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NEW FARMER LIBRARY SET

Author: Michael Foley, Gene Logsdon, Mike Madison

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The New Farmer Library Set includes three books filled with essential information for those who want to learn more about farming.

FARMING FOR THE LONG HAUL

Over the past 70 years, the industrial farming system and its ruinous practices have exhausted our soils, poisoned our groundwater, and provided the basis for a food culture that is making most of our population sick. In order to move forward, toward a more regenerative and sustainable form of agriculture, author and organic farmer Michael Foley suggests we will have to look back to recover lessons from traditional agriculture societies, stewardship, social organization, community, and resilience.

Farming for the Long Haul is a guide to building a viable small farm economy; one that can withstand the economic, political, and climatic shock waves that the 21st century portends. It details the innovative work of contemporary farmers, but more than anything else, it draws from the experience of farming societies that maintained resilient agriculture systems over centuries of often turbulent change.

LETTER TO A YOUNG FARMER

For more than four decades, the self-described “contrary farmer” and writer Gene Logsdon commented on the state of American agriculture. In Letter to a Young Farmer, his final book of essays, Logsdon addressed the next generation: young people moving back to the land to enjoy a better way of life as small-scale “garden farmers.” It’s a lifestyle that isn’t defined by accumulating wealth or by the “get big or get out” agribusiness mindset. Instead, it’s one that recognizes the beauty of nature, cherishes the land, respects our fellow creatures, and values rural traditions. It’s one that also looks forward and embraces “right technologies,” including new and innovative ways of working smarter, not harder, and avoiding premature burnout.

Completed only a few weeks before the author’s death, Letter to a Young Farmer is a remarkable testament to the life and wisdom of one of the greatest rural philosophers and writers of our time. Logsdon’s earthy wit and sometimes irreverent humor combine with his valuable perspectives on many wide-ranging subjects, everything from how to show a ram who’s boss to enjoying the almost churchlike calmness of a well-built livestock barn.

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. Someone, in short, who has seen it all and has much to say, and much to teach us, if we only take the time to listen and learn. And Gene Logsdon was the best kind of teacher: equal parts storyteller, idealist, and rabble-rouser. 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.

FRUITFUL LABOR

As the average age of America’s farmers continues to rise, we face serious questions about what farming will look like in the near future, and who will be growing our food. Many younger people are interested in going into agriculture, especially organic farming, but cannot find affordable land, or lack the conceptual framework and practical information they need to succeed in a job that can be both difficult and deeply fulfilling.

In Fruitful Labor, Mike Madison meticulously describes the ecology of his own small family farm in the Sacramento Valley of California. He covers issues of crop ecology such as soil fertility, irrigation needs, and species interactions, as well as the broader agroecological issues of the social, economic, regulatory, and technological environments in which the farm operates. The final section includes an extensive analysis of sustainability on every level.

Pithy, readable, and highly relevant, this book covers both the ecology and the economy of truly sustainable agriculture. Although Madison’s farm is unique, the broad lessons he has gleaned from his more than three decades as an organic farmer will resonate strongly with the new generation of farmers who work the land, wherever they might live.

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