A century ago, most Americans had ties to the land. Now only one in fifty is engaged in farming and little more than a fourth live in rural communities. Though not new, this exodus from the land represents one of the great social movements of our age and is also symptomatic of an unparalleled transformation of our society.
In Children of the Land, the authors ask whether traditional observations about farm familiesstrong intergenerational ties, productive roles for youth in work and social leadership, dedicated parents and a network of positive engagement in church, school, and community lifeapply to three hundred Iowa children who have grown up with some tie to the land. The answer, as this study shows, is a resounding yes. In spite of the hardships they faced during the agricultural crisis of the 1980s, these children, whose lives we follow from the seventh grade to after high school graduation, proved to be remarkably successful, both academically and socially.
A moving testament to the distinctly positive lifestyle of Iowa families with connections to the land, this uplifting book also suggests important routes to success for youths in other high risk settings.