Terrace Books, a trade imprint of The University of Wisconsin Press

Agriculture / Wisconsin

Voices from the Heart of the Land
Rural Stories That Inspire Community
Richard L. Cates Jr.

Terrace Books

“Cates captures the essence of our township, our citizens, the moments of joy and laughter, hardship and sorrow, and the unspoken bonds that held it all together.”—Sondy Pope-Roberts, Wisconsin state representative and native of Arena township

From 2001 to 2006, Richard L. Cates Jr. interviewed senior members of more than 30 families living in and around Arena township, a small community in southern Wisconsin. He asked them about growing up in rural America and their connection to a way of life that is vanishing in the twenty-first century.

The result, Voices from the Heart of the Land, is a collection of reminiscences, observations, and opinions celebrating the stewardship of the land and the values of the stewards. Of course, as Cates points out, these are nothing less than “our core human values—integrity, commitment, responsibility, citizenship, self-determination, decency, kindness, love, and hope.”

“This is a glimpse of what life was like in this rural community through much of the twentieth century. Through the spoken words of these rural folk we learn about love of land and community and of the power of the story. Their voices urge us to recommit to finding and fostering the values and the behavior that sustained and nurtured us in the past.”—Jerry Apps, author of In a Pickle: A Family Farm Story

Richard L. Cates Jr. and his family own a pasture-based farm and raise grass-fed beef in Wyoming township, near Spring Green, Wisconsin. He is senior lecturer in soil science at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where he also serves as coordinator of the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers and is affiliated with the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems.


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Of Related Interest

Renewing the Countryside—Wisconsin
Stories of Sustainable Living, Working and Playing
Edited by Jerry Hembd and Jody Padgham
With a foreword by Governor Jim Doyle

This beautifully illustrated book showcases 39 examples of creative, hard-working people who are bringing new energy and hope to the countryside. Renewing the Countryside —Wisconsin explores how the state is leading the nation in sustainably grown food, environmentally responsible businesses, and homegrown, forward-looking solutions.

Distributed for Renewing the Countryside, published in partnership with Midwest Organic & Sustainable Education Service and the Northern Center for Community and Economic Development (UW–Superior and UW–Extension)

Cover of book has a blue background with a photo of a man contemplating.

November 2008
LC: 2008019183 S
200 pp.    11 x 9
135 b/w photos, 1 map, 1 line drawing, 1 chart

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Paper $24.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-22784-5
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