What are you reading right now?
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I’m currently reading The One-Straw Revolution by Masanobu Fukuoka. I find myself having to read it in small doses – the wisdom in its pages is worth taking some time with, allowing my head and heart to take it all in. Here are some of my favorite quotes so far:

Food and medicine are not two different things: they are the front and back of one body.

I believe that if one fathoms deeply one’s own neighborhood and the everyday world in which he lives, the greatest of worlds will be revealed.

We have been born and are living on the earth to face directly the reality of living.

I do not particularly like the word “work.” Human beings are the only animals who have to work, and I think this is the most ridiculous thing in the world. Other animals make their livings by living, but people work like crazy, thinking that they have to in order to stay alive…. I think that the way animals live in the tropics, stepping outside in the morning and evening to see if there is something to eat, and taking a long nap in the afternoon, must be a wonderful life. For human beings, a life of such simplicity would be possible if one worked to produce directly his daily necessities. In such a life, work is not work as people generally think of it, but simply doing what needs to be done.

The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.

What are YOU currently reading that you are finding inspiration in?

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About Brie Aronson

Brie Aronson came to Polyface from southern California. During college, she was diagnosed with food allergies and had to begin asking about the source of every single thing she put in her mouth. This led to an interest in all things food and she sought out a way to learn how it can be produced ethically and sustainably. Her desire is to help people shift their focus from counting calories, being intimidated by their kitchens, and being disconnected from the land to one that experiences the life-giving enjoyment of food. Having completed the internship in summer 2010, she now assists with the buying clubs and sales building, leads school tours of the farm, and will be the summer 2012 farm cook.
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26 Responses to What are you reading right now?

  1. Tom Carey says:

    Believe it or not, I’m reading “Folk, This Ain’t Normal” in anticipation of Joel’s visit to Orlando later this month. Previous to this, I was re-reading John Jeavon’s “How to Grow More Veggies….”. I read Fukuoka’s book years ago, and will relocate it on your recommendation. Thanks.

    • I’m going to have to get some of Joel’s books. Trouble is I’ve watch so many of the videos out there with him and understood prefectly everything he mentions without much explanation since I have practiced these exact same things for years in Habitat restoration and Landscape layout, installation and maintenance.

      Still, I gotta get one of those books.

  2. Jill says:

    I will add this book to my to-read list! I am currently reading Full Moon Feast and it is stressing the importance of eating whole foods in season. Love it!

  3. Kim says:

    I am reading, The Grapes of Wrath and Joel’s book, You Can Farm.
    I am planning my pasture raised chickens for Eastern Montana.

  4. Nita says:

    I’m reading Wheat Belly, Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight and Find Your Way Back to Health, by William Davis, MD. It’s pretty sad what has been done to wheat varieties, it’s a good go along with Folks, this Ain’t Normal…

  5. Rachel Hershberg says:

    This is the second book suggested on your blog that I’ve put in my Amazon shopping cart! I am reading “My Family and Other Animals,” by Lawrence Durrell, recommended by a British friend, who is a fellow urban homesteader. It is beautifully written, funny, and deeply awed of the natural world. (Although from a zoologist-as-child perspective, rather than a farmer.) You guys would probably like it.

    • Rachel Hershberg says:

      Also, I just saw your post about animal parts not eaten in standard US fare – you probably know that tongue is an old, Eastern-European Jewish delicacy. My generation thought it was gross, but my grandparents’ generation bought it at the deli. And the medieval Biblical commentator Rashi claims that it was one of the dishes that Abraham served his guests, along with mustard. (Meaning, it was considered a choice cut.)

    • Brie Aronson says:

      Thanks for the recommendation, I’ll check it out!

  6. Benji LaValle says:

    I just finished Salad Bar Beef. I think I’m about to start Pastured Poultry Profits.

  7. Abbe says:

    I am reading Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. I’m reminded about a bumper sticker on a friend’s car in graduate school. “If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.” The current state of food distribution cannot (and frankly should not) be sustained. My baby-boomer parents insisted that I attend college and get away from the demanding and unpredictable rural life I grew up with in Ohio. Now, 20 years later I am voluntarily returning to a homestead and that same harsh life. I want my children to understand where their food comes from – the good, the bad, and the dirty.

    • Brie Aronson says:

      Abbe, Kingsolver’s book was one of the first books that got me into all is wonderful lunatic farming stuff. I love it! Good luck to you and your family as you homestead.

  8. Zen Mind, Zen Horse is what I’m reading now. I’ve read One Straw Revolution several times and I really believe that little book could change the world. Good to see young people are still reading! Love you guys. Lynn.

  9. Shawna Barr says:

    I just finished “Kisses from Katie”…not about farming, but about a young woman’s journey to Uganda. She was a middle class high school graduate who begged her parents to allow her to go on a short term mission trip to serve orphans. Well…long story…she basically never came home. She gave up everything….college, life in America, her beloved boyfriend…to live in Uganda, adoptive 14 daughters, and care for some 500 more of the world poorest children. Amazing story. Inspiring, and puts a lot into perspective.

    I’m also reading Wendell Berry’s “Bringing it to the Table” collection of essays. Also inspiring. World poverty and unsustainable, greedy, toxic agriculture certainly are connected.

  10. Shannon Wood says:

    Just finished Michael Pollan’s “In Defense of Food”, and, believe it or not, I am also reading Joel’s book “You Can Farm”.

  11. Joe Bergfeld says:

    I’m reading “Folks, this Aint Normal” along with a little reading from Gene Logsdon, “At Nature’s Pace” and “The Contrary Farmer”. This is a huge accomplishment for someone with self diagnosed Adult ADHD.

  12. Just finished Ann Voskamp’s “One Thousand Gifts” and I had to read it the same way. Slow bites to chew on and savor. Life changing, and I don’t use that phrase lightly.

  13. Michael says:

    Hagakure, the book of the Samurai by Yamamoto Tsuneomo…a suprising and thoughtful read

  14. EllaJac says:

    Currently in “The Pursuit of God” by AW Tozer and the Hunger Games (SO FAR not as bad as I’d feared.. :] ), The Heavenly Man (By Brother Yun; his testimony as one of the underground Christians in China). Just finished Joel’s “Sheer Ecstasy” book, and Wheat Belly, mentioned above.

    I like the *idea* of your last quote, but I daresay that were I to spend mornings and evenings supporting my needs, and the balance in slumber, I’d most certainly be living naked in a cave or tree just like the animals mentioned. 🙂 We may complicate our lives with undue work, but without *any* work we would not be living our fullest. Even before ‘the curse,’ Adam was charged with tending the garden – as a blessing.

  15. Grace Hernandez says:

    I got into farming with Fukuoka in my heart. He was a master. I remember the day he passed but like all masters his message lives on! Thanks for his quotes, they are heartwarming.

  16. Terri says:

    I just finished The Dirty Life and LOVED it!! All about a farming family in Pennsylvania. I just found this blog because my husband has work in Harrisonburg next week so I am tagging along just so I can come see Polyface so wanted to know operation hours. I have been a huge fan for years – own all Joel’s books. Just so excited to see the farm!!!

    • Brie says:

      Hi Terri, sorry for the late reply. We are open M-F 9am-12noon, Saturdays 9-4. If those times don’t work for you, just give us a call at the farm and we’ll set up an appointment.

  17. Ruth Anton says:

    Not reading it yet, but its on my list thanks to a guest who was at my mother’s farm on Easter Sunday. I’ve ordered a copy. It’s called “The Fragrance of God” and the summary below, taken from another website, does a good job recapping what my mom’s friend said.
    ‘The garden is a personal place of retreat and delight and labor for many people. Gardening helps us collect ourselves, much as praying does. For rich and poor — it makes no difference — a garden is a place where body and soul are in harmony.
    The tilling of fresh earth; the sowing of seeds; the harvesting of rhubarb and roses, dillweed and daffodils — Guroian finds in the garden our most concrete connection with life and God’s gracious giving. His personal reflections on this connection offer a compelling entry into Christian spirituality.’

    Happy spring!
    -Ruth

  18. Dawn says:

    I’m re-reading “Salad Bar Beef” right now,and almost finished “Crystal Cave” by Mary Stewart – a Merlin retelling first published in the 1970’s that I first read in my teens. I just finished a new book called “All the Dirt” by three local women who are all organic farmers that do CSA, farmers market and restaurants, describing how they each got started, how they got together, how they organize their business, challenges like farming with kids, leasing land, etc.