Archive for April, 2012

Celebrate International Permaculture Day!

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

What does permaculture mean to you? Bill Mollison and David Holmgren first coined the term in their groundbreaking 1978 book Permaculture One. In essence, permaculture is a system of designing households and communities that are productive, sustaining and largely self-reliant, and have minimal impact on the environment.

From the globally-inspiring, no-till farming practices of Masanobu Fukuoka to the home-scale projects designed by Toby Hemenway, permaculture can be found at work everywhere in the world.

International Permaculture Day is just around the corner—May 6th — and we’ve put a wide range of permaculture inspired books on sale.

What do you have planned for May 6th? Do you need to learn more? Or are you just getting started? Or maybe you want to inspire a friend? Whether you’re tackling edible garden spaces or farm fields, we offer books for all levels of permaculture activists.

Happy reading from the folks at Chelsea Green Publishing.

P.S. Don’t forget we have free shipping on orders of $100 or more.

The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers

The Small Scale Cover Image
Retail Price: $39.95
Sale Price: $25.97

The most comprehensive
and definitive guide to date on raising all-natural poultry for the homesteader and small farmer. Ussery’s model presents a practical and integrative model for working with chickens and other domestic fowl, based entirely on natural systems, and will prove invaluable for beginner homesteaders, growers looking to incorporate poultry into their farm, and farmers seeking to work more holistically with their poultry. 

“Here’s the ultimate book for those who want to know everything there is to know about raising poultry. And every detail is backed up by the author’s own (and often entertaining) experiences. I could not find—in this encyclopedic array of chicken knowhow—one detail that I would quibble with.” —Gene Logsdon, author of Holy Shit and The Contrary Farmer 

Excerpt from Chapter 2 – The Integrated Small-Scale Flock. READ IT HERE…

Gaia’s Garden, Second Edition: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture

Gaia's Garden Cover Image
Retail Price: $29.95
Sale Price: $19.47

The first edition of Gaia’s Garden sparked the imagination of America’s home gardeners, introducing permaculture’s central message: Working with Nature, not against her, results in more beautiful, abundant, and forgiving gardens. This extensively revised and expanded second edition broadens the reach and depth of the permaculture approach for urban and suburban growers.

Learn Permaculture 101 in Gaia’s Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture. READ IT HERE…

“The world didn’t come with an operating manual, so it’s a good thing that some wise people have from time to time written them. Gaia’s Garden is one of the more important, a book that will be absolutely necessary in the world ahead.”—Bill McKibben

Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale, Integrative Farming and Gardening

Retail Price: $29.95
Sale Price: $19.47

His farm is an intricate network of terraces, raised beds, ponds, waterways and tracks, well covered with productive fruit trees and other vegetation, with the farmhouse neatly nestling amongst them.

This is in dramatic contrast to his neighbors’ spruce monocultures. Holzer covers every aspect of his farming methods, not just how to create a holistic system on the farm itself, but how to make a living from it.

“A fascinating book written by a man who has devoted a lifetime to working with nature and creating extraordinarily diverse polycultures. His work is breathtaking.” —Maddy Harland, editor of Permaculture Magazines

Excerpt from Preface – Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture. READ IT HERE…

Permaculture Pioneers: Stories from the New Frontier

Permaculture Pioneers Cover Image
Retail Price: $34.95
Sale Price: $22.72 

Permaculture is much more than organic gardening. Arguably it is one of Australia’s greatest intellectual exports, having helped people worldwide to design ecologically sustainable strategies for their homes, gardens, farms and communities.

This book charts a history of the first three decades of permaculture through the personal stories of Australian permaculturists. From permaculture co-originator David Holmgren, to ABC TV’s Gardening Australia presenter Josh Byrne, the authors span the generations and the continent.

Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard Into a Garden and Your Neighborhood Into a Community

Food Not Lawns Cover Image
Retail Price: $25.00 
Sale Price: $16.25

Gardening can be a political act. Creativity, fulfillment, connection, revolution-it all begins when we get our hands in the dirt. Food Not Lawns combines practical wisdom on ecological design and community-building with a fresh, green perspective on an age-old subject.

Activist and urban gardener Heather Flores shares her nine-step permaculture design to help farmsteaders and city dwellers alike build fertile soil, promote biodiversity, and increase natural habitat in their own “paradise gardens.” 

 Excerpt from Chapter One: Free Your Lawn. READ IT HERE…

Edible Forest Gardens (2 volume set)

Edible Forest Gardens Cover Image
Retail Price: $150.00
Sale Price: $97.50

Edible Forest Gardens is a groundbreaking two-volume work that spells out and explores the key concepts of forest ecology and applies them to the needs of natural gardeners in temperate climates.

Volume I lays out the vision of the forest garden and explains the basic ecological principles that make it work.

In Volume II, Dave Jacke and Eric Toensmeier move on to practical considerations:concrete ways to design, establish, and maintain your own forest garden. Along the way they present case studies and examples, as well as tables, illustrations, and a uniquely valuable “plant matrix” that lists hundreds of the best edible and useful species.

Taken together, the two volumes of Edible Forest Gardens offer an advanced course in ecological gardening-one that will forever change the way you look at plants and your environment.  

Perennial Vegetables: From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, a Gardener’s Guide to Over 100 Delicious, Easy-to-Grow Edibles

Perennial Vegetables Cover Image
Retail Price: $35.00
Sale Price: $22.75

There is a fantastic array of vegetables you can grow in your garden, and not all of them are annuals. In Perennial Vegetables the adventurous gardener will find information, tips, and sound advice on less common edibles that will make any garden a perpetual, low-maintenance source of food.

Perennial vegetables are perfect as part of an edible landscape plan or permaculture garden. Profiling more than a hundred species, with dozens of color photographs and illustrations, and filled with valuable growing tips, recipes, and resources.

Perennial Vegetables is a groundbreaking and ground-healing book that will open the eyes of gardeners everywhere to the exciting world of edible perennials.

Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability

permaculture Pioneers
Retail Price: $30.00
Sale Price: $19.50

Holmgren brings into sharper focus the powerful and still evolving Permaculture concept he pioneered with Bill Mollison in the 1970s.

Permaculture draws together and integrates 25 years of thinking and teaching to reveal a whole new way of understanding and action behind a simple set of design principles.

For anyone seriously interested in understanding the foundations of sustainable design and culture, this book is essential reading. Although a book of ideas, the big picture is repeatedly grounded by reference to Holmgren’s own place, Melliodora, and other practical examples. 

More Permaculture Titles On Sale

Meat Cover ImageThe Basics of Permaculture Design Cover ImageEarth User's Guide to Permaculture Cover ImageRainwater Harvesting Cover ImageCreating a Forest Garden Cover Image
Future Scenario Cover ImageConnected Wisdom Cover ImageHow to Make a Forest Garden Cover ImagePermaculture Plants Cover ImageForest Gardening Cover Image


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* Books on Sale until May 31st*

Fresh Green Books for Spring

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

We are thrilled to announce the release of several new Spring titles that join an already impressive list of books we’ve published in 2012.

Whether you are looking for the complete guide to fermentation; fundamental resources to invest locally; how to build sustainable, natural homes; how to reform our global economic and political structures; learn the power and beauty of seed saving; how to sow seeds in the desert; or plan the next feminist revolution, we have the book for you.

We especially want to highlight the release from self-described “fermentation fetishist” Sandor Katz, groundbreaking book The Art of Fermentation. The initial response has been amazing. Take a look at the praise coming in here. And make sure not to miss the Foreword by Michael Pollan.

This weekend, celebrity chef Rene Redzepi, of the world’s top-rated restaurant Noma, tweeted: “The (nerdy) food book of the year! Are you ready for microbes crawling on your food?”

Indeed, we are. We hope you will be, too.

Happy reading from the folks at Chelsea Green Publishing.

P.S. Please make sure to check out The New York Times Sunday Book Review featuring a glowing review of Madeleine M. Kunin’s newest book, The New Feminist Agenda. As The New Work Times put it, Madeleine Kunin “is almost unimpeachably right.”

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

Art of Fermentation Cover Image
Retail Price: $39.95
Sale Price: $29.96

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 enusiastic and inspired Foreword. READ IT HERE….

The New Feminist Agenda: Defining the Next Revolution for Women, Work, and Family

The New Feminist Agenda Cover Image
Retail Price: $26.95
Sale Price: $20.21

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.

Chapter Two: Back to the Family After All. READ IT HERE…

Follow her on Facebook and Twitter!

Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity

Retail Price: $17.95
Sale Price: $13.46

Local economy pioneer Michael Shuman shows investors how to put their money into building local businesses and resilient regional economies—and profit in the process.

Shuman demystifies the growing realm of local investment choices—from institutional lending to investment clubs and networks, local investment funds, community ownership, direct public offerings, local stock exchanges, crowdfunding, and more. He also guides readers through the lucrative opportunities to invest locally in their homes, energy efficiency, and themselves.

The Seed Underground: A Growing Revolution to Save Food

Seed Underground Cover Image
Retail Price: $17.95 
Sale Price: $13.46

In her latest work of literary nonfiction, award-winning author and activist Janisse Ray argues that if we are to secure the future of food, we first must understand where it all begins: the seed.

A journey to the frontier of seed-saving, The Seed Underground is driven by stories, both the author’s own and those from people who are waging a lush and quiet revolution in thousands of gardens across America to preserve our traditional cornucopia of food by simply growing old varieties and eating them.

“If you haven’t heard what’s happening with seeds, let me tell you. They’re disappearing, about like every damn thing else. . . . But I’m not going to talk about anything that’s going to make us feel hopeless, or despairing, because there’s no despair in a seed.” — from The Seed Underground

Sowing Seeds in the Desert Natural Farming, Global Restoration, and Ultimate Food Security

Sowin Seeds in the Desert Cover Image
Retail Price: $22.50 
Sale Price: $16.88

Fukuoka’s last major work—and perhaps his most important. Fukuoka spent years working with people and organizations in Africa, India, Southeast Asia, Europe, and the United States, to prove that you could, indeed, grow food and regenerate forests with very little irrigation in the most desolate of places. Only by greening the desert, he said, would the world ever achieve true food security.

This revolutionary book presents Fukuoka’s plan to rehabilitate the deserts of the world using natural farming, including practical solutions for feeding a growing human population, rehabilitating damaged landscapes, reversing the spread of desertification, and providing a deep understanding of the relationship between human beings and nature.

From the author of the international bestseller The One-Straw Revolution.

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

A Sanctuary of Trees Cover Image
Retail Price: $19.95 Sale Price: $14.96

As author Gene Logsdon puts it, “We are all tree huggers.” But not just for sentimental or even environmental reasons. Humans have always depended on trees for our food, shelter, livelihood, and safety.

In many ways, despite the Grimm’s fairy-tale version of the dark, menacing forest, most people still hold a deep cultural love of woodland settings, and feel right at home in the woods.

In his latest book, 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.

Take a look at Logsdon’s recent commentary, Writing A Sanctuary of Trees. READ IT HERE…

Occupy World Street: A Global Roadmap for Radical Economic and Political Reform

Occupy World Street Cover Image
Retail Price: $19.95 
Sale Price: $14.96

As demonstrators worldwide demand change, Occupy World Street offers a sweeping vision of how to reform our global economic and political structures, break away from empire, and build a world of self-determining sovereign states that respect the need for ecological sustainability and uphold human rights.

In this refreshingly detailed plan, Ross Jackson shows how a handful of small nations could take on a leadership role, create new alliances, new governance, and new global institutions, and, in cooperation with grassroots activists, pave the way for other nations to follow suit.

Cheese and Culture: A History of Cheese and its place in Western Civilization

Cheese and Culture
Retail Price: $24.95
Sale Price: $18.71

A comprehensive look at the 9,000-year history of cheese, the ways in which it has shaped civilization, and what it can tell us about the future of food.

Cheese and Culture endeavors to advance our appreciation of cheese origins by viewing human history through the eyes of a cheese scientist. This tour through cheese history offers a useful lens through which to view our twenty first century attitudes toward cheese that we have inherited from our past, and our attitudes about the food system more broadly. 

“No cheese lover or cheesemaker’s education will be complete without reading of the epic journey of cheese as it influences and is influenced by human civilization. Paul Kindstedt steers the reader through a vast sea of history with the steady, inspired hand and confidence of a seasoned captain of his subject. What a gift to the world of cheese!” —Gianaclis Caldwell, cheesemaker, Pholia Farm, and author of The Complete Cheesemaker

The Natural Building Companion A Comprehensive Guide to Integrative Design and Construction

Natural Building Companion
Includes instructional DVDRetail Price: $59.95
Sale Price: $44.96

Applicable to building in climates that are cold and wet, hot and dry, or somewhere in between, this book offers thorough coverage of straw bale, straw-clay, woodchip-clay, and cellulose wall systems—as well as earthen and stone wall systems.

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 instruction.

Keep your eyes peeled for an exclusive excerpt May 18th on



More New and Noteworthy Titles On Sale

The Chinese Med. Herb FarmThe Holistic OrchardReinventing FireTransition CompanionWild FlavorsKilling the Cranes
Seed to SeedGaia's gardenThe Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic FarmerSlow GardeningLimits to GrowthThinking in Systems

State of the Global Climate – A Quick Look

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

A few years ago I was involved in a very fun event called Step It Up 2007. It was dreamed up by Bill McKibben, author and activist extraordinaire, and implemented across the country by separate small groups — including the rag-tag group of activists I was leading down in Jacksonville, Florida.

Our event was simple. We wanted to get folks together to talk about the facts of climate change, as separate as possible from all the politics that has been mixed in for as long as the problem has been observed. We gathered together all the scientists we could find who were willing to go on the record as saying, “Yes, climate change is real, we caused it, and it’s serious.” This wasn’t as hard as I had feared in my rather conservative hometown. In the end we had a great turnout and started a great conversation. We didn’t really figure out a perfect way to follow up on the energy we felt that day, but the core group of us who put the event together continued to meet, attend events, talk, and generally poke at the problem of climate change for another year or so.

When I first heard about the Transition Towns movement my first thought was, that’s what we should have done! By then of course I had moved on, as frantic twenty-somethings seem apt to do, and was working on a career in farming. Which I subsequently gave up for a career in publishing.

It’s incredible, and quite silly, to realize how completely your view of the world can change when you shift your attention. Thus, the problem of climate change which used to keep me up at night worrying, and used to haunt me while I washed the dishes, struggling not to waste a drop of the fossil-fuel heated water, simply doesn’t seem to matter anymore. It’s a kind of blessing I suppose. The dishes are certainly easier to clean when you’re not as angsty about rinsing them. But I know it’s just a trick of perception. The atmosphere is still filling up with carbon, even if I don’t think about it much anymore. The global average temperature is ticking upward inexorably, even if I don’t check.

One nice lesson from my personal experience is this: worrying really doesn’t help save the world, so feel free to stop.

But I’m struck with a kind of morbid curiosity today. What exactly is up with the global climate right now, in May 2012? Let’s take a look around the internet and see what we can find out.

You can always count on James E. Hansen, climate scientist at NASA GISS, to tell it like it is. In an article from this past January which includes a nifty animation to show the global temperatures since 1880, he said:

“We know the planet is absorbing more energy than it is emitting. So we are continuing to see a trend toward higher temperatures. Even with the cooling effects of a strong La Niña influence and low solar activity for the past several years, 2011 was one of the 10 warmest years on record.”

Follow this link to NOAA’s interactive map, and you can find out how your home will fare when sea level rises. Maybe you can use it to speculate in future-waterfront property! I looked at the little barrier island where my parents live in northeast Florida and got kind of sad. But then I hopped over to the Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (or CAKE). Their advice? DON’T PANIC! Also, 42.

Looking northward, ice sheets in Greenland have not accelerated into the ocean quite as rapidly as was predicted, according to a study mentioned by Climate Central last week.

“The good news stemming from this study is that the worst-case scenarios scientists have been entertaining for sea-level rise by the end of the century — two meters, or about six feet, by 2100 — appear less likely given the rate of observed ice motion. The middle range projections, however, are still well within reach.”

In other words panic, just do it gradually over the coming century so you don’t wear yourself out.

It’s clear from a peek around the online world that the science of figuring out climate change is accelerating almost as fast as the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. For instance, scientists are now able to measure changes in intensity of the water cycle by measuring changes in ocean salinity. According to Reuters, the cycle of evaporation and rainfall, is speeding up, sucking water out of arid regions and dumping it on wetter ones 4 percent faster than it did in 1950.

Around this point in my research, I start to regret having gone down the climate change rabbit hole again. Oh well, can’t stop now! Let’s try to wrap this post up with a little hope, shall we?

According to the Guardian, some analysts are starting to recognize that fossil fuels are a bad investment. They’ve even been dubbed “sub-prime assets” by advisors to Sir Mervyn King (the awesomely-named governor of the Bank of England). The reasoning for this shift toward taking the situation seriously comes as nations expect to see binding international agreements on greenhouse gases in the next rounds of UN climate talks. See? Policy works. It gets greedy bastards bankers to feel a bit sore around the pocketbook and then they behave a little more like they have to live on this planet too. In the absence of policy the moneyed elite sometimes talk like they’ve got someplace else to set up shop when things get hot and nasty down here.

Finally, perhaps the most hopeful development in years comes from right here in our catalog, a book we published last year from Rocky Mountain Institute and Amory Lovins: Reinventing Fire.

We’ve talked about Reinventing Fire a good deal on this site, and others have spread the word as well. Essentially, the study presents a detailed set of steps toward an economy run by renewable energy (fire) instead of fossil fire. The push is geared toward business instead of government (we’ve seen how fast governments have dealt with the problem), and requires no new inventions — just the will to get to a sustainable place. The best synopsis is from Amory himself, contained in his recently released TED talk. Check it out here.

Trust me, it’s a great antidote to the climate change blues.

– Jennifer McCharen, Web Content Editor

Chelsea Green Launches Sustainable Erotica Imprint: Apocalyptica

Sunday, April 1st, 2012

UPDATE: April Fools! We’re not really starting a new imprint for green erotica, but thanks to everyone who shared our prank. Stay up to date with our (actual) latest releases by signing up for our e-newsletter here.

After nearly thirty years as the go-to publisher for all things sustainable, Chelsea Green is thrusting itself into new, fertile fields with the launch of Apocalyptica (™), a new eBook-only imprint for “green” erotica.

President and Publisher Margo Baldwin is excited about this new direction, and sees huge potential, “When I saw the runaway success of Fifty Shades of Grey, I thought, you know they’ve really got something there. But who’s writing erotica for the permaculture activists, horse farmers, fermentos, and orchardists? No one.  It’s an open market. We decided to jump in bed right away.”

Fifty Shades of Grey, the E.L. James trilogy of erotic novels that began as self-published fan fiction, exploded onto The New York Times bestseller list in recent years, reportedly selling more than 35 million U.S. copies.

Chelsea Green, which will celebrate it’s 30th anniversary in 2014, decided to use some of the proceeds from its record-breaking sales year of 2012 to jump-start its erotic imprint.

Chelsea Green’s Apocalyptica (™) imprint will focus on stories that speak to the often hidden, sensual, and romantic world of homesteaders, preppers, doomers, and sustainable living devotees. From Gaia-themed romance novels to practical, how-to manuals on growing and making your own aphrodisiacs and pleasure aids, the Apocalyptica imprint will couple nicely with Chelsea Green’s conventional DIY and how-to books.

Forthcoming titles in 2013-2014 include:

  • Peak Love: Renewing Romance in a Post-Oil World
  • Holistic Hot Beds: Heating Up the Garden
  • The Four-Season Lover: Strategies for Love in Cold Climates
  • Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Pleasure: The Escalating Battle Over Deciding Who We Can Love
  • Local Dollars, Local Love: How to Shift Relationships from the Boardroom to the Bedroom
  • The Polyamorous Handbook: Planning. Erecting. Using. Maintaining.

Why Apocalyptica? Easy: With all the doom and gloom in the world, Chelsea Green decided that at least one publisher should focus on what remains good — love. Sustainable, holistic, and organic love.

Why now? Simple. The imprint’s tagline says it all: “What’s hotter than the end of the world?”

Originally posted April 1, 2013

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