Updated: Sep 11, 2021
Holy Toledo, readers! My first book - Bet the Farm: The Dollars and Sense of Growing Food in America will be published in less than a month. I cannot believe it is almost out and about in the world.
Bet the Farm chronicles our move from San Francisco to Iowa to take over John's family's 530-acre farm. The book dives into the difficulties involved in taking over and running an intergenerational farm. We had to negotiate with my father-in-law, who was reluctant to hand over control of the land and had no savings. We also grew oats - a great crop environmentally speaking, but a disaster financially. And finding somewhere – anywhere – to slaughter grass-finished beef was a huge challenge as Covid drove an already lacking system into overdrive.
But through telling the story of our own struggles, the larger story of American agriculture is revealed. I look at the dominant myths surrounding agriculture today - the Agrarian Myth and the Bigger is Better Narrative - and how those stories pit farmers against
each other, trap them in endless cycles of debt, and encourage self-exploitation.
With savings and access to farmland, I know full well that we are among the privileged – and if we can’t make it, how can farmers, some of whom also confront racism, lack access to land,
and may not have off-farm jobs, pay for the farm? Bet the Farm is my first-hand account of the difficulties of farming today and a personal exploration of more just and sustainable ways to produce food.
I would love your help in spreading the word about the book when it comes out next month. But in the mean time, I am told that it is hugely helpful if you go to Amazon and click on the book, and perhaps even pre-order a copy or two from them. That gets the book to the front of the cue in the search engine, and so even if you dislike Amazon, well, it is helpful. You can also purchase it directly from the publisher - Island Press - if you prefer.
And, if you actually do order the book, read it and like it - a review on Amazon is very helpful as well.
All of your support over these first years of our farm-life has buoyed us tremendously in our times of trial. Please know, even if you don't order a single book or ever read a word, we appreciate you in our lives. Thanks for reading!