On Gold Hill: A Personal History of Wheat, Farming, and Family, from Punjab to California (Paperback)

On Gold Hill: A Personal History of Wheat, Farming, and Family, from Punjab to California By Jaclyn Moyer Cover Image
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A young South Asian American woman’s story of reconnecting with her identity, family, and heritage through sustainable farming

In 2012, 25-year-old Jackie Moyer—the daughter of a forbidden marriage between a white American father and a Punjabi American mother—leased 10 acres of land in Gold Hill, California, and embarked on a career in organic farming. With a fractured relationship to her heritage, Moyer saw an opportunity for repair when she learned of a nearly lost heirloom wheat variety called Sonora.

Sonora wasn’t just an heirloom wheat strain; it was her own cultural heirloom. Its history can be traced back to Punjab, the Indian state where Moyer’s own roots are planted. In growing the grain on her farm, she began to uncover the multigenerational story of her family’s resilience.

From California to Punjab, the past to the present, Jackie maps her personal story atop the entangled histories of wheat cultivation and the rise of the organic farming movement. With a passion for dismantling the exploitative big-agriculture industry, she examines how the development of high-yielding varieties and chemical fertilizers has harmed our relationship with food, the planet, and each other.

Braiding memoir with historical inquiry, On Gold Hill explores the complexities of the immigrant experience, illuminates the ways colonialism and capitalism constrain our food system, and investigates what it means to lose—and to reclaim—one’s heritage.

About the Author

Jaclyn Moyer grew up in northern California’s Sierra Foothills. Her nonfiction has appeared in The Atlantic, High Country News, Salon, Guernica, Orion, Ninth Letter, and other publications. She has been a Fishtrap Fellow, a Sozopol Literary Seminars Fellow, and a finalist for the PEN/Fusion Emerging Writers Prize. She has worked as a vegetable farmer, bread baker, teacher, and native seed collector. Moyer lives with her partner and 2 young children in Corvallis, Oregon.

Praise For…

“Legacies of land and family reach across generations and continents in Jaclyn Moyer’s compelling more-than-memoir On Gold Hill. You will never bite into a piece of bread or visit your local farmers’ market in quite the same way again.”
—Meera Subramanian, author of A River Runs Again: India’s Natural World in Crisis, from the Barren Cliffs of Rajasthan to the Farmlands of Karnataka

“I will urge everyone I know to read On Gold Hill, a riveting and necessary book. Jaclyn Moyer deftly balances the global dilemma around farming and food production with a narrative of family discovery and reconciliation. Her book is intricate, meticulously researched, and sweetly tender. It brims with grace.”
—Debra Gwartney, author of I Am a Stranger Here Myself

On Gold Hill is clear-eyed and beautifully written, capturing the sincerity of the local and organic food movement even as it refuses, with good reason, to romanticize it. Moyer explores a series of connected histories—the evolution of wheat, the rise of the organic farming movement, and the displacement and migration of her own family—with insight and intelligence. This is, without question, the best memoir of farm and family I have ever encountered.”
—Claire Boyles, author of Site Fidelity

Product Details
ISBN: 9780807016770
ISBN-10: 0807016772
Publisher: Beacon Press
Publication Date: February 25th, 2025
Pages: 336
Language: English