the tiny activist

Farmers Unite! Planting a Protest for Fair Prices

English

6 years and up

  • Activism
  • Social Movements
  • Protest
  • History
  • Agriculture
  • Photography

Lindsay H. Metcalf

Summary: Reading this book gave me chills.

I grew up on a farm in Kansas, but we didn’t grow food (we boarded horses) for five formative years of my childhood. The choice that author Lindsay Metcalf made to have photographs instead of illustrations makes this book all the more powerful. For #sweetsandsocialjustice this week I made one of my favorite foods: granola! Granola, like the majority of foods, can’t be made without farmers.

In the late 1970’s, crop prices were plummeting, farm equipment and supplies were rising, and bankrupt farmers could be found nearly everywhere. In the spirit of activism and community organizing, farmers across the nation joined chapters of the AAM (American Agriculture Movement) and began to protest.

Farmers Unite! is a testament to how change and action take years. It’s not glamorous, it involves sitting and waiting, digging out blizzards, and children napping on the ground during senate hearings. Thousands of tractors journeyed to DC for a protest, but that didn’t change things. Several years later, the first Farm Aid concert was held to raise money, but that didn’t change things either.

A lot of books about social movements focus on the Civil Rights Movement/Modern Black Freedom Struggle as a time in history when there was immense ongoing activism. This is of course true, but many more social movements aren’t talked about (and especially not in children’s books). I learned so much reading this book! I believe it’s really important that we teach young people about all of the protesting that has taken place throughout history, for all of the different causes. Economic justice is still an issue that we grapple with today, and full equity has not been reached. I absolutely loved reading this book, and the photos included provide beautiful historical context to the AAM momentum.

This book was kindly sent by Boyds Mills & Kane, and I couldn’t be more thrilled to be able to review it. All opinions are my own!

Recipe: Granola

Ingredients:

3c rolled oats

1/2c neutral oil (I use canola/vegetable)

1/2c maple syrup OR honey (whichever you have/prefer)

1c nuts (I used untoasted, since they’ll be in the oven)

1c dried fruit (whatever you like, infinitely customizable!)

Cinnamon to taste (I like to use a lot of cinnamon when I have dried apples, but typically use at least 1t)

pinch of salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325. Mix together all ingredients EXCEPT the dried fruit, and spread evenly onto a sheet tray. Cook for about 20 minutes, until you start to smell the nuts toasting. I jostle the mixture once during cooking, because I like very chunky granola. After taking out of the oven, shake the dried fruit over and leave the tray alone until completely cooled. The granola will still be sticky when taken out of the oven, and it will dry into clusters as it cools. You can leave it out on a counter, or in the oven to cool. When I make a double batch, I spread it over two sheets. It also takes a bit longer to bake, but we’re a big granola household so I think it’s worth it!

Lindsay H. Metcalf

Lindsay H. Metcalf grew up on a Kansas farm, flew the coop for a career in the city, and migrated home to write downwind of the neighborhood cattle. Lindsay has three forthcoming nonfiction picture books. She is the author of Beatrix Potter, Scientist, illustrated by Junyi Wu (Albert Whitman & Company, September 2020) and Farmers Unite! Planting a Protest for Fair Prices (Calkins Creek, November 2020) and a co-editor, along with Keila V. Dawson and Jeanette Bradley, of No Voice Too Small: Fourteen Young Americans Making History (illustrated by Jeanette Bradley, Charlesbridge, September 2020). An experienced journalist, Lindsay has covered a variety of change-makers as a reporter, editor, and columnist for The Kansas City Star and other news outlets. She belongs to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators(SCBWI) and The Soaring ‘20s, a collective of debut picture-book authors and illustrators. Lindsay won a 2017 Creators of Diverse Characters Scholarship through SCBWI’s Austin chapter and earned a spot in the 2017 class of Writing with the Stars mentees. At home, she plays the ukulele and sings made-up pop-song parodies, embarrassing her husband, two sons, two old cats, and snoring Cavalier King Charles puppy.