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9780811819213

On Good Land: The Autobiography of an Urban Farm

Ableman, Michael

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9780811819213: On Good Land: The Autobiography of an Urban Farm

In the heart of suburban Santa Barbara, where land is pricey and a field is worth more covered with asphalt than arugula, asparagus, and apple trees, thrives Fairview Gardens, a small organic farm managed for the past 18 years by Michael Ableman. On Good Land, an engrossing read, chronicles the life of the 100-year-old farm -- from its history to Ableman's first glimpse of the land to the current struggle to save it from development. Blending photographs, philosophy, humor, and practical knowledge, Ableman brings the reader into the everyday world of a small farm. With him we prune peach trees, harvest peppers, journey to the farmer's market, and fight city hall. Part memoir, part photojournalistic montage, On Good Land reveals one man's love of the land and his struggle to protect it, and to spread the word about the importance of practicing sustainable agriculture and preserving our farms in an increasingly urban world.

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Review:

A dramatic pair of pictures opens this book: aerial shots of Fairview Gardens Farm, near Goleta, California, first in 1954, then in 1998. Once part of thousands of acres of farmland, Fairview Gardens is now entirely surrounded by tract homes, strip malls, and all the conveniences of modern suburban life. This 12.5-acre oasis exists only because Michael Ableman has steadfastly refused to let it be gobbled up by the relentless bulldozers. His story is funny, fierce, inspiring, and infuriating. His success, tempered by ample setbacks, will be of practical use to anybody seeking to preserve farmland from suburban sprawl. This powerful love story about a man and a place is especially moving because the land is not his: for most of the past 17 years, Ableman has been a tenant farmer at Fairview Gardens. Few people would put so much sweat and soul into borrowed land, yet to Ableman, ownership is irrelevant--it is the rich, beautiful land itself, and the sweet, slow food it produces for him, that matters. --Ann Lovejoy

About the Author:

Michael Ableman is the founder of the Center for Urban Agriculture at Fairview Gardens. Now surrounded by urban development, the farm continues to produce some 100 varieties of fruits and vegetables, as well as eggs, cheeses, and breads. A columnist for National Gardening, Ableman is also the author of From the Good Earth. He lives in Goleta, California, where he is trying to raise enough money to buy the farm when the lease expires this year. Check out Chronicle's exclusive Web site interview w

Alice Waters is the founder and proprietor of Berkeley's Chez Panisse restaurant and the author of several acclaimed cookbooks.

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Ableman, Michael Author
Published by Chronicle Books (1998)
ISBN 10: 0811819213 ISBN 13: 9780811819213
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Ableman, Michael Author
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Book Description Chronicle Books, 1998. Book Condition: New. Brand New, Unread Copy in Perfect Condition. A+ Customer Service! Summary: In the heart of suburban Santa Barbara, where a field is worth more covered in asphalt than vegetables, thrives Fairview Gardens, an organic farm managed for the past 18 years by Michael Ableman. Chronicling the farm's 100-year history, Ableman blends photographs, philosophy, humor, and practical knowledge. The reader is drawn into the everyday world of the farm, as Ableman fights city hall to save it from development. 50 color photos. Bookseller Inventory # ABE_book_new_0811819213

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