My First Farming Book

I picked up Beneath The Concrete on a Zine table after a Food Not Lawns event at McGill University back in early 2000.

The zine lived in a cardboard box full of other books for the rest of the semester. I may have flipped through the pages but I didnít spend much time with it.

It did make the shortlist of books that travelled with me to Campbellville, Ontario when I went to work at Switch Farms that summer.

During the day I picked spinach and broccoli and walked from one end of the field to the other with a stirrup hoe scuffling the soil weeding three rows at a time and then going back to the beginning and weeding the field again.

At night, I read Beneath The Concrete.

This wasnít my first introduction to reading about farming. I was studying Agricultural Engineering in University. You can imagine that came with a load of books and farming science.

But nonetheless I think of this as my first farming book.



Sascha Altman DuBrul had curated a collection of writings about Permaculture and Biodynamics and Organic farming and centered it in his own farming apprenticeships learning how to ďgain autonomy from the nightmare culture and empower ourselves by learning whatís going on under our feet and all around us.Ē

That was exactly what I wanted to get out of farming.

This book helped me ground my farming practices in a broader vision than what I was learning in ag. school. It fueled me to think of farming as something accessible and spiritual.

That fall, I photocopied many copies of this zine and passed it along to other folks who were becoming young farmers.


Iíve since tracked down most of the books in the table of contents – and read those cover to cover and then cover to cover again.

And those books lead to more books. And more books after that.

And there will undoubtedly be many more books to come.

But this was the book that began my farming library.

What was your first farming book?


4 thoughts on “My First Farming Book

  1. Interesting to read about how that one zine opened the door to a miraid of books that branched out into more books, like a robust vine full of fruit and food for thought.

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