The funny, inspiring story of a family who went from die-hard urbanites to bonafide farmers, to revolutionaries in good food and sustainable farming.
In an effort to ditch the rat race and live a life that was true to their values, Brent Preston left the city with his wife, Gillian Flies, and their two kids to start a farm. After a series of missteps and mishaps The New Farm became a beacon in the good food movement, an example of successful, sustainable agriculture. Brent shares the unquestionably hilarious story of his journey from city slicker to agrarian advocate, from turning the bathtub into a chicken coop (with malodorous results) to earning a respected reputation among North America's top chefs for the farm's organic produce.
At a time when readers are keenly aware of the overwhelming environmental, social and moral costs of our industrial food system, The New Farm offers a vision for a hopeful future, a model of agriculture that brings people together around good food and promotes a healthier planet.
BRENT PRESTON worked as a human rights investigator, aid worker, election observer and journalist on four continents before finding his true calling as a farmer. In 2003 he and his wife, Gillian Flies, abandoned successful careers in Toronto, packed up their two young children, and moved to a run-down farm outside Creemore, Ontario. Since then, they have built The New Farm into a thriving business and a leading light in the good food movement, providing organic vegetables to some of the best restaurants in Canada. Preston speaks often on food and farming issues, and writes for the Huffington Post.
“Brent Preston and his partner, Gillian Flies, are like the super supportive, always revered and forever humble god-parents of the new good food movement in Ontario. Brent’s book is as inspiring (and funny!) as he is and tells the story of his move into agriculture and what it takes to run The New Farm, one of Ontario’s favourite farms. It’s a beautiful, thoughtful book. If you love food as much as we do, you’ll love it.” —Ontario Culinary Tourism Alliance
“Preston’s book speaks to how quickly the foodscape has changed and where it may be headed. The memoir is both a book about the food system and a tell-all of his journey. . . . The ups, and mostly downs, he describes might have been a trial but they do make for a good read. Preston and Flies are strongly committed to being not just farmers, but sustainable farmers.” —The Globe and Mail
“A refreshingly honest, beautifully crafted story of family life on the front lines of the good-food economy, serving double duty as a handbook for those who dream of leaving the rat race. You will be inspired.” —Alisa Smith, co-author of The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating
“It's one thing to dream of leaving behind your career to follow a more sustainable path, but how many of us have the courage to actually make that leap? Brent Preston uses brilliant storytelling and brutal honesty to describe what it takes to create both a viable organic farm and a more meaningful life for himself and his family. The New Farm is the kind of book that will inspire people to make positive change.” —Arianna Huffington, founder of The Huffington Post and founder and CEO of Thrive Global
“This is a hilarious, deeply honest memoir, with profound insight into the ways in which small-scale agriculture can be a viable alternative to our havoc-wreaking current system. Now more than ever we need such wise and inspiring stories to guide us as we seek to build a more just and healthy world. I dare you to read this book and remain unmoved about the urgency for change.” —Nick Saul, president and CEO of Community Food Centres Canada
“This book has timely and important things to say about food and farming and building a more sustainable future, but it’s also a fantastic story about the new economy, a textbook case of doing well by doing good. The New Farm should be required reading for every Canadian entrepreneur.” —Arlene Dickinson, businesswoman, author, former co-host on Dragon’s Den
“Reading Brent’s book was as satisfying and as entertaining as learning the origin story of a favourite superhero. Delicious food starts with the best ingredients, and no one sets a higher standard for the food they grow than The New Farm. I hold Brent and Gillian in the same esteem as the best chefs I’ve worked with because they have forever changed the way I cook.” —Carl Heinrich, winner of Top Chef Canada