Autumn is upon us. Kids and families are spending more time inside. Thoughts are turning to harvest and fall festivals, and many are still busy preserving the gifts of the earth through canning, freezing, and saving seeds for future planting. It’s an ideal moment, then, to settle in and explore a series of novels about a group of young people in the not-too-distant future who want to do something about the earth that sustains them and the foods they are able—and allowed—to eat.
Sandra Smith is the author of the award-winning young adult series Seed Savers, which takes place in a future where gardening is illegal and eating fresh produce is forgotten by a majority of the population. A series of five books, the first three are finished and can be read in any order, although the author suggests that Treasure (Book One) is written for a slightly younger audience, Lily (Book Two) is a good place for teens to start, and Heirloom (Book Three) is where adults could begin; the characters get progressively older, as do the books.
From the author’s website: “It’s 2077. There’s no apocalypse, but some things are different. Things like the weather, the internet, and food. In twelve-year-old Clare’s world, blueberry is just a flavor and apples are found only in fairy tales. Then one day Clare meets an old woman who teaches her about seeds and real food. The woman (Ana) tempts Clare with the notion that food exists other than the square, processed, packaged food she has always known.” The book series takes readers on an uncertain path of risk, escape, change, discovery, and hope as the characters avoid capture by the government agency controlling the nation’s food, and as the masses continue to consume the processed food groups of Vitees, Proteins, Carbos, Snacks, and Sweeties.
A trusted and familiar voice in our Salem community is Sally White, M.A. (Ed.), middle school teacher, Master Recycler, and certified in both permaculture and organic gardening. Sally recommends this series highly: “This timely and well-written set of novels showcases the creativity and determination that middle school students possess; the author portrays well how they care, their work ethic, and their dedication. We adults need to allow our young people’s spark to grow; they can be more empowered than our generation has been, with all they know…and, as a community, they do know right from wrong. We need to encourage our kids to step up and be empowered and informed like the characters in this series!”
Once again from the S. Smith website: “Frightening only in the possibility that we may not be far from the future it paints, (these are) suspenseful and reflective book(s) with themes of self-empowerment, trust, acceptance of diversity, gardening, and politics.” So, after you pull out those last tomato cages from the soil—or that final jar of peaches out of the water bath— be sure to swing by LifeSource and get your copies of Seed Savers, and help more seeds of hope take root for our young people, our food, and the future of our planet.