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WATCH: Will Allen’s Presentation from Bioneers, 2007

In this video, Will Allen, author of The War on Bugs, speaks about the history of toxic pesticides and his work to raise awareness about their dangers at Bioneers by the Bay, 2007.

The War on Bugs tells the story of how American farmers in the mid-1900s were convinced that dangerous chemicals were not just good business but, “Necessary, Critical, Essential, Modern, Progressive, Profitable, Economical,  Miraculous, even Heroic—all in capital letters.”

From the Preface:

At farm field days, meetings, potlucks, and Farm Aid concerts, we began recounting how each of us had become convinced that farm chemicals were indispensable. All of us recalled how farmers,  extension agents, schoolteachers, feed store salesmen, and billboard ads claimed that the chemicals were miraculously effective and safe.

As farm kids, we knew that the chemicals were effective. We knew that arsenic, nicotine, and lead killed pests and that the chemical fertilizers produced good yields, even though most of our folks  were small farmers who rarely used them. All of us knew, however, that the claims about safety  were B.S., because we would get our butts whipped if we went near the chemical storehouse. At my grandma’s farm in Hemet, California, she and my aunt repeatedly told us to keep away from the shed with the chemicals. At home, my mom would always warn us: “Remember Bobby Arbuckle? He played with arsenic, and he’s dead.” Then she would follow with, “And don’t forget that boy Danny what’s-his-name, who lived down the road—he got into that Black Leaf 40 tobacco poison
and it burned him like a fire.”

Check out The War on Bugs, which is 25% off until July as part of our Gardening & Agriculture sale.


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

Chelsea Green: In the Media 2016

Oh, 2016. Where did the time go? Each year, Chelsea Green receives hundreds of mentions (well over 1000 in 2016) in the media both big and small. From interviews, to excerpts, to opinion pieces by authors we’re always working to make sure that the mission and message of each book is spread far and wide. […] Read More
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