- Hardcover: 320 pages
- Publisher: Avery; 1st edition (January 22, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1592409202
- ISBN-13: 978-1592409204
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 53 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #690,872 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Lentil Underground: Renegade Farmers and the Future of Food in America Hardcover – January 22, 2015
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Advance Praise for Lentil Underground
“What does it take to farm sustainably—and make a living? Liz Carlisle tells the engrossing story of the ‘audacity rich but capital poor’ Montana farmers who thought lentils were the answer and stuck with them until proved right. Anyone who dreams of starting a farm or wants to know how organic farmers can overcome the obstacles they face will be inspired by this book.”
—Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University and author of Food Politics
“These farmers demonstrate how to build democracy and build soils at the same time. What a deal!”
—Frances Moore Lappé, author of Diet for a Small Planet and EcoMind
“Liz Carlisle’s new book is an absolute treasure—actual stories of real farmers in a part of Montana, some of whom found that their industrial farming practices were a “losing game” and some who discovered that locally adapted organic farming could be resilient and economically successful. It is a must read for anyone interested in the future of food in America.”
—Frederick Kirschenmann, Author of Cultivating an Ecological Conscience
“Who knew? This book tells the fascinating story from one corner of the ongoing rural renaissance—it will resonate and fascinate, and it will leave you looking for ways to get involved yourself.”
—Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy
“All of civilization rests on agriculture, and so it follows that real revolutions begin in the soil, which is why the stories of real revolutions must be reported from the ground up, as Liz Carlisle has done so competently in Lentil Underground. Read it, engage the real revolutionaries and begin the understand why their work is so vital to all of us.”
—Richard Manning, author of Against the Grain
“Who’d have thought that a book about lentil farming could be a page-turner? With a voice as clear and powerful on the page as it is onstage, Liz Carlisle writes the struggles of Montana’s farmers as an epic. Their battles with food, finance, health care, and modern capitalism are both inspiring and a timely reminder that populism needn’t be a dirty word.”
—Raj Patel, author of Stuffed and Starved and research professor at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs, University of Texas as Austin
— Praise for Liz Carlisle
About the Author
Liz Carlisle holds a BA from Harvard University and a PhD in geography from the University of California at Berkeley. Carlisle is also a country music singer-songwriter who has opened shows for Travis Tritt, LeAnn Rimes, and Sugarland. She currently lives in Berkeley, California.
Top customer reviews
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This book is well written and easily understood by non-farmers such as myself. Lentil Underground is a great book for those interested in how our food is grown and the future of farming in this country.
My wife and I are foodies and avid vegetable gardeners and we have long known that mainstream agriculture in the United States is just not right. While we are producing a huge amount of food in our country, almost all of it is of a questionable quality. Worse than that is that our methods are generally not sustainable for a growing population in a growing world. Huge applications of soluble fertilizers, much of which run off into local streams, tilling on a grand scale that dehumanizes the farmers who feed us all. Monoculture crops rather than diversity. All of these aspects are totally dependent on fossil fuel at every step of the way. All have the profit margin as the only guiding goal. None of these methods are sustainable. We are told by the big agribusiness industries that small farming methods can never feed the world and theirs is the only way. Liz Carlisle totally explodes that fantasy with her account of the faming group that she calls "the lentil underground'. A small and steadily growing group of real, family farmers who are producing good food at good prices. And, there is no need for concern that when you buy from them you are despoiling the environment. Probably the greatest thing about the book is that it introduces you to a bunch of real people - foodies - who make their living feeding folks while improving the very land they feed us from! Get to know them a little, maybe even talk to them (yes they are reachable) and you'll find very quickly that they are a hard working and friendly bunch who will be happy to connect you with other safe and sustainable sources for the foods they don't grow. Need beans or grains, the very staples of life? Want to know where what you eat comes from and who grows and handles it? Like good tasty foods produced with love and sweat? Read this book! Good things ARE happening in American agriculture and the Lentil Underground is a great, eye opening, fun to read book.
I loved the book - it was a genuine page-turner because I really did want to know how things would turn out. I have never been to Montana, but I did grow up on a farm (in Iowa) so I had empathy for the underdog going for me.
The popular view of farmers is that they cherish their independence. That's true for most of them but that independence often comes at a cost. When the government's programs reward the farmer only for doing what she doesn't want to do, she must choose between economic comfort and proceeding along a better path. Add to the government's intransigence, entrenched consumer preferences and you have a prescription for farmer frustration. There was plenty of that throughout the book, but by having a strong sense of commitment and the help of like-minded friends, a small group of Montana farmers prevailed. They made a difference we should all be grateful to them for showing us a good idea: to respect and support the soil, can be put to use.
Thanks to Ms. Carlisle and all her Montana farmer friends for this inspirational story.
At difficult times like these farmers need one another, and that's this about is all about. A small handful of like-minded farmers found and gave encouragement to their wide-spread neighbors (in Montana, what isn't wide-spread?) Growing lentils was a messy, and largely unproven, form of agriculture.