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Reclaiming the Commons: Community Farms and Forests in a New England Town

By Brian Donahue
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Book Details
  • Author: Brian Donahue
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Published: 1999-08-11
  • Edition: 1st
This book is a lively account of a community working to combat suburban sprawl, to protect a large part of the landscape as common land, & to enjoy the land productively in an ecologically sustainable way. Based on the practical experience of one New England town, the book urges suburban environmentalists to go beyond preserving open space to actively engaging people with the places where they live. Brian Donahue, an environmental historian, in 1980 was a founder of Land's Sake, a community farm in Weston, Massachusetts. Working with the town's Conservation Commission, Land's Sake cultivates a twenty-five-acre organic fruit, flower, & vegetable farm, makes apple cider & maple syrup, maintains a sixty-five-mile trail system, harvests firewood & timber from fifteen hundred acres of town forest, & has kept draft horses & sheep. Donahue recounts the joys & sorrows of farming the suburbs. But beneath the light hearted tales of sheep straying into tennis courts & middle-school students tapping sugar maples in the town cemetery runs an incisive ecological history of New England & a penetrating analysis of how to live responsibly with this difficult but rewarding land. Donahue concludes with a call for all places to protect common land & establish community farms-especially in the suburbs, where most Americans live & where, like it or not, environmentalists may make their most lasting mark on the world.

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