Think sustainability is simple? This sheep farmer would like a word.

country song
a farmer’s journey
by James Rebanks

Very little ink on the ethics of food production has come from those closest to the subject: the farmers themselves. thanks to the gods of agriculture James Ribanks, whose new book, “Pastoral Song: A Farmer’s Journey,” tackles the complex problem of making money without wasting land.

Rebanks’ 2015 Memoir, “shepherd’s life,narrated the story of how he, a dropout child from a harsh farm in England’s Lake District, collapsed in Oxford, received a posh education, became wildly home to his own land and sheep, and to find out Returned home to learn how to make a living there for himself and his family. It became a best seller, and since then, Ribanks has used its platform to solve the complex issues of sustainable agriculture.

His ideas are combined into a lyrical description of 40 years and three generations of farming experience on his family’s land, as it is influenced by the incredible changes in scale, markets, methods and business rules that have changed farming all over the world. Have given. His grandfather, who taught him the craft of farming, worked the land as the era of small-scale mixed farming, which had been the traditional standard for centuries, was coming to an end. We experience that enigmatic life through Rebanks’ inspiring storytelling, with him learning to appreciate not only the sheep and crops he’s learning to care for, but the wild plants and animals that live among and around him. Huh. As global changes reach their village, their father takes over the farm and is torn between tradition and debt; He tries to increase and intensify his methods to meet the downward pressure of market prices, and in the process loses out on the joy and beauty of his work. As Rebanks himself becomes aware of the consequences of the new, ruthless efficiency, he notes how these changes threaten the habitats and ecosystems the farm has nurtured for centuries, and the shackles of his rural community. broke. The difficult task of Rebanks in the third generation is to rebuild the farm in a way that balances the ecological, social and economic accounts.

Rebanks is generous with his descriptions, and patient in explaining the choices farmers make every day that will decide the fate of rural communities and the planet, choices “rarely spoken outside the closed world of farming, shared goes or is understood.” He addresses what sustainability really means, challenging the myth that simple solutions, such as growing all plants and no livestock, or using yet more intensive farming methods, will solve our environmental problems. .

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