Word Farmers

The New York Times has identified an unusual trend: books by farmers (“Old MacDonald Now Has a Book Contract,” by Dana Bowen). The lede features John Peterson, the organic farmer I used to buy vegetables and fruit from until parenthood eliminated cooking healthy meals from my schedule. (I’ll explain that one another day.)

Mr. Hoffman said he differentiated the recent crop of farmers who write from those like Joel Salatin, who writes what Mr. Hoffman called how-tos and polemics about sustainable farming, and Wendell Berry, whose novels, poems and essays celebrate traditional agrarian values and the merits of rural living. The focus of this new group, Mr. Hoffman said, is less ambitious, is often directed at consumers, and largely concerns "the daily life of producing food."

I’ll just say this: given the oft-reported financial woes of farmers, you’d think they’d want to get into a racket where they could actually earn some money.

Update:

Here are some books by FarmScribes ™ mentioned in the article.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma, by Michael Pollan (Penguin)

It’s a Long Road to a Tomato, by Keith Stewart (Marlowe)

Letters to the Valley: A Harvest of Memories, by David Mas Masumoto (Heyday/Great Valley)

This Common Ground, by Scott Chaskey (Viking)

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About the Author:

Keir Graff is the editor of Booklist Online and the author of five books. His most recent is the middle-grade novel, The Other Felix.

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