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Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers'…
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Gaining Ground: A Story of Farmers' Markets, Local Food, and Saving…

by Forrest Pritchard

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
Reminded me of my own grandfather's farm. A delightful story of the author's and his family's efforts to save their grandfather's farm. Both humorous and sad. A fun, fast read. ( )
  dottieph | Jun 20, 2016 |
Gaining Ground is a memoir written by Forrest Pritchard, recounting his efforts to save his family farm in the Shenandoah Valley. It was decently written, and a quick read. I'm not sure I really learned anything new or was particularly inspired by the book, maybe because I have read many similar books. It was fairly run of the mill as far as farming memoirs go, and at times read a little too much like an adventure novel for my tastes. Pritchard is no doubt a passionate and dedicated farmer, committed to making the sustainable, local food movement succeed. I wish I had half the ambition and stick-to-it-iveness he has. ( )
  klburnside | Apr 21, 2016 |
I have no farm experience. I've rarely even thought for a moment about living on a farm. So when I set out to read this book about Pritchard's experiences in running his family's farm, I expected it to be kind of boring. I was pleasantly surprised. Prichard was an English major in college and he does know how to write well, so that helped. He also had quite a few crazy experiences that may not all be laugh out loud funny, but overall paint a picture of a pretty disastrous path to success.

I really enjoyed this and found it a fairly quick read for nonfiction (which I don't read all that much of). It reads more like a memoir or novel than you might expect, and is not overly preachy about choosing to buy local. If his experiences don't convince you, he isn't going to bother preaching to you about it, which I found refreshing. Not that he doesn't give you plenty of reasons throughout as to why local farmers' markets and buying from family farms is good, but he isn't shoving it down your throat. He's simply recounting his own experiences and I'm glad he did. ( )
  horomnizon | Nov 16, 2015 |
This book was mentioned in The Soil Will Save Us, so I ordered it too. This book is quite different from other permaculture/sustainability books. It doesn't give you nuts and bolts how-to. It's more a bildungsroman, coming of age story. Pritchard had aspirations as a writer from an early age, and his skill is very evident. The story flows well, and it's been a pleasure to spend time with him and his family. He's not shy about sharing his most embarassing moments, and coming from a Ag background, I have to say there were some doozies. I just have to say "Thank God for Travis!"

I could have wished for more detail on issues like pasture recovery after the pigs, as that remains too much of a mystery. But all in all, Go Forrest! ( )
  2wonderY | Jun 17, 2015 |
To preface this review: I am from Berryville, VA and grew up in the area that Forrest Pritchard describes in this book. I've been to the farmers market every Saturday and I went to school with many children who were raised on farms and worked on farms in the area. But it wasn't my knowledge of the material or the area which made this book so wonderful. It was the beautiful descriptions and the incredible cast of characters which Pritchard seems to portray so easily. The foreword really says it all. You don't have to be a farmer, or know a farmer, or even visit farmer's markets to appreciate this book.
  SnowcatCradle | Feb 25, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
For all of the unnecessary violence and for all Pritchard’s failure to think in consistent ethical terms about animals, it nonetheless occurred to me that, in conveying his journey, he is — in a weird way — extending a friendly hand to animal rights advocates. He’s saying — no, he’s showing — that his paradigm, although it kills sentient animals, is better than the dominant paradigm, which kills more animals under worse conditions. He’s saying that his passion for honest agriculture and his ability to sustain a meaningful vocation is a critical step in the direction of a future agricultural model that leaves room for a fuller conception of justice. Animals might not be treated with ethical consistency on Pritchard’s farm, but the minimal suffering they endure can be seen as a down payment on a future in which they don’t suffer at all.
 
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Haiku summary
Discovering the
power of dirt and soil
and what poo can do.
(2wonderY)

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0762787252, Paperback)

One fateful day in 1996, after discovering that five freight cars' worth of glittering corn have reaped a tiny profit of $18.16, young Forrest Pritchard vows to save his family's farm. What ensues--through hilarious encounters with all manner of livestock and colorful local characters--is a crash course in sustainable agriculture. Pritchard's biggest ally is his renegade father, who initially questions his son's career choice and rejects organic foods for sugary mainstream fare. But just when the farm starts to turn heads at local farmers' markets, his father's health takes a turn for the worse. With poetry and humor, this inspiring memoir tugs on the heartstrings and feeds the soul long after the last page is turned.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:15 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Upon discovering that months of backbreaking work and five freight cars' worth of glittering corn have reaped his family's farm a profit of $18.16, young Forrest Pritchard, fresh out of college, resolves to take matters into his own hands. What ensues--through a series of hilarious encounters with all manner of livestock and colorful local characters--is a crash course in sustainable agriculture. Pritchard's biggest ally is his renegade father, who initially questions his son's career choice and rejects organic foods for sugary mainstream fare. But just when the farm starts to turn heads at local markets, his father's health takes a turn for the worse. - p. 2 of cover.… (more)

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