A Profession of Hope: Farming on the Edge of the Grizzly Trail
152 pages | ISBN 978-1-928088-08-0
**Winner of the Canadian Authors Association Exporting Alberta Award**
**Gold Medal for the Green Living category in the Living Now Book Awards**
**Finalist for the High Plains Book Award for creative nonfiction**
Early in the winter of 2006, Jenna Butler found herself standing on a cold country road, looking over an unpromising quarter section of northern bush. With the glow of her car’s headlights, she surveyed an abandoned grain bin, listened to the howl of a coyote pack and the call of a great horned owl, and knew a switch had flipped inside of her. Passionate about small farming and organic practices, Butler and her partner have withstood drought, floods, insects and their neighbours’ disbelief over the past nine years to create Larch Grove Farm.
Follow along with what's happening at the farm with the Larch Grove website.
“A Profession of Hope is memoir, paean and plea for caring. Jenna Butler makes a passionate, lyric case for a small organic farm ‘two scant growing zones off the Arctic’ and – as poets can do so well – she connects the local and immediate to the big issues of human life on this planet.” – Alice Major, author of The Office Tower Tales and Standard Candles
“Crazy. Committed. Clear-eyed and alive to the contradictions involved when two city folks take up weekend farming. Jenna Butler has written a book in which you can enjoy the impossibilities of going up against the current of auto-based urban sprawl, humbly, knowing that you can’t truly do a thing to change the course of things, knowing also that you can do no other. Smitten by an unpromising northern acreage, she willingly puts her all into growing a sustainable livelihood, practical by necessity, yet wide eyed in wonder at what grows from this holy foolishness. Taking it all in, and writing it down, beautifully.” – John Terpstra, author of The House with the Parapet Wall
“From her ‘mad little farm’ on the edge of the northern forest, Jenna Butler – poet, essayist and X-treme gardener – has brought in a harvest of home truths. A Profession of Hope is a deep and inspiring meditation on what it means to care for the places we love.” – Candace Savage, author of A Geography of Blood
Writing Alberta: A Recommended Reading List (Kit Dobson, 49th Shelf, 30/06/2022)
Jenna's book is included on this round-up of Alberta writing.
Books You'll Think About for Days and Years (Kiley Turner, 49th Shelf, 26/01/2022)
Jenna's book makes this lovely list of nature books.
The World Up Close (Joanne Epp, 49th Shelf, 10/06/2021)
Joanne Epp includes A Profession of Hope on this curated list of books that share the quality of paying close attention to the small and particular.
Review (Laurie Graham, Alberta Views, 09/21/2016)
"A Profession of Hope exists within a tradition: Think Thoreau's Walden or Stegner's Wolf Willow. Think Sharon Butala, Lois Hole, Wendell Berry. Butler writes with the trememndous pull of a plot of land – and what it means – to be there, in spite of and in the midst of its many challenges."
"Jenna Butler bonds with the land in A Profession of Hope" (Michael Hingston, Edmonton Journal, 13/11/2015)
“Butler chronicles the ups and downs of the past nine years in A Profession of Hope (Wolsak & Wynn), her first book of creative non-fiction. And yet it retains the unmistakable touch of a poet: the book clocks in at a concise 140 pages, with short, vivid chapters and an emphasis on writing that stirs the senses.”
"Secret Garden" (Caroline Barlott, Avenue, 01/10/2015)
"And now, her most recent book, A Profession of Hope: Farming on the Edge of the Grizzly Trail – to be officially released at LitFest this month – is comprised of 18 essays and speaks to the everyday challenges and triumphs of living on their farm, close to Barrhead."
"Dish" (The Tomato, 30/12/2015)
"Jenna Butler’s book, about carving a working farm out of boreal forest and pesky muskeg, is masterful. Heart and soul and a lot of backbreaking labour went into the making of Larch Grove Farm. What they have done is not for the faint of heart."
About the Author
Jenna Butler is the author of three books of poetry and ten short collections with small presses. Butler teaches creative writing and eco-criticism at Red Deer College. In the summer, she and her husband live on a small organic farm near the historic Grizzly Trail in Alberta’s north country.
Other Titles by this Author
Revery: A Year of Bees (2020)