Why We Farm is a book for people who want to know the whole truth about life as a modern day farmer. Each chapter features a different model of farming. Farmers share the stories behind their work and their lives on the farm; the business side of production, the personal challenges they face, and offer words of advice for the would-be-farmer. DiBrigit asks hard questions and gives a reverent yet realistic picture of a thriving local food system.

  • Meet the young woman who started her own farm with just $6,000.
  • Learn how one farmer makes a living from a one-acre crop. 
  • Find out how four partners turned their desire to make a positive impact on the world into a thriving, multi-generational business.
  • Read about people who chose to start farming in their retirement. 
  • See how livestock ranchers are adopting ecologically beneficial methods.
  • Includes sidebars with useful information for new farmers!

Foreword by Craig McNamara – President, CA State Board of Food & Agriculture




  • “I read through the whole thing! It’s a wonderful story of the farms in the Valley. “
    Judith Redmond

  • “I’m always so amazed at the variety and success of all the agricultural businesses in the valley. It is an amazing story and deserves to be told.”
    Ralph Blaine

  • “Really enjoyable reading, and a fascinating education for me.”
    Aaron Sikes

  • “I read through the whole thing! It’s a wonderful story of the farms in the Valley. “
    Judith Redmo

The Book

Do you wish you were farming? Or do you want to know more about why and how your local farmer makes a living off the land?
Here is an easily accessible book of interviews that features fifteen farmers, each with different agricultural methods and business models.
From conventional to organic, Permaculture to Big Ag, from wholesale to mail-order, from single crop to wide product diversity, this little book covers them all.

Purchase with these links




             Or purchase through IndieBound, and still support your local bookstore! 


                                                                                               (Retailers can find the book at IngramSpark.)

Excerpt from the Introduction:

The history of agriculture is just one act of human ingenuity after another, and this continues into the present day. Many of the farmers I interviewed for this book are experimenting constantly. They are trying out various ways to deal with drought conditions, such as no-till methods and the use of different cover crops. They are following new research about soil microbes and integrated pest manage- ment. At the same time, they are navigating complex issues such as labor laws and water rights.

I was deeply impressed with the farmers I met, as people and professionals. I wanted to know more about the impulse that got these people started in farming, and the realities of their daily work. I saw them working long hours in any weather and then working overtime to drive their produce to market, not to mention raising children and participating in community organizations. I wondered, How did they manage it all? Were they really making a living? What circumstances helped them to succeed? These are the types of questions I asked in my interviews.

This book offers anecdotal stories about farmers from one valley, each practicing different agricultural methods: from conventional to organic, from wholesale to mail order, from single specialty crop to wide product diversity. There are stories of young farmers and old farmers, single-family farms and corporations. There are farmers with state of the art technology, and others using only hand tools and walk-behind tillers. The profession of farming certainly has no one “right” way.


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