I keep a stack of books by my bed for “daily” wind-down reading. They are meant to do various things: cool me out, give me hope and/or inspiration, help me think about pressing matters, entertain. One of them is Keith Stewart’s It’s a Long Road to a Tomato: Tales of an Organic Farmer Who Quit the Big City for the (Not So) Simple Life. I’ve just replaced my first edition with the expanded one.

I love the book partly because, like many city people, I yearn for some connection to nature. I’m a secret farmer (in my head), so I get to read Keith’s compelling writing about the ‘inside’ of farming (which he came to as a complete novice), and vicariously experience that very different life. What I learn throughout the book is that the ‘inside’ of farming is pure improvisation, thinking on your feet, using what’s there, every single day.

I also trust Stewart’s parsing of difficult issues around which there’s an awful lot of chatter and contradiction, like genetically engineered seeds, what ‘sustainable’ and ‘organic’ really means and, as Deborah Madison put it “exactly what we are putting on our plates.”

Like any really good book, Stewart’s is way more than about the subject at hand. Which is why it’s in the STACK .

What’s in your stack of daily reading?

Flavia Bacarella

Related post: On Tomatoes and Improvising

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One thought on “keith stewart’s ‘it’s a long road to a tomato’ (farming = improvising))

  1. I ‘discovered’ short stories last summer. They are a perfect fit for a number of reasons:
    * limited time to read. i load them from Librivox onto my android and can finish one while working out.
    * they are — short! they get to the point and usually there is only one point.
    * they add small doses of variety to my reading diet.

    currently reading the collection by Irene Nemirovsky called Dimanche

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