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Farmer-author reads from his new book in Tacoma

Post by Debbie Cafazzo / The News Tribune on Aug. 19, 2009 at 6:00 am | No Comments »
August 19, 2009 6:00 am

California farmer and author David Mas Masumoto, best known for his 1995 meditation on agriculture, "Epitaph for a Peach," will be in Tacoma Monday to read from his newest work, "Wisdom of the Last Farmer."

He’ll be at King’s Books, 218 St. Helens Ave., at 7 p.m. Monday. The event is cosponsored by the Tahoma Food Policy Coalition.

Third-generation farmer Masumoto describes his new book as a memoir that focuses on his relationship with his father, Joe Takashi Masumoto.

After the elder Masumoto suffered a stroke, says the author, "I had to teach him how to farm again. The only way for him to get his health back was to go back to farming."

It was during the years following his father’s first stroke that "I began to realize the wisdom he had passed down to me… the everyday lessons he would teach me."

The book deals with the role reversal involved when a son must become teacher to his father.

It also touches on Masumoto’s family history and the indignity imposed on them and other Japanese-Americans during World War II, when they were torn from their beloved farms and sent to relocation camps in Arizona.

"You didn’t just leave a job, you left the land and a part of you behind," says Masumoto.

After the war, his father returned and purchased farm land.

"It was an extremely bold step," the author says. "Even though they were not treated as Americans, they were going to plant their roots in America."

Masumoto’s talk will be followed on Sept. 5 by Jill

Richardson, author of "Recipe for America," an expose on corporate food systems. Richardson blogs about food issues at Daily Kos ( and on her own blog, La Vida Locavore. (

Richardson will be at King’s Books at 3 p.m. Sept. 5.

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