This is exactly the kind of book I want read. It engages with the complexity of farming, economics, people, culture, without getting lost in them. It talks about the narratives around farming and proposes new, better ones. It’s realistic, just barely optimistic, and constructive.
Especially for such an independent production, it’s impressive. The writing is strong and direct. A few small copyedits were missed, but what new book is flawless in that regard.
A lot of this matched my priors. I grew up in suburban/rural New Jersey: those farms that produce nothing and just serve as tax havens are common. The idea of farming as often a question of land jives with modern economics.
I love Mock’s vision of the future of farming, which combines the importance of indigenous knowledge, cares about farm workers and especially those with overlapping identities, but also fits into capitalist society in a pragmatic way. I really wonder about extending it even further: whether ideas about equity, so common in the world of startups, would work on farms. Or something like a partnership model with revenue-sharing. Refashioning farms into productive places, less dependent on public funding, and places that actually reward the people putting in such intense daily work - it’s a bright vision.