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  • Published: 31 August 2021
  • ISBN: 9781760899332
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $34.99

Why you should give a f*ck about farming

Because you eat




There is no farmers and others. If you eat or wear clothes, the decisions you make influence farming.

There is no farmers and others. If you eat or wear clothes, the decisions you make influence farming.

‘Eaters will be the ultimate arbiter of where and how food is grown and how the land is cared for … We all have a stake in the future of food and farming. I am going to show you why.’

Farming sits at the intersection of the world’s biggest challenges around climate change, soil, water, energy, natural disasters and zoonotic diseases. Yet Australia has no national food policy. No national agriculture strategy. Our water policy is close to the Hunger Games. People with means can shop at farmers’ markets and order brunch, by the provenance of their eggs, bacon, butter, tomatoes and greens. But do they really understand the trade-offs required to grow it?

In this book Gabrielle Chan examines the past, present and future of farming with her characteristically forensic eye. She lays out how our nation, its leaders, farmers and eaters can usher in new ways for us to work and live on our unique and precious land. We must forge a new social contract if we are to grow healthy food on a thriving landscape, while mitigating climate and biodiversity loss.

This important book will change your thinking about food, farming and how you eat.

  • Published: 31 August 2021
  • ISBN: 9781760899332
  • Imprint: Vintage Australia
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $34.99

About the author

Gabrielle Chan

Gabrielle Chan has been a journalist for more than 30 years. She has been a political journalist and politics live blogger at Guardian Australia since 2013. Prior to that she worked at The Australian, ABC radio, The Daily Telegraph, in local newspapers and politics. Gabrielle has written and edited history books, biographies and even a recipe book.

The daughter of a Singaporean migrant, Gabrielle moved from the Canberra press gallery to marry a sheep and wheat farmer in 1996 - the year Pauline Hanson was first elected to federal parliament. She noticed the economic and cultural divide between the city and the country, the differences in political culture and yawning gap between the parliament and small town life.

So in September 2017, she swapped interviews with politicians with interviews with ordinary people on her main street to discover why they think politics has moved so far from their lives. The result is Rusted Off: Why country Australia is fed up. In the process, Gabrielle draws conclusions about the current state of our rural political representation, the gap between city and country and how to bridge it.

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Praise for Why you should give a f*ck about farming

By raising the subject of farming from the mire of cant, ignorance and parti pris into realms of reason and evidence, Gabrielle Chan also raises big and urgent questions about the nation's (not to say the world's) future. A disturbing, lucid, often inspiring, above all essential book. Citizens of all dietary preferences and all political and occupational stripes should promise not to engage in serious conversation about Australia until they have read it.

Don Watson

In a book that is intellectually thrilling, personally engaging, and profoundly important, Gabrielle Chan shows us why farms, and farmers, are central to our land, our communities, and our national prosperity, as well as sense of self.

Matthew Evans

This book comprises the forensic, brave and yet holistic examination that Australian agriculture and its so-called governance has long needed. While investigating the social, economic, political and environmental influences on farming in Australia and its relevance to the national interest, Chan poses some fundamental questions. These include how and why we farm and live like we do? And what then are the consequent impacts on human health, communities, landscapes and society as a whole. Chan therefore challenges our fundamental assumptions - not just on farming but also of our approach to eating, living, business philosophy and thus politics. Insightful, incisive, courageous and thus challenging, Chan writes in an engaging, authoritative yet perky style - underpinned by her wide research. The result is powerful communication and thus everything a potential game-changing book should be. In the end, Chan exposes the myopia of our Government's policy and executive leadership, and also the illogic of leaving matters in the hands of the 'free market' and its destructive effects socially and environmentally. Honest and confronting, this long overdue book sits in the same class as Donald Horne's The Lucky Country. One can only hope it likewise successfully challenges our unexamined assumptions on how we farm, eat, live and do business in this country. Otherwise, Horne's haunting question will continue to hang over us: 'Are we still sleep-walking into the future?'

Charles Massy, author of Call of the Reed Warbler

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