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The Contrary Farmer & Wendell Berry's Farming: A Handbook

No learned gentleman farmer, Logsdon earns his moments of lyricism by analyzing at length the daily demands on the cottage farmer (one whose holdings are much smaller than the 50 acres that economists deem "small").   He recommends alternatives: ways to avoid backbreaking work, to use gardens to test prospective crops, to ameliorate the "gruesome" tasks of butchering and tail docking, to access water for irrigation, to avoid the pitfalls of "controlled rational grazing," to determine the most functional crop for the working cottage farm (it's corn), and so on.    All this by a man who also reads widely and has a down-home sense of humor, as well as no reluctance to express his opinions.   So if at first you think that these farming essays are too technical for you, you're wrong.   "Yeah, I could do that -- avoid buying gadgets I don't need, be a lender rather than a borrower, live near a village where I can buy a home for $40,000," we muse, even if eventually we hear from Logsdon that we must "learn to fix cars and tractors" ourselves, and sigh, "Too much, too much." Logsdon deserves a larger audience than he will probably get. Roland Wulbert Booklist  -  How-To Editor's Recommended Book

Gene Logsdon has done it again! One of his earlier books, The Contrary Farmer, is one of the most moving, sensible, readable books about sustainable farming on the market.    Now Logsdon successfully applies that wry wit, wisdom, and storytelling faculty to gardening.   The result is a perceptive and inspirational volume: it is nearly impossible to resist dreaming about getting out there and raising your own food after reading this intelligent, enjoyable book.
Logsdon's voice is utterly personal and sensible: he uses his experiences as well as tales of people he knows to point out absurdities of modern agricultural horticultural silliness.    This same humor and clear-headedness are employed in considering the futility of industrialized farming, pesticide use, and the highly destructive methods of corporate and commercial farming and gardening.   How-To Editor's Recommended Book

"Love the world.  Work for nothing.  Take all that you have and be poor.  Love someone who does not deserve it," writes Wendell Berry in the persona of "the mad farmer," a conservative landsman who deeply opposes the then-current war in Vietnam and the ongoing crisis of farming and the environment.   Lyric, satiric, didactic, by turns funny and earnest, the poems collected in Farming, most from the late 1960s, established Berry as a social critic and artist of the first order.   Nature and Ecology Editor's Recommended Book