Book reviews and more!

On WHY I FARM, by Gary Romano

Published on November 17, 2013

It might not be surprising that a third-generation farmer can make an eloquent case about getting back to his own roots, but Gary Romano’s Why I Farm: Risking It All for a Life on the Land goes far beyond that, creating a persuasive argument that small family farms are a crucial element in American society—and one that’s currently at risk.

Romano’s book is that rare thing, a successful hybrid of memoir and manifesto. He grounds his ideas in his own experience of family farming, and in the changes he’s had to make to adapt to a different economy, and environment, than the ones in which his parents and grandparents farmed for decades.

Romano draws on his family traditions in creating a new model of farming; he says “growing organically was just the way the old Italians farmed anyway,” but in today’s market, organic certification can give smaller farms a competitive edge. Similarly, he looks back to a youth spent at the old-school farmers’ markets when reinventing a local distribution culture.

One of the most convincing arguments Romano puts forward in his enlightening and entertaining book is about the serious impact that regulations and subsidies favorable to big agribusiness, and unfavorable to small farms, have had on America’s food culture. This is the piece that’s too often missing from public discourse about food production, and Romano has some important insights to add to the debate.

Filed under: Reviews
Tags: , , , ,

Comments are closed.