Character Guest Post with Red of A Garden on Top of the World by Virginia Aronson #characterguestpost

Have we got a treat for you! Today's guest is Red. Haven't heard of him? Shame on you! He's in Virginia Aronson's new YA ecofiction, A Garden On Top Of The World! Take it away, Red!

When I first met Jonnie, I couldn't tell if she was a boy or a girl. That's because she's intersex and can choose what she wants to be. Right now she identifies as she. Good for her. It's tough being a teenage girl in 2066.

We were up on the roof of the high-rise building where she lives with her extended family, and Jonnie agreed to help me redesign an old pigeon coop into a temporary shelter. It's no palace, but I consider myself fortunate because the streets a hundred stories below us are filled with homeless people. Men, women, and children in rags who must beg for food. Life is difficult here in Shamed, Greenland, and we are just one of the many relocation cities across the globe.

When the planet overheated from climate change, the ice caps melted and the weather in Greenland moderated. It's actually almost balmy here these days. Massive flooding overwhelmed coastal areas around the globe, so governments built inland havens like Shamed. Millions of people relocated. Unfortunately, the face of the planet has been drastically altered, and most people do not have work. Or shelter. Or enough to eat.

The food supply is not what it once was. Most food is delivered by drone and "cooked up" in a 3D printer. Nothing tastes like what it claims on the package. Nothing tastes real. It's not real. I'm old enough to remember what real food tastes like.

Jonnie has never tasted real food.

This is why I've agreed to help her. The girl is only sixteen, but she makes the kind of plans most adults only fantasize about. She's convinced me—and twins her age who live in an adjoining building—to build a garden up here on the roof. So we can grow real food. From seeds.

I know where we can get the seeds. I have connections, you see, and a background that would shock everyone. There are a lot of us now, people with nothing who once had everything.

Here's the thing: Jonnie might just make a difference for the people here in Shamed. Starting with a simple, old-fashioned, real food garden. And why not? At this difficult time and in this difficult place, it might be nice to have a garden on top of the world.

Virginia Aronson, RD, MS, is the author of more than forty books. She is the Director of Food and Nutrition Resources Foundation, a non-profit corporation that supports individuals, organizations, and communities actively seeking to improve access to healthy food, nutrition education, sustainable and regenerative agriculture, and a socially just food system. She is the author of two books of ecofiction: A Garden on Top of the World (Dixi Books, 2019) and Mottainai: A Journey in Search of the Zero Waste Life.

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Title: A Garden on Top of the World
Author: Virginia Aronson
Publisher: Dixi Books
Pages: 112
Genre: YA Ecofiction

The year is 2066 and life in Greenland is much warmer and more crowded, and lacking in fresh food. Sixteen-year-old Jonnie lives in the Relocation city of Shamed, where hundred-story high rises house extended families from American coastal cities relocated after the Sixth Sea Rise. Work and school are conducted from overcrowded apartments, while the homeless camp out on the streets below. Jonnie is intersex and identifies as she, although her family pressures her to identify as he.

Jonnie's parents run a high-tech call center out of their apartment. Her older siblings work there, and Jonnie must share a bedroom with two much older nieces. For quiet and privacy, Jonnie often retreats to the empty rooftop.

Red is a homeless man who takes up temporary residence in a pigeon coop on the roof. After Red talks about the seeds in the birds' droppings, Jonnie gets interested in heirloom seeds. Jonnie knows little about how food grows because meals come in packages ordered online and delivered by drone. Armed with a new understanding of old-fashioned garden-grown food, Jonnie is determined to create her own garden on the roof of her high rise. Along the way, she meets a former cryosphere scientist, a botanist with an urban indoor garden, and twins her own age, one of whom is intersex.

A GARDEN ON TOP OF THE WORLD is environmental fiction for ages 12 and up. Jonnie's search for who she is and what she might be able to offer the world is one that will resonate with readers of all ages. The information she learns about healthy food, sustainable agriculture, and urban gardens may inspire readers to start their own gardens. 




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