Gold in the Grass

Rags to Riches Through Soil Reclamation and Sustainable Farming

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by Margaret F. Leatherbarrow

Norton Creek Press, September 2008, 218 pages. Suggested retail price, $17.99 (Kindle $4.97). ISBN 0972177051.

As World War II was ending, Alfred Leatherbarrow, a wounded Canadian veteran, and his nurse, Margaret, fell in love, married, bought their dream farm—and discovered that their crops would not grow. The farm’s soil had been exhausted through years of destructive tillage practices. Faced with certain defeat, they used innovative farming techniques—including a prototype forage harvester to gather grass for silage—to restore the fertility of their farm. This early experiment in sustainable agriculture not only saved the farm in a rags-to-riches turnaround, but showed other farmers in their region how to pull out of the death spiral of decreasing fertility, yields, and income.

Gold in the Grass is a love story, a back-to-the-land adventure, and an inspirational example of how conservation tillage can restore the fertility of a used-up farm. This is a great book, and has spent far too many of its fifty years out of print.

Gold in the Grass is an example of the Norton Creek Press motto: “Most of the best books are out of print and forgotten, but we can fix that!”


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