Field days


Jonah Raskin




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Farm life

University of California Press

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Field days

College professor Raskin spent a year working at Oak Hill Farm in California’s Sonoma County, documenting what makes the place a success in an era that values local, organic, sustainable agriculture. Founded by dedicated conservationists, Oak Hill Farm and the people who labor in its fields typify contemporary attitudes toward food production. He talked to farm workers from all over Sonoma, even to a couple of dedicated, knowledgeable Mexican laborers who lack legal status. Each of Raskin’s subjects has some unique history, but they are united in their love for what they perceive as a fulfilling rural lifestyle. Idealizing the role of agriculture, they formed close bonds with the land, their animals, and with those who buy their produce. As Raskin notes, with tongue in cheek, every farmer in the area claims to be a supplier for Alice Waters’ celebrated Berkeley restaurant, Chez Panisse.

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