo...
Thanks again for the good times in Kalamazoo!
What I really loved about K:
1. It felt like home; everyone there was so welcoming and down to earth. It was like meeting old friends.
2. Conversation. You guys know how to ask questions, be honest, and you all are so curious! It’s an amazing & rare thing these days.
3. Places that matter. I was only in ‘Zoo for one night but got to experience a lot—the Food Co-op, Tabitha Garden and the Art Museum/KIA, and the food trucks on the square, and of course, the Library and K College campus—these are all awesome, beautiful, functional, fun, accessible places where the town can grow and thrive.
Anyway, I had a blast—thanks for the opportunity and I’m telling my friends about Kalamazoo!
Love, Novella (and Franny)
Novella and Franny
It wasn’t until I read Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer for the second time that I really grasped the enormity of Novella Carpenter’s drive to prove herself as a farmer, which, at times she says, felt like “the mission of an imbecile.”
It’s hard to imagine a more unconventional – or difficult - way of carving out an existence for oneself: a squatter on land in an urban neighborhood that initially doesn’t feel safe. But it turns out the garbage strewn lot next to her apartment and Oakland’s “down and out qualities” are just right for Carpenter and her boyfriend, Bill, to put down roots of all kinds.
The rollicking good ride we get to go on with Carpenter includes massive slug extermination in which the slimy, primitive creatures are ripped in two and then squished between boards (this is organic gardening, after all), prolifically pooping poultry, bees, pigs, rabbits, dumpster diving and scrounged stuff from street corners. Carpenter possesses a love of making something useful again, which she describes as “resurrecting the abandoned.” The folks we meet come to life on the page: Lana (“anal spelled backwards”), monks, men that live in wheelless parked cars. The farm changes the neighborhood and the author. Against odds and convention, Carpenter not only exists, but she thrives.
I can’t wait to meet her this week!
~ Donna McClurkan, Reading Together Steering Committee