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Author: Jack Kittredge, Julie Rawson, Leah Penniman


198 pages

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In this heartfelt and unflinching memoir, two activists recount the nearly half century they’ve spent questioning authority while raising a family, building a self-reliant community, starting an organic farm, leading a farming organization, and experiencing the struggles and joys of living a purposeful life.

Many Hands Make a Farm traces the journey of organic farming pioneers Julie Rawson and Jack Kittredge from their early years of bright-eyed excitement, through the long slog for economic stability, to the formation of a thriving community and a growing natural farming movement. Along the way, they established relationships with farming leaders across the country during the creation of the National Organic Program.

Julie and Jack met while working as community organizers in Boston. After falling in love and starting a family, they decided to use Jack’s irregular earnings as a board game designer to support a move to a rural area where they could grow healthy food and earn their living at home, so they could be present for their four children. What began as a family homestead soon grew into the small, diversified Many Hands Organic Farm.

Julie and Jack have intentionally chosen to live their lives differently than the mainstream, prioritizing minimizing energy use, raising food organically, not relying on credit, favoring natural health care, participating in the arts, working creatively, and instilling the values of hard work and responsibility in their children.

In a time when society at large was “going along to get along,” Julie and Jack stood out as leaders and iconoclasts. They believe that taking risks and making bold decisions can unlock one’s potential and lead to actions that enrich the spirit, the family, and the community.

Many Hands Make a Farm will resonate with fans of original thinkers from Henry David Thoreau and Wendell Berry to Lynn Margulis and Adelle Davis. The book strongly conveys the message of finding roots in a community, respecting the Earth, and combining social justice work with the joys and challenges of raising a family. These themes shine through on every page, making this memoir a must-read for anyone seeking inspiration and guidance on finding meaning in their life.

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