People first domesticated wild animals and plants more than10,000 years ago. The first peoples of North America quickly learned to farm using hand- and animal-power. As technology developed, farming machines were invented. These helped develop farming in many regions of North America previously too difficult to cultivate. From 1840 to 1880, Wisconsin USA became the breadbasket of America, and crop- and livestock-farming developed quickly. The village of Monticello is famous for its dairy farming and cheese. The community is still largely based on this. It has a population of about 1,200 people and is the focus of this book about life in a farming community.
The life of Jorian Jenks (1899-1963) has great potential to upset settled assumptions. Why did a sensitive and intelligent man from a liberal family become a fascist? How did a Blackshirt go green? The son of an eminent academic, from his childhood onwards Jenks instead longed to farm. Lacking the means to do so, he worked as a farm bailiff and then, in New Zealand, as a government agricultural instructor. Finally, a legacy permitted him to come home and become a tenant farmer. Struggling to survive in the economic depression of the 1930s, he became an author and activist for rural reconstruction. Then, having lost faith in the established parties, he joined the British Union of Fascists. Becoming one of the Blackshirts' leading figures, he was imprisoned without trial during the war. On his release, Jenks returned to the struggle, this time in the cause of ecology, becoming a pioneer of today's organic movement and a founder of the Soil Association. This book draws on an extensive range of sources, a large proportion of which were previously unseen by historians. For the first time, it portrays the private and public life of this unusual man, revealing many hitherto un-glimpsed facets of Jenks' life.
This book examines the life and historical background of the Paez peasants of Colombia and their relationship with the land, including issues of tenure, inheritance and the allocation of resources.
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