A friend who knows of my interest in urban farming recently gave me a great stack of garden & farming books — I love dear friends who introduce me to new books, and even better when they loan them to me! I knew I wouldn’t be able to get through the full stack, so I picked the one that looked the most promising, and it didn’t disappoint. A Time to Plant: Life Lessons in Work, Prayer & Dirt, by Kyle T. Kramer, is a memoir about his experience starting his own farm, and the lessons he learned along the way.
The publisher summarizes the book much more eloquently than I can, so I’ll leave it to them:
“In the spring of 2000, Kramer, an earnest and high-achieving private school teacher in Atlanta, decided to forego a promising academic career. Instead, he heeded the voices of the unlikely prophets in his life and purchased a block of hardscrabble land in southern Indiana in order to start a small farm. Tending it back to health one difficult lesson at a time, Kramer founded Genesis Organic Farm, built a self-sustaining and environmentally friendly home, and began to fully embrace the Benedictine traditions of physical labor, prayer, and hospitality.”
In addition to being a novice farmer, Kramer is also a novice writer, which makes the book all the more authentic. It’s an easy read — I zipped through it in a few days — and it feels like you’re listening to a friend tell you about his (mis)adventures over a beer after a long day on the farm. He also weaves spirituality and his call to a higher purpose throughout the book, so it’s more than just the nuts-and-bolts of dirtwork.
As we slog through the cold weather months with nothing to do out in the garden, this book helps bring nature inside, and keeps the garden embers warm until we can get back outside again.