Sunday, April 10, 2011

"Dirty Life" Author Recounts Move from City Girl to Sustainable Farmer in April 13 Talk

CHESTERTOWN – Washington College hosts author Kristin Kimball to discuss her new memoir, The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love, on Wednesday, April 13, at 7:30 p.m. in Hotchkiss Recital Hall in the Gibson Center for the Arts. (This event was originally scheduled for February but was postponed by incluement weather.)

Kimball and her husband, Mark, farm 500 acres on Essex Farm, near Lake Champlain in northern New York. They met when she was a free-lance travel writer living in a studio apartment in New York and he was working on a farm in Pennsylvania. What began as an interview for an article on sustainable farming would soon take a romantic turn.

"Against all odds, I fell deeply for him, and for farming,” says the author, whose book was published in October of 2010 by Scribner. “At the end of the first growing season, we got married in the loft of our shabby red barn. We've farmed here for seven years now, and have become parents to two little girls."

The Kimballs raise almost everything they need for a year-round diet, including 50 kinds of vegetables, herbs, grains, and fruits, plus pigs, chickens, and dairy and beef cattle. They use no pesticides or herbicides, and most of the work is done with draft horses instead of tractors. The farm feeds 150 people, who come each week to pick up their share of our produce, flours, milk, meats, and eggs.

A graduate of Harvard University, Kristin Kimball grew up near Rome, NY, where she didn't even have a garden as a child. Prior to farming, she wrote, taught writing and worked for a literary agent. “Farming asks a lot of a person, physically, emotionally, and intellectually,” she comments. “It keeps you close to the dirt and humble. I've gained many skills on the farm that I couldn't have imagined needing in the city. But the best lesson farming has taught me is the deep pleasure of commitment—to Mark, to our farm, to a small town."

The program, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by The Center for Environment & Society, The Joseph H. McLain Program in Environmental Studies, The Sophie Kerr Committee, and Farm Dinners on the Shore. For more information, call 410-778-7295.