The Dirty Life

I have been in something of a reading rut. I’m not one of those people who feels compelled to finish a book simply because I started it. If I’m not hooked in the first few chapters I close it and don’t worry about the ending. My shelves are filled with books I started, but never finished. I don’t waste time on bad books.

I’d started and stopped a few bad books in a row and that left me disillusioned with the written world. Then my Kindle broke. It was loaded with at least a dozen books I hadn’t started and I just couldn’t bring myself to buy a new one until I attempted to tackle the ones I already had. Add Doctor Who to the mix and I just didn’t feel like reading at all.

Until I found The Dirty Life by Kristin KimballThe Dirty Life is Kimball’s memoir of moving from New York City to a farm in upstate New York for the sake of love and adventure. Through her work as a journalist she met Mark, a farmer in central Pennsylvania with whom she fell in love. Together they set up a full-diet CSA (community supported agriculture). They supply their members with everything they need – dairy, meat, eggs, veggies, grains, maple syrup, etc. It’s an incredibly cool concept.

In a lot of ways, her story reminds me of mine. I related to her experience on many levels. I found myself frequently crying “Yes!” as I read. I felt her frustration as she tried to convince family and friends (and herself) that she hadn’t lost her mind. I laughed at my own folly as I read about her “I have no idea what I’m doing” moments. I smiled knowingly as she came to the same conclusions I have reached in my time here at Wyebrook: Farming is hard. Farming is dirty. Farming is exhausting. But farming is completely worth it.

I also love the idea of their farm. They feed 200+ CSA members from 600 acres of land. Those 600 acres provide all the food their members need for roughly $10 per person per day. They farm using sustainable and organic principles (and draft horses!). This is how you feed the world. Not with thousands of acres of genetically modified corn and soybeans in Iowa. With dynamic, diversified, locally-focused and supported farms. They’ve been doing this successfully since 2004. To all the naysayers out there, read this book.

Thank you, Kristin and The Dirty Life for pulling me out of this rut. Next on my list is Gaining Ground by Forrest Pritchard. I’ve heard great things about it so hopefully my expectations aren’t too unreasonable.

For anyone who is interested, here’s a short interview with Kristin Kimball:

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