The family farm lies at the heart of our national identity, yet its future is in peril. Rick Hammond grew up on a small ranch, and for forty years he has raised cattle and crops on his wife’s fifth-generation homestead in York County, Nebraska, in hopes of passing it on to their four children. But as the handoff nears, their small family farm—and their entire way of life—are under siege. Rising corporate ownership of land and livestock is forcing small farmers to get bigger and bigger, assuming more debt and more risk. At the same time, after nearly a decade of record-high corn and soybean prices, the bottom has dropped out of the markets, making it ever harder for small farmers to shoulder their loans. All the while, the Hammonds are confronted by encroaching pipelines, groundwater depletion, climate change, and shifting trade policies. Far from an isolated refuge beyond the reach of global events, the family farm is increasingly at the crossroads of emerging technologies and international detente.
Following the Hammonds from harvest to harvest, Ted Genoways explores this rapidly changing landscape of small, traditional farming operations, mapping as it unfolds day to day. This Blessed Earth is both a concise exploration of the history of the American small farm and a vivid, nuanced portrait of one family’s fight to preserve their legacy and the life they love.
February Book Club Discussion
Please join us on
Wednesday February 20, at 10:00 a.m.
for a discussion of
Growing up laughing: My story and the story of funny
by Marlo Thomas
The F Street door will be open at 9:45 that morning.
Everyone is welcome!
Bring your own copy of the book, or check one out from the library!
Growing Up Laughing: My Story and the Story of Funny is a book that only Marlo Thomas could write–a smart and gracious, witty and confident autobiographical journey. For as long as Marlo Thomas can remember, she’s lived with laughter. Born to comedy royalty–TV and nightclub star Danny Thomas–she grew up among legendary funny men, carved much of her career in comedy and, to this day, surrounds herself with people who love and live to make others laugh. In this long-awaited memoir, Thomas takes us on a funny and heartwarming adventure, from her Beverly Hills childhood, to her groundbreaking creation of “That Girl” and “Free to Be . . . You and Me,” to her rise as one of America’s most beloved actress-comediennes, to her marriage to talk-show king Phil Donahue. Her youth was star-studded–Milton Berle performed magic tricks (badly) at her backyard birthday parties. George Burns, Bob Hope, Sid Caesar, Bob Newhart and other great comics passed countless hours gathered around her family’s dinner table. And behind it all was the rich laughter nurtured by a close and loving family.”Growing Up Laughing” is not just the story of an iconic entertainer, but also the story of comedy. In a voice that is curious, generous and often gleeful, Thomas not only opens the doors on the funny in her own life, but also explores the comic roots of today’s most celebrated comedians, in personal interviews with: Alan Alda, Joy Behar, Stephen Colbert, Billy Crystal, Tina Fey, Whoopi Goldberg, Kathy Griffin, Jay Leno, George Lopez, Elaine May, Conan O’Brien, Don Rickles, Joan Rivers, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld, Jon Stewart, Ben and Jerry Stiller, Lily Tomlin, Robin Williams and Steven Wright.