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Publisher's Summary

How a Midwestern family with no agriculture experience went from a few backyard chickens to a full-fledged farm - and discovered why local chicks are better.

When Lucie Amundsen had a rare night out with her husband, she never imagined what he'd tell her over dinner - that his dream was to quit his office job (with benefits!) and start a commercial-scale pasture-raised egg farm. His entire agricultural experience consisted of raising five backyard hens, none of whom had yet laid a single egg.

To create this pastured poultry ranch, the couple scrambles to acquire nearly 2,000 chickens - all named Lola. These hens, purchased commercially, arrive bereft of basic chicken-like instincts, such as the evening urge to roost. The newbie farmers also deal with their own shortcomings, making for a failed inspection and intense struggles to keep livestock alive (much less laying) during a brutal winter. But with a heavy dose of humor, they learn to negotiate the highly stressed no-man's-land known as middle agriculture. Amundsen sees firsthand how these midsized farms, situated between small-scale operations and mammoth factory farms, are vital to rebuilding America's local food system.

With an unexpected passion for this dubious enterprise, Amundsen shares a messy, wry, and entirely educational story of the unforeseen payoffs (and frequent pitfalls) of one couple's ag adventure - and many, many hours spent wrangling chickens.

©2016 Lucie B. Amundsen (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Narrator Kate Reading is excellent at capturing Amundsen's emotions as she deals with financial hardships, physical fatigue, and endless farm-related issues while discovering the joy in trying to create positive change. During the more technical passages, Reading slows the pace and reads with crisp enunciation, making the material easy to understand." ( AudioFile)

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Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Big facts candy coated

I was hoping to pick up pointers on poultry but found bits of the answers to two of my BIG questions. The author mused on EVERYTHING.

One was that most sustainable farmers are tiny and support themselves with off-farm earnings. So, it's not just me. It's most of us. That is, maybe what I'm doing with my market garden is OK. That my hanging in there is OK. That I am not wasting my time, but instead doing the Right Thing.

Another gem. She summarized an interview with an economist/farmer/professor who said many or most economists don't believe in resource depletion. Specificially that neoliberalist economists believe that resources cannot be destroyed, only converted. This implies that the neoliberal economists don't believe in soil depletion, a big contributor to global warming. That in their Ivory Towers, they take soil for granted and thus abuse it.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Medi-yoker

The memoir was compelling and the wordsmithing was refreshing, however, I was put off by the vulgarity and frequent innuendo. This is not a family friendly book. There are many other books out there telling a similar story with more uplifting content. This is a story of hardship and mediocre success with many pitfalls and few real gratifying achievements. Not on my top 1000 list.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • karen
  • Quincy, IL, United States
  • 10-30-17

Unnatural Narration

I couldn't take it any longer. I made it about a third of the way through and was so distracted by the unnatural sound of the narrator I couldn't hear the story. Unfortunately, the story didn't seem interesting enough to suffer the narration. I had to return this one to Audible.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Great Story, Inspiring

Looking for an inspirational and informative book on the local food movement and the struggle of producers? Look no further. Great writing, great narration. You won't be disappointed. I laughed out loud many times and have a greater appreciation for what it takes to do the right thing when it comes to buying local.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Took me on a roller coaster ride of emotions

Would you listen to Locally Laid again? Why?

Yes, because it was so entertaining. And also some good information about agribusiness is included. Anyone who eats or pays taxes should be interested in agribusiness

What was one of the most memorable moments of Locally Laid?

There were so many.
Mostly Lucie's tales of the family's tribulations.

Lucie crying at a restaurant when Jason tells her of his dream.

-The Amundsen’s mixing with cultures other than their own, like their visit to Amish farmers; and the visit from glitzy California PR to the egg farm in Minnesota.

The city of Duluth rallying around the Amundsens.

After receiving business advice from a group of mentors, Lucie "losing her cookies" in the parking ramp on her way to her car as she ponders that it is better to give than receive.

What about Kate Reading’s performance did you like?

Kates' reading voice was pleasant, easy to understand and believable

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I would have if I had the time it is too long for that.

Any additional comments?

It's a fun memoir packed with information about food and business.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Interesting account of mid-sized agriculture

Entertaining account of starting up a local egg business. Provides great insights into the challenges involved. Recommended.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

entertaining and informative.

this book was both entertaining and informative. I enjoyed the sense of humor, but also as a farm grown girl, appreciated the challenges they face.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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The perils of small business

If I didn't know Lucie Amundsen was a writer of short nonfiction, I would have guessed by about the third chapter of Locally Laid. Her writing style just works in the sort of phrasing that one expects in a magazine like Minnesota Monthly. Don't let this keep you from this book, though. It's a lesson in dreams, very hard miserable work, and family dynamics.

Some questions are left unanswered. I very much suspect that the Amundsens had access to more money than they had planned to spend, as it's clear that costs greatly exceeded expectations, and income was lower than expected. This is true of pretty much every business in the early days, but Amundsen doesn't explain how they bridged the financial gap.

She does explain exactly how much work--cold, endless miserable work--her husband endured that first winter. The Amundsens were fortunate to have family that pitched in; those who raise livestock will tell you that there are no vacations, nor trips to the convention in Atlanta. Their business concept benefitted greatly from Lucie's skills in advertising and promotion, and in her husband's sales abilities and capacity for work. Even their daughter stepped up, creating a chicken infirmary to nurse the birds sickened and injured in transit.

The narrator is almost too precise in her diction. LIsteners might appreciate a bit more relaxed reading style, especially when the author is relating anecdotes. The precision did annoy at times, but Amundsen tells a good story, and I enjoyed this book.

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  • bd1star
  • Calgary, Alberta, Canada
  • 12-07-17

Informative and entertaining

Being someone who is now starting out with a very small flock of pastured layers and having processed his first set of 40 pastured broilers this year and looking to start a market garden next year while working a full time non-farming job, this book was exactly what I️ needed to help me realize my goal of starting and maintaining a mini-farm.

Despite not being full of instructional textbook like details (there are other books for that), this book was still full of real life information and experiences that was, to me, worth while the investment of this audio book and led me to go search other literature on topics that I️ had not previously known about.

Where as other similar books of its kind simply show the reader what “to do” and in a boring way, the writer here creatively and humorously describes what “not to do”, as is the case of her learning experience with setting up the farm, and then shows what “to do” as a consequence. I️ thought it was a great teaching tool for me and very entertaining to listen.

I️ think why I️ also like this book and gave it five stars is because I️ really feel like I️ can fully relate with the writer and her husband...me being just like her husband with his somewhat impulsive desire to start a mid-level chicken farm with no farming experience and having a vision, and my wife just like her more cautious, reluctant, not really looking forward to the change and the one that grounds the couple.

Great work

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much more than I expected

I would highly recommend this book. loved her witty playful way of describing things. loved all the bird and business info but it was much more than I expected going into history and trends in farming business, some info on the Amish, and the real struggle of middle ag. I enjoyed the book.