On Good Land: The Autobiography of an Urban Farm

Overview

In the heart of suburban Santa Barbara, where land is pricey and a field is worth more covered with asphalt than arugula, asparagus, and apple trees, thrives Fairview Gardens, a small organic farm managed for the past 18 years by Michael Ableman. On Good Land, an engrossing read, chronicles the life of the 100-year-old farm — from its history to Ableman's first glimpse of the land to the current struggle to save it from development. Blending photographs, philosophy, humor, and practical knowledge, Ableman brings ...

See more details below
Available through our Marketplace sellers.
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (34) from $1.99   
  • Used (34) from $1.99   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 4
Showing 1 – 9 of 34 (4 pages)
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$1.99
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(7470)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

Good
Ex-Library Book - will contain Library Markings. Book shows a small amount of wear to cover and binding. Some pages show signs of use. Sail the Seas of Value

Ships from: Windsor Locks, CT

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2007

Feedback rating:

(3106)

Condition: Very Good
1998 Hardcover Very good Good jacket "DJ Good (stickers). -

Ships from: San Jose, CA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$1.99
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(6997)

Condition: Good
Only lightly used. Book has minimal wear to cover and binding. A few pages may have small creases and minimal underlining. Book selection as BIG as Texas.

Ships from: Dallas, TX

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$5.25
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(184)

Condition: Like New
Fine Excellent condition inside and out. No damage to the book. All items guaranteed, and a portion of each sale supports social programs in Los Angeles. Ships from CA.

Ships from: Marina Del Rey, CA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$5.84
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(8)

Condition: Good
1998 Hardcover Good Connecting readers with great books since 1972. Used books may not include companion materials, some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, may not ... include cdrom or access codes. Customer service is our top priority! Read more Show Less

Ships from: Seattle, WA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$6.25
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(175)

Condition: Very Good
Color & b/w Illustration San Francisco, CA, U.S.A. 1998 H Hard Cover F First Edition Used Very Good in J Very Good jacket 8vo-over 7?"-9?"

Ships from: Vashon, WA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$6.99
Seller since 2009

Feedback rating:

(10)

Condition: Like New
Fine Other than a hint of foxing on top closed page edge, book is in excellent condition. Fast shipping.

Ships from: Ashfield, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$7.12
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(9)

Condition: Good
1998 Hardcover Good Connecting readers with great books since 1972. Used books may not include companion materials, some shelf wear, may contain highlighting/notes, and may not ... include cd-rom or access codes. Customer service is our top priority! Read more Show Less

Ships from: Madison, WI

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$7.95
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(7851)

Condition: Good
San Francisco, CA 1998 Hard cover Good. Sewn binding. Cloth over boards. 144 p. Contains: Illustrations.

Ships from: Harrisburg, PA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 4
Showing 1 – 9 of 34 (4 pages)
Close
Sort by
Sending request ...

Overview

In the heart of suburban Santa Barbara, where land is pricey and a field is worth more covered with asphalt than arugula, asparagus, and apple trees, thrives Fairview Gardens, a small organic farm managed for the past 18 years by Michael Ableman. On Good Land, an engrossing read, chronicles the life of the 100-year-old farm — from its history to Ableman's first glimpse of the land to the current struggle to save it from development. Blending photographs, philosophy, humor, and practical knowledge, Ableman brings the reader into the everyday world of a small farm. With him we prune peach trees, harvest peppers, journey to the farmer's market, and fight city hall. Part memoir, part photojournalistic montage, On Good Land reveals one man's love of the land and his struggle to protect it, and to spread the word about the importance of practicing sustainable agriculture and preserving our farms in an increasingly urban world.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Reviews From:

Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

Chicago Tribune

Inspiring and utterly absorbing, Abelman's story of the development of his farming enterprise in Goleta, California, deserves to be widely read and seriously pondered. Completely surrounded today by housing developments and strip malls, Abelman's organically farmed 12 acres are now the Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens, a place where the individuals involved act as stewards of the land, demonstrating the importance and viability of growing chemical-free fruits and vegetables to feed the local community. From revitalizing the soil to reaching out to area schoolchildren, and offering an internship program in sustainable agriculture, Fairview Gardens exists as an impressive model of environmental integrity. Surely Abelman's latest book should succeed in promoting further national awareness of the importance of extraordinary ventures such as this dynamic urban farm.

A lyrical tale of the survival and triumph of a small farm amid the suburban sprawl of southern California, with writing as rich and satisfying as the taste of a ripe melon. Fairview Gardens exists amid tract housing, malls, and endless miles of freeway. Ableman (founder of the Center for Urban Agriculture; From the Good Earth, not reviewed) tells of how the farm made peace with this suburban world and how this world came to first tolerate and then embrace this oasis of connection to the land. It hasn't been easy. Homeowners do not rest quietly with manure spreaders hard at work near their backyards; Ableman resents, albeit with grace, the imprecations of the modern world onto the land he manages. Yet, over time, the farm has become accepted as an eccentric neighbor, at first as a convenient place to buy good, healthy food and then as a repository of the dying knowledge of what is to be learned from working the land. Ableman's writing on these lessons perseverance, patience, humility, a feeling of empowerment when one eats what one grows forms the heart of this work. It is writing of inspiring joy, without the overblown "cosmic" rhetoric that often mars such paeans to nature. Along the way he offers some valuable tips to farmers, on mulching, watering, weeding, fighting city hall. Today Fairview Gardens is a public place, not a bucolic back-to-nature vacation spot for the few. It stands not apart from the community but within it, no small reason for its survival in the face of hungry developers. It remains a thriving farm, but also a place where people, especially children, come to experience the land. Among a sprawl of books incessantly issued and hyped, this small, wise volume quietly calls us to read and be renewed.

Even city folks will find something to savor in the "Autobiography of an Urban Farm," Michael Abelman's poetic account of his cultivation of the Fairview Gardens in Southern California, an enterprise that began with an ill-fated attempt to harvest and sell organic green peaches and the discovery of a labyrinth of 100-year-old water pipes beneath the farm. Given the farm's location in suburban Santa Barbara, the land surrounding it is quickly filling with strip malls and tract housing.

This is knowledge that we ignore at our peril, for without good farming there can be no good food; and without good food there can be no good life. Alice Waters

Michael Ableman's farm is a landmark...A lot of people are grateful to him, and I am one of them. Wendell Berry

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A jolting four-page aerial photo spread shows the urban creep of Goleta, Calif., that encircled the 12-acre Fairview Gardens from 1954 to 1998. Ableman has managed the 103-year-old organic farm since 1981, a tenure that has been marked by the garden's growing anomalousness. His urban neighbors brought court action against the farm for its crowing roosters "one of the last natural sounds left in this valley", while rapacious developers maneuvered to turn rich topsoil into the 58 houses allowed by zoning laws. In the end, Ableman and his co-workers gained support not only with chutzpah and headlines including Ableman's 1993 book, From the Good Earth, but also with vibrantly fresh food. Using strawberries as an example, Ableman points out that organic farming may be labor-intensive and expensive, "but it does not involve methyl bromide or a single one of the 65 pesticides registered for use on strawberries." Today, the farm employs 21 and feeds nearly 500 families with the aim of reconnecting people to the intimate act of growing their own food. The last step to saving the farm from becoming part of the 46 acres lost per hour to nonagricultural uses in the U.S. was to buy the agricultural island for $750,000 and place it with a local land trust. "Nature seduced me," confesses the devoted Ableman, through "the magic of emerging seeds and enchantment of early morning harvests." His homage to "earth's placenta" offers readers a wonderful harvest of anecdote, practical information and, most of all, deeply rooted detail of farm life and lofty goals. Photos. June
Library Journal
Fairview Gardens is a 12-acre organic farm in Goleta, CA (suburban Santa Barbara), surrounded by housing developments, highways, and encroaching suburban sprawl. This self-sufficient farm, which employs 15 people and grosses over $350,000 annually, produces 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables, milk, eggs, free-range chickens, goats, and other animals for over 500 families. With sensitivity and wit, Ableman recounts the 15 years he has spent developing Fairview Gardens, as he learned to operate an organic farm, countered community opposition, and ultimately gained widespread support. Fairview Gardens has become so successful that it attracts thousands of visitors from around the country and interest from as far away as London and Sydney; in 1994, it was bought by a nonprofit organization and placed in public trust to remain as a working organic farm and educational enterprise called Center for Urban Agriculture. A delightful book about the role of urban agriculture and its importance to the community.Irwin Weintraub, Rutgers Univ. Lib., New Brunswick, NJ
Booknews
Describes some of the practicalities of operating an organic farm near Santa Barbara, California, but mostly offers a compelling account of the feelings and motivations connected with its struggle for survival, and the awakening of a community to its bounty. Nicely written by the farm's founder, and illustrated with color photos. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
Kirkus Reviews
Lyrical tale of the survival and triumph of a small farm amid the suburban sprawl of southern California, with writing as rich and satisfying as the taste of a ripe melon. Fairview Gardens exists amid tract housing, malls, and endless miles of freeway. Ableman (founder of the Center for Urban Agriculture; From the Good Earth, not reviewed) tells of how the farm made peace with this suburban world and how this world came to first tolerate and then embrace this oasis of connection to the land. It hasnþt been easy. Homeowners do not rest quietly with manure spreaders hard at work near their backyards; Ableman resents, albeit with grace, the imprecations of the modern world onto the land he manages. Yet, over time, the farm has become accepted as an eccentric neighbor, at first as a convenient place to buy good, healthy food and then as a repository of the dying knowledge of what is to be learned from working the land. Ableman's writing on these lessonsþperseverance, patience, humility, a feeling of empowerment when one eats what one growsþforms the heart of this work. It is writing of inspiring joy, without the overblown "cosmic" rhetoric that often mars such paeans to nature. Along the way he offers some valuable tips to farmers, on mulching, watering, weeding, fighting city hall. Today Fairview Gardens is a public place, not a bucolic back-to-nature vacation spot for the few. It stands not apart from the community but within it, no small reason for its survival in the face of hungry developers. It remains a thriving farm, but also a place where people, especially children, come to experience the land. Among a sprawl of books incessantly issued and hyped, this small,wise volume quietly calls us to read and be renewed. (50 color photos)
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780811819213
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books LLC
  • Publication date: 7/1/1998
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 1.00 (w) x 1.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Ableman is the founder of the Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens. Now surrounded by urban development, the farm continues to produce some 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables, as well as eggs, cheeses, and breads. A columnist for National Gardening, Ableman is also the author of From the Good Earth. He lives in Goleta, California, where he is trying to raise enough money to buy the farm when the lease expires this year. Check out Chronicle's exclusive Web site interview w

Alice Waters is the founder and proprietor of Berkeley's Chez Panisse restaurant and the author of several acclaimed cookbooks.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2006

    Totally Enjoyable Reading

    I thoroughly enjoyed this. It's reflective of a natural lifestyle amidst 'big city folk,' and very refreshing. The author doesn't say the lifestyle is easy, but he makes it sound worthwhile. I love the pictures too.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)