The good life at fifty cents an hour on a southern Illinois dairy farm
“The river was in God’s hands, the cows in ours.” So passed the days on Indian Farm, a dairy operation on 720 acres of rich Illinois bottomland. In this collection, Alan Guebert and his daughter-editor Mary Grace Foxwell recall Guebert’s years on the land working as part of that all-consuming collaborative effort known as the family farm.
Here are Guebert’s tireless parents, measuring the year not in months but in seasons for sewing, haying, and doing the books; Jackie the farmhand, needing ninety minutes to do sixty minutes’ work and cussing the entire time; Hoard the dairyman, sore fingers wrapped in electrician’s tape, sharing wine and the prettiest Christmas tree ever; and the unflappable Uncle Honey, spreading mayhem via mistreated machinery, flipped wagons, and the careless union of diesel fuel and fire.
Guebert’s heartfelt and humorous reminiscences depict the hard labor and simple pleasures to be found in ennobling work, and show that in life, as in farming, Uncle Honey had it right with his succinct philosophy for overcoming adversity: “the secret’s not to stop.”
“Alan Guebert is one of America’s finest writers on the workings and the politics of our food system. This book eloquently describes a rural way of life that’s been lost. But the values of that world–family, community, social justice, a respect for the land–are timeless.”–Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation
“Alan Guebert, our most astute commentator on American farm and food policy, brings the same intelligence, sensitivity, and humor to his own memories. In The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey, he’s created an enduring portrait of a farm and a family.”–Dan Barber, chef and co-owner, Blue Hill and Blue Hill at Stone Barns
“The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey is a memoir, the recollections of a farm boy who grew up and had experiences so much like my own that it is scary. That is by way of saying that it is as authentic, honest, accurate portrayal of farm life on an American dairy farm in the last half of the twentieth century as you can find anywhere.”--Gene Logsdon, author of Gene Everlasting: A Contrary Farmer’s Thoughts on Living Forever
“Alan Guebert is the rare writer who eloquently combines his personal story and journey with where agriculture is headed. With humor and honesty Guebert tells like it is–and gives his readers the tools to fight for a food and agriculture system that is fair for farmers and workers and safe and healthy for eaters. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to hear the story of food from someone who has been following it for the last three decades.”–Danielle Nierenberg, President, Food Tank
“Alan is a rare gift to farmers and non-farmers alike since he provides down-home wisdom that helps us all make sense of the important, but often misunderstood food and farm issues. The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey is a treasure–the best of the best.”–Fred Kirschenmann, author of Cultivating an Ecological Conscience
“A wonderful piece of work. It’s authentic and highly descriptive without being smothered in adjectives. It’s also personal and reflective without being overly sentimental. A celebration of a life well lived even if some day-to-day aspects of that life were challenging and exhausting.”–Fred Myers, winner, Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Agriculture Editors’ Association