Bringing it to the Table by Wendell Berry and I'm already loving it.
Here is a glimpse of the greatness:
"Of course, agriculture must be productive; that is a requirement as urgent as it is obvious. But urgent as it is, it is not the first requirement; there are two more requirements equally important and equally urgent. One is that if agriculture is to remain productive, it must preserve the land, and the fertility and ecological health of the land; the land, that is, must be used well. A further requirement, therefore, is that if the land is to be used well, the people who use it must know it well, must be highly motivated to use it well, and must know how to use it well, must have time to use it well, and must be able to afford to use it well."
That is what I hope to do someday. I aspire to be a small scale farmer, eating only what I grow and maybe being a regular seller at a farmers market. That's the dream, anyway.
And, Berry sums up in a paragraph one of the main reasons I am a vegetarian:
"To concentrate food-producing animals in large numbers in one place inevitably separates them from the sources of their feed. Pasture and barnyard animals are removed from their old places in the order of a diversified farm, where they roamed about in some freedom, foraging to a significant extent for their own food, grazing in open pastures, or recycling barnyard and household wastes. Confined in the pens of animal factories, they are made dependent almost exclusively upon grains which are grown in large monocultures, at a now generally recognized ecological cost, and which must be transported to the animals sometimes over long distances. Animal factories are energy-wasting enterprises flourishing in a time when we need to be thinking of energy conservation."
If you haven't read Wendell Berry, you should make a trip to your local library right now. Seriously.