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The Reading List

January 26, 2010

I’ve mentioned before that this whole farming thing is not just something we made up, but something we were inspired to do after reading a lot and teaching at a school that has a focus on global citizenship. In order to better understand where we’re coming from, I’ve included a list of books that SH and I have read both as inspiration and for practical advice. Also, I’m including some websites that we find particularly helpful.


Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life (P.S.) by Barbara Kingsolver,

Camille Kingsolver, and Steven L. Hopp. This cleverly written collaborative effort between Barbara Kingsolver, her husband, and her oldest daughter chronicles their family’s effort to live off of the land at their Virginia Farm. It is both inspiring and informative, including recipes, some socio-political commentary, and the detailed account of one family’s attempt to live sustainably.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan. SH and I first listened to this book in audio form on one of our many road trips. In this text Pollan, a journalist, chronicles the typical ways Americans get their food. Specifically he looks at the industrial food chain, the industrial organic food chain, and the beyond organic local food chain. This is the book that introduced us to Joel Salatin.

In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto by Michael Pollan.  If you are interested in how we became a society in which food is cheaper but also less nutritious than ever before, then this is a must read. Pollan chronicles the history of “nutrition” in the U.S and Americans’ tendency away from whole foods and toward processed food-like substances.

You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Start & Succeed in a Farming Enterprise by Joel Salatin. Admittedly, I didn’t read this one, but SH did. It’s like the bible of the type of farming we’re planning on doing.

Websites This is the webpage and blog of a husband and wife farming duo in Georgia. Like SH and I, they quit their jobs (they worked in the corporate world) and purchased land to start a sustainable farm. Through their blog they’ve laid out a very clear blue print of how to start a locally supported, sustainable farm that is a contribution to the community. This is the companion website to the Kingsolver book. It contains recipes, helpful links, and an index to the first hardback edition of the book. If you are interested in finding a sustainable farm in your area in order to procure healthy, conscientiously raised meats and produce, let this site be your guide. The interactive map will show you exactly how many farms are in your area. Now is a great time to become a part of a CSA and have food delivered to your door. You can also find local farmers markets and the web pages of individual farmers. Polyface is the OG, or Original Grass Farm. Joel Salatin and his family are the pioneers of beyond organic farming.

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