Archive for February, 2013


Agriculture Week Sale

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Since the start of the “Green Revolution,” agriculture has become more and more industrialized, the scale has gone from backyard plots behind every house to fields of commodity corn and soy so vast they stretch to every horizon.

This isn’t sustainable, but it’s also not any fun. Farms that large are run like machines, not like gardens. The fun of it, just the sheer joy of playing in the dirt to a productive end, this is probably the biggest reason for the local-food and small farm revolution.

Climate change is eased by sustainable farming, as are pressures on water systems, and the dangers of genetically modified foods are avoided by growing small and growing organic. But nobody comes to a party to think about dreary things, they join because they expect they’ll have a great time. The small farm revolution is driven by the joy of special foods grown nearby, the flavor of fresh carrots and the excitement of getting dinner from a person instead of a package.

We’ve published guides for organic growers since 1984, and it’s exciting to see more and more people jumping on the bandwagon for higher quality food, grown nearby.

This week, we’re offering a selection of new and best-selling agriculture books, all on sale for 35% off.

Coming Soon: The New Horse-Powered Farm is the first book of its kind, offering wisdom and techniques for using horse power on the small farm or homestead, from longtime horse farmer Stephen Leslie. It sets the stage for incorporating draft power on the farm by presenting tips on getting started with horses, care of the work horse, different horse-training systems, and the merits of different draft breeds. The novice teamster is introduced to the basic tools of horse-drawn tillage and cultivation used for profitable horse-powered farming, with a spotlight on whole-farm management, as well as information on haying with horses, raising small grains, managing the woodlot, farm education, agritourism, and more. Ships February 22nd.

Organic Gardening, Second Edition Charles Dowding has been practicing no-dig organic growing for over thirty years. In this new, full-color edition of Organic Gardening he shares the wealth of his experience, explaining his approach to soil and plants and revealing the range of techniques that have enabled him to grow healthy and vibrant plants for decades.

R.J. Garner’s The Grafter’s Handbook is the classic reference book and revered encyclopedia (and the only one of its kind) on plant propagation by grafting, and has been favored by orchardists and gardeners since its first publication in 1947. Now revised and updated for a new generation by respected horticulturist Steve Bradley, the all-time classic is back and better than ever.

Paradise Lot: When Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates moved into a duplex in a run-down part of Holyoke, Massachusetts, the tenth-of-an-acre lot was barren ground and bad soil, peppered with broken pieces of concrete, asphalt, and brick. The two friends got to work designing what would become not just another urban farm, but a “permaculture paradise.” In telling the story of Paradise Lot, Toensmeier explains the principles and practices of permaculture, the choice of exotic and unusual food plants, the techniques of design and cultivation, and, of course, the adventures, mistakes, and do-overs in the process.

The Organic Seed Grower is a comprehensive manual for the serious vegetable grower who is interested in growing high-quality seeds using organic farming practices. It is written for both serious home seed savers and diversified small-scale farmers who want to learn the necessary steps involved in successfully producing a commercial seed crop organically.

What is a farm with a future? What will make it sustainable and resilient? And what key qualities and skills does a farmer need in today’s climate to be successful? Rebecca Thistlethwaite addresses these and other crucial questions in this must-read book for anyone aspiring to get into small to mid-scale market farming, or who wants to make their existing farm more dynamic, profitable, and, above all, sustainable. Farms with a Future explores the passion, creativity, and entrepreneurship that’s needed to help family farms find their niche and remain sustainable and successful in an age of agribusiness and consolidation.

If you love the joys of eating home-garden vegetables but always thought those joys had to stop at the end of summer, this set of three books by master organic farmer Eliot Coleman is for you. Includes The New Organic Grower , Four-Season Harvest, and The Winter Harvest Handbook.

For farm entrepreneurs, the opportunities for a farm family business have never been greater. The aging farm population is creating cavernous niches begging to be filled by creative visionaries who will go in dynamic new directions. You Can Farm targets the folks who actually entertain notions of living, loving and learning on a piece of land. Anyone willing to dance with such a dream should be able to assess its assets and liabilities; its fantasies and realities. “Is it really possible for me?” is the burning question this book addresses.

In The Seed Underground, Janisse Ray brings us the inspiring stories of ordinary gardeners whose aim is to save time-honored open-pollinated varieties like Old Time Tennessee muskmelon and Long County Longhorn okra—varieties that will be lost if people don’t grow, save, and swap the seeds. With a quiet urgency The Seed Underground reminds us that while our underlying health, food security, and sovereignty may be at stake as seeds disappear, so, too, are the stories, heritage, and history that passes between people as seeds are passed from hand to hand.

A leading light in the field of medicinal herb cultivation, The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm is the first cultivation guide of its kind, and presents invaluable information for growers interested in producing high-quality efficacious herbs in all climates of the US, with the historical connectedness of ancient practitioners.

The most comprehensive and definitive guide to date on raising all-natural poultry, for homesteaders or farmers seeking to close their loop, The Small-Scale Poultry Flock offers a practical and integrative model for working with chickens and other domestic fowl, based entirely on natural systems.

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. Detailed insights on grafting, planting, pruning, and choosing the right varieties for your climate are also included, along with a step-by-step instructional calendar to guide growers through the entire orchard year. Includes extensive profiles of pome fruits, stone fruits, and berries.

The NOFA Guides are a series of 8 books originally published by the Northeast Organic Farming Association on organic principles and practices for both the beginner farmer as well as established farmers looking to convert to organic, or deepen their practices. Titles include:

Fight for Food Freedom

Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

One sunny day in August 2001, armed federal agents stormed the farmstand at Rawesome Foods in Venice Beach, California. The proprieter of the shop, James Stewart, was charged with conspiracy to commit a crime, and ended up spending four months in jail (you can follow the twists and turns of the bizarre and emotional story via David Gumpert’s blog, The Complete Patient). The raid of Rawesome Foods made headlines in Los Angeles, and was even spoofed by the Colbert Report.

It’s easy to imagine that this California farmer was doing something seriously illicit to draw the fire (almost literally) of the authorities the way he did. But Stewart was merely selling raw foods, particularly goat milk, yogurt, and kefir.

Stewart was not the first person in our “free” country to feel the wrath of the FDA for actively seeking the foods he wanted to eat — foods not typically available through the normal channels provided by our industrial food system. And agents marching in with guns at the ready aren’t the only forces keeping our food system from being free. In addition to bizarre government raids and oppressive laws that don’t make sense, we find massive corporations like Monsanto in control of seed supplies, and processors like Kraft and Cargill maneuvering politicians to do their will.

Government and large corporations work together to do what they think is a good thing: make lots of cheap food. And it’s hard to argue against the benefits of a full belly. Except that the fuller our bellies are with corn (especially high-fructose corn syrup) and soy (and meat that’s fed soy-based feed), the bigger those bellies are getting, and the less healthy our bodies are becoming. Obesity and diabetes are rampant public health problems in our country, and they can be directly tied to the style of agriculture we’ve created.

If we want to create a better outcome, for health, for our communities, and for the planet, we need to fight for a different system. If we do, we won’t be alone. As journalist David Gumpert outlines on his blog and in his forthcoming book, Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Food Rights, the struggle to gain and keep access to foods like raw milk, yogurt, butter, kefir, fresh lacto-fermented vegetables, and others is drawing in stakeholders from all walks of life. Unlikely alliances are forming between Amish farmers trying to keep a traditional way of life afloat in a new century, and suburban soccer moms trying to feed their families healthfully.

At the forefront of this struggle is the Weston A. Price Foundation, with chapters in cities across the country. Weston Price advocates for a return to ways of eating that have historically made for healthy humans, and tend to avoid processed food, wheat, refined sugars, and soy. In an era obsessed with “nutrition” and terrified of saturated fats, it’s controversial to say that lard is a health food, and that you’d be better off eating a slab of rare steak than a hunk of wheat bread — but that’s exactly the kind of advice you’ll get from Weston A. Price champions like Sally Fallon Morrell.

Price was a dentist, and he studied diets from traditional societies around the world to find out which ones were the best for overall health. His research forms the basis of books like Nourishing Traditions, and makes for some delicious eating. But because of its promotion of raw foods — especially raw dairy — eaters who follow Price’s advice open themselves up to frightening persecution.

What do you think? Are food regulations too strict, or are they not strict enough? Certainly there’s ample evidence to support either opinion. For every raw-food buying club that gets raided there are hundreds of serious illnesses from contaminated industrial food.

Let us know what you think by visiting our Facebook page.

Cheese and Culture Now Available in Paperback

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

As Sandor Katz puts it, “Humans did not invent or create fermentation. It would be more accurate to state that fermentation created us.”

A perfect example of the truth of this simple notion can be found by looking at our ancient relationship to cheese.

Paul Kindstedt’s groundbreaking book, Cheese and Culture traces the nearly 9,000 year history of cheese in Western civilization, and shows how integral fermented milk products have been to the development of the world we know today. The ability to ferment, and therefore store, dairy products increased the nutrition of our diets, and cemented our relationship to sheep, goats, and cows.

Cheese and Culture is now available in paperback, and will be on sale for 35% off this week.

Kindstedt was featured on CBS news last month on National Cheese Lovers Day. Pop over to CBS’s website to watch the feature and learn about the latest archeological evidence of ancient cheesemaking (plus enjoy the adorable cartoon of Paul!).

(35% off, highlight reviews, blogs, news, events…)

Pre-Release Special: Save 25% on Paradise Lot

Monday, February 4th, 2013

Eric Toensmeier is well known in permaculture circles for his book Perennial Vegetables, and the encyclopedic, two-volume set Edible Forest Gardens he coauthored with Dave Jacke. Toensmeier’s new book, Paradise Lot, tells the story behind the tiny, barren lot that he and his friend Jonathan Bates transformed into a lush, perennial garden.

As Toensmeier wonders in the book’s introduction, the road ahead of the two young men seemed hopeful,

“Could we bring about an edible paradise on our blighted lot? Could we regenerate soil, bring back birds, and meet all of our goals on only a tenth of an acre without cramming everything in too tight? And might we ever meet women who could appreciate guys who spent more time on the Plants for a Future online database than singles websites? Time would tell.”

Publishers Weekly‘s recent review of Paradise Lot says, “In true permaculture fashion, the book follows not only the progression of the garden but also its influence on and relations with its creators’ lives—including a surprisingly Austen-like romantic element—their neighborhood, and the larger permaculture and forest gardening community…Fans of Toensmeier and Bates’s work will be thrilled to read the details of their experiments with polycultures, their problems with and solutions for pests and overly aggressive plants, and their idiosyncratic plant choices. Adventurous readers with conventional gardens and lawns may be inspired to venture into the more integrated, evolutionary approach that this book so vividly and appealingly portrays.”

Paradise Lot is on sale for 25% off this week.

For an even better glimpse of Eric Toensmeier’s perennial garden, check out our new DVD, Perennial Vegetable Gardening. Watch the trailer below:

Spotlight on Sourlands at Top Environmental Film Festivals

Friday, February 1st, 2013

From Golden, Colorado to Washington, D.C., the story of a small forest in New Jersey is finding admirers.Sourlands, distributed on DVD by Chelsea Green Publishing and Hundred Year Films, hits the road in 2013 as an official selection of the Colorado Environmental Film Festival, the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital, and the Princeton Environmental Film Festival.

“The film explores a timely question: With 7 billion people on Earth, how can we make sure the natural world doesn’t get squeezed into oblivion?” says director Jared Flesher.

To find answers, Flesher went to a small forest in New Jersey — the nation’s most densely populated state — and started following around the locals. The colorful subjects of the film are a diverse bunch: hunters, farmers, birders, biologists, engineers, and entrepreneurs.

“Ultimately, this isn’t a story about trees,” says Flesher. “It’s a story about regular people looking for good, meaningful work, a sense of home, and some balance in their lives.”

Flesher worked as a one-man film crew, exploring every corner of the Sourlands forest and the surrounding community over 16 months of production. He credits a 1968 book by author John McPhee, The Pine Barrens, as an inspiration for the film.

“John McPhee showed me that the best way to tell an environmental story relevant to people everywhere is, paradoxically, to tell a good story about just one small corner of the world.”

Sourlands screens at the Princeton Environmental Film Festival on Feb. 9, the Colorado Environmental Film Festival on Feb. 24, and the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital on March 13. A full listing of upcoming Sourlands screenings is available at www.sourlands.com.

Director Jared Flesher can be reached at [email protected]


Follow us
Get every new post delivered to your inbox
Join millions of other followers
Powered By WPFruits.com