A powerful work of memoir and storytelling that will change the way we think about the natural world.
Unearthed is the story of how Claire Ratinon found belonging through falling in love with growing plants and reconnecting with nature.
Like many diasporic people of colour, Claire grew up feeling cut off from the natural world. She lived in cities, reluctant to be outdoors and stuck with the belief that success and status could fill the space where belonging was absent. Through learning the practice of growing food, she unpicked her beliefs about who she ought to be. Over her first year living in the English countryside and with the first vegetable patch of her own, she finds a pathway back to nature's embrace. And through growing the food of Mauritius, recording her parents' stories and exploring the history of the island, she also strengthens her connection to her homeland.
Unearthed urges us to look to the world outside for the belonging and home we seek. It is a heartfelt call to reconsider our history, the way we think about nature and the complex relationships we all have with the land.
Claire Ratinon is an organic food grower and writer of Mauritian heritage. After a chance encounter with a rooftop farm while living in New York City, Claire discovered her love for growing vegetables. She returned to London, where she left her career in documentary production, and has been pursuing her passion for plants ever since. Claire has grown organic vegetables for the Ottolenghi restaurant, Rovi; delivered workshops to audiences from East London primary schools to community gardens; given talks for organisations including Whitechapel Gallery, The Garden Museum, Charleston House and the Royal Botanical Garden Edinburgh as well as presenting features on Radio 4's Gardeners' Question Time. Her writing has been featured in Waitrose Food Magazine, Bloom and the New Statesman and her first book, How to Grow Your Dinner Without Leaving the House, was published in 2020. She lives in East Sussex.
"A beautiful book about nature, and how reengaging with the foundational experience of our species of growing and cultivating crops can be a source of healing and spiritual truth [...] I recommend it"
– Afua Hirsch
"It is rare for a book to come along that tells a story that has never been heard before. Unearthed is just that and more. Deeply felt, deeply told, deeply generous, Claire Ratinon's story of trying to find a place of belonging in a post-colonial landscape is one that will change hearts and minds. How vitally we have needed this narrative, how beautifully it has been told."
– Alice Vincent, author of Rootbound
– Nova Reid, author of The Good Ally
"Poignant and groundbreaking [...] we are tenderly offered a new possibility of deeper wonder, awe and profound hope as we unearth the truth that grows in all our gardens"
– The Garden
"A beautiful work of nature-writing, memoir and storytelling."
– Country & Town House