Local Teacher Publishes Organic Gardening Book to Help Beginners Succeed
(Lara Mossa, March 23, 2021)
OAK PARK – Thirty years of teaching and 45 years of research have culminated in a new book for Oak Park resident Edwin McLeod. A self-published title, he released “Organic Gardening for Beginners and Students” in January.
“I’m really excited about it,” said McLeod, a part-time teacher at the Center for Advanced Studies and the Arts in Oak Park. “I want people to be successful at gardening – to see it’s a lot of fun gardening. I see my mission on Earth is to see people be healthy and the Earth be healthy.”
A total of 125 pages, McLeod’s book helps beginning gardeners to have all the basic organic gardening methods they need, he said, and includes a lot of science and history. After taking a year off classes, McLeod spent about six months writing the book. However, much of the information he gleaned from his biology of foods class, which includes organic gardening, and 45 years he spent researching and doing the hobby himself.
“Organic gardening is really helpful in improving your health and also the health of the planet,” he said. “The health aspect of being outside; breathing fresh air; moving and eating fresh food really contributes to having a longer life.”
McLeod studied botany at the University of Michigan and moved to California to work with the United States Department of Agriculture for six years early in his career. He learned about organic farming in the late 70s, he said, and wrote his first book “Feed the Soil” in 1982. That publication focused on improving soil fertility through natural methods rather than chemicals, which can pollute water and kill certain organisms.
“The people that I worked with were really on the forefront of the organic food movement,” he recalled. “It’s wonderful the work that has been done over the past four decades has really helped to prevent a lot of pollution.”
After getting married, McLeod returned to Michigan and started teaching in 1987. With a master’s degree in educational administration from Wayne State University, he taught biology and physics at Hazel Park High School. After 24 years, he retired in 2010 but returned to teaching at CASA about six years ago.
McLeod has two grown children and, besides gardening, enjoys playing ice hockey. He even drove the Zamboni at Oak Park Ice Arena for a while. He said the best part of gardening is seeing nature in action.
“When you’re out working in the garden, you notice things that you wouldn’t necessarily notice when you’re walking by a park – birds, a nice variety of butterflies and different insects,” he explained.
McLeod’s new book is available on Amazon as a Kindle version for $9.95 and paperback for $19.95. Besides notes, it includes a lot of beautiful botanical artwork, photographs, drawing and diagrams, he added.
“I’ve gotten some good reviews,” he said. “It’s been selling quite well.”
In addition, McLeod started writing a monthly blog in January at http://www.edwinmcleodgardener.blogspot.com.