A moving exploration of presence and place told through the stories of small-scale farmers who, despite intense adversity, continue caring for their land
Love for the Land explores the power and potential of people-place relationships. Through clear and compelling prose, it elevates the virtues of imagination, affection, and fidelity—concepts promoted by farmer-writer Wendell Berry—and shows how they motivate small- and mid-scale farmers to care for the land, even in the face of adversity. Paying particular attention to farmland loss from suburban sprawl, rampant agricultural consolidation, and, for farmers of color, racial injustice, Brooks Lamb reckons with the harsh realities that these farmers face.
Drawing from in-depth interviews and hands-on experiences in two changing rural communities, he shares stories and sacrifices from dozens of farmers, local leaders, agricultural service providers, and land conservationists. Lamb’s rural roots and farming background enable him to cultivate honest, trusting connections with the farmers he engages, yielding raw and powerful insights. Time and again, compelling evidence reveals that stewardship virtues encourage people to live and act as devoted caretakers.
With a refreshing, accessible, and engaging approach, Lamb argues that these resilient and often overlooked farmers show rural and urban people alike a way forward, one that serves people, places, and the planet. That path is rooted in love for the land.
Brooks Lamb has served farms and farmers on local, state, and national levels. He currently works with American Farmland Trust and writes on agrarian and environmental issues. Originally from Holts Corner, TN, he now lives in Memphis, TN.
“Brooks Lamb has taken seriously my father Wendell Berry’s assertion that we don’t have an agricultural crisis in America but a cultural crisis. He dares to take the virtues of affection and fidelity to particular places as economic necessities. Working landscapes and the farming people who belong to them have been ignored for generations; we have nearly lost the cultural knowledge that they hold. He tells their stories with due respect and calls upon us to learn from them.”—Mary Berry, executive director, The Berry Center
“Love for the Land is excellent. It reinforces that the work we do daily has a spiritual presence. In this book, Brooks Lamb makes real the humanity of the land and our relationship to the land.”—Ebonie Alexander, executive director, Black Family Land Trust
“Love for the Land puts readers directly in touch with farmers, highlighting their hopes and concerns as they navigate a complex agricultural and land management landscape. Given the absence of farmer voices in today’s increasingly urban world, this book is more necessary than ever.”—Norman Wirzba, author of This Sacred Life: Humanity’s Place in a Wounded World
“In Love for the Land, Lamb powerfully explores the virtues of stewardship, tracing their import in and through quotidian rhythms of care, crises of consolidation, and the vital demands of environmental justice and racial equity. This is a graceful, thoughtful book.”—Grace Olmstead, author of Uprooted: Recovering the Legacy of the Places We’ve Left Behind
“Brooks Lamb uses the inspiring words of farmers who remain on their land to show how they exemplify the stewardship virtues of imagination, affection, and fidelity.”—Brian Donahue, author of Reclaiming the Commons: Community Farms and Forests in a New England Town
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