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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?


How to Design Swales for Optimum Water Flow

May has arrived! The birds are chirping, flowers are budding, and it’s time to officially celebrate Permaculture Month.Throughout the next few weeks, we are putting our pioneering permaculture authors to work for you in our “Ask the Experts” series. If you are looking to become a better permaculturalist, there’s still time to participate. Submit your questions here.Today’s topic is […] Read More

Radical Ruminations of a Home Gardener

The editors here at Chelsea Green are constantly seeking out what’s new and important in the world of sustainable living. As part of an occasional blog series, our editors are sharing what they’ve been reading, researching, or just plain pondering. Below Senior Editor Fern Marshall Bradley daydreams about the coming growing season and reflects on some radical gardening ideas inspired by Maine farmer […] Read More

Not Level? No Problem. How to Build a Greenhouse on a Slope

Have you ever considered building a greenhouse on sloped terrain? It may not seem like the “perfect spot,” but as permaculture designer and farmer Shawn Jadrnicek points out, a sloped site for a greenhouse offers a bonus that a level site does not—the ability to use gravity to harvest rainwater.In his groundbreaking new book, The Bio-Integrated Farm, Jadrnicek offers in-depth information […] Read More

Ask the Experts: Submit Your Permaculture Questions Now

Attention all growers, food-lovers, and green-living enthusiasts, we are once again celebrating Permaculture Month by putting our pioneering permaculture authors to work for you.Chelsea Green is proud to publish and distribute some of the most recognized, and award-winning, names in permaculture, and we’re making several of them available to our readers to answer any and all […] Read More

Hands-On Learning: School of The New American Farmstead

This summer, twelve of our authors (plus Chelsea Green’s own President and Publisher) will be leading hands-on intensive courses at Sterling College in Craftsbury, Vermont.These workshops, classes, and certifications will inspire you, equip you with marketable skills, and provide you with new perspectives on integrated, community-centered farming and food production.Engage your SensesThe hands-on courses will […] Read More
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