The Planter of Modern Life: Louis Bromfield and the Seeds of a Food Revolution

Norton. Apr. 2020. 304p. ISBN 9781324001898. $26.95. NAT HIST
Heyman, former editor at T: The New York Times Style Magazine, delves into the life of Louis Bromfield, an early 20th-century, Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist in Europe and the United States, who was among the most successful writers of his generation but eventually faded into obscurity, becoming arguably more well-known for his abilities as a farmer than his literary achievements. Bromfield ultimately devoted his life to protecting and cultivating land as a precious resource, an early champion of conservationism. Inspired by the simple yet rich life of farmers in France, Bromfield cultivated gardens there and eventually moved to Ohio to establish Malbar Farm. There, he signaled the alarm about the harmful impacts of chemicals and advocated for the humane treatment of livestock, igniting a movement that has been influential to the current organic focus on farming and food.
VERDICT An inspiring read for anyone interested in the historical roots of organic farming as told through a biographical narrative.

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