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Harvest: A Year in the Life of an Organic Farm
     

Harvest: A Year in the Life of an Organic Farm

by Nicola Smith, Geoff Hansen (Photographer)
 

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HARVEST gives us insight into the life of a farm run on a small scale, by a family, with support from the community. It’s about the bucolic scenes of maple-syrup gathering and a young boy trailing his parents, helping with chores. But it’s also about the day-to-day reality of family life: arguments over work, money, and child-rearing, as well as

Overview

HARVEST gives us insight into the life of a farm run on a small scale, by a family, with support from the community. It’s about the bucolic scenes of maple-syrup gathering and a young boy trailing his parents, helping with chores. But it’s also about the day-to-day reality of family life: arguments over work, money, and child-rearing, as well as disputes over who is going to take produce to market or how many animals to keep. Life and death are in stark relief here, but ultimately HARVEST is about relationships: the relationship between husband and wife,
parent and child, man and land. It’s a book that will surprise and ultimately captivate you.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Freelance writer Smith and her husband, photographer Hansen (My Life as a Dog), dispel the "dreamy, nostalgic haze" surrounding urbanites' notions of smallholder agriculture with this detailed look at life on a working farm. For a year, they follow their Vermont neighbors, Jennifer Megeysi and Kyle Jones, through the snow, mud and manure as they work Fat Rooster Farm. Numerous vignettes, illustrated by Hansen's appealing pictures, pile up a wealth of detail about this small organic establishment, which raises both livestock and produce. It's a gritty life: Megeysi and Jones, who also hold jobs off the farm, must deal with murderous raccoons, hypothermic piglets, ducks overdue for slaughter, byzantine food regulations (and the legislators behind them) and their own difficult marriage. More than most writers on farming, Smith is attuned to the people who do it: Megeysi may be one of the most vividly drawn farm women since Letters of a Woman Homesteader. Readers who garden seriously, however, may notice a few inaccuracies, as when Smith calls minuscule garlic shoots "scapes" (the term refers to flowering stalks). And occasionally unruly sentences and a not quite chronological, not quite thematic structure can obscure the larger patterns by which Megeysi and Jones manage their farm. Farming is an intricate, sometimes brutal dance with the land; this book demonstrates most of the moves, but never quite the full performance. (Nov.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT
This account of a young couple living and working on an organic farm in central Vermont manages to be both lyrical and practical in its description of the struggles Jennifer and Kyle Jones experienced in fulfilling Jennifer's dream of sustainable living on a farm. Kyle was raised on a farm, and both he and Jennifer had education in and experience with ecosystems and agriculture, as well as perseverance, physical strength, stubbornness, business sense and the love of the land that one needs to take on as tough a job as organic farming is today. Nonetheless, this account of one year of farming reveals the strain and exhaustion that comes with the territory. People who might be inclined to consider farming as an occupation will have their eyes opened to its reality, but at the same time, the writing and the photographs capture the beauty and earthiness that draw people to it. The reader will have a much better understanding of how much is involved in farming and how difficult a life it is, and be more appreciative of nature's bounty, which doesn't come cheap. The quality of the paper, the layout and photographs make this account a pleasure to read, and the writing is both enlightening and engrossing. KLIATT Codes: JSA—Recommended for junior and senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2004, Lyons Press, 274p. illus., Ages 12 to adult.
—Nola Theiss
Library Journal
As agribusiness has taken hold of the nation's food production, the number of family farms has declined sharply. However, a few dedicated and environmentally concerned individuals have chosen to diverge from industrial farming by avoiding loans, bartering services and equipment, forgoing herbicides and chemicals, and refusing to engage in monoculture. Unlike some back-to-the-land books, which offer either a rosy or a humorous glimpse of rural life, this well-written profile of a couple on a 20-acre Vermont organic farm presents a realistic look at the pleasures and enormous difficulties of farming for a living. Freelance writer Smith and photographer Hansen, both neighbors of the couple, depict not only the labor-intensive chores but the countless hours spent selling at farmers' markets and to restaurants and working at part-time jobs to make ends meet. They also show how the financial uncertainties and the heavy workload slowly corrode the couple's marriage. Given its unique and personal focus, this fascinating book will appeal to a wide audience, especially those considering organic farming.-Ilse Heidmann, Washington State Lib., Olympia Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781592288878
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
04/01/2006
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
8.30(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.90(d)

Meet the Author

NICOLA SMITH, a freelance writer, holds an MFA from Columbia University.

GEOFF HANSEN is a photographer and editor at New Hampshire's Valley News and author of My Life As a Dog: The Many Moods of Lucy. His work has appeared in Newsweek, USA Today, The New York Times, and The Boston Globe. They live in Tunbridge, Vermont, with their daughter. You can learn more about the book at www.harvest-book.com.

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