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Farms with a Future: Creating and Growing a Sustainable Farm Business Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-1603584388 ISBN-10: 1603584382

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Farms with a Future: Creating and Growing a Sustainable Farm Business + Sustainable Market Farming: Intensive Vegetable Production on a Few Acres
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing (January 10, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603584382
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603584388
  • Product Dimensions: 9.9 x 7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #81,924 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Farms with a Future is an important book. If you are new to farming, read it now. If you've been in the business for a while, read it every year to keep yourself on track.”--Shannon Hayes, author of Long Way on a Little and Radical Homemakers



"Farms with a Future should be added to the reading list of anyone getting into farming. Easy to read and full of practical information, it will help those entering agriculture avoid many common pitfalls."--Nicolette Hahn Niman, author of Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms



Farms with a Future should be handed out to every budding young farmer in America. Thistlethwaite guides us through the daunting process of creating a viable small farm by sharing hard-earned lessons of her own, and from experienced farmers she met while researching this book. Indispensable!”--Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer



“What is so great about Rebecca Thistlethwaite’s new book, Farms with a Future, is that it is not a generalized treatment about how to succeed in the new farm and food revolution, but a detailed and complete description of how some fourteen farms of various kinds have done it. This book does what books are supposed to do, that is, it gives the reader on-the-ground experience that would otherwise take years to gain.”--Gene Logsdon, author of The Contrary Farmer and Small-Scale Grain Raising



ForeWord Reviews-
As a farmer and sustainable agriculture consultant, Rebecca Thistlethwaite understands how important it is to share information about small farmers who have redefined success, finding ways to sustain their families, their communities, and the planet. The stories of innovative farmers who have embraced their 'inner entrepreneur' fill this collection and serve as ample inspiration for readers who are dreaming of their own farming ventures, as well as those who are searching for new approaches. With chapters organized around specific principles such as “Identifying Your Market Niche” and “Harvesting and Processing,” the emphasis of Thistlethwaite’s book is incorporating necessary tools for survival and profit in a family-based business. Each chapter contains photographs of the farms and farmers, which helps drive home for the reader that these are real people who have—through sacrifice, planning, and hard work—found ways to farm that supports their values. Additionally, each chapter ends with 'Take-Home Messages,' a bulleted summary of dos and don’ts that affirm much of what each family farm story demonstrates. A superior book for its information, organization, and examples, Farms with a Future is essential for dreamers who intend to be doers, and doers who are seeking more creative dreaming.

About the Author

Rebecca Thistlethwaite is the author of Farms with a Future. She runs a small farm and food business consulting firm called Sustain Consulting and is starting a small homestead in Oregon with her husband, Jim Dunlop, and their daughter Fiona. They previously operated TLC Ranch in Watsonville, CA, where they raised organic, pastured livestock and poultry for direct markets across Northern California. Rebecca currently serves on the board of the Sustainable Food Trade Association as well as the Columbia Gorge Earth Center and writes for blogs such as “Cooking Up a Story” and her own blog “Honest Meat”. Her other recent pursuits include training oxen, holistic financial planning, and learning how to make fermented foods. Her website is http://rebeccathistlethwaite.com/.



Richard Wiswall started Cate Farm in East Montpelier, Vermont, where he has farmed since 1981. Known for his work on farm profitability and appropriate business tools, Wiswall consults with other farmers, and writes and speaks frequently on organic-farm business issues. He is the author of book The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook and Business Advice for Organic Farmers, a practical workshop available on DVD. To learn more about Wiswall and Cate Farm, visit www.catefarm.com.


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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Thank you Rebecca.
Luca Conte
An excellent book for anybody that is looking to start a farming business or for experienced farmers looking to improve their operations.
Adalberto
I like many have these way over romanticized ideas of what it would be like to own and manage a farm.
N. Bassett

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Jackie on December 16, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Five years into my farming venture, I have to admit I was beginning to drag a teeny bit with so many relentless difficulties and challenges - farming is NOT for the lazy or faint of heart.

I've barely had a chance to skim my fresh new copy of this book and already have five new ideas I'm really excited about...

If you're farming or dream of farming, you need this book :)
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By N. Bassett on February 15, 2013
Format: Paperback
I like many have these way over romanticized ideas of what it would be like to own and manage a farm. So I picked you Farms with a Future as my first voyage into the reality of farming. The book was excellent. Thistlethwaite is thorough and thoughtful outlining all the things one should think of either starting out or managing an existing farm.
The book has a great flow that takes the reader through a journey of the lifecycle of farming, from land, to financing, labor, cash flow, selecting what to farm to equipment. And does it with a fun and engaging writing style.
I haven't lost my desire to farm, in fact I feel that after having read this book I am armed with a LOT of great common sense and practical tools to think about how to be a SUCCESSFUL farmer.
I highly recommend the book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dwane R. Fehr on February 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We are in the author's shoes as far as beginning an organic farm. Loved the book. No rosy picture painted here. The truth is in the reading. Hard, hard work. Harder yet is educating the people and marketing the product. We at least feel we are not alone after reading her excellent evaluation of farming. Our best to her and her husband as they continue on in their endeavors.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ulla I. on January 14, 2014
Format: Paperback
As someone who grew up on a farm that faced many economic hardships, reading Thistlethwaite's book is a bit like therapy. Her case studies and advice are practical and refreshing. She clearly demonstrates the importance of financial planning and for the food movement to grow, farms and farmers need to become economically sustainable.
She covers all the challenges and opportunities that new and older farmers will face. As a mulit-generational farmer, I greatly appreciated the advice that a family should have board-like meetings where there was a routine and rules so that a family can communicate effectively. A friend who runs a beginning farmers class, has this book as required reading on her syllabus. And I agree! It should be read by anyone who wants to farm, is currently farming, or hopes to work with their parents farming.
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16 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Constant Gardener on March 23, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book doesn't come from anyplace and doesn't go anywhere. It is thin analysis of some disconnected agricultural projects and thinner new agey advice. I wanted this book to be full of practical information because I'm in the market for rural property and I'd like it to pay for itself, but the book disappointed.

Take for example, Chapter 6, "Equipment and Infrastructure." One might think the chapter would be devoted to actual equipment and types of infrastructure. I would have been satisfied if even one discrete piece of equipment and one discrete type of infrastructure was discussed in any detail. Alas, the chapter is instead about how to think about purchases, and the author offers nebulous criteria such as whether a purchase "is in line with your holistic goal." If you don't already know what a particular venture might require, you'll be no better off by reading this book.

There are occasional gems, however, like the author's suggestion to buy farming books written between 1900 and 1920 as they are from the "prechemical, preindustrial" period. I'm pretty sure prechemical is not a word, but it's a good idea anyway.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By John Hanley on March 24, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Reading stories about real people doing real things on a small scale is very appealing to me. The writer has taken the time to write each chapter in a manner that is both compassionate and detailed.

This book is not a book on how to "do it". This is a book on showing you the real world on what you will go thru in creating your own small farm (e.g. your backyard to 5 acres). No matter if you raise chickens, cattle or vegetables (just for your family or for your community) there are chapters in this book to both educate and entertain you on small farming.

I have three acres. In the past two years I have gone from mowing grass that was a nuisance, to raising vegetables in raised beds, adding chickens last year, adding four beehives this month (March) with plans to add four goats in April.

This book has helped me understand what is required from what I would like to accomplish.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By PA small farmer on February 13, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Rebecca illustrates characteristics of successful small farms by describing different farms she visited. This is not so much of a "how to farm" book but more if a "how to succeed in running a small farm business" book. On my first read through I mostly enjoyed the virtual tour. My subsequent read throughs have been more focused on the business models that succeed, forcing me to seriously reflect on how I can ramp up and make a go of our own endeavor.This book's unique perspective is a valuable addition to my library.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jaime on June 17, 2013
Format: Paperback
I would highly recommend this to ANYONE, whether they are interested in starting a farm or simply understanding and gaining appreciation for the CSA they get on a weekly basis, the farm stand they shop from down the road or the fresh produce they buy at the grocery store. It's educational and eye-opening on many levels.

Starting a farm can be incredibly daunting, especially when you're not born into some 5th generation family farm that has somehow managed to survive the incredible cut-throat pressures of industrial -military complex agriculture. The romanticism of starting and running a farm is both appreciated and given a reality check with Rebecca's book, Farms With a Future. It's clear that her first-hand experience in farming compels Rebecca to share lessons and advice with a wider audience, but she also takes a brave and humble step forward to bring a national community of small farmers into the spotlight, allowing us to share on a larger scale. She has experience in small farming and large food systems, as well as networking on a national level with sustainable food systems, and this intellect and open mind informs her perspective. Underneath the vast network of logistics presented in the book, you're left with a sense of "I can do it", or maybe in a broader philosophical angle "We can do it". And that is, bring farming, agriculture, food systems back into our community, where our heart and sweat can finally meet somewhere in the middle doing something we love without losing our sanity or life over it.

Rebecca's book doesn't get lost, however, in any political or philosophical tangent. It stays on point and gives a depth of resources for anyone interested in starting any kind of farm anywhere in the country.
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