[Market-farming] read anything good lately?

Allan Balliett igg at igg.com
Wed Nov 23 09:36:00 EST 2005

The new Michael Ableman book "Fields of Plenty: A Farmer's Jouney in 
Search of Real Food and the People Who Grow It" is astounding! What 
you get is a craft-level farmer of some 30 years experience visiting 
some of the best farmers of America, recording his own thoughts as he 
describes their operation and talks to them about how they got to the 
artisanal level they are at. I can't read more than a page with out 
climbing out of the tub and shouting EUREKA! It's really rewarding to 
see your own unvalidated insights appear in print so many times in 
the pages of a book like this.

Make no mistake about it, if Bob Cannard doesn't kill Michael for the 
questionable 'expose' that appears in this book, Michael is destined 
to become the future synthesis of Wendell Berry and Eliot Coleman 
(btw, the section on Coleman in this book is worth the price of the 
book..which is steep at $35, but worth every penny..many times over.)

Ableman is also the star of the indie film BEYOND ORGANIC.

Michael is on a book tour right now. Catch him if you can. Itinerary 
is at www.michaelableman.com (I didn't say he isn't slick, did I?)

We're hosting him for 4 events in the DC-area next week. If you're in 
DC, you can catch him for free at AU on Thursday and at Chapters 
bookstore on Saturday. (Ask me offline for details.)

WE are also hosting a fund raiser for LOCAL HARVEST at Nora's on Dec 
1. Details at www.localharvest.org (button on the left)

Here's one of those excerpts that killed me:

"... I admire the speed with which Eliot works, and reflect on my own 
style of moving quick through farm work. This past summer, I watched 
in disbelief as an intern working with us sat with legs crossed next 
to a row of vegetables, pulling one weed at a time. When there are a 
million things to be harveted or cultivated, spedd and efficiency can 
make a difference between economic success and failure. It's one of 
the more difficult thing to explain to someone who has never worked 
in agriculture: the need to be thorough and detail-oriented but to 
move fast." (p. 174)

There are other Ableman events in the area. Write me if you are 
interested. It's a blessing to have him coming through.

-Allan Balliett
Fresh and Local CSA
Shepherdstown, WV

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