James Woodford book review Real Dirt

Lots of people dream of making a ‘sea change’ to escape the rat race of the city. Some people even do it.

But how many leave with the intention of living sustainably? To live on the land, grow their own food, generate their own power and water, and even restore their new patch closer to its original, natural state. James Woodford and his family did just that.

And no, James isn’t a hippy. He loves sushi as much as any inner-city dweller, and for a long time was an ambitious journalist with the Sydney Morning Herald.

Just how he came to leave Sydney and live in the bush, on a beautiful stretch of Australia’s South-East Coast, and be slaughtering his own chooks is wonderfully chronicled in his book ‘Real Dirt: how I beat my grid-life crisis’.

It’s a very personal account of “what you have to go through to get to where you want to be.”

I read it and got decidedly itchy feet myself. I then spoke by phone with James at his South Coast home.


Buy the book by James Woodford ‘Real Dirt: how I beat my grid-life crisis’.


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See our other environmental book reviews and interviews with environmental authors.


Photo: James Woodford, environment journalist and “footprint changer”, at his home on the South Coast of New South Wales in Australia. 

Phil Stubbs

Blogger, Podcaster, Producer at The Environment Show

Environmental Podcaster, Blogger and Producer at The Environment Show. I'm based in Sydney, Australia.

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