By Wayne Caldwell et al, University of Guelph

For those wanting to buy and eat locally, The Urbanite’s Guide to the Countryside gives an overview of the vast variety of crops and products available in southern Ontario. Beginning with a history of agriculture in Ontario and touching on some of the issues farms face today, the authors also include sections on typical sights encountered in rural southern Ontario – the traditional and modern farm-scapes, Old Order Mennonites, the rural towns and its often lush forests and wetlands (with cautions for the Urbanite driver about our gravel roads). Following this comes each mini-chapter, arranged alphabetically by resource type, from apples to wind farms. Each entry contains statistics on the listed industry, sidebars of trivia, and little eye-catching photographs. This slim volume does have some shortcomings that will hopefully be corrected in the next edition – there is no index, photos are often not identified (including one of Wellington St. here in Stratford), and there are no addresses or websites provided for the various types of farms, something that could have been added in an appendix or two (a silly oversight from the publisher – the University of Guelph!). Still, it will be useful for children doing projects and adults looking for local produce - even things like ginseng, fish-farms and alpaca wool, besides the traditional maple syrup, dairy and pig farms, and a quick call to the reference desk at the Library will tell you exactly where to look for those llamas. Click here to find The Urbanite's Guide to the Countryside in our on-line catalogue.


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