Wisdom of the Last Farmer: Harvesting Legacies from the Land by David Mas Masumoto

Book CoverWisdom of the Last Farmer: Harvesting Legacies from the Land, David Mas Masumoto (Free Press, 2010)

When Slow Food activist David Mas Masumoto’s father has a stroke in the sprawling fields of their farm, the reality of his father’s mortality drives Masumoto to reevaluate the significance and meaning of farming in an information-driven, modern world. As Masumoto nurses his father back to health, and becomes a teacher to the master who had once schooled him, he reclaims the practical and emotional wisdom that they and their ancestors had learned from working the land. Realizing that he himself needs to pass on a wealth of knowledge to the next generation, he writes this impassioned narrative—part memoir, part life instruction—about re-connecting to the land.

In Wisdom of the Last Farmer, Masumoto farms stories as he farms peaches—finding the natural connections between families and farming, fathers and children, booms and declines, and relating them to larger, more sweeping themes of life, death, and renewal. His insights are beautiful, lyrical descriptions on how to nurture both the tangible and intangible and make them grow—and when to step back, surrender, and let nature or the market take over. Through Masumoto’s quiet eloquence, we see how our own destinies are involved in the future of our food, the land, and the farm.

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Chelsea Green