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Locally Laid: How We Built a Plucky, Industry-changing Egg Farm - from Scratch

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How a Midwestern family with no agriculture experience went from a few backyard chickens to a full-fledged farm—and discovered why local chicks are better.

When Lucie Amundsen had a rare night out with her husband, she never imagined what he’d tell her over dinner—that his dream was to quit his office job (with benefits!) and start a commercial-scale pasture-raised egg farm. His entire agricultural experience consisted of raising five backyard hens, none of whom had yet laid a single egg.
To create this pastured poultry ranch, the couple scrambles to acquire nearly two thousand chickens—all named Lola. These hens, purchased commercially, arrive bereft of basic chicken-y instincts, such as the evening urge to roost. The newbie farmers also deal with their own shortcomings, making for a failed inspection and intense struggles to keep livestock alive (much less laying) during a brutal winter. But with a heavy dose of humor, they learn to negotiate the highly stressed no-man’s-land known as Middle Agriculture. Amundsen sees firsthand how these midsized farms, situated between small-scale operations and mammoth factory farms, are vital to rebuilding America’s local food system.
With an unexpected passion for this dubious enterprise, Amundsen shares a messy, wry, and entirely educational story of the unforeseen payoffs (and frequent pitfalls) of one couple’s ag adventure—and many, many hours spent wrangling chickens.

336 pages, Hardcover

First published March 1, 2016

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About the author

Lucie B. Amundsen

1 book39 followers
Lucie B. Amundsen is a writer, marketer and reluctant farmer.
She and her husband co-own Locally Laid Egg Company, a farm that provides pasture-raised eggs in Northern Minnesota and partners with a total of seven other mid-level producers. These farms source and sell within their own regions to reduce food miles and strengthen local economies.
A former contributor to the Minneapolis Star Tribune and former editor at Reader’s Digest Association, Lucie has written for scores of publications in her decade-plus freelance career.
Her Open Letter broke the Internet – okay, just Lucie’s little part of the Internet with over 400K views.
She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Hamline University.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 282 reviews
Profile Image for Taryn.
1,209 reviews189 followers
August 17, 2016
I have a little hipster in me, an alternate personality I picture as a guy with a man-bun who loves hot yoga and kefir and raises chickens in a backyard coop just rickety enough to look cute on Instagram. It’s the same part that spurs me to drop money on organic brands at the grocery store and thinks it would be a great idea to decorate the house with antique canning jars.

I have the best, the crunchiest of intentions. Sometimes I even follow through. My half-full backyard compost bin is proof!

But I’m not nearly as serious as Lucie Amundsen and her husband Jason. They started a mid-sized commercial egg farming business called Locally Laid when Jason was laid off from his desk job, in a classically inspiring lemons-into-lemonade story of American entrepreneurship. Of course, as Lucie admits in her delightfully funny book, they have been dealt a LOT of lemons, from failed inspections to birds that don’t know how to roost to complaints from consumers over their slightly salty brand name. Through their experiences, they’ve not only built a modestly successful business, but they’ve also identified a mission of promoting what they call “middle ag,” a happy medium between massive commercial farms that treat animals inhumanely and waste valuable resources to ship product cross-country (and sometimes even farther), and tiny hobby farms that populate farmer’s market stalls but don’t generate a living wage for their operators.

The book is part memoir, part informative essay, and it made me think about where my food comes from and the choices I make in purchasing and consuming it. And not only is Amundsen warm and funny, she’s also a great writer—just in case you were concerned, like I was, that having lived a good story and knowing how to tell it don't always go hand in hand.

I love non-fiction for my audio reading, but sometimes it’s hard to find non-fiction about lighter topics beyond the obvious choices written by stand-up comedians and celebrities. Locally Laid ended up being exactly what I wanted to read—it charmed the feathers off me.

More book recommendations by me at www.readingwithhippos.com
Profile Image for Kristin.
1,109 reviews30 followers
November 24, 2017
My disclaimer - I'm from the Duluth area, so I'm familiar with the name, the product, and parts of Locally Laid's story already. I was there for the Super Bowl commercial voting. I noticed when the eggs started hitting store shelves. I read the articles in the paper. What this book did was fill in the names, faces, and the journey behind the chickens.

Oh my gosh, and what a journey it was - perhaps still is.

What I REALLY appreciated was the brutal honesty in what it took to get this enterprise off the ground. Going from vision to reality. I've read too many blogs (and no, LoLa's not one of them - I admit I didn't even think to see if they had a blog) daydreaming about how starting and owning one's own business (be it agricultural based, a book store, a yarn store, a bakery, etc) is nothing but rainbow farting unicorns because you own the business. Um...no. No golden horned equines in owning your own business, only piles of shitty paperwork and long hours.

And what they - Jason - found out was Reality can be a real Bitch. Kudo's to the Amundsen's, their volunteers, their staff, their families and the supporters for sticking it out and bringing the heartache, the tears, the worry, and eventually, the success, to the world.

A second part of the story was a look at where does a middle size agriculture business fit in, in today's society? Is there even a niche for something like LoLa? Is it sustainable? Locally Laid has yet to stand the trials of time to answer some of those, but the direction they are moving in seems viable and doable. It will be interesting to watch.

A third aspect to this book was in good part, history. How we went from a very agrarian based society to massive factory-farms and the impact that has had not only on our food production, but on the economic fabric of society. Some of this I've read before, such as the poultry industry "contracting" with folks to raise chickens to specs, but at a non-sustainable cost to the individual or family. And, some was new.

I am, however, somewhat disappointed that after 300+ pages discussing the importance of keeping things local, that the author chose to go with a major publishing house and not a local publisher such as On Word Bound Books. After all the support the community gave LoLa, it would have been nice to have seen that reciprocated. And, who knows (other than the author)? Maybe it was and a deal wasn't possible, but I do hope she at least tried.

Overall, a book balanced between the personal journey, a loose history of the nations food production, and what it takes to turn eggs into a business. Recommended.

PS - Coming back to add, Grain Belt has not been made in Minneapolis since 1975. It's been produced by August Schell Brewing Co out of New Ulm, MN, since the early 2000's. Before that by and the second Minnesota Brewing Co, St. Paul (1991-2001) and Heilman Brewing Co, LaCrosse, WI (1975-1990).
Profile Image for Andrea.
887 reviews71 followers
January 9, 2016
Lucie Amundsen's husband is a bit of dreamer and Lucie tells the story of how his big dream, a commercial egg farm that pastures its chickens and feeds the. Organically and from local sources, is told with wit and humor. If you enjoy ag stories with realistic struggles and happy endings, you'll love this. Along the way Lucie explains the theories and practices that inform their decisions.
Profile Image for Mary.
438 reviews48 followers
August 15, 2020
I am biased because the author is a friend, but this is a delightful and informative book. Her writing is very much like her conversation, which I always think is a mark of a good writer. She offers useful insights into modern agriculture, and she's funny and warm. What's not to love?
Profile Image for Theresa.
1,066 reviews22 followers
February 22, 2020
Survival stories aren't just about surviving abuse, neglect, crime, war, poverty, health traumas, disabilities, or acts of god. Survival stories are also like this story -- how a family, a marriage, and a whole lot of chickens survived a business start-up by an inexperienced idealistic couple who truly were naifs going into mid-sized egg production. It is pretty miraculous that they survived and stayed in business.

One summer night, Jason and Lucie are out for dinner without kids, just a rare romantic dinner for this middle-aged well-married couple. Or so Lucie thought. Instead, Jason drops the bomb that he wants to quit his grant-writing desk job (with benefits!), buy several thousand young chickens and start a sustainable pasture fed egg production business. In Duluth, Minnesota where winters are harsh, brutal and often 7 months long. Even the summers require wearing coats when it isn't brutally hot.

Well, you know exactly how Lucie reacted, and frankly, I don't blame her one bit. But eventually it comes to pass, and this couple find themselves fufilling Jason's dream. But it isn't easy, and they come very close to losing everything more than once. The description of that brutal first winter was painful, but had a cinematic moment that brought real tears to my eyes. Jason the dreamer (or visionary as referenced once) never truly loses his optimism and commitment to this life even in the face of incredible difficulties. Lucie took a long time to be truly committed to it, to see it as 'their' farm, not just Jason's dream that she was struggling to bring to life for him. Ultimately she plays an equal part in making it a success through her writing and marketing experience.

In this memoir Lucie doesn't sugar coat or gloss over her uncertainty, or the difficulties met. She also strikes a nice balance between story-telling and information dumps, providing an extensive bibliography should anyone be inspried to delve deep into the data and technical information relating to agriculture in general and egg production in particular. Why I gave this wonderful book only 4.5 stars is that there were times when something was alluded to in passing that I would have liked more information on - from her BIL (whose trauma in Cambodia in part led to this venture happening) to the Amish who soon became 'partners' and allowed the venture to finally start to thrive.

I grew up on a single-family dairy farm, which only stopped actively functioning as one when my father retired by selling the cows in 1972 mostly due to new regulations that would have required a massive financial investment in order to continue to sell milk. He was 62 and the investment made no sense when none of his children (3 of whom were under 16) were going to take over the farm. Because of that background, I both completely identified with Lucie and Jason (especially the sections about compliance with state laws) and looked upon them with a large dose of disdain because it is not an easy life. It is relentless and is something requiring total commitment from all in the family. They were such babes in the woods, and had no business launching the business they did in the manner they did. Yet they not only survived but built something amazing. And it isn't preachy at all. I applaud and respect that immensely. Locally Laid is the name of their company. Check out their website. Read this book.
Profile Image for Jessica.
1,743 reviews24 followers
February 4, 2017
I thought this would be a really good farm start-up kind of book, but it wasn't that great. Lucie's husband decided on kind of a whim that he wanted to be a mid-level egg farmer and when shortly afterward he got laid off they decided to go for it. But it meant renting land since they owned two houses and couldn't buy anything. All around it seemed like they just made mistake after mistake and bad decision after bad decision. They got a lot of local media attention when they entered a contest to win a commercial spot in the Super Bowl, but they still weren't really making enough money to support their family. I know sometimes you have to jump in to something and take a chance, but this seemed like a really bad idea. I know farming is hard work and most farmers don't make a ton of money, but you can support yourself if it's done right (see anything by Joel Salatin). While Amundsen does intersperse information about the farming industry with their personal story, I just didn't find it a compelling book. I felt like I was watching this family on the brink of disaster the whole time I was reading. There were a few funny parts and the writing is pretty good, but not enough for me to recommend this one.
Profile Image for Karl Jorgenson.
555 reviews30 followers
January 19, 2020
Lucie is a wonderful author and an idiot. She and her husband (mostly her husband) decided to save the world by producing pasture-raised chicken's eggs. Like everything else in this world, the devil is in the details. What makes this book worth reading is Lucie's expert storytelling and humorous voice. Her prose makes the desperate struggle to create a mid-scale egg producer heartwarming, funny, touching, and satisfying. The actual work trends toward soul crushing.
Profile Image for Carla.
1,180 reviews19 followers
April 8, 2018
Read this in a few days. Delightful. Duluth area couple want to go from keeping a few chickens in their backyard to starting a small business. Well, the husband wants this more than the wife at first. Some funny shenanigans, so real truths. The best part of the book is the writing, and the candor with which the author shares her families journey, and we learn along with them. This one is our April book club book. So glad I read this.
Profile Image for Francine.
42 reviews37 followers
November 12, 2020
I have zero — no, less than zero — interest in chickens or the egg industry. But more than a story about their business, Lucie B. Amundsen tells a story about marriage, partnership and the desire to create a better world. This book is easy to read, funny and also full of knowledge. Great read.
Profile Image for Kristin Boldon.
1,149 reviews27 followers
June 27, 2017
I read this aloud to my family on a recent road trip. I had some saucy jokes to explain but overall, they all liked it and I really appreciated seeing the character arcs on my re-read.

Charming, sweet, sad, funny, well-written, and educational, this memoir and book about middle agriculture was a delight to read.

Support a writer and farmer; buy this book, read this book. It will make you smile and you'll learn stuff.
Profile Image for Sandi Davis.
102 reviews1 follower
August 14, 2017
It has been interesting to me to watch Locally Laid has develop their business, I live in the Duluth area and voted for them in the Super Bowl competition. This book is much more than the story of their small business, there is so much more about the state of farming and our food sources. Lucie's style of writing is fun and informational at the same time. Makes me want to start my own little chicken farm, shop at farm markets and check out the whole foods coop.
Profile Image for Gina.
547 reviews25 followers
April 7, 2017
An entertaining memoir about the author and her husband's founding of an egg farm in Minnesota. There are informative Pollan-esque asides about agriculture, the author is sassy and funny, and it's nice they pulled it off.
Profile Image for Adria.
274 reviews1 follower
June 27, 2016
Loved this memoir - and learned a lot about chickens!
Profile Image for Aaron.
147 reviews
August 7, 2016
It was fun experiencing life with this family as they dived headfirst and with little experience into the world of farming. I learned about middle agriculture- a food term I was unfamiliar with.
Profile Image for John.
750 reviews23 followers
June 26, 2017
Lucie B. and Jason Amundsen started their plucky, clucky, audacious chicken-and-egg farm (turns out the chicken comes first) in 2012 in Northeastern Minnesota and lived to tell about it.
"Locally Laid," the book (it's also their trade name) serves as a cautionary tale for those who may be thinking of leaving the rat race and entering the idyllic life of producing food in the country. You need to read only a few chapters to realize that the rat race is much, much easier, and the idyllic life only looks that way from a distance, on a nice day. (And there are not all that many nice days where the Amundsens have their farm, although I'm writing this on one of them.)
Lucie describes it succinctly on Page 229 (in the edition I read) as a "scrappy little egg company and its oft chicken-shit-covered owners trying to save the world from industrialized foods."
By most measures, they certainly succeeded. Consider that they finished second, among thousands of entries, to win a free advertising spot in the 2014 Super Bowl. Consider that they started a farm and kept it going in a time when long-established farmers have been getting out for decades.
But if you're still in that idyllic daydream, consider also countless long hours of backbreaking labor, a huge toll on family life, all financial resources thrown into the farm and the tremendous risk taken, and consider this, from Page 290: "In fact, we even took our first small payday some two years and five months after selling our first egg."
How often do you like to get paid, Mr. and Ms. Sick-of-the-Rat-Race?
Honestly, it's unlikely I would have read, or even heard of, "Locally Laid" had it not been -- from my perspective -- locally written. My parents moved off the farm the year I was born, and I've spent my life admiring farmers and farming but getting no closer to farming than my neighborhood grocery store (at which I can buy Locally Laid eggs).
But if you have a particular interest in locally grown foods, sustainability, less-than-big agriculture (the Amundsens consider themselves middle agriculture), this book should appeal to you. It's written in an engaging, conversational style, with self-deprecating humor mixed with a bit of look-what-we-did pride. Lucie departs from the story in places to work in big-picture arguments about the economics of agriculture and how it should be done, carefully supported with data. She has something to say, but she's careful not to overwhelm the reader with it.
And if, while reading, you don't find yourself rooting for the Amundsens, I can only say that you must be the type of person who would have cheered for Goliath to beat David.
Profile Image for Michelle.
367 reviews1 follower
April 5, 2017
I have much newfound respect for the middle-agriculture poultry industry, and even greater respect for Lucie Amundsen. While insightful and informative, her brutal honesty and wit made this a delight to read. No rose colored glasses here. She lays everything out unapologetically - and it's lovely. With so many little one-off stories of triumph and frustration, I was thoroughly entertained. The fact that she's also a local author just adds to the cake.

And come on, how can you not love a book about chickens?
Profile Image for Suzy.
321 reviews
August 28, 2018
I read Locally Laid for my book group. Although I keep a trio of hens in my urban backyard, for some reason I wasn't really expecting to like this book. I had been lucky enough to score a copy at St. Vinnie's the day after we had agreed to read it, and as I was between books I thought, "Here goes nothing!" and dug in. Locally Laid is written in a wry, sometimes snarky, voice by a woman who has relocated from Minneapolis to Duluth for her husband's job. Job loss and a family crisis cause the husband, Jason, to do some serious rethinking of his life, resulting in the founding of their egg business Locally Laid, or Lola. I honestly don't know exactly how to classify this book. Part memoir, part how-to (or how-not-to) there were moments when I guffawed and moments that made me tear up. It made me question what I thought I knew about sustainable agriculture, answered some questions I have had about those winter months when my chickens aren't laying and I'm buying eggs, and made me realize that I couldn't farm for a living. It did reaffirm for me that I want to know where my food is coming from and that supporting local economy as much as possible is the way forward as we grapple with so much on this blue marble of a planet. Locally Laid was a really enjoyable read!
Profile Image for Anne.
1,060 reviews
August 11, 2019
Read it. I picked this one up from a Little Free Library in my neighborhood. I’d heard of and eaten Locally Laid eggs. I’ve even eaten the hopefully spoken of berry diversification honeyberries they now grow. So it was fascinating to read this account of the founding. Lucie is a writer, funny and smooth. She offers lots of personal anecdotes and just made me want to keep reading about how darn hard it is to start a farm, a middle ag farm. Glad I read it!
Profile Image for Liddy.
144 reviews
June 18, 2019
I enjoyed learning about midsize farms, the egg industry, and this Minnesotan farm. I appreciate that they are producing pasture raised eggs. It's much better for the chickens, for the egg consumers, and the world.
32 reviews1 follower
October 1, 2021
I enjoyed this author's writing very much, quite witty and offbeat, and a fast fun read. I appreciate how she keeps it very real, and does not glorify this venture. I didn't learn a lot I didn't already know about the food system and farming, but I was highly entertained!
Profile Image for Naomi Yaeger.
14 reviews3 followers
March 30, 2016
Lucie Amundsen’s Locally Laid: How We Built a Plucky, Industry-changing Egg Farm - from Scratch took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions. From frustration to happiness to sadness to pondering about what will be around the corner. I’ve “read’ it twice on Audible. Kate Reading narrates it and does an excellent job. The only glitch I noticed is that Kate Reading mispronounced Shakopee, but that doesn’t affect the story and only those familiar with the Minneapolis/St. Paul suburbs would notice.
Full disclosure: I am Lucie’s alley neighbor.
This book is memoir and a how-not-to. The writing style is casual, easy-to-read (listen) and interspersed with self-deprecating humor. Sandwiched in between humorous paragraphs and yarns of the struggles of her family, she gives a mini-education in economics, sustainable food and agricultural businesses. However, Amundsen teaches economics in a palatable manner. I eat a plant-based diet, so I don’t eat eggs, but that doesn’t stop me from supporting the Amundsen's for trying to make a difference in America’s food supply. The Amundsens ARE making a difference. And they caught the public’s attention by naming their business Locally Laid rather than Amundsen Farms.

The printed version includes photos and footnotes to cite the information on economics, agriculture and food.

One of my favorite lines is, “Americans tend to be put off by evidence of where their food comes from.” Amundsen wrote this when explaining the egg washing process, something that is not done in Europe. Today so many americans don’t understand the origins of their food. They want it wrapped up and sanitized and whether a plant-eater or a meat-eater, Americans don’t want to know the nitty gritty details of food production, but they should because our health and economy depends on this knowledge.

I have many favorite parts, here are some of my favorite scenes:
-Their friends helping them build chicken coops during “freezing drizzle punctuated with the occasional driving hailstorm: this is springtime in the Northland.” The reader feels their cold physical struggle along with the warmth of their friends.
-The chickens’ arrival. Nine-hundred chickens sweltered in a semi-truck on the Interstate before reaching the farm. Lucie and the children were shocked at the treatment of the chickens. The chicken supplier grabbed the limp, the overheated, chickens and threw them into coops.
-Lucie’s trip to Maine for a class to dissect chickens, While there she learned about chicken anatomy and experienced an epiphany moment when she figured out why their chickens internal clocks were screwed up.
-The Amundsen’s mixing with cultures other than their own, like their visit to Amish famers; and the visit from glitzy California PR to the egg farm.
-I related to the scene where Lucie stood up for her own dream. I could see myself in that scene. Mothers tend to become courageous when realizing the need to role model strong behavior for watching daughters.

There isn’t a chapter I didn’t enjoy. And I plan to listen again.
Anyone who likes to eat should read this book. It would be of particular interest to locavores, the environmentally conscious, and those with a commitment to sustainability.

The book starts in 2012 and flashes back to 2010, the year we moved near the Amundsens. When we became neighbors the Amundsen’s had a chicken coop near an alley we share. We knew that Jason had lost a job and felt really bad for him. But I didn’t have much sympathy for him when he greeted me in the alley and told about some land he found to rent to raise chickens. He told me to be sure and tell my husband. (My husband was raised on a farm.) I figuratively threw cold water on him saying, “You know my husband could have been a farmer, but he chose not to. It’s hard work!” I thought Jason was crazy.
And this is how the book took me on a roller coaster ride. Lucie has a cheerful, fun personality and Jason is sincere. As I read, Lucie’s vivid writing showed how hard they worked. Of course I already knew that farmers work damn hard, but yet reading the book I felt bad for not be more supportive of the family. I thought that they were romanticizing the farm life. Later as I read, I had an I told-you-so feeling. But by the middle of the book I was cheering this family’s passion and commitment to healthy food, local economy and animal welfare. I came to admire understand their tenacity.
Locally Laid How We Built a Plucky, Industry-changing Egg Farm - from Scratch by Lucie B. Amundsen
I am grateful for families like the Amundsens who work to bring us healthy, sustainable food. And for writers like Lucie who use their craft to explain its importance in an entertaining manner.
Locally Laid: How We Built a Plucky, Industry-changing Egg Farm - from Scratch
Profile Image for Ari.
727 reviews21 followers
December 24, 2017
Funny, kept me chuckling but felt a bit short.. or maybe that’s because the kindle version stopped at like 82%. Slow at times, found myself losing interest but otherwise I enjoyed it. 3.5 stars.
Profile Image for Beth.
616 reviews26 followers
February 7, 2016
Over the last several years, the local food movement has become, well...a thing. People are becoming more aware of just how many resources their Big Ag food requires, and that it will not be - CANNOT be - sustainable over the long term. In response to that knowledge, there are more "backyard" farms popping up, and more businesses designed to be part of the local food in their area. Locally Laid is one such business. In the book, Lucie Amundsen describes just how their family ended up as one of those businesses - and she bares the good and bad of it all.

This book was actually an unexpectedly enjoyable read. Some books on this sort of topic are all about "WE ARE DOOMED", and while I appreciate that those are important as well, it's a pleasant change of pace to read something that is knowledgeable and informative without feeling exhausted when it is finished. Amundsen has a plucky (HA! See what I did there?) sense of humor, and she isn't shy about using it in the book. It was entertaining and refreshing all at once. She also isn't shy about elucidating the difficulties that she and her family went through in order to try and make this enterprise work. She writes well about the all-encompassing fear that the farm would fail and they would have lost everything. While I think some people might not like such a close look, the realities are there for all to see - smaller farms have been going out of business at soul-crushing rates for the last several years, and the debt-load to make a go of it can often be unsustainable, even for those who work for Big Ag. I'd much rather an honest look than a sugar-coated one.

As someone who grew up on a farm (one that may not last much longer for many of the reasons outlined in the book), I feel that Amundsen did a good job of exploring the challenges and highlights of trying to make one work, particularly knowing that this was never her choice. This was her husband's idea, and she ended up along for the ride. I don't blame her for not feeling a soul-enhancing passion, because she is very honest that she would never have chosen this to be their life's work. And she very clearly says that, if they had to go back and make the choice all over again, she really doesn't know that she would say yes. But it's there now, and they are doing their best to be proper stewards of the land and of the local food movement.
Profile Image for Amanda.
411 reviews44 followers
March 11, 2016

Let me say I am firmly a city girl. We sold my car, we take the el, we walk to the grocery, and we walk to school. I may have shrieked when I had to pick up a baby chick for my daughter at the petting zoo last year. Maybe. Why I thought I should read a book about a chicken farm I really don’t know – but let me tell you I am so glad that I did! I enjoyed it so much that along with Avery I’m giving away a copy – so read all the way down!

Lucie tells a great story of how her husband convinced her to go from a small backyard flock of 5 egg laying chickens to owning thousands on a rented Minnesota farm. She was not an easy sell (I don’t blame her). I enjoyed reading about their small triumphs and was frustrated at the bureaucracies and stumbling blocks on the way to production. Locally Laid is a labor of love for Lucie’s family and that shines through their story.

Lucie talked not just about her own story but how the industry has changed over decades and how poultry is treated. She pointed out that most of the egg laying birds in this country NEVER GO OUTSIDE. In their whole lives – how scary is that? So aside from an entertaining personal story, Lucie got me thinking about where my food comes from and why buying local food is important. It’s scary to think about all the mileage behind some of the food we eat!

I may not be a farmer, but I do live in the Midwest and I love it here. This was an eye opening read for me about small agriculture vs. middle vs the giant ag corporations out there. I think as things like genetically modified crops become more common and water and land run out these are really important things to think about and talk about. I even put my money where my mouth is and tried a dozen LoLa eggs this weekend – they were delicious! I’m very curious to follow Locally Laid and see how they do – and I am seriously tempted to order a t-shirt. In the meantime I’m going to think a lot harder when I shop and I’m going to be counting down until it’s CSA and Farmer’s Market season in Chicago!
Profile Image for Sharon Siepel.
Author 3 books8 followers
January 11, 2016
This book is for farmers, gardeners, foodies, and anyone interested in starting a home-grown business with their spouse, Lucie Amundsen chronicles her family's adventure that started when her husband, a professional grant writer, decided he wanted to start a pasture-raised egg farm. You might think that's crazy. And it is. However, my parents did the same thing in the early 70's and in the 1940's, Betty McDonald penned the "Egg and I" regarding a very similar venture. I am not sure what it is about men and their chickens, but it is a thing.

Amundsen does a marvelous job of weaving narrative with relevant information. I found this book entertaining and educational, laughing on one page and learning about farming economics on the next. The author does not shy away from the realities of starting up a business. It is clear that the success of Locally Laid is not only due to the Amundsen's tancity, but the hundreds of people in their hometown who got behind their venture.

As the owner of eight laying hens, I found this book enlightening. My favorite part, however, is the clear demonstration of a strong, enduring marriage under the phenomenal stress of starting a business.It is not that there aren't problems, but the way the Amundsen's work out their issues is a good lesson in grace and respect.

This book is a great for both those that are highly interested in the benefits of buying locally grown food and for those intrigued by an entrepreneurial couple who risk it all to follow a dream.
Profile Image for Stefanie.
Author 2 books14 followers
March 26, 2018
I think this is an important cautionary tale for those who have romantic images of pre-industrial agriculture in their minds and think starting their own sustainable farm is as easy as letting nature do its work. And while I learned a decent amount about middle ag. and chicken keeping, it discouraged me from getting a few backyard birds rather than teaching me how to do it right.

I was already familiar with the Locally Laid brand and though I wonder how "industry-changing" it was, I do typically see other pasture-raised eggs as an option now at large grocery stores outside LoLa's distribution radius. I'm glad for the work Locally Laid is doing even if this wasn't my favorite memoir.

I always appreciated their unique marketing approach, but, as a nearly 300-page promotional pamphlet, the book took it way too far for me. The writing is too clever by half. I'm a pun-loving gal (See?), but the quantity of puns got annoying, as did the self-congratulatory references to how "sassy" the brand is. Puns should be used subtly and sparingly and/or be balanced by the right kind of self-deprecation. Amundsen's digs at herself are about her appearance and middle age (which read sad more than anything else) when they should have been about applying her "high culture" education (a terminal degree in writing which no doubt required serious academic study of Shakespeare's double entendres) to the lowbrow enterprise of using sexual innuendo about chickens to sell eggs.
40 reviews1 follower
April 29, 2019
An interesting tale of a husband with a midlife crisis and a sudden yearn to become a chicken farmer after seeing videos on You Tube...if I recall that correctly.

The author does a candid job detailing the stress this caused on her life, her family and her husband, who became exhausted keeping birds alive in the Siberian winters of northern Minnesota.

The book takes us up to 2016 and because of the way it ended I immediately looked the company up to see if it is still alive today...and it seems to be with fresh Facebook posts.

A cautionary tale about plunging into farming without first serving as an apprentice somewhere. And the wondrous, almost miraculous ways serendipity and coincidence can save the day.

Book is filled with interesting details and stats about the decline of agriculture, especially mid agriculture, the farms that are not hobbies and the ones that are so corporate - the ones who dominate food production - because big government ordered farmers to get big or get out, to meet the Marxist (yes, my observation, corporations are another form of Marxist communism) protocols politicians and financiers and wild eyed libs are subservient to.

The book does a very good job detailing the ups and downs of a start up that is real with hard assets (though feathery ones at that) and isn't just a Silicon Valley whiz kid with an app.

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1,557 reviews
April 12, 2016
I'm somewhat interested in the process of raising chickens, so I thought this would be interesting. It is, but there was a lot of information about the process of Locally Laid's huge farm operation, and their crazy publicity that I skipped over. I found myself very, very sympathetic to Lucie, who agrees to leave her awesome life in the city to move to a rural area and start a chicken farm simply based on her husband's whims. I would have left that guy and never looked back. And I would have demanded custody of the children. I truly admired her strength and bravery to go along with this half-baked enterprise, and I'm glad that she eventually puts her foot down to say "No more" when her husband tries to uproot her yet again. There was some information about raising chickens that was sort of interesting, but on the whole, it wasn't really my cup of tea.
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