Gene Logsdon is known as a rabblerouser in progressive farm circles, for stirring up debates and controversies with his popular New Farm magazine column, "The Contrary Farmer." One of Logsdon's principle contrarieties is the opinion that - despite popular images of the vanishing American farmer - greater numbers of people in the U.S. will soon be ...
Gene Logsdon is known as a rabblerouser in progressive farm circles, for stirring up debates and controversies with his popular New Farm magazine column, "The Contrary Farmer." One of Logsdon's principle contrarieties is the opinion that - despite popular images of the vanishing American farmer - greater numbers of people in the U.S. will soon be growing and raising a greater share of their own food than at any time since the last century. Instead of vanishing, more and more farmers will be cottage-farming, part-time. This detailed and personal account of how Logsdon and his family use the arts and sciences of agriculture will inspire all those who seek an enjoyable and ecologically sane way of life. The Contrary Farmer offers the thoroughgoing, practical advice of a handbook for cottage farmers, as well as the subtler delights of a meditation in praise of work and pleasure. Logsdon gives his readers tools and tenets, but also hilarious commentaries and beautiful evocations of the Ohio countryside that this particular husbandman knows as his place in the universe.
Gene Logsdon is a wonderful writer, this book is a manual for the rebirth of American farming. While he is a harsh critic of commercialized farming methods, he does not let this become an attack on the farmers who in many cases couldn't leave the system even if they wanted to. It is a book will make you laugh and then wonder why you hadn't thought of that before. If you plan on homesteading or farming on a small scale or part time, this book is a must.
Publishers Weekly, 1994-04-04 ``Cutting down a large tree should be an act charged with ritual.'' Why? Farming columnist Logsdon ( Organic Orcharding ) points to the tree's ``wonderful accomplishment'' and to its ``feat of survival'' as models for ourselves. Then he goes on to discuss ways of felling trees that have come to the end of their lives and can therefore spare their wood for fuel. This collection of essays recommends cottage farming--the small-scale, part-time growing that aims to reduce food expenses and increase pleasure in living--in a tone that combines even-handed pragmatism, idealism (``Measure the value of products in human terms,'' he urges) and impatient realism (``Let those who put their faith in fancy threads laugh at your jeans''). The author rejects ``institutionalized claptrap'' for the greater benefits of rural independence and freedom, and outlines ways we can pursue these. ``Flee the evils that centralized power always generates,'' he advises, calling himself an investor in ``the tools that make sweat more productive.'' Logsdon raises a sanely unruly voice in a society where life too often only seems civilized. His correctives are not easily applied, but their promise and appeal (like his own) are powerful. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Publishers Weekly, 1997-07-07 Between his opening salvo against agribusiness (including politicians, academicians, economists and even charitable foundations) and his closing homage to the pleasures of self-sufficiency, Ohio farmer Logsdon folds practical advice into bold philosophical argument. These 10 essays are grounded in the "garden economy"ćwherein gardens of "minuscule expense" enrich the quality of life for low- and middle-income families outside the money economy. Such gardens combine light animal husbandry ("chickens, at least"), grains and the usual vegetable patch with labor saving hot huts, cold frames, hot beds and mulch beds. The author's radical "Declaration of Food Independence" warns that even community-supported agriculture is "just a way... to get hammered good by the mainstream economy"; true social security is built on a caring community of self-sufficient households. General readers in the field may miss here the breadth and depth of E.F. Schumacher and the lucidity of Wendell Berry. But Logsdon's words are long on experienceć50 years' worth. Those ready to leave the romance of self-sufficiency for its hard realities (an essay about killing wildlife decries "sidewalk environmentalists" and animal rights activists), will find Logsdon's contrary tone and workable methods invigorating. Color photos not seen by PW. (Aug.)
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