Gaining Ground: a Story of Farmers' Markets, Local Food, and Saving the Family Farm

Forrest Pritchad
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Jun 12, 2014

In many ways, I love Pritchard’s story of rebuilding his family farm. Against the advice of pretty much everyone, Pritchard takes up farming the land that his parents could never make a living off of. Gaining Ground is his amazing journey. He starts off with crushing debt, little help, and no plan. Through trial and error, trial and error, and then a little more trial and error, Pritchard finds a way to make the farm not only his own, but profitable for the first time in many years.

Yet, as Pritchard waxes poetic about saving the family farm, he omits even the significant details of his family life. His parents play a strong role, as the farm was theirs first. But Pritchard’s wife and children are barely a blip on the radar. How did we get to page 316 of 317 pages before we learn he has a son in second grade?

While it’s impossible to know what might have been cut by an editor, I would have liked to see Pritchard strike a balance between the story of the farm, the story of Pritchard, and the story of the family farm.

Still, fans of Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Keith Stewart’s It’s a Long Road to a Tomato; and Novella Carpenter’s Farm City will enjoy this story of triumph over convention.

Reviewed by Helen H.
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