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04 February 2010

#9 The Contrary Farmer by Gene Logsdon

I dream about self sufficiency, having the ability to produce my own food on my own land, releasing my reliance on the agroindustrial infrastructure into which this country is locked. When I came across this title, it seemed a great introduction to such an idea. While the book is somewhat dated, it contains a lot of information that'll remain current because it focuses on the best way of doing things rather than the popular way of doing things; it describes a way of farming contrary to what the government and big business proscribes. Logsdon descripes keeping sheep, cows, and chickens, growing various crops, and cutting wood, all in a fashion designed to keep the ground on which all this happens viable for future generations. He does not dismiss out of hand newer practices and wisdoms (such as chemical fertilizer or herbicides) but incorporates such ideas into his own way of farming. Using the common-sense wit of the country, Logsdon scrutinizes all aspects of farming and does not hesitate to criticize corporations, governments, or individual farmers.
The book reads almost like a how-to manual, although it doesn't delve far enough into the topics it introduces to be used individually as such. Rather, it gives enough information to present an idea of how and why, leaving the details to other manuals. I think that anyone with pastoral agrarian dreams would benefit from this book.

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