The Market Gardener: A Not-So-Trivial Pursuit

June is “trivia” month in which we explore our editors’ call for “cool facts about our Co-op, our region, and the stuff we care most about. Let’s share our knowledge and all gain new appreciation for both the complex and the mundane.”

It seems especially fitting, then, to read Jean-Martin Fortier’s wonderful book The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming. Originally printed in French (Fortier is Canadian) the book has spawned a serious wave of small-acreage bounty across that country. It’s highly relevant here, too. And if a farmer can harvest and sell tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of food from only a couple of acres, the pieces of farm savvy “trivia” needed to do so are not so trivial!

Already the Palouse boasts a thriving network of small-acreage farmers, with more backyard growers joining their ranks every day: ranging from maybe a simple harvest of a few pounds of tomatoes and basil, to hundreds of pounds of many varieties of fruits and vegetables. The Palouse community is ripe with people craving to grow more, share more, sell more, and, ultimately, to create local long-term food security.

Fortier’s book is grounded in the so-called trivia of highly productive small-scale growing. By trivia, I’m talking about the emerging trade secrets of local farmers who’ve found ways to grow much more food, on far less land. To grow more; better. Fortier claims—and his farm is evidence of this—that using these tips and ideas, you can harvest upwards of a six-figure crop from only a few acres of land.

In a recent article on the Civil Eats website ( that featured Fortier and his book, the Canadian farmer said, “I felt that there was a need for [a book] like this. I have been involved with growing the food movement. My response was to tell people that they can grow and here is how.”

Please join us to discuss The Market Gardener: A Successful Grower’s Handbook for Small-Scale Organic Farming by Jean-Martin Fortier (New Society Publishers ,2014) on Sunday, June 28, from 7:00-8:30 p.m. Remember to email for the meeting location and directions and/or to receive email reminders about the Good Food Book Club. The Market Gardener by Jean-Martin Fortier is available through your local library. If you are interested in buying the book, check out the area’s local used bookstores or visit Book People of Moscow where Book Club members receive a discount. For more information about the Good Food Book Club, check out the Outreach section of the Co-op website at

Rachel is thrilled that it finally rained… although her garden may be even happier.

This Changes Everything Follow-up

This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate by Naomi Klein (respected author of The Shock Doctrine) is historic. We discussed Klein’s book as the April Good Food Book Club selection, and were stunned by the scope, breadth, and power of this landmark, world-changing book. D.R. Tucker at The Washington Monthly called it “one of the greatest works of nonfiction of all-time,” and “a weapon of justice.” Just a month after its release, the book hit the New York Times national and international best-sellers lists. In it, Klein pinpoints the severe disruption of our natural systems by corporate, capitalist dysfunction—those gathered for the Book Club meeting agreed with her perspective. We urge everyone to read Klein’s book, decide how to get involved, and step up to this moment in history. Our climate and civilization depend on it.