Eating Dirt | Publications | David Suzuki Foundation

Review

With this book, Charlotte Gill has fitted a key piece, long missing from the story of West Coast logging. What happens after these wild landscapes have been stripped of trees is an important, if painful topic, and it is hard to imagine a writer (and tree planter!) better qualified than Gill to tell this story of death and rebirth in the woods.
—John Vaillant, author of The Golden Spruce and The Tiger
Photo: Eating Dirt

Winner of the BC Achievement's National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction and shortlisted for the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for non-fiction and the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction. Also a Globe 100 Best Book of the year (2011).

Charlotte Gill spent twenty years working as a tree planter in the forests of Canada. During her million-tree career, she encountered hundreds of clearcuts, each one a collision site between human civilization and the natural world, a complicated landscape presenting geographic evidence of our appetites. Charged with sowing the new forest in these clear-cuts, tree planters are a tribe caught between the stumps and the virgin timber, between environmentalists and loggers.

In Eating Dirt, Gill offers up a slice of tree-planting life in all its soggy, gritty exuberance, while questioning the ability of conifer plantations to replace original forests that evolved over millennia into complex ecosystems. She looks at logging's environmental impact and its boom-and-bust history, and touches on the versatility of wood, from which we have devised countless creations as diverse as textiles and airplane parts.

Eating Dirt also eloquently evokes the wonder of trees, our slowest-growing "renewable" resource. Most of all, the book joyously celebrates the priceless value of forests and the ancient, ever-changing relationship between humans and trees.

You can buy this book online at chapters.indigo.ca or amazon.ca, or find it at your local bookstore.

Visit Charlotte Gill online.