Books and Publications
Real Dirt: An Ex-Industrial Farmer’s Guide to Sustainable Eating
Real Dirt is a groundbreaking book for any reader interested in learning more about where food comes from. Harry Stoddart shares years of experience and knowledge in his quirky dissection of agriculture and what we eat. Among his many achievements, he has developed a farming system he believes is the starting point for genuinely sustainable agriculture. A sixth-generation farmer, Harry bought his parent’s swine confinement animal feeding operation two decades ago. He converted the farm to be a certified organic system and then to a new one he feels will transform the way we raise and grow our food. He shares this story and more with readers in Real Dirt: An Ex-industrial Farmer’s Guide to Sustainable Eating. Harry tackles the major food industry problems, delving into the science and economic issues surrounding sustainable farming. He navigates the “whys” and “hows” of GMOs, resistance-building doses of antibiotics, pesticides, and confinement animal housing, while elaborating on how he damaged the environment more in his first years as an organic farmer than as a conventional farmer. Harry skillfully educates eaters about how they can individually participate in and demand sustainable agriculture. Real Dirt challenges consumers to choose a better future for food production.
“I found it very persuasive on many points. Also well written and clear and funny. Congratulations– it’s an important contribution to the conversation.”
– Michael Pollan, Author of Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (2013) and New York Times bestseller Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (2010)
“The most important person to read the message contained in these pages is every consumer, and that’s you! Your life will be better for it….You may be shocked but you won’t be disappointed.”
– Elwood Quinn, La Ferme Quinn, Rare Breeds Canada
“[Real Dirt] provides the casual reader with a thoughtful and deeper understanding as to how society can have an impact on the way our food is produced…. Read it – you will be informed, entertained and find a personal role for your involvement in our food production practices.”
– Dr. Frank Ingratta, Retired Deputy Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, Ontario
“Real Dirt is a thoughtful and well researched look at our agriculture and food system…Real Dirt is a must read for anyone who is actually interested in learning about and discussing how to improve our food system for the long term.”
– Rob Hannam, Owner, Synthesis Agri-Food Network.
The Crazy Optimists Acting to Reverse Climate Change
– Coming in 2024.
Harry Stoddart returns to the keyboard after a decade hiatus since publishing his first book – the 5.0 star on Amazon “Real Dirt: An Ex-Industrial Farmer’s Guide to Sustainable Eating.” This time his focus is local action by global citizens to implement changes that tackle the existential threat of our time – climate change. He continues his tradition of a chatty narrative style blended with the science behind the stories. The central message of the book is one of hope. Hope for a future where everyday people take action and contribute solutions that together are making a material difference.
“…..Some have taken issue with my use of the adjective “crazy” in the title to describe the central figures in each of these stories. I’m not sure there is a better word to describe people who chose to tackle a problem that seemed intractable to those around them. The Waterman of India was working with three friends in a remote village providing medical care and education when an elder explained to him how it was possible to restore the water cycle. Of the four of them, he was the only one who chose to start digging and recreating one of the johad structures. I expect the villagers questioned his sanity – an educated man from another part of India was voluntarily doing hard labour to restore a structure that hadn’t been used for more than a generation. Or how do you think a future Nobel Peace Prize winner was viewed when she first started talking about her vision for the Great Green Wall of Africa – a band of trees stretching from the Atlantic to the Indian Ocean to stop the encroaching Sahara desert? The people behind these projects had to have a strength of character, a vision, an optimism, and a thought process that was outside of their fellow citizens to pursue and persevere with these projects. There were hundreds, if not thousands or hundreds of thousands of other people living in the same place, seeing the same challenges and possibly even seeing the same solutions but they chose not to act. This group of people cuts across nations, across economic wherewithal, across education levels, across gender, across vocations. The only thing that unites them is action. They saw a problem and decided to act to reduce the impact of the problem.”