Synopses & Reviews
Since 1990, Scott Chaskey has worked as a land steward and farmer for the Peconic Land Trust at Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett, New York, an organic community farm. Over the years, he has recorded his meditations on weather, wildlife, soil, seed, root, plant, and flower, and in This Common Ground
, he has organized some of these reflections season by season, through the course of one year on the farm. Chaskeys observations reflect a doers respect for the rhetoric of the fields and a firsthand knowledge of the interdependence of soils, plants, animals, and humans. His contagious sense of wonder and artistic sensibility illustrate why planting and reaping are such an important part of what defines the human community and the human condition.
Like Joan Gussows This Organic Life or Verlyn Klinkenborgs The Rural Life, this inspirational evocation of a life spent working the earth is certain to become a classic of nature writing, as well as appealing to todays burgeoning organic lifestyle audience.
"Poet Chaskey, former head of the organic Quail Hill Farm on Long Island's South Fork, gives a sprightly account of 'the education of a gardener become farmer, representing a committed community' as well as 'the challenges faced by all small farms, enlivened by a wind from the sea.' As this chronicle of a year at Quail Hill shows, Chaskey loves the way of life at the farm a cousin to the more than 1,500 CSA (community supported agriculture) farms now in the U.S., dedicated to community and providing locally grown produce. The delight of his writing is his balancing of the poetry of farm life as when he looks up 'to catch the liquid flight of swallows' and 'the music of wind as it weaves a thread through the brambles' with touches of humor, such as his amazement that 'our cabbages continue to grow to epic proportions.' He also effectively summarizes the 'critical juncture' at which the organic farming movement finds itself as a result of recent federal legislation governing organic foods. His book will be a joy to read for lovers of organic farming, and it also offers a strong argument to the general public that, with careful management of the soil, 'everyone, the haves and the have-nots, [can] gain access to land and good food.' B&w illus. Agent, Paul Bresnick." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In the tradition of Michael Pollan, Joan Gussow, and Verlyn Klinkenborg's The Rural Life, This Common Ground is an inspirational evocation of a life lived close to the earth, written by the head farmer at one of the country's first community-supported farms. By reflecting on four seasons of activity at his beloved Quail Hill Farm in eastern Long Island, Scott Chaskey offers stirring insight into the connections between land and the human family. Whether writing about the voice of a small wren nesting in the lemon balm or a meadow of oats, millet, and peas rising to silver and green after a fresh rain, this poet-farmer's contagious sense of wonder brings us back to our bond with the soil.
About the Author
Scott Chaskey earned an M.A. in creative writing from Antioch College. For the last fourteen years, he has worked as a land steward and farmer for the Peconic Land Trust at Quail Hill Farm in Amagansett, New York. A pioneer of the community farming movement, he is the president of the Northeast Organic Farming Association and on the board for the Center for Whole Communities in Vermont.
On the web: http://www.peconiclandtrust.org, http://www.wholecommunities.org