Archive for April, 2012

Check out Our Newest Releases!

Monday, April 30th, 2012

In keeping with our mission to publish the best books on the politics AND practice of sustainable living, we’re proud to present three excellent — and very different — new books!

The Art of Fermentation: An In-Depth Exploration of Essential Concepts and Processes from Around the World by Sandor Ellix Katz

We can confidently say that this is the most comprehensive guide to do-it-yourself home fermentation ever published. Sandor Katz presents the concepts and processes behind fermentation in ways that are simple enough to guide a reader through their first experience making sauerkraut or yogurt, and in-depth enough to provide greater understanding and insight for experienced practitioners. While Katz expertly contextualizes fermentation in terms of biological and cultural evolution, health and nutrition, and even economics, this is primarily a compendium of practical information—how the processes work; parameters for safety; techniques for effective preservation; troubleshooting; and more.

Read Michael Pollan’s enthusiastic and inspired Foreword. 

The New Feminist Agenda: Defining the Next Revolution for Women, Work, and Family by Madeleine M. Kunin

Feminists opened up thousands of doors in the 1960s and 1970s, but decades later, are U.S. women where they thought they’d be?  The answer, it turns out, is a resounding no. Looking back over five decades of advocacy, Madeleine Kunin (Vermont’s first female governor and the nation’s third) analyzes where progress stalled, looks at the successes of other countries, and charts the course for the next feminist revolution—one that mobilizes women, and men, to call for the kind of government and workplace policies that can improve the lives of women and strengthen their families.

Read a Q&A with Madeleine over at VTDigger.

Follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

The Natural Building Companion: A Comprehensive Guide to Integrative Design and Construction by Jacob Deva Racusin and Ace McArleton. This book is the first in our Yestermorrow Design/Build Series, and comes with an instructional DVD.

Natural buildings not only bring satisfaction to their makers and joy to their occupants, they also leave the gentlest footprint on the environment. In this complete reference to natural building philosophy, design, and technique, Jacob Deva Racusin and Ace McArleton walk builders through planning and construction, offering step-by-step instructions on siting, choosing materials, planning for heat and moisture, developing an integrative design, and so much more.

Read an excerpt from the book.

These Tree-riffic Books are 25% Off to Celebrate Arbor Day

Friday, April 27th, 2012

The concept of Arbor Day is simple: let’s celebrate our love for trees.

First celebrated in Nebraska City, Nebraska in 1872, Arbor Day has since become an international day of celebration of affection and care for the tall, woody plants that mean so much to us. From heating our homes sustainably to shading our pastured livestock on hot summer days, from sequestering carbon in the soil to producing delicious fruits, and much, much more, trees are very special beings that we ought to cherish.

To help you celebrate this Arbor Day, we’ve selected a bunch of our favorite tree-centric books and put them on sale for 25% off until May 4th. You may be asking, “Hey, do trees really want us to buy books? Wouldn’t that be like chickens cheering about a sale on McNuggets?” And to that I say, “There’s actually chicken in McNuggets!?”

Haha, I kid. But seriously, if you’re asking such a question, you’re pretty smart. You should ask questions like that about all your purchases.

Thankfully, here at Chelsea Green all our books are printed on recycled paper, so you can purchase our books about trees — or any other topic under the umbrella of sustainability — without that particular sort of environmental guilt.

Happy Arbor Day!

A Sanctuary of Trees: Beechnuts, Birdsongs, Baseball Bats and Benedictions

by Gene Logsdon

Logsdon offers a loving tribute to the woods, tracing the roots of his own home groves in Ohio back to the Native Americans and revealing his own history and experiences living in many locations, each of which was different, yet inextricably linked with trees and the natural world.

The Man Who Planted Trees

by Jean Giono, Michael McCurdy, & Andy Lipkis

Twenty years ago Chelsea Green published the first trade edition of The Man Who Planted Trees, a timeless eco-fable about what one person can do to restore the earth. The hero of the story, Elzéard Bouffier, spent his life planting one hundred acorns a day in a desolate, barren section of Provence in the south of France. The result was a total transformation of the landscape-from one devoid of life, with miserable, contentious inhabitants, to one filled with the scent of flowers, the songs of birds, and fresh, flowing water.

The Man who Planted Trees – Book/CD set

by Jean Giono, Michael McCurdy, & Andy Lipkis

Set contains the book and audio CD.

The Man Who Planted Trees – CD

by Jean Giono, Michael McCurdy, & Andy Lipkis

Audio CD version of the acclaimed audio of the story by Jean Giono. The original music was composed and is performed by the Paul Winter consort, and the text is narrated by Robert J. Lurtsema, host of “Morning Pro Musica.”

The Holistic Orchard: Tree Fruits and Berries the Biological Way

by Michael Phillips

The Holistic Orchard demystifies the basic skills everybody should know about the inner-workings of the orchard ecosystem, as well as orchard design, soil biology, and organic health management.

The Apple Grower: A Guide for the Organic Orchardist, Second Edition

by Michael Phillips

The author’s personal voice and clear-eyed advice have already made The Apple Grower a classic among small-scale growers and home orchardists. In fact, anyone serious about succeeding with apples needs to have this updated edition on their bookshelf.

The Backyard Orchardist: A Complete Guide to Growing Fruit Trees in the Home Garden

by Stella Otto

For every gardener desiring to add apples, pears, cherries, and other tree fruit to their landscape here are hints and solid information from a professional horticulturist and experienced fruit grower.

Creating a Forest Garden: Working with Nature to Grow Edible Crops

by Martin Crawford

A forest garden is a managed ecosystem modeled on the stucture of young natural woodlands, with a diversity of crops grown in different vertical layers. Unlike in a conventional garden, nature does most of the work for you. Creating a Forest Garden tells you everything you need to know – whether you want to plant a small area in your back garden or develop a larger plot.

A Forest Garden Year DVD

by Martin Crawford

This 49-minute DVD shows how you can apply the principles of forest gardening to spaces big and small. Martin takes viewers through the seasons in his Devon, England, forest garden and shows them how to plan their planting to mimic the layering, density, and diversity of a forest.

A Wood of Our Own, Second Edition

by Julian Evans

In 1985, author Julian Evans decided to buy his own small forest in North Hampshire, fulfilling every forester’s dream. Caring for the wood and its natural inhabitants using both ancient and modern skills, Evans experiences the evolving cycle of woodland life and encourages us to appreciate our environment firsthand in all seasons, all climates.

The Woodland Way: A Permaculture Approach to Sustainable Woodland Management

by Ben Law

Ben Law is an experienced and innovative woodsman with a deep commitment to practical sustainability. Here he presents a radical alternative to conventional woodland management that creates biodiverse, healthy environments, yields a great variety of value-added products, provides a secure livelihood for woodland workers and farmers, and benefits the local community.

Common Sense Forestry

by Hans Morsbach

Common Sense Forestry relates thirty years’ experience of an environmentally conscious woodland owner. Much of the book is devoted to starting a forest and how to maintain it. It answers such questions as: What seedlings to buy? Should your forest be monoculture or a mixed forest? What is the payback for planting and maintaining a forest? Is seeding a good way to start a forest?  How should I prune?  How, when and whether to thin? How to herbicide and when?

The Woodland Year

by Ben Law

The Woodland Year provides a fascinating insight into every aspect of sustainable woodland management, including the cycles of nature, seasonal tasks, wild food gathering, wine making, mouthwatering and useful recipes, coppice crafts, round-pole timber-frame eco-building (pioneered by Ben), nature conservation, species diversity, tree profiles, and the use of horses for woodland work.

Studen Loan Debt, Not Loan Rates, Is the Bigger Issue

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

As politicians stumble over themselves to agree on a legislative no-brainer — keeping student loan rates low — they are missing a bigger issue for many students and recent graduates: Student loan debt.

In a compelling new opinion piece posted on, DIY U author Anya Kamenetz (Chelsea Green, 2010) argues that politicians should be focusing on debt forgiveness, not just keeping loan rates low.

She notes:

Some recent polls have shown that support for Obama among young voters, once Obama’s enthusiastic fans, may be waning in this election compared with four years ago. Student loans are seen by some as the president’s chosen key to regaining their hearts. But really, the issue has been raised for him by the Occupy movement, gearing up this May 1 with a new set of actions focusing on the cost of college and the depredations of the student loan industry.

Additionally, almost 700,000 people have signed a petition sponsored by for student loan forgiveness, started by lawyer and student-loan debtor Robert Applebaum. And the Student Loan Forgiveness Act of 2012, introduced by U.S. Rep. Hansen Clarke, D-Michigan, last month, is aimed at offering relief.

What’s at stake here is the basic equation of the American dream: Hard work plus merit equals opportunity. As usually happens, hard times have led to cuts in support to public education and attendant tuition hikes. Young people are graduating into a dismal job market with an average of more than $25,000 in debt. Loan default rates were up sharply last year, and many graduates are questioning the value of their education. In eight years of covering and advocating for student debtors, I’ve never seen such a level of public outcry.

In lieu of this renewed, election year interest in young folks (ahem) we here at Chelsea Green are offering a free download of a particularly salient chapter from Kamenetz’s 2010 book that leads off with – ironically enough – candidate Barack Obama at a Hofstra University forum on the rising cost of higher education.

Kamenetz then walks readers through just how this generation of students is facing some of the most crushing debtloads in order to attend post-secondary institutions. She also expertly lays out a three-part plan to reduce the overall cost of higher ed in the United States, including a call to restore free college tuition. Colleges didn’t always cost so much, and there are even some out there today where students graduate debt-free. What a concept.

Chapter 3 – Economics, An Excerpt from DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Highe…

Becoming a Flower Farmer

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Springtime is in full bloom, and along with the warm sun, fragrant blossoms, and promise of a long, fun summer often comes the edgy restlessness of spring fever.

If you’re considering a drastic career change — ditching those stocks and bonds you sell all day for stalks and petals instead — this excerpt from the chapter “Basics for Beginners” from The Flower Farmer by Lynn Byczynski should help.


As you begin your journey into serious flower growing, the first thing you should determine is where you hope to go. Do you want to grow enough flowers to keep your house full of bouquets all summer long? Do you want to raise flowers for dried arrangements to sell at craft fairs? Do you want to earn some money while staying home to raise children? Do you want to quit your present job and become a full-time flower farmer?

All of these options are possible with flowers. It helps to have clarified your goals before you start digging beds and ordering seeds, because hundreds of flowers are available to you. But since you can’t grow them all (not all at once, anyway), you should narrow your selection to those that best meet your needs. I recommend that you request catalogs from several of the seed companies listed for this chapter in appendix 2. Many of them have excellent color photos that will serve as a guide while you’re becoming acquainted with flowers. Of course, all blooms look great in the catalogs, which is why this book gives you the names of the easiest, most reliable varieties to get you started as a cut-flower grower.

In this chapter, you will find recommendations of foolproof flowers for the novice grower. If you’ve never grown flowers before, these suggestions will help you get some experience before you make the leap into a full-fledged commercial venture. In subsequent years, you can expand your plantings to include the many other varieties recommended throughout the rest of this book. In the alphabetical list of recommended cut flowers in appendix 1, you’ll find specific information about the uses, desirability, cultivation, and handling of more than one hundred kinds of specialty cut flowers. They are considered “specialty cut flowers” because they transcend the standard floral fare of roses, carnations, and chrysanthemums. They are considered good cut flowers because they have long stems and a vase life of at least five days. These recommended varieties are, in short, reliable in both the home and the marketplace.

However, hundreds of other plants can be grown as cut flowers—for yourself or for sale—even though they don’t meet the stem-length and vaselife standards of those most commonly grown. For example, lilies-of-the-valley are in some demand for weddings, despite their short stems. Some floral designers will use just about anything from the garden, including petunias, geraniums, and even the grasses you may think of as weeds. Many British and old American books on flower arranging make no mention of vase life; if a bloom lasts two or three days inside, it’s worthy of cutting.

This book, then, is just an introduction to the topic of cut flowers. The flowers you will find here are reliable and will serve you well as you get started in flower farming. But don’t let them limit your creativity. Sometime down the road, you will want to try new cultivated varieties or explore antique flowers. You might want to experiment with postharvest handling to find a way to get better vase life out of a short-lived flower. You might want to branch out into greens or unusual flowering branches. Once your flower skills are firmly rooted, you’ll want to stretch.

A Garden of Annuals

Many of the best flowers for cutting are annuals, which live only one season and therefore can devote all their energy to blossoming. Perennials, in contrast, have to spend much of their energy developing roots and foliage to sustain them year after year. That’s not to say they aren’t good cut flowers; some perennials are, and we’ll get to them later. But it will be the annuals that at first form the foundation of your cut-flower garden and provide the greatest number of stems for your bouquets.

Many of the best annuals can be direct-seeded into the garden. Others need to be started in a greenhouse; these are readily available at garden centers because they’re also good bedding plants. However, you need to be careful when purchasing annuals from a garden center. Many of the flowers that I recommend for cutting are also available as dwarf cultivars for bedding, so always check the tag to make sure that the cultivar you’re buying will be tall enough for cutting. For example, one of the nicest blue flowers for cutting is a tall ageratum called ‘Blue Horizon’. Most of the ageratums you’ll find at garden centers, though, are the short types used in the front of landscape beds.

For the garden of annuals, I recommend that you set aside a special area: in the vegetable garden, along a fence, or beside the garage. Although annuals are beautiful to behold individually, they won’t look great from a distance. You’ll be cutting them constantly, and they’ll never display the intense spread of color you might want in a landscape. Also, you should immediately cut flowers that have passed their peak (it’s called deadheading) to encourage new blooms. So give annuals their own spot where you won’t be reluctant to cut them for indoor use or to deadhead fading blossoms.

In the beginner’s garden plan described in the illustration below, you’ll find a list of the most basic, reliable, cheerful annuals that you can grow for a long season of cut flowers. This represents just a tiny portion of the annuals that look great in bouquets. Depending on your expertise, you may also want to grow more-difficult annuals such as sweet peas, lavatera, and lisianthus. But even with the very basic flowers listed in this sample garden, you’ll be able to make colorful informal bouquets or select color themes for more formal arrangements. The varieties have been carefully chosen to provide a wide range of colors and shapes over a long season. In fact, the annuals in this plan can supply all the cut flowers you need. However, it never hurts to vary the menu in your arrangements, which is why you might want to plan for cut flowers in the other parts of your garden. You can always prune a few branches from your shrubs, steal a couple of rosebuds, and snip flowering herbs from the vegetable garden.

Perennial Beds

If you’re a serious gardener, you probably have given considerable thought to the plantings around your house. If you have a perennial bed, you may have planned the selection and placement of the flowers to combine colors, season of bloom, height, and texture into an eye-pleasing whole. The idea of going in there and snipping flowers for a bouquet may seem nothing short of sacrilegious. If that’s your reaction, then you’ve just found an excuse to plant new perennial beds.

Many perennials make beautiful cut flowers that last a long time in the vase. They tend to have a more delicate, ethereal quality than the robust annuals listed in the beginner’s annual garden shown below. A few delphiniums or campanulas, for example, can turn a country bouquet into a work of art. Peonies will provide a romantic feel and sweet fragrance. Phlox will add brilliant colors unlike any annual flower.

There are scores of perennials that make good cut flowers. Many may surprise you because you don’t normally think of them as cut flowers. Consider the blossoms of the shade garden: Hostas are lovely for both their foliage and their blooms; the tiny flowers of coralbells (Heuchera sanguinea) make a wonderful addition to a country bouquet; and arching sprays of old-fashioned bleeding heart (Dicentra spectabilis) look exquisite in an arrangement. The extensive list in appendix 1 will give you a complete picture of recommended flowers you can choose from when planning a perennial cutting bed. The sample garden illustrated below will give you a specific plan for a small perennial cutting garden that you can double or triple in size if you wish.

A Beginner’s Annual Garden

This sample garden is designed for the new flower grower who wants to gain experience with growing and harvesting flowers without being overwhelmed by the diversity and size of a commercial garden. About 60 square feet of annuals—a bed measuring 5 feet by 12 feet—will provide enough stems to fill your house with bouquets throughout the summer and give you a feel for the work.

The flowers in this plan are basic, but they all have many qualities to recommend them. All of them bloom prolifically, most of them providing multiple stems for cutting each week. They also bloom for a long time, although you may find that some of them die out if your summer gets too hot. This selection of flowers provides a wide assortment of colors and shapes, and many varieties can be used as both cut and dried flowers. Finally, this plan uses plants in quantities of six, because most garden centers sell annuals in six-packs. If you have to buy more flowers, you can always expand the garden by a foot or so and squeeze them all in. Here’s what you’ll need for a 5-foot by 12-foot bed:

• Consolida ambigua (larkspur). In many areas, larkspur should be direct-seeded in fall. You also can freeze the seed for two weeks and direct-seed in spring. You’ll need enough seeds for a 12-foot row, or buy eighteen plants. Larkspur can be used fresh or dried.

• Gomphrena spp. (globe amaranth). ‘Carmine’ is a glowing rosy pink, which is the most useful color in my opinion. But there are several other good ones, including pale pink-and-white ‘Bicolor Rose’ and red ‘Strawberry Fields’. Gomphrenas produce an astonishing number of flowers, and since you’ll use them only as fillers in bouquets, buy just three plants. They can be used fresh or dried.

• Ageratum ‘Blue Horizon’. Don’t mistake low-growing varieties for this tall cultivar. Buy six plants.

• Antirrhinum (snapdragon). Be sure to get a tall cultivar, such as ‘Rocket’ or ‘Liberty’. You’ll need six plants.

• Zinnia. My favorite is ‘Benary’s Giant’, which is 30 to 36 inches tall. Direct-seed an 8-foot row or buy twelve plants.

• Salvia farinacea ‘Victoria’ or ‘Blue Bedder’. This lovely blue spike can be used fresh or dried. Buy four plants and cut them hard to encourage branching.

• Salvia horminum (tricolor sage). This heavily branching plant sends up spikes of what look like pink or blue leaves; they’re actually bracts surrounding the inconspicuous white flowers. They can be used fresh or dried. Because they branch so profusely, you’ll need only three plants.

• Rudbeckia ‘Indian Summer’ or ‘Prairie Sun’. Both have yellow blooms 6 to 8 inches across. ‘Indian Summer’ has brown centers; ‘Prairie Sun’ has green centers. Get six plants.

• Celosia argentea var. cristata (cockscomb celosia). ‘Chief’ and ‘Kurume’ are good varieties with long stems; they can be used fresh or dried. ‘Cramer’s Rose’ and ‘Cramer’s Burgundy’ are also nice cockscomb types. Direct-seed a 4-foot row or buy six plants.

• Cosmos ‘Versailles’ or ‘Double Click’. These can be direct-seeded. Grow a 4-foot row or buy six plants.

• Helianthus annuus (sunflower). Buy seed for a 12-foot row. For the longest season of production, grow a branching variety, preferably one that is pollenless. (See page 16 for more on sunflowers.) The ‘Aura’ series meets both criteria. You might also want to plant a red, bronze, or bicolor variety such as ‘Moulin Rouge’ or ‘Ring of Fire’. The classic florist sunflower is a singlestemmed variety such as ‘Pro Cut’, ‘Sunrich’, or ‘Sunbrite’.

The Joy of Bok Choy

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012

The following is an excerpt from Whole Foods Companion: A Guide for Adventurous Cooks, Curious Shoppers, and Lovers of Natural Foods by Dianne Onstad. It has been adapted for the Web.

Chinese Cabbage (Brassica chinensis, B. rapa)

The Latin name Brassica derives from the Celtic bresic; chinensis designates the plant’s Chinese origins.

General Information

Long appreciated for its delicate flavor and crisp texture, Chinese cabbage has been cultivated since before the Christian era. It has been described as a cabbage that even cabbage haters love—it is crisper, juicier, sweeter, and more tender than common cabbage. There are several varieties of Chinese cabbage, the two most popular being bok choy and Pe-tsai. All form a head, but the head varies from round like cabbage to elongated like romaine lettuce; also, the crinkly leaves may curl inward or outward.

Buying Tips

In most markets, at least one form or another of Chinese cabbage is available year-round. Select fresh, light-colored greens with plump ribs. Squeeze the heads to find a firm, heavy one. Avoid those that have wilted leaves with any rot spots. Small dark specks, however, are naturally occurring. Chinese cabbage stores exceptionally well (but not so long as cabbage), and the flavor even improves when it is slightly wilted.

Culinary Uses

Chinese cabbage’s sweet flavor is enhanced with long simmering, and the leaves become silky soft but hold their form. Try it in soups and stews, baked, or braised. It’s also delicious when lightly cooked (stir-fried, steamed, or blanched) or even raw in a salad, where its thin, crispycrunchy leaves add great texture and make an excellent salad base on their own. The blanched leaf makes a flexible and excellent wrapper that is, compared to common cabbage, easier to work with yet more delicate. Pickled Chinese cabbage, kim chee, the signature dish of Korea, is as easy to make as sauerkraut, the pickled cabbage of equal prominence in German cuisine.

Health Benefits

Chinese cabbage is cooling and beneficial to the lungs, stomach, and liver channels. It also moistens the intestines and treats constipation. It is an anti-inflammatory and useful in cases of yellow mucus discharge and other heat symptoms, including fever. According to Oriental medicine, stalk vegetables raise energy and are expansive and cooling foods. All Brassica genus vegetables contain dithiolthiones, a group of compounds that have anticancer, antioxidant properties; indoles, substances that protect against breast and colon cancer; and sulfur, which has antibiotic and antiviral characteristics.

Crank up Your Crocks, The Art of Fermentation is Here!

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Put down that bubbly glass of kombucha, let the sourdough starter sit for a second, and listen up. The Art of Fermentation is now available!

This long-awaited, in-depth guide to all things fermented just arrived in our warehouse, and to celebrate we’re offering a just-released special discount of 25% off this week.

Here’s a brief clip from Michael Pollan’s Foreword. You can read the whole thing here.

The Art of Fermentation is much more than a cookbook… Sure, it tells you how to do it, but much more important, it tells you what it means, and why an act as quotidian and practical as making your own sauerkraut represents nothing less than a way of engaging with the world. Or rather, with several different worlds, each nested inside the other: the invisible world of fungi and bacteria; the community in which you live; and the industrial food system that is undermining the health of our bodies and the land. This might seem like a large claim for a crock of sauerkraut, but Sandor Katz’s signal achievement in this book is to convince you of its truth. To ferment your own food is to lodge an eloquent protest—of the senses—against the homogenization of flavors and food experiences now rolling like a great, undifferentiated lawn across the globe. It is also a declaration of independence from an economy that would much prefer we were all passive consumers of its commodities, rather than creators of unique products expressive of ourselves and the places where we live.”

Michael Pollan, from the Foreword

We hope you’ll find the book just as inspiring as he did!

Two Cheers for the JOBS Act – Michael Shuman Weighs In

Monday, April 23rd, 2012

Originally published on The Huffington Post .

For nearly a century local investing has been essentially illegal, and Wall Street has monopolized all the investment options for the average investor. Thanks to the JOBS Act that President Barack Obama recently signed into law, local investing in job-creating small businesses is now legal.

Unfortunately, there has been a tremendous amount of misinformation spread about this Act, much of it by liberals I usually admire. They should be the people most eagerly embracing this bill for what it does — giving people a chance to revive Main Street economies across America.

Jim Hightower, for example, condemns the bill for “deregulating Wall Street.” In fact, the bill spells the end of Wall Street as we know it. It allows the 99% of us who are not wealthy (“unaccredited investors”) to put our money in the local businesses we love by removing what were once impossibly difficult and expensive legal hurdles. Those barriers were so targeted against small business and small investors that they resulted in almost none of our long-term savings — now totaling $30 trillion — being invested into the local half of our economy. The JOBS Act ends this misallocation of capital for good.

To me it’s ironic, and disappointing, that folks like Hightower, Robert Kuttner, and Eliot Spitzer were committed to the status quo and to maintaining Wall Street’s monopoly on capital. How could such great thinkers get this issue so wrong? Here are my top five reasons:

First, the critics misunderstand who promoted this bill. Kuttner, for example, blames Obama for being “always eager to curry favor with Wall Street donors…” Wall Street lobbyists played, at most a peripheral role, it was small business owners and “makers” like Woody Neiss and Paul Spinrad who led the charge. Innovative thinkers in the White House, like Doug Rand at the Office of Science and Technology Policy, played a pivotal role in shaping the president’s views about entrepreneurship. Non-Wall Street insiders like IndieGogo, a crowdfunding web site, and the nonprofit Sustainable Economies Law Center, pushed hard as well.

Second, the critics, who are justifiably skeptical of wholesale deregulation, don’t like to concede that any form of regulation has been a failure. But any honest assessment of the history of securities law would observe that we essentially regulated local finance out of existence while permitting Bernie Madoffs to operate freely. For decades, the SEC has held annual meetings where small business owners have urged reforms — modest deregulations that could open up capital to small companies, such as allowing small-dollar, local investments to be exempted from securities filings. The SEC never implemented any of those suggestions — even a recommendation that $100 investments be exempted.

Third, the critics have tremendously exagerrated the dangers of fraud. The casual reader of the liberal critiques might conclude that the sale of fraudulent securities is now legal, and that “boiler room” operations will be set up to bilk grandma of her life savings. Yet state and federal laws against securities fraud remain in effect. In fact, the JOBS Act adds a number of new provisions for preventing fraud, by requiring that crowdfunding offerings only be made through registered intermediaries.

Why, moreover, should anyone be banned from spending, investing, or donating a couple of hundred dollars any damn way they please? Every American, irrespective of income, is allowed to lose their life’s fortune on lotteries and casinos. Why not allow more reasonable risk tasking on building community economies? If grandma is not wealthy, the JOBS act limits her risk in any one business to the lesser of $2,000 or 5% her assets.

Fourth, the critics do not appreciate that there are other approaches to preventing fraud. E- bay has all but eliminated fraud through consumer and business evaluations of one another. So have other crowdfunding sites in the United Kingdom. In other words, the SEC’s premise — that the only way to prevent fraud is by banning unaccredited investors from making their own judgments — is flat out wrong.

Perhaps the critics’ most appalling misunderstanding is the fraudulence of the status quo. Every day the SEC allows investment advisers on AM radio to hawk the stock market, promising 10-20% annual returns, when in fact the returns — once inflation and compounding are taken out — are closer to 3%. These misrepresentations have convinced Americans that putting 100% of their savings into Fortune 500 companies is safer and provides a better return than investing in local business. In reality, the stock market is becoming an increasingly dangerous and unregulated casino where trades are done by computers that cause flash crashes when they malfunction. The JOBS Act will allow local businesses to begin to compete for a fair market share of investment dollars and provide returns that are equal to, if not slightly greater than, the true returns provided by Wall Street.

I agree, the bill is imperfect. I’m not thrilled with the deregulations of larger companies. And the bill legalizes all kinds of crowdfunding, local and nonlocal. But we can make it better. We should start educating the public about the importance of favoring local investment over abstract ones hundreds or thousands of miles away. Knowing the business in which one invests — knowing the products, the entrepreneur, the workforce, etc. — is the best way to prevent fraud.

It’s worth adding that after the bill was signed, 25 of the people who were most instrumental in passing the bill — none from Wall Street, by the way — got together to discuss ways we could create internal checks and balances on the marketplace, to improve quality control and help identify hucksters. I hope similar groups form in every community to create an honor roll of local businesses they know and trust — perhaps businesses that embrace open-book accounting — and that they then encourage residents to prioritize their crowdfunding.

Like it or not, Wall Street’s stranglehold on investment is over. We now have a new legal landscape that we can play a pivotal role in shaping. Everyone who cares about the vitality of Main Street needs to step up, not out.

Michael Shuman is the author of Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2012) . He is research director at Cutting Edge Capital, and a fellow of the Post Carbon Institute. He attended the Rose Garden bill signing ceremony.

How Did We Get Here? The Roots of Pot Prohibition

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

The following is an excerpt from Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink? by Steve Fox, Paul Armentano, and Mason Tvert. It has been adapted for the Web.

Why is it that our state and federal laws embrace alcohol—a drug that is a known cause of a frightening array of adverse health effects and behaviors— while criminalizing the use of marijuana, which is seldom associated with such problems?”

Good question. After all, it wasn’t always like this. Throughout most of America’s history, marijuana and alcohol were both legal. In 1920, the federal government decided to outlaw booze, yet members of Congress had yet to enact any legal restrictions on the consumption of cannabis. However, by the 1930s the political climate had changed dramatically. In 1933, the Twenty-first Amendment was ratified, repealing alcohol prohibition. Yet just four years later, on August 2, 1937, President Franklin Roosevelt signed the Marihuana Tax Act into law, ushering in a new form of prohibition—one that remains with us to this day.

So what the hell happened?

The Tide Turns

For the first three hundred years of our nation’s history American farmers cultivated cannabis—then known exclusively as either “hemp” or “Indian hemp”—for its cordage fiber content. Some historians believe that colonists harvested America’s first hemp crop in 1611 near Jamestown, Virginia. Shortly thereafter, The British Crown ordered settlers to engage in wide-scale hemp farming1—a practice that continued in earnest up until the turn of the twentieth century. Even into the early part of the 1900s, the United States Department of Agriculture extolled the virtues of hemp as a high-yield, low-maintenance crop.2 At that time, Americans no more considered the plant to be a recreational drug than someone today would label corn or soy an intoxicant. Domestically grown cannabis possessed very little THC content and was not consumed recreationally. In fact, the term marijuana was not yet a part of the American lexicon.

In addition to its industrial uses, much of the public was also familiar with the plant’s utility as a medicine. While practicing in India in the early 1800s, Irish physician William O’Shaughnessy first began documenting the medical uses of cannabis, which he later introduced into Western medicine in 1839. By the 1850s, the preparation of oral cannabis extracts became available in U.S. pharmacies, where they remained a staple for the next sixty years.3 Typically these products were marketed under the plant’s alternative botanical name, cannabis indica. (Unlike industrial varieties of the crop that were grown domestically, pharmaceutical supplies of cannabis were often imported from other countries, like India.4) Despite the drug’s widespread availability as a medicine, reported recreational abuses of cannabis were virtually nonexistent in the literature of that time. In fact, during Congressional hearings leading up to the passage of the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914—the nation’s first federal antidrug act—witnesses argued against prohibiting cannabis, stating that “as a habit forming drug its use is almost nil.”5 Congress heeded their advice and excluded marijuana from the statute.

By the early 1920s, however, public and political acceptance of cannabis had changed significantly. The plant’s popularity as both a commercial crop and folk remedy was on the wane, as competing commercial products like cotton-based textiles and opiate-based medications began to gain a wider share of the market. At the same time, newspapers and law enforcement personnel, primarily in the American Southwest, began reporting on the use of a new, highly dangerous “narcotic” called marijuana (or as it was typically spelled then, marihuana). From the papers’ and police officers’ salacious accounts of the drug’s purported effects, it’s unlikely that most Americans had any idea that the so-called “loco weed” and cannabis hemp were actually one and the same.

The Rise of “Reefer Madness”

Aside from infrequent accounts of hash smoking by East Indian and Lebanese immigrants, there is little, if any, evidence that the recreational use of marijuana had any cultural foothold in America prior to the influx of Mexican laborers in the early 1900s.6 However, the Mexicans’ custom of smoking the flowering tops of the female plant almost immediately drew concern from public officials and law enforcement—who alleged that inhaling the drug empowered users with “superhuman strength and turned them into bloodthirsty murderers.”7

As early as 1913, a handful of cities and states in the American south began prohibiting the use of marijuana, and by the early 1920s, numerous western states—including California, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming—had outlawed possessing pot.8 In many of these states, the public rationale for this crackdown was as racially motivated as it was transparent: “All Mexicans are crazy, and this stuff (referring to marijuana) is what makes them crazy.”9 Other regions of the country followed suit—including many states that had virtually no Mexican immigrant population and virtually no reported incidents of marijuana use to speak of—arguing that legislation was necessary to preemptively stop the spread of “the Devil’s Weed” before it reached their borders.

By the late 1920s, lurid newspaper headlines and editorials promoting the alleged dangers of marijuana began sweeping the nation. This excerpt, taken from a July 6, 1927, New York Times story, epitomizes the content and tone of much of the reporting of this era:

Mexican Family Go Insane

Five Said To Have Been Stricken By Eating Marihuana

A widow and her four children have been driven insane by eating the Marihuana plant, according to doctors, who say there is no hope of saving the children’s lives and that the mother will be insane for the rest of her life.
. . . Two hours after the mother and children had eaten the plants, they were stricken. Neighbors, hearing outbursts of crazed laughter, rushed to the house to find the entire family insane. Examination revealed that the narcotic marihuana was growing among the garden vegetables.10

The public’s concern over the supposed marijuana menace grew, and in 1930 Congress responded by establishing the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN). Selected to head this new agency was a “law and order” evangelist named Harry J. Anslinger. For the next three decades, Anslinger would single-handedly dictate U.S. drug policy. Many of his highly sensationalized views on weed linger in the public mind to this day.

Beginning in the mid-1930s, Anslinger and the FBN launched an unprecedented (for the time) media campaign warning Americans of the alleged perils of pot. By this time, the drug’s use was not only popular among Mexican immigrants, but it had also become vogue among certain segments of the African American community, most notably southern jazz musicians. The Bureau warned that smoking marijuana inspired blacks and Hispanics to commit rape and engage in other acts of uninhibited violence. “His sex desires are aroused and some of the most horrible crimes result,” one widely disseminated FBN news bulletin reported. “He hears light and sees sound. To get away from it, he suddenly becomes violent and may kill.”11 Seizing upon many white Americans’ preexisting racial prejudices, Anslinger often emphasized that these alleged acts of violence were primarily directed toward Caucasian women.

Anslinger further claimed that Mexican “dope peddlers” frequently offered free samples of marijuana cigarettes to children on their way home from school. “Parents beware! Your children . . . are being introduced to a new danger in the form of a drugged cigarette, marijuana,” Anslinger warned in a prominent FBN radio address. “Young [people] are slaves to the narcotic, continuing addiction until they deteriorate mentally, become insane, [and] turn to violent crime and murder.”12

Possessing a flair for the theatrical, Anslinger bragged about keeping a “gore file” consisting of outrageous, unsubstantiated, and sometimes fraudulent newspaper stories that detailed pot’s supposedly mind-altering and behavioral effects. One such account read, “While under the influence of the drug, the subject thrust his hand through his hair, and found that his fingers passed through his crackling skull and into his warm, cheesy brain.”13

Predictably, Anslinger’s and the FBN’s antipot diatribes fueled national headlines and prompted legislative action. By 1935, most states in the country had enacted laws criminalizing the possession and use of pot, and newspaper editors were frequently opining in favor of stiffer and stiffer penalties for marijuana users. As Anslinger’s rhetoric became prominent, he found additional allies who were willing to carry his crusading message to the general public. Among these were the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and the Hearst newspaper chain—the latter of which luridly editorialized against the “insidious and insanity producing marihuana” in papers across the country.14

Members of state and local law enforcement also joined the FBN’s antimarijuana crusade. Writing in The Journal of Criminology, Wichita, Kansas, police officer L. E. Bowery asserted that the cannabis user is capable of “great feats of strength and endurance, during which no fatigue is felt.” Bowery’s overwrought screed, which for years thereafter would be hailed by advocates of prohibition as the definitive “study” of the drug, concluded: “Sexual desires are stimulated and may lead to unnatural acts, such as indecent exposure and rape. . . . [Marijuana use] ends in the destruction of brain tissues and nerve centers, and does irreparable damage. If continued, the inevitable result is insanity, which those familiar with it describe as absolutely incurable, and, without exception ending in death.”15

The Marihuana Tax Act

By 1937, Congress—which had resisted efforts to clamp down on the drug some two decades earlier—was poised to act, and act quickly, to enact blanket federal prohibition. Ironically, by this time virtually every state had already ratified laws against cannabis possession. Nonetheless, local authorities argued that the marijuana threat was so great that federal intervention was also necessary.

On April 14, 1937, Representative Robert L. Doughton of North Carolina introduced House Bill 6385, which sought to stamp out the recreational use of marijuana by imposing a prohibitive tax on the drug. The measure was the brainchild of the U.S. Treasury Department, and mandated a $100 per ounce tax on the transfer of cannabis to members of the general public. Interestingly, a separate antimarijuana measure introduced that same year sought to directly outlaw possession and use of the drug. However, this proposal was assumed at that time to have been beyond the constitutional authority of Congress.

Members of Congress held only two hearings to debate the merits of Doughton’s bill. The federal government’s chief witness, Harry

Anslinger, told members of the House Ways and Means Committee that “traffic in marijuana is increasing to such an extent that it has come to be the cause for the greatest national concern. . . . This drug is entirely the monster Hyde, the harmful effect of which cannot be measured.”16 Other witnesses included a pair of veterinarians who testified that dogs were particularly susceptible to marijuana’s effects. “Over a period of six months or a year (of exposure to marijuana), . . . the animal must be discarded because it is no longer serviceable,” one doctor testified.17 This would be the extent of “scientific” testimony presented to the committee.

The American Medical Association (AMA) represented the most vocal opposition against the bill. Speaking before Congress, the AMA’s legislative counsel Dr. William C. Woodward challenged the legitimacy of the alleged “Demon Weed.”

We are told that the use of marijuana causes crime. But yet no one has been produced from the Bureau of Prisons to show the number of prisoners who have been found addicted to the marijuana habit. An informal inquiry shows that the Bureau of Prisons has no evidence on that point.

You have been told that school children are great users of marijuana cigarettes. No one has been summoned from the Children’s Bureau to show the nature and extent of the habit among children. Inquiry of the Children’s Bureau shows that they have had no occasion to investigate it and know nothing particularly of it.

. . . Moreover, there is the Treasury Department itself, the Public Health Service. . . . Informal inquiry by me indicates that they have no record of any marijuana or cannabis addicts.18

Woodward further argued that the proposed legislation would severely hamper physicians’ ability to utilize marijuana’s therapeutic potential. While acknowledging that the drug’s popularity as a prescription medicine had declined, Woodward nonetheless warned that the Marihuana Tax Act “loses sight of the fact that future investigations may show that there are substantial medical uses for cannabis.”19

Woodward’s criticisms of the bill’s intent—as well as his questions regarding whether such legislation was objectively justifiable—drew a stern rebuke from the chairman of the committee. “If you want to advise us on legislation, you ought to come here with some constructive proposals, rather than criticism, rather than trying to throw obstacles in the way of something that the federal government is trying to do,” the AMA’s counsel was told. “Is not the fact that you were not consulted your real objection to this bill?”20

Despite the AMA’s protests, the House Ways and Means Committee approved House Bill 6385. House members even went so far as to elevate Anslinger’s propaganda to Congressional findings of fact, stating: “Under the influence of this drug the will is destroyed and all power directing and controlling thought is lost. . . . [M]any violent crimes have been and are being committed by persons under the influence of this drug. . . . [S]chool children . . . have been driven to crime and insanity through the use of this drug. Its continued use results many times in impotency and insanity.”21

Anslinger made similar horrific pronouncements before members of the Senate, which spent even less time debating the measure than did the House. By June, less than three months after the bill’s introduction, the House of Representatives voted affirmatively to pass the proposal, which was described by one congressman as having “something to do with something that is called marijuana. I believe it is a narcotic of some kind.”22

Weeks later, after the Senate had approved its version of the bill, the House was asked to vote once again on the measure. Prior to the House’s final vote, one representative asked whether the American Medical Association had endorsed the proposal, to which a member of the Ways and Means Committee falsely replied that the

AMA’s “Dr. Wharton [sic]” had given the measure his full support.23 Following this brief exchange of inaccurate information, Congress gave its final approval of the Marihuana Tax Act without a recorded vote.

President Franklin Roosevelt promptly signed the legislation into law. The Marihuana Tax Act officially took effect on October 1, 1937—thus setting in motion the federal government’s foray into the criminal enforcement of marijuana laws that continues to this day.


  1. Lester Grinspoon, Marihuana Reconsidered, 2nd ed. (Oakland, Cal.: Quick American Archives, 1994).
  2. United States Department of Agriculture, Yearbook of the United States Department of Agriculture (Washington, D.C.: USDA, 1913).
  3. Dale Gieringer, The Origins of Cannabis Prohibition in California, rev. ed. (San Francisco: NORML, 2006),
  4. Ibid.
  5. David Musto, “History of the Marihuana Tax Act,” Archives of General Psychiatry 26 (1972): 101–8.
  6. Ron Mann, Grass: The Paged Experience (Toronto: Warwick Publishing, 2001).
  7. Ibid.
  8. Gieringer, The Origins of Cannabis Prohibition in California, 35.
  9. Richard Bonnie and Charles Whitebread, The Marijuana Conviction: A History of Marijuana Prohibition in the United States (New York: The Lindesmith Center, 1999).
  10. As cited in Larry Sloman, Reefer Madness: A History of Marijuana, 2nd ed. (New York: St. Martin’s/Griffin, 1998).
  11. Grinspoon, Marihuana Reconsidered, 17.
  12. Grass: The Movie, directed by Ronn Mann, 2000.
  13. Sloman, Reefer Madness: A History of Marijuana, 60.
  14. Bonnie and Whitebread, The Marijuana Conviction, 100–101.
  15. As cited by Rowan Robinson, The Great Book of Hemp: The Complete Guide to the Environmental, Commercial, and Medicinal Uses of the World’s Most Extraordinary Plant (Rochester, Vt.: Park Street Press, 1995), 147.
  16. Sloman, Reefer Madness: A History of Marijuana, 66.
  17. Ibid., 68.
  18. Bonnie and Whitebread, The Marijuana Conviction, 165–66.
  19. Sloman, Reefer Madness: A History of Marijuana, 76.
  20. Bonnie and Whitebread, The Marijuana Conviction, 172.
  21. Ibid., 172–73.
  22. Sloman, Reefer Madness: A History of Marijuana, 80.
  23. Bonnie and Whitebread, The Marijuana Conviction, 174.

Presenting the Humble Fig

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

The following is an excerpt from Whole Foods Companion: A Guide for Adventurous Cooks, Curious Shoppers, and Lovers of Natural Foods by Dianne Onstad. It has been adapted for the Web.


(Ficus carica)

Shape is a good part of the fig’s delight. —Jane Grigson

Figs are restorative, and the best food that can be taken by those who are brought low by long sickness . . . professed wrestlers and champions were in times past fed with figs. —Pliny, Roman naturalist (A.D. 23–79)

The term Ficus is the old Roman name for this fruit. Of the many different varieties, the best was considered to be that flourishing in Caria in Asia Minor, hence the modern botanical classification Ficus carica. The English name fig derives from the Latin ficus.

General Information

The fig is a native of western Asia. It can be found over a vast uninterrupted area stretching from eastern Iran through the Mediterranean countries to the Canary Isles, and it is now grown in southwestern areas of the United States. The genus Ficus is unique in that no flowers ever form on the trees; instead, it bears its flowers inside nearly closed receptacles that ripen into the fleshy, pear-shaped fruits, of which only the female fruits are edible. There are over 750 species in this genus. Some figs ripen underground, while others grow high in the air on plants dangling from other trees. Some figs are parasites that strangle and kill their hosts; others grow on low trailing shrubs in the desert or on tall trees in tropical forests. There are large figs and small figs, round figs and ovoid figs, spring figs, summer figs, and winter figs, and figs colored black, brown, red, purple, violet, green, yellow-green, yellow, and white.

The cultivation of figs goes back to the very earliest times. Drawings of figs dating back several centuries before Christ were found in the Gizeh pyramid. Fig trees were grown in King Nebuchadnezzar’s famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon and are mentioned frequently throughout the Bible and even in Homer’s Odyssey. While the fruit may not have had the eight hundred uses of the date palm (although its leaves were a more convenient size and shape for the specialized requirements of the Garden of Eden), the fig sometimes fruited well where the date did not, most notably in Greece, where it found a place in the diet of rich and poor alike. The Greeks are said to have received the fig from Caria in Asia Minor, and they in turn introduced the plant to neighboring countries, although at one point in Greek history figs were in such high demand that their exportation was forbidden by law. In the mid-eighteenth century, the Spanish fathers introduced this fruit to California and planted figs at the first Catholic mission in San Diego, California. This black mission fig is still an important variety in that state, which grows nearly 100 percent of the entire U.S. fig crop.

Buying Tips

Ripe fresh figs vary in color from greenish-yellow to purple, depending on the variety. Fresh fruits should be plump and teardrop-shaped, be evenly colored, and yield under gentle pressure; occasionally they are slightly wrinkled or cracked. Softness, moistness, and oozing nectar all indicate perfect ripeness, but fresh figs are highly perishable at this stage and will not last long, even in the refrigerator. Avoid any that smell sour. Unripe figs, which exude a milky liquid from the stem, should be left at room temperature to mature. Dried figs are best if they still have some “give” to them and are covered with a light dusting of sugar crystals (formed from the fruit itself).

Culinary Uses

Cultivated for centuries as one of the most prized and nutritious of fruits, figs are highly cherished for their rich, sweet, alluring taste, which is nearly addictive (they have one of the highest sugar contents of cultivated fruits). Ripe figs are delicious; peeled or unpeeled, the fruits may be eaten on their own; cooked into pies, puddings, cakes, bread, and other bakery products; or added to ice cream mixes. Hard, unripe figs are best stewed, then used in cakes, jams, or pickles, but they lack the robust flavor of those that are fully ripe. Dried figs can be substituted in recipes that call for apricots, dates, or other dried fruits, and are especially tasty in baked goods; also try adding chopped dried figs to baked sweet potatoes or winter squash for a delicious new sensation. Over 85 percent of the fig crop is dried for market. Fig Newtons, those ubiquitous fig cookies, were first advertised in 1892 and named after the town of Newton, Massachusetts.

Health Benefits

pH 5.05–5.98. Laxative, restorative. The medicinal use of figs is almost as ancient as the plant itself, and the fruit has been used to treat nearly every known disease. Containing more mineral matter and more alkalinity than most fruits, figs are great producers of energy and vitality. Either fresh or sun-dried, they work as an excellent natural laxative for sluggish bowels; the high mucin content and tiny seeds help gather toxic wastes and mucus in the colon and drag them out. The gums and pectin found in figs cleanse your cells by bonding to, and removing, the acids that would otherwise accumulate fat globules. Studies show that figs also help kill pernicious bacteria while promoting the buildup of friendly acidophilus bacteria in the bowel. Those who do not drink milk may want to add figs to their regular diet since the fig is one of the highest sources of readily assimilable calcium in the plant world. Although fresh raw figs are best, dried figs also give nourishment and energy to the body, especially during the winter months. Dried figs are typically preserved with potassium sorbate to help keep them moist without spoiling. Milk from the unripe fruit applied twice daily to warts helps remove them. Calimyrna figs have in their skins and kernels a substance that rips the skin of roundworms. It would be wise to eat some figs once in a while just to make the environment in the intestine sweet and to make it an undesirable environment for unwanted visitors. Intestinal parasites are destroyed by enzymes in fig juice, but all enzymes are destroyed by cooking.


Adriatic fig trees are prolific bearers, producing light green or yellowish-green fruits with pale pink or dark red flesh, very similar in appearance to Calimyrna but smaller and not as sweet. While good fresh, this variety is also frequently sold dried and is the principal variety used in making fig bars and fig paste.

Black Mission figs are black or dark purple with pink flesh and are of medium to large size. They have a moist, chewy texture and distinctive, sweet flavor. Spanish missionaries established a Franciscan mission in San Diego in 1769 and began to grow a Spanish black common fig that, under the names Mission, Black Mission, or Franciscana, is still one of the leading varieties. The dried version is smaller and drier, with an intense, dark, almost burned flavor.

Calimyrna, or California Smyrna, is a large greenishyellow fig that is less moist and not quite as sweet in its fresh state as the Black Mission fig. Considered to have a more traditional fig flavor and texture, this is the most popular dried variety. Often referred to as a caprifig, the Calimyrna is not self-pollinating and relies on an unusual method of pollination to produce mature edible fruit. Early growers of the Calimyrna (which started from the Turkish Smyrna) were puzzled because the fruit would drop off the tree before maturing. Finally, a researcher discovered that Calimyrna figs would remain on the trees if they received the pollen from an inedible fig called the caprifig. Each caprifig has a colony of small fig wasps, called blastophaga, living inside. When the wasp larvae mature, they go in search of another fig to serve as a nest in order to reproduce. Calimyrna growers intervene just prior to this point and place baskets of caprifigs in their orchards. Female wasps then work their way into the Calimyrna figs, carrying a few grains of caprifig pollen on their wings and bodies. Once inside, the wasps discover that the structure of the Calimyrna fig is not suitable for laying eggs and depart, leaving the pollen behind. Thick-skinned Calimyrna figs are usually peeled when used fresh.

Kadota is a small, thick-skinned fig that is generally canned or sold fresh. Actually greenish yellow in color with a violet-tinted flesh, it has only a few small seeds.

Garden Psychology: An Excerpt from Slow Gardening

Tuesday, April 17th, 2012

Felder Rushing is a tenth-generation American gardener, raised into his teen years under the apprenticeship of a horticulturist great-grandmother who grew flowers, vegetables, herbs, and fruits without a hose or pesticides, and a garden club grandmother who garnered hundreds of blue ribbons for her plant breeding and displays.

Felder’s new book, Slow Gardening: A No-Stress Philosophy for All Senses and Seasons, was inspired by Slow Food, an international movement that encourages a tempo of life more in keeping with natural systems, while honoring local food sources and cultures. In much the same way, a slow-gardening approach can help us ease up on the plant, feed, and weed accelerator and take the time to become more laid back and thoughtful in our gardening habits and styles.

Learn more about Slow Gardening in this excerpt, below. The book is available for pre-order now, and will ship in mid-June.

Slow Gardening Excerpt

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