Picking Our Future


Essays on Food, Change, and Farming


Chris Sayer


Copyright 2012 Chris Sayer

ISBN 978-1-4658-0314-6

Smashwords Edition


Dedicated to my grandfather, Frank Rogers. Despite being from the non-farming side of the family, his love for food, politics, and the written word is reflected on every page.



September 11, 2001 was supposed to be a big day for me. Upon close of escrow, 23 acres of land would become mine. I would officially become a farmer. Or at least a farm owner.


Of course escrow didn’t close that day, but everyone knows that story.


The sale actually closed about a week later… I don’t remember the exact date off the top of my head. It doesn’t really matter, does it? Suddenly my decision to return to the 130 year-old family farming business and acquire a little piece of my own seemed to call for more introspection. What was going to happen? Was this the right decision? Should I return to my settled suburban life before it was too late? Dust off my old uniform and see if my services were again needed? These events made me realize that I expected agriculture to be more than just another job for me. There had to be some greater meaning.


My search for answers led to conversations throughout the state with cattlemen, chefs, environmentalists, labor advocates, nutritionists, regulators, winemakers, journalists, social workers and others. Whether in the shadow of the Golden Gate bridge or the shade of Yolo County walnut trees, every conversation brought new questions.

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