All the Dirt: Reflections on Organic Farming – Book Review

Didn’t we already go through the 10 books of my Top 10 Farm Books Of The Decade?

We did, but there is one other book I want to talk about.

This is a book that just barely missed being on my list, but as I’ve been posting these last 10 days, I kept wishing it was on the list.

So today we have our Bonus Best Farm Book Of The Decade!

All the Dirt

Reflections on Organic Farming

by Heather Stretch, Rachel Fisher, and Robin Tunnicliffe

This is the story of 3 farmers and their separate farms

  • Heather Stretch and Northbound Farm
  • Rachel Fisher and Three Oaks Farm
  • Robin Tunnicliffe and Feisty Field

It follows their separate evolutions from beginning growers to seasoned farmers.

There are so many hard lessons to learn. Heather, Rachel and Robin don’t shy away from describing the physical and emotional toll that comes with this work, and the tears that come with that toll.

But they overcome their challenges, and this is what I think of when I think of this book.

At many points, these farmers clearly realize things that need to improve on their farms; they then set a goal of where they wish to be; and then they get there.

And often it seems that simply stating the goal is what makes them reach it.

And some of these decisions bring them to repeat what other successful farmers have done. Such as Rachel choosing to transition her curved beds of varying lengths to the straight lines she’s seen on other farms.

In other cases they choose their own direction. Such as when they buy Saanich Organics together and begin to market their produce collectively to vegetable box clients and also to restaurants. It is a great example of how farmers can work collectively and that the whole can be greater than the sum of the parts.

I should also note that this book does go into the systems and even the spreadsheets these farmers use.

This book is about being clear about what you want to achieve and working with others to get there. This seems like a fitting way to begin a New Year.

Happy New Year!!!


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