Lentil Underground

Lentil Underground

Renegade Farmers and the Future of Food in America

Book - 2015
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Forty years ago, corporate agribusiness launched a campaign to push small grain farmers to modernize or perish, or as Nixon's secretary of agriculture Earl Butz put it, "get big or get out." But 27-year-old David Oien decided to take a stand when he dropped out of grad school to return to his family's 280-acre farm, becoming the first in his conservative Montana county to plant a radically different crop: organic lentils. A cheap, healthy source of protein and fiber, lentils are drought-tolerant and don't require irrigation. Unlike the chemically dependent grains American farmers had been told to grow, lentils make their own fertilizer and tolerate variable climate conditions, so their farmers aren't beholden to industrial methods. Today, Oien leads thriving movement of organic farmers who work with heirloom seeds and biologically diverse farm systems. Under the brand Timeless Natural Food, their unique business-cum-movement has grown into a million-dollar enterprise that sells to hundreds of independent natural food stores and a host of renowned restaurants. From the farm belt of red-state America comes this inspiring story of a handful of colorful pioneers who have successfully bucked the chemically-based food chain and the entrenched power of agribusiness's one percent by stubbornly banding together. Journalist and native Montanan Liz Carlisle weaves an eye-opening narrative that will be welcomed by everyone concerned with the future of American agriculture and natural food in an increasingly uncertain world.--From publisher description.
Publisher: New York, New York : Gotham Books, c2015.
ISBN: 9781592409204
1592409202
Branch Call Number: 631.584 CAR
Characteristics: xix, 298 pages : map ; 22 cm

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Padmasana8
Jul 28, 2017

A very engaging story about a real farming community in Montana. The title “lentil underground” has a dual meaning. It refers to both the type of crop that a small group of “renegade farmers” are growing organically, contrary to area conventions (grain grown industrially), and the benefits that are occurring ecologically, starting below ground, in the soil. It began with a single farmer forty years ago. What I appreciated most about the story are the interconnections that make for a community and ecosystem, both above and below ground.

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SeaMom2one
Apr 13, 2015

I can't recall WHY I placed this book on Hold but very happy I did! Luckily I began this book one Saturday morning because I could not stop reading.

So inspiring I ditched my garden plan and switching to community planting and changing my grocery buying habits. Most important I have an understanding of family farming in the USA no other book has been able to describe.

srmechs Apr 09, 2015

This is an exciting story even if it doesn't sound like one -- farmers in Montana who wanting to grow crops that would improve rather than degrade their land. Facing inertia and resistance but learning to work together they have experimented with different crops and methods. The result has been a growing business, improved land, good food and a growing influence.

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