Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Book Review

Here is a book I would recommend borrowing from you local library--Micro Eco-Farming by Barbara Best Adams. Don't buy it though. It's not chock full of how to information that you will want to hang on to for ever and ever. It does though have some interesting stories about people who started small farms and are earning a living on them. One thing that is nice about this book is that her title of "micro" farm does actually fit. The majority of the farms listed don't even own more than 15 acres total and most of them use only a small portion (under one acre to five acres) to make their living on. About half the farms in the book are under 5 acres total in their owned acreage.
The reason I liked this book is that it shows concrete examples of people who actually do earn their living, or the majority of it, farming from smaller acreage. Everything from growing flowers and produce, heirloom seeds, animals, dairy and wool. Generally most farm organizations ---government, grant or non profit--- consider a "micro farms" to be about 50 to 100 acres (size fluctuates a bit but that is the average). So it is difficult to find information, or in this case success stories, that deal with a farm under say --15 acres. What someone can do with 50 acres is supremely different than making a living on under 5 acres. There is no comparison. I KNOW I could make a living on 50 acres. I just can't afford that much land. But can I make a living on 6? Or what if I still lived in the city? Could I make a living, or a large portion of our yearly income on a suburban lot? Well, this book at least gives you incentive to try since she sites people doing just that. Even if you have no intention of farming in any way--this book still gives hope that there our people out there that are trying to do business with out being an "agribusiness".

Mrs. Adams also sites Gerald Celente and his organization The Trends Research Institute. She credits him with this statement: "By the 21st century, organic micro farms of 10 acres or less will begin to challenge the food giants." I have never really heard about this man or his institute but I have linked it for further "study" ;-)

Also for those of you who have never read "Diet for a small planet" by Frances Moore Lappe---don't forget to check it out and there is also her book "World Hunger--twelve myths" I didn't realize how much I didn't know about world hunger until I read this book years ago.
I also noticed that her daughter Anna Lappe (who co wrote with her mother " Hope's Edge--the next diet for a small planet") has a new book out this year entitled "Grub--Ideas for an Urban Organic Kitchen"
The two woman advocate a more vegetarian diet ---of which I am not entirely of that persuasion---BUT they are really good books and give you another look at large agribusiness and it's impact on world society and causes of hunger.

Here is another link of interest:

Micro--Farming Information


Cheryl said...

I'm going to look for that, thanks for the recommendation!

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

You're Welcome!