Synopses & Reviews
What makes a farm sustainable and successful? And what special qualities and skills are needed for someone to become a successful farmer?Rebecca Thistlethwaite addresses these and other crucial questions in this uniquely important book, which is a must-read for anyone who aspires to get into farming, or who wants to make their farm business more dynamic, profitable, and, above all, sustainable. Over an entire year, the author and her husband-experienced farmers themselves-took a sabbatical and traveled the length and breadth of the United States to live and work alongside some of the nation's most innovative farmers. Along the way they learned about best practices, and a whole lot about what doesn't work.Farms with a Future shares this collective wisdom in an inspirational yet practical manner; it will help beginners avoid many of the common mistakes that first-time farmers make. Just as importantly, it discusses positive ideas that can help make any farm enterprise vibrant and financially profitable. Profiles of more than a dozen representative farms help round out the invaluable information and encourage farmers to embrace their inner entrepreneur. Younger growers, in particular, will benefit by learning about "the right stuff" from both their peers and longtime experts.This book provides a useful reference for beginning and experienced farmers alike. While many other books address agricultural production, there are very few that talk about business management for long-term sustainability. Farms with a Future offers an approachable, colorful take on building a triple-bottom-line farming business.
"In this down-to-earth, business-oriented guide to running a farm, Thistlethwaite gives new and prospective farmers a hard-nosed taste of what it takes to run a sustainable farm and what steps are needed to succeed in this field, drawing on her six years of farming and a yearlong adventure visiting and interviewing small farmers across America. The book covers topics familiar to anyone starting a business market niches, business plans, financing, accounting, human resources in the context of farming, as well as farm-specific issues like finding land, choosing equipment, managing soil and water, harvesting, and processing. These sometimes dry subjects are leavened with instructive and inspiring stories about a wide variety of inventive, persistent farmers from Long Island and Vermont to Texas and Montana, ranging from novices to old-timers. Thistlethwaite's experience teaching beginning farmers is evident in the logical, easy-to-follow, realistic but encouraging text, which will help separate the wheat from the chaff. 'If you are not prepared for some serious hard work, inclement weather, dirt lodged in every crevice of your body, and being so dog-tired that you fall into your easy chair at night and don't wake up until the next morning, then you might look into another vocation,' she says." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Rebecca Thistlethwaite is the author of Farms with a Future. She runs a small farm and food business consulting firm called Sustain Consulting and is starting a small homestead in Oregon with her husband, Jim Dunlop, and their daughter Fiona. They previously operated TLC Ranch in Watsonville, CA, where they raised organic, pastured livestock and poultry for direct markets across Northern California. Rebecca currently serves on the board of the Sustainable Food Trade Association as well as the Columbia Gorge Earth Center and writes for blogs such as "Cooking Up a Story" and her own blog "Honest Meat". Her other recent pursuits include training oxen, holistic financial planning, and learning how to make fermented foods