Last Friday, we held a very special celebration in one of our favourite bookshops. Family and friends where there, and the place was bursting with supportive folks. Then we answered some questions and signed our names... It felt a bit like our wedding day! Only, we both had headset microphones, instead of a celebrant, our friend Hannah (from Good Life Permaculture), led us in conversation under the watchful eye of our three children, and we signed our names several times over, in copies of our very own book! And so this rather large side-project we've been keeping to ourselves all this time, was launched and sent on it's way, with big hopes and dreams that it will help to make a difference in this world of ours.
How did it come about? Two years ago, we were contacted by a publisher who suspected we might have a book to write about waste-free living. We agreed, and set to work (through a long winter and a flu season that has now become family legend), and we photographed, edited and finished the book, only to see our publisher fold in the week it was due to go to print. Fortunately, the very wonderful Plum Books rescued our project, and turned it into this magnificent book that arrived on our kitchen table just a few weeks ago. There was much whooping and cheering, and a round of applause because this little labour of love is just as much the work of our children as it is ours.
Why a book about waste-free living? Because we want to take personal responsibility for the waste we create, the legacy we leave, and what we normalise for our children. In a world heading for environmental destruction, its vitally important that those who can, do. That we curb the trend of overproduction and waste. That we stop draining the earth's resources. And in a political climate where decisions are being made that hinder the protection of our environment, it's an act of hope to work against and outside the societal structure that creates wasteful systems. We're voting with our wallets, and with our time. It feels joyful and we (and our children) can sleep a little easier at night. Waste infiltrates every aspect of our lives, and working to live without it, as individuals and communities, can go a long way towards creating the kind of positive change this world needs.
‘A Family Guide to Waste-Free Living’ is a collection of our favourite recipes, information and handy hints all in the one place. It’s the book our kids will take with them when they leave the nest. It’s filled with recipes from our mums and grandmothers. And it’s filled with hope. Beginning with tackling food waste, to packaging and household waste, and then how we approach waste in our interactions with friends, family and the broader community, the book has a gentle structure that can be followed (it's actually the process we followed when shifting towards waste-free living), or it can be dipped into as needed. We called it 'A Family Guide...' rather than *The* Family Guide, because it's our process and what works for us. It isn't prescriptive. But it's our hope that readers will find their own path with it, personalise it and make it their own.
One happy reader, who picked up a copy at the launch, said this about it: ".... Get the book. Get it. It's so wonderful- a cheerful little guidebook for regular folk (families and singles and couples) to ditch plastic and other packaging and by-products, connect with community and care for the environment. There's no preaching, there's no greenwashing. There's also no fear. So, it's really readable and the tips are doable. I'm going to share more of it this week because every time I find a moment to steal I read another random page of it and smile."
Our book is available now in all good bookstores and libraries, and if you’d like a signed copy, you can pre-order one from our little shop, Spiral Garden, and we’ll post it to you.
Huge thanks to all at Plum Books and Pan Macmillan for publishing our book and helping it make its way in the world. Thanks also to brilliant Tassie photographer, Natalie Mendham, for the beautiful photos. And to Michelle Mackintosh for the beautiful design, Chris Middleton for the excellent cover photo, and to the always wonderful Costa Georgiadis for setting aside time to read the book and provide a beautiful foreword. We're still pinching ourselves that we've been given this opportunity, and that people are finding it practical and enjoyable to read is a massive bonus. Go well, little book!
~ Lauren. xx