A future where we all become part of the farm organism.
ByBillTon January 6, 1999
The concepts of community supported agriculture (CSA) grab at the imagination: reconnect with the land and farmer, know exactly where your food is coming from, work toward self-sufficiency. Such a utopian vision clashes gloriously with the disconnected, "cocooning" lifestyle of many people.
This textbook for the CSA movement, first published in 1990 and "revisited" in this volume published in 1997, lays out the philosophies and actions that brought CSAs into our awareness today. You might know a CSA farmer, and perhaps even are a CSA member. But unless you're the farmer herself, or on an advisory board for a CSA, you probably have not considered many of the philosophical questions.
In half-a-dozen essays comprising a third of the book, questions are explored such as: Should farmers or the CSA own the land? How should farmers' retirement be arranged? Should animals be part of the farm, and should meat be part of the CSA shares?
Three basic rules of such holistic farming are offered: 1. Do not work too many hours (leave time for observation, reflection and meditation). 2. Buy for the farm as little as possible from the outside world. 3. Take all the initiative for your actions on the farm out of the realm of the spirit, not out of the realm of money.
The book talks of creating an "associative economy" and a "parallel polis" that look at society differently. One premise is that the farm should be supported by the entire community, and the risk shared equally by all consumers. Another is that farmland should not be a market commodity.
Part of the book consists of essays by CSA farmers on their own operations; many were written for the first volume and updated, so the trials of time can be seen. The final section contains blueprints for operating a CSA: how to get started, and how to buy and hold land. Samples from farms show budgets, marketing materials and typical share content. From philosophy to examples, Farms of Tomorrow Revisited shows us where the CSA concept could take society, and the movement's limitations, especially in solving current agriculture issues.
Whole Earth Review about Farms of Tomorrow: “This is the best book to access the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement, including philosophical, spiritual, practical essays and how-to (including financial discussions). This is the source for tools, organizations, farms, and networks concerning the renewal of agriculture.”
Resurgence Magazine about Farms of Tomorrow: “It is rare to come across any practical farming guide that sets out, from its inception, a set of principles that embrace social, spiritual and economic concerns on completely equal terms…The wisdom and clarity of philosophy are striking throughout.”
IndependentPublisher about The Call of the Land: “The ecology of our planet and the health of its inhabitants is in peril, because we’ve lost our connection to the land. This book describes how we can rally to save the quality of our air, water and soil through a new agrarian revolution — starting at the local level to regain control of our food supply — and bring back a sane, intelligent, and holistic approach to the way we live on the land. Steven McFadden describes with eloquence and detail how it’s already underway across the continent, and his book is a cornucopia of resources and ideas..."