Silver Medalist in Green Living and Sustainability from Nautilus “Better Books for a Better World” Awards
Finalist for Story Circle Network’s Sarton Memoir Award
A Bushel’s Worth: An Ecobiography by Kayann Short is a memoir of reunion with her grandmothers’ farming past through community supported agriculture and a call to action for preserving local farmland today. Published by Torrey House Press, A Bushel’s Worth is a Rocky Mountain Land Library selection and archived in the Institute of Regional Studies collection at North Dakota State University. A Bushel’s Worth is available in print or digital versions wherever books are sold.
“This memoir of life on a postmodern farm brought tears to my eyes. Hope-filled and moving.” — Tod Davies, author of Jam Today Too.
“Scattered in among musings of local food systems, community action, family history, and current farm realities are clear moments of reflection that demonstrate Short’s acumen as a writer.” –Terrain.org: A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments
“Short’s focus on a CSA makes this memoir distinctive from other recent farm-related nonfiction.” —Western American Literature Journal
View Kayann reading from A Bushel’s Worth at Stonebridge Farm.
When Kayann Short spent summer vacations at her grandparents’ farms in North Dakota, she never dreamed she’d follow in her grandmothers’ and great-grandmothers’ farming footsteps. Now co-owner of Stonebridge Farm—a seasoned community-supported farm on the Colorado Front Range—Short shares how small-scale, local, organic agriculture borrows lessons of the past to cultivate sustainable food sheds for the future. This is not a tale of leaving city ways behind. Short’s ecobiography, A Bushel’s Worth, is a memoir of reunion with her family’s farming history as she harvests organic vegetables, raises chickens, plays old-time music, and preserves fruit and traditions with her partner, John Martin, on ten acres of fertile “cultivated space.”
Rooted where the Rocky Mountains meet the prairie, Short’s love story celebrates an unbroken connection to soil and to each other, and one community’s commitment to keeping a farm a farm. Click here to read the latest post from Kayann Short’s blog, pearlmoonplenty. For more on workshops, individual consultation, and retreats for writing ecology-based memoir, see Kayann’s website, ecobiography.org.
Praise for A Bushel’s Worth: An Ecobiography: “A heartfelt meditation on farm, food, and family. A Bushel’s Worth tells a love story of the land and a life spent caring for it.” — Hannah Nordhaus, author, The Beekeeper’s Lament: How One Man and Half a Billion Honeybees Help Feed America
“With a companionable mix of literary and earthy sensibilities, Kayann Short writes with graceful, ferocious attentiveness. The scent of her grandmother’s face powder lingers years later in a wool sweater. A coyote plaintively answers a distant ambulance. Gleaners dig for vegetables with screwdrivers and windshield wipers. Gleaning herself, Short finds reassurance for herself and her modern family in ‘the old wisdom of the fields.'” — John Calderazzo, author, Rising Fire: Volcanoes & Our Inner Lives
“In this beautifully written and sensually rich ‘ecobiography’ of farm life, Kayann Short interweaves memories of summers on her grandparents farm on the North Dakota prairie with her current experiences at Stonebridge Farm at the foothills of the Rockies in Lyons, CO. An organic farm for over 100 years, Stonebridge is now a CSA that Short calls home, sharing and working it with her partner John Martin and farm members. Drawing from spare, amusingly understated entries in her grandmother’s diaries Short re-imagines her grandmother’s independent, hard working, isolated, rural farm life without frills, filled with baking, butchering, and ‘putting by’ food, but also planting flowers and visiting with neighbors and family once winter snows disappeared. Short and Martin are well aware of the need to balance the difficult but deeply satisfying work of farming with lighter pursuits; they’ve seen too many farms – and marriages – go under. A Bushel’s Worth is a loving natural history – of a farm, a marriage, and a way of life that has changed interestingly and dramatically over just a few generations.” — Jane Shellenberger, author, Organic Gardener’s Companion: Growing Vegetables in the West
“Kayann Short shares a passionate and often lyrical account of how she and her husband John took their first brave steps toward revitalizing a small Colorado farm and with it their lives and the community they drew around them. This is a book about how agriculture continues to create culture when it is practiced with generosity, creativity and attention. It is an inspiring story, a gift for all of us, both on and off the farm, who are trying to learn how to slow down our frenzied lives so that we may give ourselves to what really matters.” — Gregory Spaid, author, Grace: Photographs of Rural America
“Many small-scale farmers will recognize aspects of their own stories in Kayann Short’s book, and non-farmers will learn what it means to “place our lives alongside the land,” as Short and her family have done. In rich, thoughtful prose, Short paints for readers picture after picture of the farming life.” — Erin Barnett, Director, LocalHarvest
“A Bushel’s Worth is my favorite kind of nonfiction. Not only is it about many topics close to my heart—gardening, food, family—it is a beautifully told story, and a love story at that, centered around the love of a couple, their love for the land, and a community’s love for a way of life. This book forever changed my perspective and awareness as I “walk out” in my own garden.” — Katrina Kittle, author, Blessings of the Animals
“A Bushel’s Worth creates a rich stew that blends memories and traditions learned long ago by author Kayann Short at her grandparents’ farms with those of her own farm-centered life, all seasoned with a modern environmental ethic and liberal dashes of appreciation and enjoyment. In this graceful, warm-hearted telling of the yearly and generational life-cycles of a farm, the descriptions are luminous, awed, and exact in a way that makes readers feel as though they are standing alongside the author, experiencing her same sense of wonder. The book is a substantial meal, pleasingly stuffed with natural history, agricultural history, literary and cultural history, and even etymological history. In the end, it is as much about growing community as it is about growing food, and it leaves the reader with a generous bushel of instruction and inspiration on both counts.” — Susan Becker, Director, Boulder Public Library Oral History Program
“A Bushel’s Worth: An Ecobiography eloquently depicts humans and nature coexisting and mutually benefiting not only in theory, but in actuality. Interleaving memories from her childhood visits to her grandparents’ farms in North Dakota, current experiences on her community-centered farm in Colorado, and educational insights into the origins of words such as ‘ecology’ and into ways we each develop a sense of direction from our childhood surroundings, Kayann Short creates a beautiful dreamlike state where people treat each other respectfully as they gently work on and with the land — a dream that is all the better because it actually exists.” — Shelly Eberly, National Outings Leader, Sierra Club