Book Review: 'Start Your Farm' by Forrest Pritchard and Ellen Polishuk

| 9/14/2018 9:21:00 AM


When Forrest Pritchard and Ellen Polishuk set out to write a book about becoming a farmer, they didn’t want to write an instruction manual for growing vegetables or raising livestock (because plenty of great ones already exist).  They also didn’t want to write a book about starting or running a business (there’s already some great stuff in that category too).  They wanted to write, in their words “a hybrid of multiple seemingly diverse elements: agricultural insight, business acumen, and self-help wisdom.”

You might think that covering that many angles in a single book would be difficult, and it is, but Pritchard and Poishuk have pulled it off.  And they haven’t just done it by the skin of their teeth, they’ve done it with skill and depth that make this book a must have for anyone beginning or digging deeper into a farming career.

Start your Farm: The Authoritative Guide to Becoming a Sustainable 21st Century Farmer is just what the title says it is – an authoritative guide.  But “guide” seems like too light a word for the richness contained within the pages of this book.  It is a personal and deeply meaningful text written by two authors who are themselves farmers. They are also scholars of sustainability and agriculture, with complex academic and practical understanding of those concepts. 

Have you ever been to a seminar or a workshop with someone and thought to yourself, “wow, I need to absorb everything that this person is saying”?  I imagine that’s what an audience member might think listening to one of these authors speak.  This book is what that audience member is looking for – an open window into the wisdom, experience, and honesty that these two professionals and colleagues can offer.  It’s like they thought to themselves, “let me think of every single honest thing I would want to tell a new farmer and let’s lay it all out there.”

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