President’s Note: Book Review – Start Your Farm

start your farm

Start Your Farm: The Authoritative Guide to Becoming a Sustainable 21st Century Farmer. Forrest Pritchard and Ellen Polishuk. 2018. The Experiment. 272 p.

This book caught my eye because I know Ellen Polishuk and have seen her speak and present at sustainable agriculture conferences many times. This is not your typical how-to-farm book. It covers topics most how-to-farm books don’t touch on.

Both authors are up front. There are other books with information on growing plants, keeping records, marketing your production, and managing your farm.

This book is written by two individuals who admit to starting out with very little knowledge on farming and learned by doing. Both were and are successful. This doesn’t mean they did not make mistakes, but they did learn from them.

The book covers some of what I like to call the “other realities” of starting and running a farm: how to learn without any prior experience; finding land; the importance of financial records; budgeting for the unexpected; it’s okay to make a profit; pay yourself; take time off; etc.

The book teaches from each of the authors’ experiences rather than giving you a set of management tools or production charts and budgets. I wish many beginning farmers could have had this information when they started.

New farmers will need other information, but this book covers topics many other sources miss. I recommend this book to anyone interested in starting a farm.

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