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6 Food Stories To Inspire you

6 Great Farming/Food Memoirs - LivingHomegrown.comLate winter to early spring can be such a frustrating transition for a gardener/food crafter.

As we look at the calendar, we are chomping at the bit to:

  • Plant the garden
  • Harvest the garden
  • Preserve from the garden
  • Eat watermelon again!

But it is not quite time yet.

We are in flux.

That is why this is the perfect time to dive into a book…perhaps between seed catalog browsing.

But instead of offering you a list of gardening books or cookbooks, I want to suggest a different genre of reading.

I’d like to suggest that you look into the genre of farmer or homesteader memoirs – true stories of how other people have jumped into this crazy, organic lifestyle with both feet Wellie Boots. And how they persevered, despite some bumps in the road.

Like most of us, the writers in these books start without a clue what they are doing.

(You gotta love that!)

They make mistakes, gain knowledge and share their lessons.

I don’t normally read memoirs.

But when it comes to these farm and food stories, I find inspiration, grit and humor – all of which is important in life. As I finish the book, I usually feel as if I have made a new friendship with someone who “gets” it.

Here are a few of my favorites – in no particular order.

Hopefully one of these will keep you satisfied until we can really dig into spring.

It’s so close!

Growing A Farmer Book Review - LivingHomegrown.comGrowing A Farmer – How I Learned to Live Off the Land

By Kurt Timmermeister

What I love about Kurt’s story is that he came to farming by way of food. He describes homegrown flavors so well that you can almost taste it. While working as a successful chef and restaurateur, (owning several esteemed café’s in Seattle) he bought 4 acres on Vashon Island just so he could start farming on the weekends…for fun. Before he know it, he had bees, a cow and a complete life overhaul. This is the story of his transformation (bit-by-bit) from restaurant owner to a food-conscious, fulltime farmer.

Growing A Feast Book Review - LivingHomegrown.comGrowing a Feast – The Chronicle of a Farm-to-Table Meal

By Kurt Timmermeister

This book picks up where the first book left off and describes how Kurt expanded his thriving farm and artesian cheese business to include legendary farm-to-table dinners. He takes us along as he creates a truly local, seasonal food business. Once again I found myself enthralled with his descriptions of the harvests, meal preps and heirloom produce.

Made From Scratch Book Review - LivingHomegrown.comMade From Scratch

By Jenna Woginrich

Today, Jenna is a very well known-homesteading blogger (Cold Antler Farm blog) and has written several books. But this particular book came out in the beginning and is about her journey into homesteading while still working a full-time job. If you love it, then you have to move on to Cold Antler Farm.

Dirty Life Book Review - LivingHomegrown.comThe Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food and Love

By Kristin Kimball

I have to admit – I initially picked up this book because of the title. Ha! But it turned out to be a great story about how a piece of land transformed the author. Kristin started as a writer from the city (high heels and all) and stumbled into this lifestyle when she fell in love with a farmer. Her writing ability shines through on this one.

The Feast Nearby book review - LivingHomegrown.comThe Feast Nearby

By Robin Mather

The subtitle to this book is: How I lost my job, buried a marriage, and found my way by keeping chickens, foraging, preserving, bartering, and eating locally (all on forty dollars a week). After 25 years as a lucrative food writer, Robin’s life changed drastically as she moved away from the city and figured out how to eat good food on a tight budget. This book is not about farming. It is about local food and the challenges and rewards that come from eating locally year round. Plus there are some drool-worthy recipes included.

Greenhorns book review - LivingHomegrown.comGreenhorns – The Next Generation of American Farmers

This book is a collection of 50 essays by newbie farmers and comes from the grassroots Greenhorns Organization that supports new farmers. Each story is different and has a different personality – just like the farmers who wrote them. Some are funny; others are inspirational. All are hopeful. Even though I have no plans to go into farming like this, I enjoyed reading about others who have.

Do you know of other memoirs related to homesteading, farming, or food?

Please share in the comments! 

 

Note: Some links in this post are affiliate links which helps pay for this blog. 

 

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About the Author:

Theresa Loe is the founder of Living Homegrown® and the Canning Academy® and is the Co-Executive Producer & Canning Expert on the national PBS gardening series, Growing A Greener World®. Theresa homesteads on just 1/10th of an acre in Los Angeles with her husband, two teenage boys and several disorderly but totally adorable chickens. Learn more about Living Homegrown here and about the Canning Academy here.

6 Comments:

  • Becky says:

    I really enjoyed reading _The Dirty Life_, too. Thanks for the other suggestions!

  • Laura Roys says:

    Some more great books to try are Gaining Ground: a story of farmers’ markets, local food, and saving the family farm by Forrest Pritchard; The Seasons on Henry’s Farm: a year of food and life on a sustainable family farm by Terra Brockman; Sheepish: two women, fifty sheep, and enough wool to save the planet by Catherine Friend; Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver; A Householder’s Guide to the Universe by Harriet Fasenfest; It’s a Long Road to a Tomato by Keith Stewart; Farm City: the education of an urban farmer by Novella Carpenter; The $64 Dollar Tomato by William Alexander; and Backyard Roots: lessons on living local from 35 urban farmers by Lori Eanes.

    Whew! I didn’t realize how much I’ve been reading:) All these books are unique and present different experiences with sustainable farming and gardening. Enjoy!

    • theresa says:

      Thank you Laura. I totally should have had some of those on the list – they are classics!

      I have read most of those (loved Sheepish) and I just got Gaining Ground. Yeah!

  • Sara says:

    One of my favorites is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver and her family. It is a month-by-month chronicle of their homesteading adventure in rural VA, complete with humor and recipes.

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