10 Farmers Share Books That Inspire Them

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What are contemporary, socially-conscious farmers reading? Civil Eats recently asked 10 farmers to share the books that continue to inspire and transform their life and work. The picks range from Wendell Berry to Pearl S. Buck, from practical guides on how to grow more vegetables to poetic musings on the power of food.

Here are four of the books recommended, and the thoughts and musings behind the choice:




The Unsettling of America by Wendell Berry: "I had spent seven or so years of my life as a 'punk' growing up in the the central NJ suburbs of NYC, disgruntled and disillusioned and looking for real meaning and ways to be in the world, and [Berry] was someone seemingly so disgruntled and disillusioned, yet incredibly intelligent and coherent, with a posited solution of sorts..." - Anthony Mecca, Great Song Farm

The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck: "I think the best line is at the end of the novel when it says, 'without land, you're nothing.' It's a quote my father and mother used to repeat to us kids all the time. So that book always meant something for many reasons." - Alexis Koefoed, Soul Food Farm

Full Woman, Fleshly Apple, Hot Moon by Pablo Neruda: "Neruda is amazing in all of his words, but his Odes really resonate with people who love food and its power to create interaction." - Joe Reynolds, Gaia Gardens/Love is Love Farm

We Didn't Have Much but We Sure Had Plenty: Rural Women in Their Own Words by Sherry Thomas: "It was a bunch of stories of women who worked their land as a job and for personal consumption. Most were very poor, but were able to tend to their nutritional needs because of farming/food preservation. It reminded me of the importance of simplifying life and just how vital feeding yourself from your own garden can be." - Barbara Finnin, City Slicker Farm

Read More: Farmers Talk About the Books that Inspire Them at Civil Eats

Related: Eight Thoughtful Food Books Worth Reading This Year

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