A Bushel's Worth: An Ecobiography

A Bushel's Worth: An Ecobiography

by Kayann Short


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781937226190
Publisher: Torrey House Press
Publication date: 08/13/2013
Pages: 160
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Kayann Short, Ph.D., is a writer, farmer, teacher, and activist at Stonebridge Farm, an organic community-supported farm in the Rocky Mountain foothills. She has directed memoir and digital storytelling projects with community elders, adult literacy students, and non-profit organizations. Her writing has appeared in Women’s Review of Books, The Bloomsbury Review, Edible Front Range , and Colorado Gardener . More on her ecology-based memoir work is available at www.ecobiography.com. Besides growing delicious food at Stonebridge, Short teaches the important place of organic food production and agricultural preservation in a healthy, environmentally sustainable community.

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A Bushel's Worth: An Ecobiography 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Personal, political, social, artistic, practical – it’s all in farming. And since farming is at the center of A Bushel’s Worth (2013), those adjectives also describe the book. But it’s also the love story of its author, Kayann Short, with the land of her grandparents’ farms and with her own farm – Stonebridge Farm – and the man with whom she works it. By turns poetic and discursive, the book is one part family history, one part land use policy discussion, two parts community supported farm operating manual, and three parts history of Stonebridge farm. To call it memoir seems shallow and unworthy of what Short has created. But then, I don’t generally enjoy memoirs. To put all my cards on the table, I probably would not have read the book except that I have known Short for 25 years. And I love Stonebridge Farm as much as much or more than I love any other place. So, for me, A Bushel’s Worth is familiar and friendly, evoking days of working together; of getting up at six to weed and water for a couple hours before breakfast; of heading back out to stake tomato plants or harvest garlic till lunch; of tackling a project – mending a roof or digging a water tank into the ground or building a new goat pen – in the afternoon; of smack-talking card games after dinner. The writing captures Stonebridge life so powerfully that it brought tears to my eyes for the first 20 or 30 pages, till I was able to manage the emotional impact. Statements like, “Now John and I are the ones who watch the sunsets and seasons pass so that those we love have a farm to come home to” speak directly to me. I count myself lucky to love and be loved by the people at Stonebridge. And when Short writes, “I’ll walk out with you” to gather spinach for dinner or flowers for the table, I see Kayann and John walking side by side as the light gets lower and the heat of the day eases off. Other passages are less emotionally loaded, but still beautiful: “In winter, we think in black and white, shadows and light, the contrasts stark against a graying sky as fresh snow hoods the upper sides of the tree limbs, white flocking on dark branches.” And the sections on Short’s connections to her family history – though less compelling for me – provide, like all historical context, deeper understanding and bigger significance for our present understanding. One of the important and persistent themes of A Bushel’s Worth is that when one works in community with people and the earth, the earth gives back aplenty. Similarly, this book has given me a new appreciation of history and biography as a gift to those who have contributed to a community – thanks, Kayann.
BKRichardson More than 1 year ago
Kayann Short tells the volunteers picking (and eating) radishes on her ten-acre CSA farm, "Fresh is a flavor. This is what fresh tastes like." "A Bushel's Worth," her ecobiography of life at Stonebridge Farm, seems particularly poignant now, as floods and mud have destroyed the town of Lyons just a few miles east. But a 1,000-year Colorado flood can't erase community. And Stonebridge is all about community—community seeding, weeding, harvesting and celebrating. I have no doubt the author's CSA members will pull together to survive this flood. To quote Short, farming is "the work that generates life." Short reminds us that "desecration leads to resurrection. All matter is reshaped into another form." And, also of comfort to the flood-drenched people of Colorado, "the earth has its own sense of time, one measured by rotations rather than devices." Turn off your devices. Forget about speed. Relax, settle in, and pick up A Bushel's Worth. The sanity of the earth turns the pages. You'll meet time-honored farming techniques, learn the lay of the land, recall the logic of the seasons, and even peruse a few family recipes. Tradition fuels the book. "More than a decade after my grandparents' deaths, the porch still smelled like milk." Striking. Touching. The mud porch where her grandfather had separated the cream from his milking, all those years. The work that generates life, is that the work you choose to do? Short shows many challenging, beautiful instances of just that. Her book is a call to remember and revere the earth that sustains and creates us.