Reviewed Here:You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Start and $ucceed in a Farming Enterprise By Joel Salatin Published by Chelsea Green Books in 1998
Thanks to John Mardlin for this guest book review.
You Can Farm: The Entrepreneurs Guide to Start and $ucceed in a Farming Enterprise was written before Joel Salatin's rise to rock star status in the small-scale farming world. The book's title says it all: the book focuses on how to start and sustain a farming operation, without having to live in poverty or be held hostage by agribusiness.
You Can Farm is more like a motivational self-actualization book than it is an operations manual, though it does contain plenty of guidance on how to design and operate a farm business, including apprenticing, renting land, buying land, choosing what to produce and marketing it. Salatin is a meat farmer, and the book details a lot of his operations. But Salatin's main focus is the mindset necessary to succeed in your own farm business.
Part of the appeal of the book--and what makes it quite readable--is how much Salatin's voice comes through in his writing. He's a larger than life character, like some combination of Tony Robbins and Don Cherry, thrust upon an unsuspecting farming world. This guy is not from Vancouver Island; no, he's from VIR-JINYA! He is a self-described "Christian, libertarian, environmentalist, capitalist, lunatic farmer" and he's not reserved in expressing his views, though for me this only adds to the amusement factor.
This book is especially for those who're sitting on the sidelines, wishing they were farming, or those just setting out. But it's great for the established farmer as well. Salatin will give you a good kick in the ass to identify what you should be doing to realize your farming goals, and to start doing it. So you say you want to be a farmer? Salatin's book responds: "What are you doing NOW, to get there"?