Jenni Pertuset's Reviews > You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Start and Succeed in a Farm Enterprise

You Can Farm by Joel Salatin
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Jan 14, 09

bookshelves: food-and-farming

The value of this book for me lies not in Joel Salatin's prose, which is painful to read, but in a simple question he asks. From my open book post about Wendell Berry's Unsettling of America:

If we can’t return ourselves and our nation to our agrarian roots, what can we do to heal the cultural wounds he describes – wounds that are as much ecological, communal, and personal as they are agricultural? As I read The Unsettling of America, my own answer came in the form of a question: “What are you doing now?”

The question originated in my reading of Joel Salatin’s You Can Farm. Salatin writes that he is often asked for advice on how to get started farming, and he always responds, “What are you doing now?” He suggests that regardless of your location or other limitations, there are many ways to make farming part of your life.

Though, like the question, this answer relates to farming, for me its scope is much broader. “What are you doing now?” is a prompt to identify what I can do in this moment, in this place - to sustain myself, my family, my community, and my world.

This is a profound shift in focus for me, because for my entire adult life I have been looking forward to a future in which I will be doing useful and meaningful work. Only upon becoming a mother did I feel the value of the work I was already doing. As I ponder my growing desire for work in addition to mothering a toddler, I am still looking to the future and what I might become with more education or more time or more something, but I am also able to envision what I can do with what I already have.
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Jennifer I've got this one at the top of my reading pile at home, waiting for me to crack it open, so I really appreciate your comments. Thinking about "What are you doing now?" definitely helps me reassess where I am and where I can go from here, so I hope the book will offer some other good ideas. Thanks, Jenni.


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