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Ten Books to Help With Agriculture and Farming Talks

Ten Books to Help With Agriculture and Farming Talks

If you’ve noticed lately, I’ve been talking a lot about farming, and gardening, and where our locally sourced meats and produce come from. I think it’s been about three years since I paired up with Illinois Farm Families, but as an ambassador, and as someone with a backyard garden, it’s a little bit more interesting to me now than it was three years ago. Since joining the City Moms program, I’ve had the opportunity to view farms, and even tour Monsanto. Yes, THAT Monsanto. That will be another post, probably later this month. I’m sure that I’ll get lots of love letters about it! 

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With the daily visits to our backyard, the kids have had a TON of questions about how plants grow, and how do we know which plants are which, and whether anyone has a garden bigger than ours. If children have to work on the farm, and how much fruit can come from a tree. We’ve also been discussing pollinators – bees, those yucky flies, and their favorite, butterflies. 

Nathaniel is a bit harder to find books for, so we went fiction for him. Shout out to Agriculture in the Classroom for providing great books for us to read several years back. Here we go: 

Books for School Aged Children 

Who Grew My Soup? 

This book  tells the story of young Phineas Quinn and his questions about the vegetable soup his mom serves for lunch. Phin declares he won’t slurp a single spoonful until he knows:who grew his carrots, spinach and peas among other vegetables. It’s a great way to show children the correlation between farming, and the products that you purchase from the store, OR make from scratch at home. 

Who Grew My Soup?

Plants on a Farm

What I love about this book is it doesn’t just focus on plants in the United States. It shares plants that may grow on farms worldwide. With children who constantly love seeing how children in different places live , this is a great book to use. 

Plants on a Farm

Jobs on a Farm 

Another easy read about jobs on farms around the world. It’s nice to see that everyone doesn’t do everything with the same tools, but farming needs are the same around the world. 

Jobs on a Farm


This book is a pretty straightforward book about what else? Farming. It goes through the seasons, and offers very simple and non overwhelming language and photos for children, and their teachers. This author also wrote From Seed to Plant which can be used in conjunction with this book. 


Food From Farms 

Back again with a World of Farming book. Can you tell we like them? This of course is a book about all of the foods that can be produced from farms around the world. Why not do a biology AND world studies lesson one day? 

Food From Farms

Books for Middle Schoolers/High Schoolers  

The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey 

“The river was in God’s hands, the cows in ours.” So passed the days on Indian Farm, a dairy operation on 720 acres of rich Illinois bottomland. In this collection, Alan Guebert and his daughter-editor Mary Grace Foxwell recall Guebert’s years on the land working as part of that all-consuming collaborative effort known as the family farm.

Here are Guebert’s tireless parents, measuring the year not in months but in seasons for sewing, haying, and doing the books; Jackie the farmhand, needing ninety minutes to do sixty minutes’ work and cussing the entire time; Hoard the dairyman, sore fingers wrapped in electrician’s tape, sharing wine and the prettiest Christmas tree ever; and the unflappable Uncle Honey, spreading mayhem via mistreated machinery, flipped wagons, and the careless union of diesel fuel and fire.

Guebert’s heartfelt and humorous reminiscences depict the hard labor and simple pleasures to be found in ennobling work, and show that in life, as in farming, Uncle Honey had it right with his succinct philosophy for overcoming adversity: “the secret’s not to stop.”



Breaking Through Concrete 

People have always grown food in urban spaces—on windowsills and sidewalks, and in backyards and neighborhood parks—but today, urban farmers are leading an environmental and social movement that transforms our national food system. To explore this agricultural renaissance, brothers David and Michael Hanson and urban farmer Edwin Marty document twelve successful urban farm programs, from an alternative school for girls in Detroit, to a backyard food swap in New Orleans, to a restaurant supply garden on a rooftop in Brooklyn. Each beautifully illustrated essay offers practical advice for budding farmers, such as composting and keeping livestock in the city, decontaminating toxic soil, even changing zoning laws.


Raise: What 4H Teaches 7 Million Kids 

Taking a peek inside the world of 4H, and getting it from several points of view. Should be an interesting read for those who fall on all sides of the gardening spectrum, while allowing children to make informed decisions about ways that they feel farming and agriculture should be done. 


The Beef Princess of Practical County {Fiction}

After years of waiting, it is finally Libby Ryan’s turn to shine at the Practical County Fair. Libby is filled with excitement as she and her granddad choose two calves for her to raise on her family’s cattle farm, in hopes of winning the annual steer competition. Against her father’s advice, Libby gives the calves names, even though both steers will eventually be auctioned off. But after a few months of preparation, Libby has grown closer to her steers, and the pressure to win Grand Champion is mounting. 

As if this isn’t enough, Libby’s mother has roped her into entering the Beef Princess beauty pageant, where Libby must face off against the dreaded Darling sisters, the nastiest girls in Nowhere, Indiana. 

All this preparation should lead up to the best week of the year, but for Libby it’s nothing but chaos in Practical County. 


Books for Adults 

Kitchen Garden Cookbook 

What is there to say? I love cooking, and I love being able to go out to my backyard and pick the items that I’m going to cook with. This is a great book to have on your bookshelf (and I do – I got it from World Market) for those days where you just want to throw something together. 


So, what do you think? Are there any books that you would add? Let me know, and I’ll reserve them from the library to test drive! Until next time. 

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Andrea @

Wednesday 8th of July 2015

It's not a story book, but I think you and your kids would enjoy a copy of Farm Anatomy by Julia Rothman. It's full of great diagrams and illustrations about the farm.


Wednesday 8th of July 2015

Andrea, this sounds like a fantastic book. I may just snag one for our library!

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