With each passing year, the number of family farms in the United States diminishes. Fewer people have the persistence and ingenuity to wrest a livelihood from the land in an era of corporate ownership and mass production. yet some family farms survive.
Through words and photographs, this book documents the long lives of five of the oldest farms in Massachusetts. Each has remained in the same family for more than two, sometimes three, centuries and each has a distinctive history. The devotion to land and family heritage is palpable in the stories these five families tell.
Stan Sherer's remarkable photographs depict the activities of family members as they go about their daily labors, planting crops, feeding animals, applying new technologies to ancient tasks, and coping with the vagaries of weather an state regulations. Michael E. C. Gery's narrative traces how the farms began, what has sustained them through the generations, and how the families who run them today feel about their past, present, and future. These stories are told largely through the words of the people themselves.
The result is a complex portrait that moves beyond traditional stereotypes to reveal the realties of family farm life in an increasingly urbanized society.