Farms with a Future: Creating and Growing a Sustainable Farm Business

Farms with a Future: Creating and Growing a Sustainable Farm Business


By (author) Rebecca Thistlethwaite

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  • Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Co
  • Format: Paperback | 284 pages
  • Dimensions: 175mm x 251mm x 20mm | 680g
  • Publication date: 10 January 2013
  • Publication City/Country: White River Junction
  • ISBN 10: 1603584382
  • ISBN 13: 9781603584388
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations, black & white line drawings, index, bibliography
  • Sales rank: 153,870

Product description

What makes a farm sustainable and successful? And what special qualities and skills are needed for someone to become a successful farmer? Rebecca Thistlethwaite addresses these and other crucial questions in this uniquely important book, which is a must-read for anyone who aspires to get into farming, or who wants to make their farm business more dynamic, profitable, and, above all, sustainable. Over an entire year, the author and her husband-experienced farmers themselves-took a sabbatical and traveled the length and breadth of the United States to live and work alongside some of the nation's most innovative farmers. Along the way they learned about best practices, and a whole lot about what doesn't work. Farms with a Future shares this collective wisdom in an inspirational yet practical manner; it will help beginners avoid many of the common mistakes that first-time farmers make. Just as importantly, it discusses positive ideas that can help make any farm enterprise vibrant and financially profitable. Profiles of more than a dozen representative farms help round out the invaluable information and encourage farmers to embrace their inner entrepreneur. Younger growers, in particular, will benefit by learning about "the right stuff" from both their peers and longtime experts.This book provides a useful reference for beginning and experienced farmers alike. While many other books address agricultural production, there are very few that talk about business management for long-term sustainability. Farms with a Future offers an approachable, colorful take on building a triple-bottom-line farming business.

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Author information

Rebecca Thistlethwaite is the author of Farms with a Future. She runs a small farm and food business consulting firm called Sustain Consulting and is starting a small homestead in Oregon with her husband, Jim Dunlop, and their daughter Fiona. They previously operated TLC Ranch in Watsonville, CA, where they raised organic, pastured livestock and poultry for direct markets across Northern California. Rebecca currently serves on the board of the Sustainable Food Trade Association as well as the Columbia Gorge Earth Center and writes for blogs such as "Cooking Up a Story" and her own blog "Honest Meat." Her other recent pursuits include training oxen, holistic financial planning, and learning how to make fermented foods. Her website is

Review quote

ForeWord Reviews-As a farmer and sustainable agriculture consultant, Rebecca Thistlethwaite understands how important it is to share information about small farmers who have redefined success, finding ways to sustain their families, their communities, and the planet. The stories of innovative farmers who have embraced their 'inner entrepreneur' fill this collection and serve as ample inspiration for readers who are dreaming of their own farming ventures, as well as those who are searching for new approaches. With chapters organized around specific principles such as "Identifying Your Market Niche" and "Harvesting and Processing," the emphasis of Thistlethwaite's book is incorporating necessary tools for survival and profit in a family-based business. Each chapter contains photographs of the farms and farmers, which helps drive home for the reader that these are real people who have--through sacrifice, planning, and hard work--found ways to farm that supports their values. Additionally, each chapter ends with 'Take-Home Messages, ' a bulleted summary of dos and don'ts that affirm much of what each family farm story demonstrates. A superior book for its information, organization, and examples, Farms with a Future is essential for dreamers who intend to be doers, and doers who are seeking more creative dreaming.