Back to the Land

Our line of back-to-the-land books includes three books: Ten Acres Enough, Gold in the Grass, and We Wanted a Farm. These are entertaining, thought-provoking, useful, and provide charming slices of Americana that are impossible to get any other way.

Ten Acres Enough by Edmund Morris is a wonderful book, a classic back-to-the-land adventure from 1864 that has been reprinted over the years by several publishers. Morris was a newspaper publisher in Philadelphia who yearned to get out of the high pressure of the news business and live a simpler, healthier life in the country. He found a little farm that was just an hour away from the city and, after some false starts, he and his family made an excellent living on just ten acres.

Because the passage of time has made this book increasingly inaccessible, we have copy-edited it from end to end so it will make sense to today’s readers.

Gold in the Grass by Margaret Leatherbarrow is a back-to-the-land adventure from 1954, (almost a centurey after Ten Acres Enough). It tells the rags-to-riches story about wounded WWII soldier Alfred Leatherbarrow and his nurse Margaret, who fell in love in the hospital, got married, and bought a played-out farm that everyone thought was too far gone to provide them with a living. Alfred and Margaret finally succeed after adopting soil reclamation and sustainable farming techniques.

We Wanted a Farm is a forgotten classic by M. G. Kains, author of “Five Acres and Independence.” It is full of anecdote and tells the tale of his three-step back-to-the-land program, where he first moved from Manhattan to a rented house in the suburbs (where he raised a big garden), then a purchased house in the suburbs (where he planted a bigger garden with plenty of berries and fruit trees), and finally a move to the country, where he went into orcharding in a big way. Very entertaining, especially the chapter about the on-farm uses of dynamite!


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