Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Old MacDonald Had a Factory

Everywhere it is introduced, factory farming creates ecological and public health disasters, from new animal and human diseases to air and water pollution to the loss of livestock genetic resources. Factory farms crowd hundreds of thousands of animals together with little natural light or fresh air, creating a ripe environment for breeding disease. Waste from the animals is collected in large lagoons where it can seep into nearby waterways, contaminate groundwater, and spread a sickening stench for miles. Workers in meat processing plants work long hours in miserable conditions and have among the highest accident rates in the United States. All of this is done with an eye towards minimizing costs and maximizing profits with little regard for human, environmental, or animal welfare.

Rethinking the global meat industry is not just about keeping factory farms safe from disease outbreaks and mitigating their environmental effects. The real challenge, and the real reward, will come from taking a different approach to the way we raise food. Reversing the factory farm tide will require thinking about farming systems as more than a source of economic wealth. We must recognize that preserving prosperous family farms and their landscapes and raising healthy and humanely treated animals are their own form of affluence.

So writes Danielle Nierenberg in the State of the World 2006.

Is this really the future we want?


Generosity as Activism, and Other Homesteading Principles to Live By

“Like everyone I know, we occasionally find ourselves faced with a decision to which there is no obvious answer,” says Ben Hewitt, coauthor of The Nourishing Homestead. “Do we borrow money to build a bigger barn, or do we keep getting by with what we have? Do we spend our meager savings on trees and […] Read More

Pass the Walnut Syrup?

Everyone knows and loves maple syrup, and in some states (like Chelsea Green’s home state of Vermont), it’s big business. However, it’s a widespread myth that maples are the only trees that can be tapped to produce sap, according to Michael Farrell, sugarmaker and director of Cornell University’s Uihlein Forest. Sap can also be collected […] Read More

4 Books for Growing Food in Winter

Don’t let cold weather stop you from producing and enjoying your own food. For many, the coming of winter simply means cultivation moves indoors or under cover. Small farmers, homesteaders, home gardeners, and commercial growers can extend the growing season with techniques outlined in these essential books. There’s no need for urbanites and small-space dwellers […] Read More

A Simple Way to Grow Fresh Greens Indoors This Winter

Just because the temperatures have started to drop doesn’t mean you have to live without fresh greens until Spring. Author and gardener Peter Burke’s innovative method of growing soil sprouts indoors can help you grow nutrient-dense greens all year long at a fraction of the cost of buying at market. Burke’s book, Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening, is […] Read More

In Remembrance: Toby Hemenway

It is with deep sadness that we announce the death of Toby Hemenway, a beloved teacher, author, and permaculturalist. In October of 2015, Toby was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Despite treatment that seemed to be working, the cancer returned this fall, and eventually Toby signed up for home hospice on December 16, 2016. He died […] Read More
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