BOOK: GETTIN’ BY – Make Your Farm Dream Into Your Dream Farm
About 12 years ago we were at a farmers’ market at Walnut Acres. Thom was selling our chemical free apples, pears and berries. I was a wandering minstrel. Someone asked Thom how he could grow good looking fruit without agri-chemicals. That person asked where was our book about it. Well, a few years ago we finally self-published our book called GETTIN’ BY – Make Your Farm Dream Into Your Dream Farm. It contains alot of information.
For instance, it tells how we live on a 3 acre farm, with 1.5 acres cultivated, and do it without debt. It is a basic how-to book with information on buying a place, what to look for, and what kind of things you need to know to run a small farm. There is a section on marketing, on fruit growing with chapters on different types of fruit. There is philosophy, biology, geology and folklore.
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I will include the introduction here.
The comment, “Gettin’ By,” means a lot to a small family farmer. It is a statement of relative success when the odds seem to be against it. It also means there is no real danger of becoming rich, in the economic sense of the word. When a neighboring farmer had a winning lottery ticket, he was asked what he was going to do with his winnings. He said “I guess I’ll keep farming until it’s gone.” A common farmer joke, but it is on the money. Someone running a small family farm business knows exactly, by plan and by choice, where they are in the local, national, and international economic picture. This picture was much different before World War II.
From the time of Columbus to World War II, this country was teeming with small, medium, and large family farms. In this second millennium, farming is a ghost of the independent industry that it was. Now mammoth farms occupy the major portion of agribusiness, with corporate hog, beef, chicken, turkey, grain, fruit, and vegetable operations. They are almost exclusively monocultures. The post 1950’s sprawl development, in combination with the “Get big or get out” (Former Secretary of Agriculture, Earl Butz), and the “Green Revolution” mindsets (the kind of green revolution produced by using chemical fertilizers and pesticides) hit small and medium family farms like a tidal wave, causing nearly total extinction. The organic and sustainable farming movement was one safe harbor from these mindsets.
The book, “Gettin’ By,” is about a 3 acre (small family) farm nestled among the oldest mountain range in the world, the Blue Ridge Mountains of Adams County, Pennsylvania. There have been a number of visitors over the years to the farm, from college classes and young interns, to individuals looking to make some changes in their career paths. They were looking to the small farm as employment. Some questions kept coming up:
· Why live low tech in these high tech times?
· How and when did we decide to do this type of farming business?
· What skills and knowledge were needed?
· What kind of financing was needed?
· What methods are used to grow “food as nature intends?”
· How are the products marketed?
People were looking for working models, a primer on successful small farms. This book attempts to describe a working model of a small farm, and to answer these questions. The first two questions address personal political and philosophical issues. In farming, when you live where you work, the business is not a job as much as a life. So the first two questions are included to show that choice and planning are the first tools a sustainable farmer needs to use.
Thom & Judy Marti