A tree planter’s vivid story of a unique subculture and the magical life of the forest.
Charlotte Gill spent twenty years working as a professional tree planter in the forests of Canada. Charged with sowing the new forest in clear-cuts, tree planters are caught between the stumps and the virgin timber, between environmentalists and loggers. Eating Dirt offers up a slice of tree planting life in all of its soggy, gritty exuberance, while questioning the ability of conifer plantations to replace original forests that evolved over millennia into complex ecosystems. Gill looks at logging’s environmental impact and its boom-and-bust history, and touches on the substance of wood, nature’s most versatile polymer. Eating Dirt also eloquently evokes the wonder of trees, which grow from tiny seeds into one of the world’s largest organisms, our slowest-growing “renewable” resource. A joyous celebration of forests and the ancient, ever-changing relationship between humans and trees.