Weekend Review & Giveaway: The Joy of Hobby Farming by Michael and Audrey Levatino

The Joy of Hobby Farming: Grow Food, Raise Animals, and Enjoy a Sustainable Life (The Joy of Series)If you are, like me, yearning for a few rural acres to call your own, you may bristle at the term "hobby farmer." It conjures up an image of someone who drives an hour commute into the city for an office job and then putters around in a garden on the weekend and maybe has a horse or two. If you can, take a deep breath and then let go of that image. Instead, think of hobby farmers as all those individuals who are committed to localism and growing food and the like, but who just happen to have to supplement their income with off-farm work. For better or worse, this is the reality for many of us who share a hankering for a little land. Michael and Audrey Levatino give us the scaffolding for getting started in such a venture in The Joy of Hobby Farming: Grow Food, Raise Animals, and Enjoy a Sustainable Life (2011).

This is definitely not a comprehensive volume to starting your own farm, but it is a fairly good primer that introduces a newbie to many aspects of farming and raises many questions that s/he may not think of. The book is divided into four sections: Place, Growing Things, The Care of Living Creatures, and Running Your Farm as a Business. The most helpful, in my opinion, is "Place," where how to find and purchase land, essential equipment, and basic outbuilding maintenance are discussed. Issues such as water tables, mineral rights, and easements are raised; all things that someone new to rural life may be unfamiliar with, but are crucial to know about. Additionally, the guidance that is given in how to juggle off- and on-farm work is especially helpful. They encourage one to immerse oneself into the real work of farming (otherwise, why have the farm?), but they also help to prioritize that work into things that are essential and things that are better contracted out if time must be spent at an off-farm job.

As 10-year veteran hobby farmers of 23 acres who sell at Farmer's Markets, the Levatinos speak from a place of experience and encouragement. They see hobby farming as an integral link in restructuring our broken food system and in reclaiming self-sufficiency. They make their lifestyle seem incredibly inviting and make the reader feel as if this is really something that you, yes you, are able to do. You will get the most out of this book, however, if you envision for yourself a farm that is similar (vegetable, flower, honey, eggs, etc.) to theirs. If you are interested in keeping meat animals, dairy animals, or running a CSA, then this book has little for you beyond the introductory information. But if you do see yourself as growing enough produce to sell at a farm stand or market and maybe keeping a few chickens, then this book is a good place to get your feet wet before you do some more in-depth research.

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My review copy of this book was provided courtesy of independent publisher Skyhorse Publishing and I would like to pass it along to you. Leave a comment on this post and one lucky individual will be randomly selected to receive this book. Comments will be closed and the winner will be announced in this post on Friday, July 1.

And the winner is...Tracey from the blog Clover!
"I would love to read this...thank you so much."

Drop me a line at cpcable (at) gmail (dot) com with your address and I'll drop your book in the mail! Congrats, Tracey!

14 comments:

  1. I would love to read this...thank you so much.

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  2. Courtney, I'm new to your blog and have enjoyed reading it over the past couple of weeks. Your book reviews are great. I just checked out Kitchen Literacy from the library after reading the review you wrote. I am one of those people who bristle at the term "hobby farmer", but this book does sound helpful. We make the most of our little city plot right now, but hope to have a bit more space to grow things in the future. Thanks for sharing! Annie

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  3. It sounds like a very interesting read! Would you commute or just move away?

    Thanks for the personal email xxo
    Rach x

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  4. i very much want a hobby farm- my parents have one- Sounds like an interesting book- pls count me in

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  5. Interesting. Thanks so much for sharing and for the opportunity.

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  6. Vegetables, flowers and eggs, thats's exactly what I'm dreaming about! We're just missing the money to purchase land. But we're still young, so we have time enough to let our savings grow first :-). I will read the book, it sounds great! Thanks for the review!

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  7. This book seems perfect! We just barely moved from the city to my husband's tiny hometown in the country. While he was raised on a farm, I know nothing about it! What a good book!

    Jaelynnbranch@gmail.com

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  8. What a coincidence - I was just looking at this book online yesterday and thinking of getting it! We are definitely "hobby farmers," using all of the space our little city backyard will allow (though we dream of going rural someday too)! I'm so glad to have found your blog via SouleMama.

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  9. Every so often my partner talks about becoming a farmer...I'm certain he would enjoy this book. I recently left him a short magazine article about a couple in Tama, IA who did something just like this. It does sound refreshing! Christina G

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  10. what a nice fresh new look for your blog! i was immediately taken with it! i do love what you write. how nice of you to share your copy of this book!

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  11. btw, i'm signed in with my AOL id... and i do not see any "share" buttons. what am i doing wrong?

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  12. We have a house in the country, and this book looks like a perfect way to get me moving on some of my dreamed-of projects. If I'm not the lucky winner I'll be placing it on my wish list. Thanks for the review, and the generosity.

    wordygirl at earthlink dot net

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  13. oh how wonderful! Thanx for the chance!

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