Below is a selection of books covering Conservation Agriculture and regenerative systems, including no-till, cover crops and re-introducing livestock into the arable rotation, with a view to improving soil health.
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Choosing locally grown organic food is a sustainable living trend that’s taken hold throughout North America. Celebrated farming expert Eliot Coleman helped start this movement with The New Organic Grower published 20 years ago. He continues to lead the way, pushing the limits of the harvest season while working his world-renowned organic farm in Harborside, Maine.
In his insightful new book, Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind, contrary farmer Gene Logsdon provides the inside story of manure-our greatest, yet most misunderstood, natural resource. This fresh, fascinating and entertaining look at an earthy, but absolutely crucial subject, is a small gem and is destined to become a classic of our agricultural literature.
In Cows Save the Planet, journalist Judith D. Schwartz looks at soil as a crucible for our many overlapping environmental, economic, and social crises. Drawing on the work of thinkers and doers, renegade scientists and institutional whistleblowers from around the world, Schwartz challenges much of the conventional thinking about global warming and other problems.
The Resilient Farm and Homestead is a manual for developing durable, beautiful, and highly functional human habitat systems fit to handle an age of rapid transition. Inspiring to would-be homesteaders everywhere, but especially for those who find themselves with “unlikely” farming land, Falk is an inspiration in what can be done by imitating natural systems.
While the concept of “forest farming” may seem like an obscure practice, history indicates that much of humanity lived and sustained itself from tree-based systems in the past; only recently have people traded the forest for the field. Farming the Woods covers in detail how to cultivate, harvest, and market high-value non-timber forest crops.
Farmer, consultant, and author Rebecca Thistlethwaite and her husband and coauthor, Jim Dunlop, both have extensive experience raising a variety of pastured livestock in California and now on their homestead farm in Oregon. The New Livestock Farmer provides pasture-based production essentials for a wide range of animals, from common farm animals to more exotic species.
Agriculture is rightly blamed as a major culprit of our climate crisis. But in this groundbreaking new book, Eric Toensmeier argues that agriculture—specifically, the subset of practices known as “carbon farming”—can, and should be, a linchpin of a global climate solutions platform. Toensmeier’s ultimate goal is to place carbon farming firmly in the center of the climate solutions platform, alongside renewable energy.
By explaining the lean system for identifying and eliminating waste and introducing efficiency in every aspect of the farm operation, The Lean Farm makes the case that small-scale farming can be an attractive career option for those interested in growing food for their community. Hartman’s prescriptions for high-value, low-cost production apply to farms and businesses of almost any size or scale.
Grazing management might seem simple: just put livestock in a pasture and let them eat their fill. However, as Sarah Flack explains, the pasture/livestock relationship is incredibly complex. This book is an essential guide for ruminant farmers who want to be able to create grazing systems that meet the needs of their livestock, pasture plants, soils, and the larger ecosystem.
Now is a time of exciting new developments for live animal power. This book is focused entirely on the tools and methods required to successfully manage the horse-powered market garden with draft animal power. This is not a step-by-step guide outlining one single system, but rather a manual that presents a range of options and approaches.
The Independent Farmstead is a must-have resource for those who count themselves as part of the home-grown food movement: both new and prospective farmers and homesteaders, and those who are interested in switching to grass-based systems. Best of all it’s the kind of rare how-to book that is utterly informative, sincere, and inspiring.
When Charles and Perrine Hervé-Gruyer set out to create their farm in an historic Normandy village, they had no idea just how much their lives would change. Their farm has since become a celebrated model of innovative, ecological agriculture in Europe, and featured in the award-winning documentary film, Demain (“Tomorrow”).
In-depth yet accessible, Community-Scale Composting Systems is a technical resource for farmers, designers, service providers, organics recycling entrepreneurs, and advocates of all types, with a focus on developing the next generation of organics recycling infrastructure that can enable communities to close the food-soil loop in their local food systems.
Mycorrhizal fungi have been waiting a long time for people to recognize just how important they are to the making of dynamic soils. These microscopic organisms partner with the root systems of approximately 95 percent of the plants on Earth, and they sequester carbon in much more meaningful ways than human “carbon offsets” will ever achieve.
Restoring Heritage Grains combines the history of grain growing and society, in-depth practical advice on landrace wheat husbandry, wheat folk traditions and mythology, and guidelines for the Neolithic diet with traditional recipes for rustic bread, pastry and beer. Discover the ancient grains that may be a solution to hunger today, and provide resilience for our future.
The concept of silvopasture challenges our notions of both modern agriculture and land use. For centuries, European settlers of North America have engaged in practices that separate the field from the forest, and even the food from the animal. Silvopasture systems integrate trees, animals, and forages in a whole-system approach that offers a number of benefits to the farmer and the environment.
Gene Everlasting contains Logsdon’s reflections, by turns both humorous and heart-wrenching, on nature, death, and eternity, all from a contrary farmer’s perspective. He recounts joys and tragedies from his childhood in the 1930s and ‘40s spent on an Ohio farm, through adulthood and child-raising, all the way up to his recent bout with cancer, always with an eye toward the lessons that farming has taught him about life and its mysteries.
Farming While Black is the first comprehensive “how to” guide for aspiring African-heritage growers to reclaim their dignity as agriculturists and for all farmers to understand the distinct, technical contributions of African-heritage people to sustainable agriculture. The technical information is designed for farmers and gardeners with beginning to intermediate experience.
Brown dropped the use of most of the herbicides, insecticides, and synthetic fertilizers that are a standard part of conventional agriculture. He switched to no-till planting, started planting diverse cover crops mixes, and changed his grazing practices. In so doing Brown transformed a degraded farm ecosystem into one full of life—starting with the soil and working his way up, one plant and one animal at a time.
From livestock farms and restaurants to colleges, military bases, and prisons, Sherman details why and how commercial-scale vermicomposting is a fast-growing, sustainable solution for organic waste management. This is the first and only authoritative how-to guide that goes beyond small-scale operations and demystifies the science and logistics of the fascinating process that is vermicomposting.
Pithy, readable, and highly relevant, this book covers both the ecology and the economy of a truly sustainable agriculture. Although Madison’s farm is unique, the broad lessons he has gleaned from his more than three decades as an organic farmer will resonate strongly with the new generation of farmers who work the land, wherever they might live.
In Nourishment Provenza presents his thesis of the wisdom body, a wisdom that links flavor-feedback relationships at a cellular level with biochemically rich foods to meet the body’s nutritional and medicinal needs. Provenza explores the fascinating complexity of these relationships as he raises and answers thought-provoking questions about what we can learn from animals about nutritional wisdom.
For more than four decades, the self-described “contrary farmer” and writer Gene Logsdon has commented on the state of American agriculture. His vision of a nation filled with garden farmers, based in cities, towns, and countrysides, will resonate with many people, both young and old, who long to create a more sustainable, meaningful life for themselves and a better world for all of us.
In Call of the Reed Warbler, Charles Massy explores regenerative agriculture and the vital connection between our soil and our health. It is the story of how a grassroots revolution—a true underground insurgency—can save the planet, help reduce and reverse climate change, and build healthy people and healthy communities, pivoting significantly on our relationship with growing and consuming food.
Since its original publication in 1989, The New Organic Grower has been one of the most important farming books available. The wisdom in this seminal book holds true even as the modern agricultural canon has grown. New information has been included in this edition to showcase the new tools and techniques that Coleman has been developing over the last thirty-five years.
Drawing upon 40 years’ experience as an ecological farmer and marketer, Joel Salatin explains with humor and passion why Americans do not have the freedom to choose the food they purchase and eat. Their system favors industrial, global corporate food systems and discourages community-based food commerce, resulting in homogenized selection, mediocre quality, and exposure to non-organic farming practices.
Foodies and environmentally minded folks often struggle to understand and articulate the fundamental differences between the farming and food systems they endorse and those promoted by Monsanto and friends. With visceral stories and humor from Salatin’s half-century as a “lunatic” farmer, Salatin contrasts the differences on many levels: practical, spiritual, social, economic, ecological, political, and nutritional.
Based on his decades of experience with interns and multigenerational partnerships at Polyface Farm, farmer and author Joel Salatin digs deep into the problems and solutions surrounding this land- and knowledge-transfer crisis. This book empowers aspiring young farmers, midlife farmers, and nonfarming landlords to build regenerative, profitable agricultural enterprises.
Twenty years ago Joel Salatin wrote You Can Farm, which has launched thousands of farm entrepreneurs around the world. With another 20 years of experience under his belt, bringing him to the half-century mark as a full-time farmer, he decided to build on that foundation with a sequel, a graduate level curriculum.
All along the way, Phillips’ expertise and enthusiasm for healthy growing shines through, as does his ability to put the usual horticultural facts into an integrated ecology perspective. This book will inspire beginners as well as provide deeper answers for experienced fruit growers looking for scientific organic approaches.
Fossil fuels and livestock grazing are often targeted as major culprits behind climate change and desertification. The bigger problem, Allan Savory warns, is our mismanagement of resources. Livestock grazing is not the problem; it’s how we graze livestock. If we don’t change the way we approach land management, irreparable harm from climate change could continue long after we switch to renewable energy sources.
Ranchers, farmers, pastoralists, social entrepreneurs, government agencies, and NGOs working to address global environmental degradation will find this comprehensive handbook an indispensable guide to putting the holistic management concept into action with tangible results they can take to the bank. This new edition offers step-by-step instructions for running a ranch or farm using a holistic management approach.
Thousands of years of poor farming and ranching practices-and, especially, modern industrial agriculture-have led to the loss of up to 80 percent of carbon from the world's soils. Journalist and bestselling author Kristin Ohlson makes an elegantly argued, passionate case for "our great green hope"-a way in which we can not only heal the land but also turn atmospheric carbon into beneficial soil carbon-and potentially reverse global warming.
Fertility Farming explores an approach to farming that makes minimal use of plowing, eschews chemical fertilizers and pesticides, and encourages cover cropping and manure application. Much more than theory, this book was written to serve as a practical guide for farmers. Turner's advice for building a productive, profitable organic farming system rings as true today as it did sixty years ago when it was written.
Organic No-Till Farming offers a map to an organic farming system that limits tillage, reduces labor, and improves soil structure. Based on the latest research by pioneering agriculturists, this book offers new technologies and tools based on sound biological principles, making it possible to reduce and even eliminate tillage. For those who want to refine their practices or are interested in new ideas, Organic No-Till Farming is indispensable.
Gain a working knowledge of chemistry, physics, and plant biology as applied to agriculture. Discover what weeds are trying to tell you about your soil's fertility needs. Learn how to design and implement a program to produce crops, pastures, turf, landscape, or ornamentals of balanced nutritional and mineral content. Both farmer and professional consultant will benefit from this important work.
Taking readers deep into the science and history of agriculture and immunology, they show that microbes can provide powerful solutions to the problems plaguing modern agriculture as well as our own bodies. A spellbinding story, The Hidden Half of Nature reveals how we can restore fertility to the land and defeat chronic diseases.
Dirt, soil, call it what you want - it's everywhere we go. It is the root of our existence, supporting our feet, our farms, our cities. This fascinating yet disquieting book finds, however, that we are running out of dirt, and it's no laughing matter. An engaging natural and cultural history of soil that sweeps from ancient civilizations to modern times, the book explores the compelling idea that we are - and have long been - using up Earth's soil.
Farming without tilling has long been a goal of agriculture, yet tilling remains one of the most dominant paradigms; almost everyone does it. But tilling kills beneficial soil life, burns up organic matter, and releases carbon dioxide. If the ground could instead be prepared for planting without tilling, time and energy could be saved, soil organic matter increased, carbon sequestered, and dependence on machinery reduced.
The climate change challenge is real, and it is here now. The rich knowledge base contained in Resilient Agriculture serves as the cornerstone of an evolving, climateready food system that sustains land and community well into the 21st century. Lengnick asks farmers and ranchers who are creating new food systems that are more climate and community friendly to tell their stories of what they are doing, how they are doing it, and why.