One Book, Many Seeds

The Seed UndergroundIf you read only one book this summer, join the rest of Peachtree City and read The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food by Janisse Ray (Chelsea Green, 2012). The book won’t be available for purchase until June 29, but Omega Books in Peachtree City is taking pre-orders now.

The Seed Underground is the book selected for the first “One Book, One Peachtree City” initiative. This city-wide reading and discussion program encourages all residents to read the same book at the same time to create a citywide book club. But you don’t have to be a resident of Peachtree City to read and attend our free programs – all are welcome! 

In case you aren’t familiar with Janisse Ray, she is the author of four books of literary nonfiction including the much heralded, Ecology of a Cracker Childhood (Milkweed Editions, 1999). She is on the faculty of Chatham University’s low-residency MFA program and is a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow. She holds an MFA from the University of Montana, and in 2007 was awarded an honorary doctorate from Unity College in Maine.

Janisse Ray

Janisse Ray

In The Seed Undergound, Ray takes us across the country where a renaissance of local food, farming, and place-based culinary traditions is taking hold. And yet something small, critically important, and profoundly at risk is being overlooked in this local food resurgence: seeds. We are losing our seeds. Of the thousands of seed varieties available at the turn of the 20th century, 94 percent have been lost — forever.

With a signature lyricism that once prompted a New York Times writer to proclaim her the Rachel Carson of the south, Ray brings us the inspiring stories of ordinary gardeners whose aim is to save time-honored open-pollinated varieties like Old Time Tennessee muskmelon and Long County Longhorn okra—varieties that will be lost if people don’t grow, save, and swap the seeds.

Ray also tells her own story of watching her grandmamma save squash seed; of her own first tiny garden at the edge of a junkyard; of falling in love with heirloom and local varieties as a young woman; and the one seed—Conch cowpea—that got away from her.

The Seed Underground reminds us that while our underlying health, food security, and sovereignty may be at stake as seeds disappear, so, too, are the stories, heritage, and history that passes between people as seeds are passed from hand to hand.

Janisse Ray in Garden

Janisse Ray in her garden.

“One Book, One Peachtree City” culminates on Saturday, August 18 at 2 PM, with a book talk and signing with Janisse Ray at City Hall in Peachtree City.

We’ve also teamed up with FW’s own Bonnie Helander and Tricia Stearns of the Peachtree City Farmers Market and Community Garden to schedule other related events including:

• Workshop at City Hall presented by Peachtree City Garden Club on Saturday, July 21, at 10 AM: “Grow Your Taste Buds with Herbs!” Attendees will learn the ins and outs of growing herbs in Georgia and will receive their own herb to take home.

• Guided hike through Flat Creek Nature Preserve on Friday, August 10, at 10 AM sponsored by the Southern Conservation Trust.

 • “Fresh from the Garden Recipe Swap” (and Tasting!) sponsored by Fayette Woman on Saturday, August 11, at 10 AM at the Peachtree City Farmers Market.

More programs are planned and all are free and open to the public. You can find a full schedule of events as well as background information about The Seed Underground and “One Book, One Peachtree City” online at or by calling Peachtree City Library at 770-631-2520.

“One Book, One Peachtree City” is presented by the Peachtree City Library with support from Peachtree City Planning & Zoning Department; Friends of the Peachtree City Library; Peachtree City Garden Club; Peachtree City Farmers Market; Peachtree City Community Garden; USDA-Agricultural Research Division/UGA-Griffin; Southern Conservation Trust; Fayette Woman; and Omega Book Center.

Jill Prouty

Jill is a reader, writer, and professional librarian who enjoys spending her free time with her husband of twelve years and their two sons. She has an MSLS from Clarion University of Pennsylvania and a BA from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.