I have a little hipster in me, an alternate personality I picture as a guy with a man-bun who loves hot yoga and kefir and raises chickens in a backyard coop just rickety enough to look cute on Instagram. It’s the same part that spurs me to drop money on organic brands at the grocery store and thinks it would be a great idea to decorate the house with antique canning jars.
I have the best, the crunchiest of intentions. Sometimes I even follow through. My half-full backyard compost bin is proof!
But I’m not nearly as serious as Lucie Amundsen and her husband Jason. They started a mid-sized commercial egg farming business called Locally Laid when Jason was laid off from his desk job, in a classically inspiring lemons-into-lemonade story of American entrepreneurship. Of course, as Lucie admits in her delightfully funny book, they have been dealt a LOT of lemons, from failed inspections to birds that don’t know how to roost to complaints from consumers over their slightly salty brand name. Through their experiences, they’ve not only built a modestly successful business, but they’ve also identified a mission of promoting what they call “middle ag,” a happy medium between massive commercial farms that treat animals inhumanely and waste valuable resources to ship product cross-country (and sometimes even farther), and tiny hobby farms that populate farmer’s market stalls but don’t generate a living wage for their operators.
The book is part memoir, part informative essay, and it made me think about where my food comes from and the choices I make in purchasing and consuming it. And not only is Amundsen warm and funny, she’s also a great writer—just in case you were concerned, like I was, that having lived a good story and knowing how to tell it don't always go hand in hand.
I love non-fiction for my audio reading, but sometimes it’s hard to find non-fiction about lighter topics beyond the obvious choices written by stand-up comedians and celebrities. Locally Laid ended up being exactly what I wanted to read—it charmed the feathers off me.