Leif Reads: Rounding up a fun farm read

Friday, May 20, 2011


Leif Reads
Every month, Ash and I are going to focus on one eco-related book for Leif Reads. To see what this feature is all about, visit this page. Our current read is Coop: A Year of Poultry, Pigs, and Parenting by Michael Perry.

I wrote this post for last Friday, but Blogger's epic meltdown made the posting impossible and then I was out most weekend. Besides, I typed up this post on a laptop with a dead battery and an adaptor that's terribly quirky so this post is pretty short. This is mostly a round-up post. Much has been said over the past few weeks on this book - Ash has already posted on her thoughts about this book and about visiting a farm or farmer's market. As for the city-dwelling yours truly, I talked earlier about how novel it feels for me to read a book about farming and agriculture and about the wonderful topics the author, Michael Perry, talks about.

For a memoir and a farming book, Coop is certainly entertaining, funny, and also, interestingly, nostalgic. There's a very rustic homely feel about this book that makes reading it very entertaining. I've never lived in a farm, but my family has been very close friends with the farmers who worked in the farm nearby. Unlike in the US (just my assumption, so I could be wrong), farmers in India don't necessarily buy lands near their homes and grow their crops. Many of them travel long distances daily to the farms where they work, and it is during their commutes that I've met many of them. When I used to grow up in rural India, I used to rue the lack of big name brand retail shops nearby. To me that was a sign of affluence and forward movement. But, even when a few of them sprouted out years later, I still shopped at the local shops near my home. I never imagined then that I was supporting local businesses. In fact, there's not much hue and cry there over supporting local businesses because they totally thrived. And we had our favorite shopkeepers too, plus got plenty of bargains. I can see how that's not the case here. Retail chains are everywhere, and much as I wouldn't want to see one shutting down (remember Borders), I would certainly agree that local businesses have to be supported.

Not everyone of us can start a farm. Though, we could all do what Ash did - set up small potted plants in our homes. (Did you read about that in her post?) Going to farmers markets have the advantage that you're getting local produce that also didn't have to be put through any preserving techniques, plus they are fresher!

Farming is also one small aspect of this book. There's more that the author talks about - growing up in a secretive fundamentalist Christian sect, parenting, small town life, his family's experiences with foster caring, having a huge number of but constantly changing siblings, slaughtering pigs, keeping a coop, etc. We only focused on the farming aspects because that was relevant to Leif Reads. Because of its holistic nature and the very entertaining tone, I would strongly recommend this book to you all.

8 comments:

Hcmurdoch said...

This sounds like a good all-around book. It also sounds calm, but I wonder if that's how it felt to read it.

Vasilly said...

 I've seen this book on a few of my favorite blogs so after seeing it here, I think it's time to pick it up! I plan a few heirloom herbs now and it's so much fun to do. You're right that we have to support local businesses. They have so much to offer the communities they're in. 

Misha said...

Normally  I wouldn't have picked up this book, but I am intrigued. It sort of reminds me of A Painted House by John Grisham which I loved.

Lena said...

Nice review. In the U.S., alot of farmers live on the land they farm. Unless it's large farmer, who may have more than one farm. But usually, farmers have lots of acreage and so even if there home is on their land, it's far away from the actual crop. Although, there are some that have crops just several yards from the back porch (generally speaking from my experience). I go to farmers market often. And we buy all of our meat (cows, deer and pigs) and eggs from our friends who are farmers. I make my own bread and I want to learn to make cheese. But I'm still debating the cheese thing. Seems like a lot of work. I get some veggies from grandparents who have gardens or I go to the organic market. I live in Alabama....we live in the city but we're "kuntry" folk.

Athira / Aths said...

I guess it was kind of calm. But not boring calm. The author shares so many stories - many of them that I could relate to - that the book was fun to read. Although I did find it somewhat digressing at points.

Athira / Aths said...

 Yay! Can't wait to hear what you think.

Athira / Aths said...

I need to read Painted House in that case. It's been a while since I picked a Grisham. It's interesting though to see a connection between those two books.

Athira / Aths said...

I was just thinking of your comment when I was driving yesterday. I passed by plenty of farms on the way and they were so huge and I realized that the owners probably stay really far away. I want to learn to make bread. That's one of my must-do's!