by Gene Baur & Gene Stone
Rodale Press & Raincoast Books (33 East Minor Street, Emmaus, PA 18098), 2015. 320 pages, hardcover. $29.99.
Reviewed by Beth Clifton
“Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come.”
––VICTOR HUGO (French novelist)
Living the Farm Sanctuary Life is so much more than a practical guide to living a compassionate lifestyle. Farm Sanctuary co-founder and president Gene Baur, in collaboration with Gene Stone, suggests that by embracing the five tenets followed by the Sanctuary, we will live happier, healthier, more fulfilling lives, and suggests that making mindful connections with our environment, animals, and the food we choose to eat will have a positive impact not only on our own lives, but also the world we share and the condition in which we leave the earth for future generations.
The Farm Sanctuary lifestyle proposes an alternative thought process about how we choose to live, by matching our hearts with our lifestyles, the food we consume, and the way in which we view and treat farm animals and the environment.
Farm Sanctuary is home to approximately 1,000 rescued pigs, cows, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, sheep and goats with farms in New York and California. “Wherever you look, you see complete contentment,” say Baur and Stone.
The photos within Living the Farm Sanctuary Life, some of which illustrate this review, show beautiful rolling hills, red barns, lush green pastures that seem to go on forever and cheerful, active rescued farm animals who have somehow by luck or fate arrived in a Shangri La known as the Farm Sanctuary, where animals, humans and nature intersect in peace and harmony.
Baur, a vegan since 1985, is changing minds and influencing people with encouragment and a positive message with the guiding principle that we need to change how society views and treats farm animals.
Says Baur, “We spend as much time as possible talking to the people who actually work in factory farms or whose actions support them. These people are not our enemies and we are not theirs. We find most people share similar values and interests.”
Baur understood early in his animal advocacy career that speaking about the horrors of factory farming was much more likely to affect change when intertwined with the hopeful stories of rescued animals. Farm Sanctuary has also been instrumental in helping to pass humane legislation across the country.
Hilda the sheep was the Sanctuary’s first rescued animal, removed from a stockyard after being found in the heap of other dead animals left for rendering. She was soon joined by Jellybean, another sheep. The pair bonded and were inseparable for ten years. Hope and Johnny were pigs who were seen spending countless hours together snuggling in the straw. Snowy and Shotzie are ducks who spent some time at Farm Sanctuary until members fell in love with them and took them home. Soon after the two took up in a lovely pond next door where they can be seen enjoying a good duck life. Happy animals, happy people and a happier world are the major goals of Farm Sanctuary.
For the Farm Sanctuary it’s all about balance, mindful choice, education, and promoting a cruelty free lifestyle. The authors delve into the benefits of eating a plant based diet to improve health, athletic performance, improved sexual performance, better-looking skin, healthier joints and prevention of disease, to name a few. There are suggestions for stocking your quintessential vegan kitchen with pantry staples. And Baur and Stone offer more than 100 extraordinarily delicious looking recipes taken from some of the world’s top plant-based chefs and cookbook authors.
It will soon be one year since I made my mindful choices to practice a humane lifestyle by eating a plant-based diet, wearing cruelty free clothes, and by reducing, reusing, and recyling, demonstrating that it’s never too late to improve one’s lifestyle and choices. My husband, Merritt Clifton is a second generation and lifelong vegetarian, although we do our best to be as close to vegan as is possible.
Living the Farm Sanctuary Life is positive, encouraging and inspiring and it is comforting to me on a personal level that there really is a Shangri La for a few lucky rescued farm animals.
I am encouraged by the good message put forth without judgment, but with compassion, understanding, patience and empathy. These are not just lofty goals, but principles set into practice by Farm Sanctuary, that can be used by all who wish to improve the environment, their lives,and the lives of farm animals.
The next time I open this book will be from my kitchen as I attempt to create some of these incredible vegan meals. I am looking forward to it.