Real Dirt: An Ex-Industrial Farmer’s Guide to Sustainable Eating

Real Dirt coverReal Dirt: An Ex-Industrial Farmer’s Guide to Sustainable Eating will be released September 26, 2013.

Synopsis: Two identical meals are on the table in front of you. Your grandchildren’s supply of food depends on which one you choose. One meal has contributed to greenhouse gas emissions, soil erosion, desertification and environmental degradation. The other has sequestered carbon, built soil, reclaimed land lost to desertification and contributed to enhancing the environment.

They contain identical ingredients yet one enhances the availability of food in the future and the other diminishes it. This is not a theoretical exercise. This choice confronts you three times every day.

Real Dirt: An Ex-Industrial Farmer’s Guide to Sustainable Eating is the first book to tackle the choices from the perspective of a farmer who has been both a conventional industrial farmer and a certified organic farmer. The author started farming by buying his parent’s industrial pork farm but gradually transitioned his practises to certified organic and then moved beyond organic to a system he believes provides a starting point for sustainable agriculture. Harry explains why he used genetically modified organisms, resistance building doses of antibiotics, pesticides and confinement animal housing. He also explains why he has made changes to his production methods, including sound scientific research to back his conclusions.

The book tackles all the major issues with food and fibre production looking at the warts and benefits of both industrial and organic agriculture.

The backdrop for the discussion is the author’s personal experiences wrestling with many of the issues directly as he made the management decisions on his farm. He pulls back the drapes on an industry clouded by myth, stereotype and empty rhetoric. The reader will learn why he faced bankruptcy twice and how he managed to avoid it both times. He provides a frank discussion of the mistakes and decisions he made, including why he believes he did more environmental damage in his first years as an organic farmer than he did in his years as a conventional farmer.

The final chapters describe a vision for a food production system that is sustainable in the true meaning of the word and a path from here to there. Harry’s views challenge both the conventional and organic agriculture paradigms. Ultimately, he challenges eaters to choose a sustainable future for food production.


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