I finished Larding the Lean Earth
. The epilogue was my favorite part because it offered a way forward, a way to reintroduce the idea of a sustainable natural cycle into agriculture. It briefly describes the life and farm of David Kline, an Amish dairy farmer in Fredericksburg, Ohio (whom I’ve mentioned before
As Wendell Berry describes it, Kline enjoys “the leisure of the ungreedy self-employed.” There is a completeness, a wholeness to his everyday life, an easy interplay of work and play, body and mind, natural and cultivated. It’s a life rich with being and doing – free from might-have-beens and should-have-dones.
Kline also talks about the economics of farming the way he does. Without expensive machinery, fertilizers and pesticides, he never risks losing his farm by taking on huge loans. With a strong network of community support, he can get sick without worrying he’ll lose everything. At $20,000 a year, he won’t ever get “rich,” but he and his neighbors have never noticed a “crisis” in farming.