Growing Tomorrow is the second book by author and farmer Forrest Pritchard. As I said in my gushing praise for his first book, the NYT bestseller Gaining Ground, the dude knows how to write. (He also knows a little something about farming. If you live in the DC area, check out Smith Meadows farm in person if you are so inclined, or if Berryville, Virginia is a little far for you to wander out to, you can find them at many markets all over greater DC.)
Growing Tomorrow is part travelogue, part cookbook, and above all, an homage to small, family farms, sustainable and humane production of plant and animal foods, and the people who dedicate their lives to making sure those of us who can’t or won’t farm for ourselves have access to food we trust, raised in ways we value. The book is an account of the author’s visits to eighteen farms across the U.S., to share the stories of how they are growing and raising plants and animals sustainably, humanely, and, believe it or not, profitably. It’s proof that one can make ends meet without cutting corners, exploiting workers, poisoning the land, abusing livestock, or cheating consumers. Working in tandem with mother nature and reliable, regular customers, small farms can do things “the right way” and stay in the black. (Granted, it often takes several years to get there after pants-wetting years spent in the red, but farming is generally not a quarter-by-quarter profit seeking enterprise. If you are unable to take a long—very long—view of things, farming is probably not for you.)
As the author discussed in an interview he did on the Real World Paleo podcast, one of his goals was to highlight the diversity of today’s American farms and farmers. Forrest visited farms on the west coast, east coast, north, south, and everywhere in between. In 2016, we’re about as far as it gets from the dour couple in the famous painting, American Gothic. From fruit orchards in southern California to an organic grain farm in Iowa, to a sustainable fishery in Massachusetts, there’s no region ignored, and certainly no lack of ethnic diversity, either. The farms featured in Growing Tomorrow show that farming has nothing to do with the color of your skin or the language you grew up speaking, and everything to do with courage, grit, determination, and most importantly, a sense of humor and a pathological love of hard work in difficult conditions.
From what I know of Forrest, he pours himself into everything he does. Nothing is done halfway and nothing is done without an unwavering dedication to quality and authenticity. Not on his farm, and not in his writing. This was evident to me before I even got to page one of the book. From the dedication alone, I knew this book would deliver:
“To my fellow farmers—people of faith, creativity, and deep good humor. It’s long overdue, but on behalf of our country, thanks for lunch.”
Are you kidding me? I told you he could write!