by Graham Kerr

Penguin Group, $ 27.00, 315 pages

Growing up with the Galloping Gourmet, it is thrilling to watch Graham Kerr take the next leap, not only in his career but in his own personal life. Growing at the Speed of Life: A Year in the Life of My First Kitchen Garden is an inspiration for anyone wanting a purer life, a life of simplicity and natural good health. Kerr takes us on a journey into growing the food we eat, realistically committing to self-containment and a neighborly attitude of authenticity by giving and sharing what we produce. He professes it doesn’t take a huge amount of time or effort, or require an extensive training program or even a large plot of land.

Kerr’s book is broken down with the why including statistical data for rationale, then the how with soil treatment, managing the garden, composting and green-housing. Next, into the kitchen; Kerr teaches that by having your own garden, you maximize the flavors and nutrition for the optimum enhancement for your health. The bulk of this book is dedicated to 60 different plants recommended for every garden and recipes to inspire even the most finicky palates. Finally, and equally important, he discusses how we should use our gardens to reach out to our communities, our neighbors and those in need, bringing this entire process to fruition…a better life!

This book offers alternatives for smaller yards, city dwellers, meat-lovers and a full range of lifestyles to make it work. By eating healthier, living more self-sufficiently, being a better neighbor and a better human being, we are ultimately giving back to the circle of life. Brilliant, simplistic, creative and the right thing to do – who could ask for more?

Reviewed by M. Chris Johnson,