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Reading this book is like sitting down on the porch with a neighbor who has learned the ways of farming through years of long observation and practice. And Gene Logsdon was the best kind of teacher: His vision of a nation filled with garden farmers, based in cities, towns, and countrysides, will resonate with many people, both young and old, who long to create a more sustainable, meaningful life for themselves and a better world for all of us.
The book recalls a conversation with a parent or older family member in that many of its common-sense directives are informed by experience, from the purchasing of land to the management of aggressive rams.
But not all the advice here is specific to farmers or 'garden farmers'; general life advice can be extrapolated from discussions of love, finance, and other common-sense aspects of life.
It is philosophical, but it also dispenses concrete advice. Likewise, though it does present useful information, much of this is apocryphal, cast in a slyly humorous way, and even opinionated.
For example, the author agrees that climate change is a problem, but he also describes people concerned over the issue as paranoid 'hand-wringers. It seems likely to lure many a gardening neophyte to the farm life, though it takes care to stress the difficulty of this path too.
Above all, it preaches consistency, locality, and the long view, occasionally contrasting this philosophy with the frantic pace of mainstream modern life. Yet at the same time, it does not advocate complete abandonment of capitalist modality. Parts of the book recall Buddhist principles of moderation.
Instead of encouraging farmers to 'go big or get out' by adding more property, more machinery, and more debt, Logsdon championed the idea of working on a more personal scale that allows farmers to appreciate nature and honor tradition while still accepting technology and innovation.
In this posthumously published book of essays, Logsdon extols the virtues of finding a good mate, praises the pluck and professionalism of women farmers, and enthuses about the health benefits of a day in the barn.
This work serves as a guiding light and lodestar for farmers facing the modern challenges of any farming operation, large or small.
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In Letter to a Young Farmer, his final book of essays, Logsdon addresses the next generation—young people who are moving back to the land to enjoy a better way of life as small-scale "garden farmers." there are plenty of reasons not to farm, and Logsdon isn’t shy of enumerating the challenges, from the fiscal and physical ones to.
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