Farm lit is any literature that embraces the life of modern-day “new” farmers. These stories can be fiction or memoir, and most often include city-bred heroines who head for an idealized rural existence and (often) find the man of their dreams riding a tractor rather than a horse or a motorbike.
The article Chick Lit is Dead, Long Live Farm Lit says: “So many of chick lit’s tropes—stilettos! Fighting for your big break in journalism! Cute i-bankers! The hottest new nightclub in the Meatpacking District!—were part of a boomtime economy. These days, we’re mostly wearing flats, journalism is breathing its last gasps, we’d rather throw i-bankers in jail than date them, and cupcake baking seems a lot more fun (and cheaper!) than clubbing.”
Settings for farm lit books may be anywhere in rural America or Canada—or even Australia, where the genre is known as chook lit. They portray a rural lifestyle where characters are involved in local food and other farming and gardening practices: growing heirloom tomatoes, milking goats, making artisan cheeses, shopping at the farmers’ market, picking up their CSA baskets, keeping bees, growing crops, or living sustainably, to name a few. Of course, the effect is heightened if the characters are unfamiliar with farming and muddle their way through!
Farm lit may shed light on a slower-paced lifestyle, but that does not mean these stories are sluggish or plodding. Many a riveting tale, from romance to women’s fiction to suspense—and beyond—can be told amid rows of corn or in the cow byre.