The Authoritative Guide to Becoming a Sustainable 21st Century Farmer
by Forrest Pritchard, Ellen Polishuk
A totally modern, all-purpose handbook for today’s agricultural dreamers—covering the challenges and triumphs of launching any successful farm—from two leading lights in sustainable farming
Do you dream of starting your own farm but wonder where to begin? Or do you already have a farm but wish to become more sustainable to compete in today’s market? Start Your Farm, the first comprehensive business guide of its kind, covers these essential questions and more:
- Why be a farmer in the 21st century? Do you have what it takes?
- What does sustainable really mean, and how can a small (as little as one acre) to midsize farm survive alongside commodity-scale agriculture?
- How do you access education, land, and other needs with limited capital?
- How can you reap an actual profit, including a return on land investment?
- How do you build connections with employees, colleagues, and customers?
- At the end of the day, how do you measure success? (Hint: Cash your lifestyle paycheck.)
More than a practical guide, Start Your Farm is a hopeful call to action for anyone who aspires to grow wholesome, environmentally sustainable food for a living. Take it from Forrest Pritchard and Ellen Polishuk: Making this dream a reality is not for the faint of heart, but it’s well within reach—and there’s no greater satisfaction under the sun!
“Start Your Farm is an eminently readable, entertaining, and important book for new farmers. The authors don’t hold back on the tough parts of farming. They coach the reader on how to overcome obstacles and reap the financial and emotional rewards on the other side. I recommend this book to anyone looking to make the brave leap into a farm career.”
—Lindsey Lusher Shute, co-founder of the National Young Farmers Coalition
“This book is full of wisdom, wit, and practical advice from two of the most respected figures in agriculture today. Anyone interested in farming for a career should pick up a copy. There is no career more rewarding than farming, and this book eases the burden for those starting out.”
—Ben Hartman, author of The Lean Farm and The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables
“A must-read for anyone who feels called to be a farmer. Start Your Farm is the most insightful, honest, challenging, and yet joyful and hopeful book I have read for would-be farmers. Prichard’s and Polishuk’s decades-long experiences in striving to farm sustainably also provide valuable insights into what it will take to farm successfully in the twenty-first century. Read this book and learn from two truly professional farmers.”
—John Ikerd, Professor Emeritus of Agricultural Economics, University of Missouri
“If you have romantic Instagram ideas about living off the land, you need to read this book. Jam-packed with practical advice and real-life vignettes, Start Your Farm gives you the down and dirty—the financial, emotional, and physical aspects of running a working farm. But this gritty realism is perfectly balanced with hope and encouragement. Pritchard and Polishuk not only talk the talk, but walk the walk, and they will guide you through the intricacies of starting a farm of your own. If you have what it takes, that is!”
—Lisa Steele, author of Fresh Eggs Daily