Amazon Author Interview
The Intentional Peasant: A Lifetime’s Attempt at Producing One’s Own Food and Being Self-Sufficient
Congratulations, Simon! Your book is now available on the Amazon bookstore. How did it feel to see it there for the first time?
Firstly, a sense of relief. It has been a long journey getting the book written but also a long journey in that what I was writing about was most of my life. It is a sense of achievement in that I am able to share with others the joys and struggles of a very different lifestyle. Most people think of being self-sufficient and growing your own food in terms of the farcical naivety of ‘the good life’. It might be hard work but there is a lot of satisfaction. There is also the joy of being close to nature and observing it daily. There are always surprises.
Can you tell us a little bit about your book and why you wanted to write it?
It is part guide to self-sufficiency, part autobiography and part polemic about what we have lost in terms of biodiversity and in destroying the planet. Hopefully it will encourage more people to follow a similar path. It is full of practical advice derived from 45 years of practice and is wide-ranging covering most aspects of food production such as fruit growing, all varieties of vegetables, keeping pigs, sheep, cattle, chickens and other poultry. Local food, less chemicals and where possible an organic approach to food production would do a lot to fix the big issues of our age, the climate emergency and the biodiversity emergency.
Have you always been a writer / wanted to become an author?
I have always wanted to write and have started a few books before but this is my first book. I never had the time. I write quite a lot of articles for local publications
What made you take that leap and publish your book?
The realization that because of age I would soon have to move on and start a new chapter of my life. I wanted to complete that chapter. To some extent COVID made that easier. It also brought home to me the value and resilience of a self-sufficient lifestyle.
Have you any more book plans in the pipeline?
For many years I have travelled a lot in Europe studying butterflies mainly in a little VW campervan with my wife Anne. If I write another book, it would be that story. It is romantic fact rather than fiction with the butterflies and the mountains as the background.
What advice would you offer other aspiring authors who want to self-publish their books?
Firstly, don’t think you can or should do everything yourself. I was lucky to have friends who gave me feedback and helped in many ways. It included introducing me to Michelle who did a brilliant job getting it actually published.
Thanks very much, Simon! All the best with your first-class book!
You can buy a copy of The Intentional Peasant from Amazon here:
ABOUT THE BOOK
Concern over pesticides, and his own research on DDT and other ‘risks’, prompted Simon Spencer and his wife Carol to move to Wales to buy a smallholding and become self-sufficient. Abandoning an academic career he sought a new life close to nature and following organic principles as far as possible.
The book describes the practicalities of most forms of livestock from poultry to cows, growing vegetables and fruit and producing most of one’s own food. It is full of well-tested advice on building, firewood and numerous useful practical skills. It is partly autobiographical with the author relating how he balanced this lifestyle with careers in computing and later, the conservation of butterflies.
The book is very critical of modern agriculture and food production and despairs of politicians’ attempts to tackle both the climate emergency and the biodiversity emergency. Wildlife-friendly farming is at the heart of the smallholding and there are detailed descriptions of what has been lost from the countryside around them over 45 years.
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