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On Being a Good Neighbor (with video)

One of the weird but incredibly rewarding things that has happened since I wrote Bet the Farm: The Dollars and Sense of Growing Food in America is that people want to hear what I have to say.

I had the amazing honor of appearing on Market to Market, the Iowa Public Television show about agriculture, when the book came out. But they invited me back last week and I talked with host Paul Yeager about the farm, rural America, our new barn, and what it means to be a good neighbor in farm country.

(And btw—the audio version of the book is on sale for $5 until the new year, while the book version just went up to $30.)

The last point, about being a good neighbor, really hit home for me lately. A farm is not only land on which vegetables and beef are raised—it’s a place where people can come together. A place where we can meet with our “neighbors,” other people near and far who care about how the land is taken care of. It can be a home to so many, even those who do not live on it full-time.

Studies show that spending time outside can help our overall wellness, not just physically, but mentally too. It helps clear the mind, calming the endless chatter, and refreshes our being.

I would also argue that connecting with our food, seeing where it is grown and how it is honored for its nourishment can likewise contribute to a healthier self. 95% of the food we eat is absorbed into our bodies from our gastrointestinal tract. In other words, we are largely made up of what we put into our mouths, making our bodies intimately tied to the ground in which our food was grown.

To this end, we hope you will plan a visit to enjoy this land, her birds and trees, the goats and calves, someday soon.

Take a class in the new year, spend the night, or simply venture out to take a walk (it’s good for the soul). The fresh air will give you the break you need and will help to reinvigorate your creativity for the new year.

Our farm is your farm.


Know someone who loves food? Who wants to help the planet? Or just needs some quiet time outside? Consider giving one of our new gift cards!! They can be used to purchase beef, to attend a writing or cooking class, or toward an overnight stay on the farm.

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1 Comment

Beth! Holy cow, what a breath of fresh air listening to you. All of your ideas are so energizing. I listened to the whole show and loved it. It was so great to get an update on all your projects on the farm. I was particularly touched by your comments on neighbors. You are so smart and conversant in so many topics. I still marvel at how you have lived such deep and different lives in one short lifetime - a rare thing indeed. It is very refreshing listening to things I don't know much about. Peace in the new year! Jenny (Denver)

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