Michael Ableman - sustainable agriculture, organic farming

Michael Ableman's Writing & Photography

On Good Land, by Michael Ableman

On Good Land: The Autobiography of an Urban Farm, Chronicle Books, 1998

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"Lyrical tale of the survival and triumph of a small farm amid the suburban sprawl of southern California, with writing as rich and satisfying as the taste of a ripe melon.
. . Among a sprawl of books incessantly issued and hyped, this small, wise volume quietly calls to us to read and be renewed."
- Kirkus Reviews

"A wonderful harvest of anecdote, practical information and, most of all, deeply rooted detail of farm life and lofty goals."
- Publisher's Weekly

"Inspiring and utterly absorbing. Deserves to be widely read and seriously pondered."
- Booklist

"Even city folks will find something to savor in this . . . poetic account of [the] cultivation of Fairview Gardens in Southern California."
- Chicago Tribune (Selected as Editor's Choice)

"humorous, instructive tale . . . approachable and down to earth"
- Los Angeles Times

"A delightful book about the role of urban agriculture and its importance to the community."
- Library Journal

"Ableman [is a] gracious rebel who know[s] that industrialized farming wrings the life out of both soil and communities. [His] joy in stewardship and in people celebrates that life is being restored, a psychic sustainability that won't appear on spreadsheets. . . . should be read by everyone interested in food production and food policy from the small farmer to the secretary of agriculture and members of Congress."
- Sierra, Magazine of the Sierra Club

"Finally! The family farmer that city folk can understand. . . . hip yet down home . . ."
- The Yale Review of Books

". . . mixes farming wisdom with tales of political activism . . . inspiring memoir"
- The Utne Reader

"Ableman tells the unlikely survival story . . . of caretaking a century-old farm . . . augmented by his evocative photographs--rows of tasseled corn at sunset, barefoot children herding chickens, dinners on plank tables under avocado trees, peach orchards in bloom. They might have been made on any remote, rural farm, but they were all made in the heart of suburbia."
- Gannett News Service

"On Good Land is not only a paean to the joys and importance of organic farming; it is also a photographic scrapbook of the beauty of plants and a source for excellent advice. "
- Santa Barbara News Press

"With great humor, [Ableman] describes his mistakes and missteps, and with beautiful photographs, he explains his growing obsession with farming a piece of land he didn't own. . . . On Good Land is an important book on many levels. Ableman argues articulately for farmland preservation; at the same time, he provides a blueprint for a farm that thrives in cooperation with surrounding development. On another plane entirely, Ableman describes in beautiful prose and arresting color photographs the joys of farming. Every [person] who cares about farmland preservation should have a copy of this book, displayed prominently, to help educate others about how much is at stake."
- Growing for Market

"A rich, loamy story . . . On Good Land conserves the endangered knowledge of "how to love a place"; it takes the measure of one path to reconnecting with a sustainable future."
- Santa Barbara Independent

". . . wonderful new book . . . Ableman's easy style and exquisite color photos illuminate the joys and frustrations of farming."
- Agrarian Advocate

". . .the book recounts [Ableman's] joy in farming, his love letter to the earth as he built the soil, expanded the plantings and made a place that was both bountiful and beautiful."
- Santa Cruz County Sentinel

"This is a gem of a book. . . . inspirational . . ."
- HopeDance Magazine

". . . handsome prose . . . keen insights . . . "
- Fort Lewis Washington Ranger

"Ableman writes the story of his farm passionately . . ."
- Montgomery Advertiser  

"Ableman's story is inspiring . . . the photography is outstanding . . . designed to be savored . . ."
- Yes! A Journal of Positive Futures 

". . . gives excellent insight into gaining community support to save farmland for farms . . . thought-provoking. . . enjoyable to read . . ."
- Small Farm Today Magazine

"The tale is emblematic of the plight of small farms in America today."
- Ecology Action Newsletter

". . . the story is a plea for everything to slow down so that we can smell the flowers (or compost, soil, or tree-ripe fruit) and begin to see and understand the minute signals that announce both stability and change in the biological community."
- Science Books and Films

". . . handsome . . . lush with photographs. . . This book should remind us not to wait until our urban edge farms become islands in a sea of housing developments before we think about preserving them."
- The Land Stewardship Letter

". . . tells the story remarkable story of Fairview {Gardens] struggle for survival, and of the awakening of a community to the riches of a local farm. . . . Funny, inspiring and educational . . ."
- Conscious Choice

". . . absorbing and courageous tale . . . Ableman's struggle is profoundly moving. . . . proves that sustainable agriculture is still possible. And profitable, in all senses of the word."
- Boulder Planet

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