About the Author

Jenna Butler

Jenna Butler was born in Norwich, England, close to the North Sea. Her family emigrated to Canada in the early eighties, initially moving to Toronto and finally settling in Alberta. The sense of belonging to, and simultaneously not quite fitting into, two places—England and Canada—has heavily influenced her work, which often focuses on the varied landscapes of these two countries. Butler holds BA of Arts and B.Ed. degrees from the University of Alberta, in addition to an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. She is currently immersed in her Doctorate of Creative and Critical Writing from UEA under the supervision of contemporary British poet Denise Riley. She also runs her own poetry house, Rubicon Press, and teaches English at MacEwan University in Edmonton.

Books by this Author
A Profession of Hope

A Profession of Hope

Farming on the Edge of the Grizzly Trail
edition:Paperback
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Profession of Hope, A

Profession of Hope, A

Farming on the Edge of the Grizzly Trail
edition:eBook
tagged : essays
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Excerpt

This is not the story of a ready-made farm, complete with generations of history, carefully tended tools and sturdy clapboard farmhouse. Those came later, as we learned the stories of our county and added a cabin of our own to the land. That first summer, though, there was nothing to move into, and so we moved out. After our teaching jobs wrapped up for the summer, we spent every available moment out on the land. At its most basic, it was literally just us, an axe, a chainsaw and a quarter section of northern bush picked out in inquisitive moose.

This is what the small farm movement is all about. Inspiration. Diversity. Maybe a touch of madness: the desire to be out under the sky in all weather, to be working with our hands as much as possible, turning to big machinery only when necessary. When it comes down to it, it’s about hard work and long hours put in with the knowledge that in order to found our farm from nothing, it’s been necessary to hold other jobs in the wings, full-time jobs that also require energy. My husband and I are not extraordinary people. We’re everyday folk, and we’ve lived in a big city for most of our lives. But there’s a very specific love that drives us out here, that makes us want, more than anything, to be able to enrich our lives and those of others by working with this land, taking just what we need from a small corner while safeguarding the rest as a wild place for future generations. There’s an excitement about it all, not just about small-scale northern farming, but about what it can mean now, at this point in time, for this country. Paul Hawken, entrepreneur and environmental activist, frames it exactly: "When asked if I am pessimistic or optimistic about the future, my answer is always the same: if you look at the science about what is happening on earth and aren’t pessimistic, you don’t understand the data. But if you meet the people who are working to restore this earth and the lives of the poor, and you aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a pulse."

Welcome to the farm.

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Wells

Wells

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
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