Why I Farm: Risking It All for a Life on the Land

Gary Romano
ISBN: 978-1-936511-07-5
220 pages

$15 + shipping

If you would like to purchase Why I Farm, please reach out directly to the author Gary Romano.


Third-generation farmer, owner of Sierra Valley Farms, speaks from experience about today’s most vital issues: how to live with purpose and how to protect our food supply. In Why I Farm: Risking It All for a Life on the Land, Romano documents a disappearing way of life and issues a wake-up call, describing his metamorphosis from a small boy growing up on a farm to adult white-collar worker and his ultimate return to the land.

If you’ve ever wanted to claim a patch of earth, this book offers hard-earned counsel about small farming in the 21st century. Part-memoir, part call to action, Romano details the challenges and joys of living off the land, what’s at stake, and why this way of life must be protected for the next wave of future farmers. Inside, Why I Farm considers:

•    The benefits of a forgotten livelihood

•    How to avoid common small farm pitfalls

•    Problems with our current food supply and its distribution system

•    Why small farms are vital to our food future

•    How we can revive and sustain the small farm

•    How to start a successful, rural on-site farmer’s market


Many years ago during a stage at Chez Panisse in Berkeley CA, Alice Waters asked me how many small farmers I worked with.  I told her none, as I did not know of any who were growing any products. She said “Why not?”  So I came home to Truckee and started asking questions and ended up meeting Gary Romano.  

Gary Romano is a man willing to share his passion, his family, his history, and the cold hard facts of what farming in our region is really like. This book gives us a deeper understanding of the “why” and I think that is the most important question to be asking about the state of small farms today.

This book is full of great stories, history, and current information on where we are as a nation with our food and farming. This book works on so many levels—the next time you are shopping or eating, you’ll be able to answer the question, “Do you know where your food comes from?”

~Mark Estee, Executive Chef/Owner, Campo


About Gary Romano


After a childhood spent pulling weeds and planting seeds, Gary Romano received a master's degree in recreation administration from California State University, Chico, and worked as a park ranger and county park administrator before returning to the farm. This book is his attempt to educate and enlist farmers and consumers in a call to action. Check out Gary, his produce, and events at Sierra Valley Farms.