Reclaiming The Commonsby Brian Donahue
Pub. Date: 03/01/2001
Publisher: Yale University Press
This book is a lively account of a community working to combat suburban sprawl, to protect a large part of the landscape as common land, and to enjoy the land productively in an ecologically sustainable way. Based on the practical experience of one New England town, the book urges suburban environmentalists to go beyond preserving open space to actively engaging… See more details below
This book is a lively account of a community working to combat suburban sprawl, to protect a large part of the landscape as common land, and to enjoy the land productively in an ecologically sustainable way. Based on the practical experience of one New England town, the book urges suburban environmentalists to go beyond preserving open space to actively engaging people with the places where they live.
Brian Donahue, an environmental historian, in 1980 was a founder of Land's Sake, a community farm in Weston, Massachusetts. Working with the town's Conservation Commission, Land's Sake cultivates a twenty-five-acre organic fruit, flower, and vegetable farm, makes apple cider and maple syrup, maintains a sixty-five-mile trail system, harvests firewood and timber from fifteen hundred acres of town forest, and has kept draft horses and sheep. Donahue recounts the joys and sorrows of farming the suburbs. But beneath the light hearted tales of sheep straying into tennis courts and middle-school students tapping sugar maples in the town cemetery runs an incisive ecological history of New England and a penetrating analysis of how to live responsibly with this difficult but rewarding land. Donahue concludes with a call for all places to protect common land and establish community farms-especially in the suburbs, where most Americans live and where, like it or not, environmentalists may make their most lasting mark on the world.
Table of Contents
|Introduction: Wilderness and Suburbia||1|
|1||Green Power and Land's Sake||11|
|3||Livestock and Grass||105|
|5||The Town Forest||217|
|6||Reclaiming the Commons||279|
|App||An Approach to Local Engagement||311|
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A powerful, visionary book. Thoughtfully integrates practical experience, historical context, and four workable principles: ecology, economy, education, and esthetics. This is quite possibly the best general audience book that I have read in a decade (and I read a lot of books). It has forever changed my view of what suburbs can become. Avoids both poles of reckless development and pristine wilderness. Advocates for human engagement with nature at the small scale, local level. Everyone who lives in a suburb, or who has ever thought about moving there, should read this book. Draws upon the American agrarian tradition without being wedded to the past. Deeply personal and practical. Lively writing style and engaging narrative framework. Proceeds through a series of case studies from the author's own experience, each of them informed by a thoughtful historical context. The people of industrial societies around the world NEED this book, esp. in the United States.