Archive for March, 2013

A Chilling List of Nuclear Meltdown Near Misses

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Three Mile Island, the nuclear plant in Pennsylvania that melted down on this day in 1979, is synonymous with nuclear disaster. The meltdown was stopped before any serious damage occurred, but 34 years after this near miss at Three Mile Island, how safe are we from this kind of catastrophe?

Ask the residents of San Clemente, California, who live in the shadow of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. The plant has been offline for months since an “unusual” leak was found to be releasing radioactive steam into the environment. Or ask the folks of Burlington, Kansas where the Wolf Creek Generating Station suddenly lost power last winter after faulty wiring tripped a breaker and blew a transformer.  These are just two of the dozen nuclear plants that had close calls last year. From equipment failures to bumbling workers, and vulnerabilities to extreme weather and earthquakes, nuclear plants are ticking time bombs.

In the excerpt below, Gar Smith, author of Nuclear Roulette, reminds us that while we imagine nuclear technology to be as advanced as what we see on Star Trek, in reality the first reactors began construction in the US actually predate NASA — and the control rooms that manage these relics aren’t even as advanced as Homer Simpson’s — they still use out-dated analog dials and alarms. Not exactly the kind of thing you’d want to be all done up in retro style, right?

But that’s okay, because surely the industry watchdog tasked with keeping us safe from the hazards of nuclear radiation is doing its best to monitor safety violations and respond to lackadaisical plant managers with harsh fines and penalties. Well no. In fact the Nuclear Regulatory Commission more often than not fails to enforce its own regulations, seriously undermining the safety net between us and the inherent dangers posed by nuclear power.

A recent report from the Union of Concerned Scientists takes the NRC to task for these failures, pointing out how the even culture within the Commission itself encourages a lack of oversight. For example, NRC managers don’t listen to their employees, and actually chastise them for pointing out safety violations at inspected plants! The UCS report goes on to outline the year’s most serious malfunctions at nuclear reactors across the country: 14 worrisome mishaps at 12 reactors.

Do you live near one of the faulty reactors? Read the full report, and all the scary mishaps that occurred last year on the UCS website. And then stock up on potassium iodide and haz-mat suits.

If you still feel good about nuclear energy, the excerpt below from Chapter 19 of Nuclear Roulette, should fix that. It covers a morbidly fascinating list of worker errors, stories of the NRC ignoring serious violations, and even more plants that have come awfully close to blowing their radioactive tops. And last but not least, check out Mat Stein’s article about the risks posed by that other nuclear energy source we love so much, the sun. With a big enough solar flare we could be facing “400 Chernobyls.”

Near Misses and Unbelievable Mishaps: From Nuclear Roulette by Chelsea Green Publishing

Spring Has Sprung! Is your Garden Growing Yet?

Thursday, March 28th, 2013

Congratulations, you survived another long winter! Now, it’s time to get your garden started.

Let us help you on your way with some of our key gardening books (and new DVDs!). Learn tried and true techniques from our expert gardening authors so you can reap a plentiful harvest this fall.

Essential Gardening Books — 35% Off!

Many of our gardening books have been the classic go-to standards for organic and permaculture gardeners for years. Whether you’re looking for new techniques to boost flavors and variety, grow vegetables year-round, save heirloom seeds, or grow food in small spaces—we have a book for you.

Happy planting from the folks at Chelsea Green!

The New Organic Grower: A Master’s Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener

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The New Organic Grower has become a modern classic and continues to be the go-to standard on organic gardening. Master grower Eliot Coleman presents the simplest and most sustainable ways of growing top-quality organic vegetables.

Make sure to look at two other go-to standard titles by Eliot Coleman: Four-Season Harvest and The Winter Harvest Handbook, both included in The Eliot Coleman Set. Or learn from the man himself in his extensive workshop DVD.



Hot Beds: How to Grow Early Crops Using an Age-Old Technique

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With Hot Beds, the simple method of using the heat from compost to warm up a basic coldframe, you could be harvesting radishes and salad greens by now, and potatoes as early as April.

Hot Beds shows you how to build these compost-heated coldframes and grow a variety of crops, producing healthy plants that are ready at least two months earlier.  HOW TO: Simple Tips for an Early Harvest



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

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Nautilus Award Winner!

Gaia’s Garden is the awarding winning classic on applying basic permaculture principles to make your garden more diverse, more natural, more productive, and more beautiful.

This extensively revised and expanded second edition brings the permaculture approach for home-scale and backyard growers. HOW-TO: Build an Apple-Centered Guild.



The Resilient Gardener: Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times

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The Resilient Gardener is packed with expert advice on plant varieties and discusses the best way to grow, prepare, and store the five “key crops” you need to survive —potatoes, corn, beans, squash, and eggs.

Beginner and the most expert gardeners will find this an invaluable resource, with new information, recipes, and simple tips for self-sufficiency they won’t find elsewhere. 

Plan your garden: Tips from Carol Deppe on whether to plant in beds or rows.


Desert or Paradise: Restoring Endangered Landscapes Using Water Management, Including Lake and Pond Construction

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Desert or Paradise examines Sepp Holzer’s core philosophy for increasing food production, earth health, and reconnecting mankind with nature, applied to reforestation and water conservation across the world.

Holzer outlines his ten points of sustainable self-reliance and how these methods can help feed the world.

Rebel Farmer Sepp Holzer’s 10-Step Plan to Combat World Hunger.



The Grafter’s Handbook

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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. 

Everything the dedicated amateur, student, and professional horticulturalist wants to know about grafting is here, clearly written in a concise and straightforward style, the distillation of a lifetime’s careful study and research.

LEARN: Five methods for grafting established trees.





More New and Noteworthy Titles On Sale


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Sepp Holzer's Permaculture Cover

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Small Scale Poultry Flock Cover

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Year Round Vegetable DVD

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Snapshots from the New Economy

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

The top 400 wealthiest people in America own more riches than the bottom 180 million. The system is broken. But we don’t need to look far to find a better one.

Do you shop at a food co-op? Then you’re supporting a democratically-owned corporation that works to serve its members instead of distant shareholders focused merely on quarterly profits.

Do you bank at a credit union instead of a multinational corporate behemoth like Bank of America or Wells Fargo? Then you’re contributing your savings toward loans that go to help businesses, home owners, and people like you right in your community.

When you turn on the lights, does your power come from a municipally owned utility? If you live in Jacksonville, Florida, or Seattle, Washington it does. Now, what if you and your neighbors got together to demand your utility generate renewable energy? They’d have to listen, because you are their primary stakeholders.

Do you buy King Arthur Flour, rent cars from Avis, or buy books from Chelsea Green? If you do, you’re supporting companies that are owned by their employees, which means that the profits go to the workers — in other words to the people who make them possible.

Do you own a house through a community land trust — which made that house affordable, and will make sure it stays affordable when you decide to sell it. Or do you participate in a CSA or herd share that allows you to support a local farmer while making sure you get the fresh food you want? Or maybe when a restaurant or bookstore in your town threatened to go out of business you pitched in with some cash in return for discounts on your future purchases (the Slow Money model).

In Ohio, a state ravaged by the exodus of manufacturing, yet another example of a new-economy business model is starting up. The largest worker-owned greenhouse in the state is being financed by Evergreen Cooperatives, a unique partnership between public institutions, city government, and private nonprofits. The greenhouse will sell fresh produce to the hospitals and universities in the area, cutting the carbon footprint of those goods, and bringing good, green jobs to a neighborhood that needs them.

Gar Alperovitz is the founder of the Democracy Collaborative, a key partner in the project, and Gar has long been one of the leading champions of the worker-owned shift the economy so desperately needs. Next month his book What Then Must We Do? will explain how we must democratize wealth and build a community-sustaining economy from the ground up. Sustainable businesses are already changing lives and making money flow where it’s needed most. All we need is more of them.

These businesses define success as something deeper than profit. In doing so they’re living examples of what the new economy looks like. It’s not so complicated, it’s just what happens when business comes back down to earth.

(Illustration by Adrian J. Wallace)

Congratulations to Our Finalists and Winners!

Wednesday, March 20th, 2013

This week started off with some fantastic news: The Art of Fermentation is in the running for a James Beard Foundation book award! Nominated in the Reference and Scholarship category, Sandor Katz’s tome on all things fermented automatically joins the ranks of nominees vying for the foundation’s prestigious Cookbook of the Year.

We’ve got our fingers crossed for Katz to capture this prize, which would add to the already impressive list of accomplishments for his latest book, including landing a spot on the New York Times Bestseller list, and helping lead Chelsea Green to a year of record sales.

In the meantime, Katz is not alone in earning accolades this awards season. Several Chelsea Green titles are in the running for prestigious awards, and a few have already come home with the grand prize.


  • The American Horticultural Society Book Award was announced last week, and Chelsea Green books took two of the five slots. Janisse Ray’s The Seed Underground (“This book immediately drove me to action,” says Kathy LaLiberte, who was inspired to seek out rare sweet potato varieties to grow. “It has the power to have a profound ripple effect among gardeners as well as in popular culture,” she adds.), and John Navazio’s The Organic Seed Grower (“There’s nothing else like this guide with so much detail about how to protect the diversity of open-pollinated plants,” says Hurst.)
  • And sweeping yet another award, Janisse Ray also won the American Society of Journalists and Authors’s Arlene Eisenberg Award for Writing that Makes a Difference for The Seed Underground.


  • The International Association of Culinary Professionals announced its finalists last month, and we’re proud to be among them. IACP Cookbook Award Finalists include: Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking, Art of Fermentation (going head-to-head in the Food and Beverage Reference/Technical category), and Cheese and Culture (in the Culinary History category)
  • As mentioned above, The Art of Fermentation is a James Beard Foundation Book Award finalist in Reference and Scholarship category, marking the first time in more than a decade that a Chelsea Green title has been a finalist for a Beard award. Read the full list of nominees here (PDF).

Deserving its own entire list, ForeWord Reviews announced finalists for its Book of the Year Awards! We’re nominated in the following categories:

  • Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking – Reference
  • The New Feminist Agenda – Women’s Studies
  • Lynn Margulis – Biography
  • Nuclear Roulette – Ecology and Environment
  • And last but not least, the distributed title Honeycomb Kids is a finalist in the Family & Relationships category, as well as the Ecology & Environment category.

    Good luck finalists, and congratulations winners!

    Good Morning, Beautiful Business! The Memoir of a Social Entrepreneur

    Thursday, March 14th, 2013

    When Judy Wicks opened a restaurant in her Philadelphia home, she didn’t set out to change the world. But over the years she became not only a successful business woman but a game-changing activist, who, according to Inc. magazine enacted “more progressive business practices per square foot than any other entrepreneur.”

    From pioneering the focus on local and humane foods in the White Dog Cafe, to laying down in front of a bulldozer to stop her block from being demolished by developers, Wicks let her heart lead her to find new ways of doing business. She went on to become a leader in the Social Venture Network, and from there spawned the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies when she realized that even “sustainable” business was following the old model of infinite growth. Organizations like Slow Money, Net Impact, Businesses for Social Responsibility, RSF Social Finance and more all grew out of the momentum Wicks helped sustain.

    Now, in her memoir Good Morning, Beautiful Business, Judy Wicks shares lessons and insights from a life spent proving that business is the ideal driver for social change, and that community must be at the heart of local living economies. Judy says it best herself in the Preface, “Business, I learned, is about relationships. Money is simply a tool. What matters most are the relationships with everyone we buy from, sell to, and work with-and our relationships with Earth itself. My business was the way I expressed my love of life, and that’s made it a thing of beauty.” Continue reading the Preface below.

    Good Morning, Beautiful Business is available now in both hardcover and paperback, and is 35% off this week.

    “Once we say no to an immoral system, our next step is to build an alternative.” In this video, Judy describes how her mission developed, and how she became a food-economy pioneer.

    Ben Cohen, cofounder of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and an early inspiration to Judy, says of the book, “Judy Wicks is one of the most amazing women I have ever met.  She continues to blaze new paths on the road to a truly sustainable people-centered economy. This is a must-read book.”

    The Philadelphia Inquirer agrees. The paper just published this profile of Wicks, as well as a review of the book.

    Good Morning, Beautiful Business: Preface by Chelsea Green Publishing

    Women are Changing the World, One Book at a Time

    Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

    It’s a simple fact: Women change the world.

    100 years ago suffragists marched on Washington to demand their right to vote. Today fierce women are still fighting to build a better world. In honor of Women’s History Month we’re celebrating the accomplishments of the visionary women whose work we publish: activists, farmers, scientists, entrepreneurs, and more.

    Want to make a difference? Take a page from Good Morning, Beautiful BusinessJudy Wicks tells how she evolved from a successful businesswoman to a passionate social entrepreneur, dedicated to the idea that a profitable business can be the perfect vehicle for creating a better world. You won’t learn this in business school!

    We’re proud to publish the groundbreaking work of these bold women, from Rebecca Thistlethwaite’s lessons from successful farms across the country in Farms with a Future, to Lynn Margulis’ legacy of revolutionary biology, to Gianaclis Caldwell’s expert advice on cheesemaking, and Janisse Ray’s celebration of seed saving. We’ve collected a handful of our favorite titles by inspirational women — all 35% off this month.

    Happy Reading from the folks at Chelsea Green Publishing!

    Judy Wicks

    Good Morning, Beautiful Business Cover

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    Rebecca Thistlethwaite

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    Carol Deppe

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    Suzanne Ashworth
    Seed to Seed Cover

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     Donella Meadows
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    Lynn Margulis
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    Janisse Ray
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    Gianaclis Caldwell
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    Diane Ott Whealy
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    Joan Gussow
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    Susan Clark &

    Wooden Teachout

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    Anya Kamenetz

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    Shannon Hayes

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    Madeleine Kunin

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    Naomi Wolf
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    Shannon Hayes
    Long Way on a Little Cover

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    Diane Wilson
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    Riki Ott
    Not One Drop Cover

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    What They Won’t Tell You About Nuclear Power Could Kill You

    Monday, March 11th, 2013

    There’s a reason why we still haven’t heard the official story about the extent of contamination after the nuclear meltdown at Fukushima: when the radioactive waste hits the fan, the regulators just plain lie.

    Two years ago today, the tsunami that swamped eastern Japan set off a nuclear meltdown at Fukushima, just 200 miles north of Tokyo — the largest metropolitan area on Earth. The resulting disaster was the biggest since Chernobyl (whose anniversary is also coming up, on April 26th).

    Add the near-disaster at Three-Mile Island on March 28, 1979, and the nuclear power industry is averaging either a major meltdown or a terrifying near-miss every decade. Yet the regulators are quick to tell us everything’s fine, nothing to see here folks, just keep using our cheap, plentiful, clean electricity…

    The truth is, nuclear energy is neither clean, nor cheap, and it certainly is not safe.

    The excerpt below from Nuclear Roulette: The Truth about the Most Dangerous Energy Source on Earth explains why you shouldn’t be so quick to listen to the official story.

    Why You Can’t Believe the Official Story About Nuclear Energy by Chelsea Green Publishing

    The Most Exciting New Trend in Farming Looks Decidedly Amish

    Thursday, March 7th, 2013

    While the industrial food system is busy pioneering plows guided by satellite, and engineering transgenic frankencrops to pair with their ever more toxic pesticides, a quiet revolution is taking place. If you don’t know what you’re looking at, you might think there’s a sudden boom in the cutesy historical re-enactment industry, but the truth is far more interesting.

    “It may seem strange to link the adjective ‘ultra-modern’ with the noun ‘horse-farming,’ but that’s exactly what this new book does with unimpeachable justification.” — Gene Logsdon, author of A Sanctuary of Trees and Small-Scale Grain Raising

    Small farmers today are rediscovering a cutting edge technology that was nearly lost to the past: horse-power. And The New Horse-Powered Farm by Stephen Leslie is arriving at just the right time to provide a long-awaited guide to farmers who want to use this age-old skill. The book is on sale this week: 35% off.

    Marketing Director of Horse Progress Days Dale Stoltzfus told us the book is the best thing he’s read in a long time, “The past 50-60 years have been one long lament for the losses horse farming has experienced. Now we are in a different time and the fire is burning more brightly, and we need to keep the blower on the forge cranking so that the fire doesn’t die back. This book is the kind of support we need.”

    The New Horse-Powered Farm covers the whole spectrum from considering whether a horse-powered operation is right for you, to the practical management of one, including:

    • Getting started with workhorses;
    • The merits of different draft breeds;
    • Various training systems for the horse and teamster;
    • Haying with horses, seeding crops, and raising small grains;
    • In-depth coverage of tools and systems;
    • Managing a woodlot, farm economics, education, agritourism,
    and more.

    Browse the Table of Contents here, and take a look at some of the beautiful photographs from the book that show the diversity and vitality of this exciting movement.



    Heat up Your Garden Bed: Simple Tips for an Early Harvest

    Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

    As March rolls in like a lion, we’re entering what some gardeners and farmers call “the hungry gap.” This is the time when the ground is starting to thaw, but it’s still too cold and dark to plant new seedlings. Meanwhile your root cellar is running low, and you’ve long since devoured all those dilly beans and tomatoes you preserved at the height of summer. Maybe you have a few parsnips left (in which case you should try this recipe for tea cake), but that’s about it until your garden starts filling your larder once more.

    Do you want next March to be different?  Using a simple method called a hot bed, which uses the heat from decaying compost to warm up a basic coldframe, you could be harvesting radishes and salad greens by now, and potatoes as early as April. That’s right. I said potatoes in April.

    Hot beds are nothing new—they were even used by the Romans. Hot Beds, a new title from Green Books in the UK, shows you how to build these compost-heated coldframes, manage their warmth, and grow a variety of crops that will feed you through the early spring. By reviving and modernizing this ancient vegetable-growing method, author Jack First produces healthy plants that are ready at least two months earlier than conventionally grown vegetables, even in his native Yorkshire, England.

    This practical, illustrated guide has everything you need to understand about how to utilize this highly productive, low-cost, year-round, eco-friendly gardening technique. Straightforward explanations, diagrams, and examples show how the natural process of decay can be harnessed to enable out-of-season growing without burning fossil fuels or elaborate equipment.

    Below is a free sample of the book, including a diagram that shows you the basic structure of a hot bed. So get growing!

    Hot Beds: How to Grow Early Crops Using an Age-Old Technique by Chelsea Green Publishing

    Rebel Farmer Sepp Holzer’s 10-Point Plan to Combat World Hunger

    Monday, March 4th, 2013

    You’ve heard it before. “Big Farma” says the only way to end world hunger is with more GMOs, more monoculture commodity crops, more pesticides, more chemical fertililzers. But there is another way.

    Instead of using high-tech inputs, farmers are producing abundant, varied, and healthy crops by mimicking natural processes.

    A pioneer of this practice is “Rebel Farmer” Sepp Holzer, and below he outlines his simple 10 step plan to combat world hunger — using permaculture, not petrochemicals. Holzer doesn’t speak a word of English, yet his ideas are so important we’ve translated his work for the US audience that needs it the most. Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture showed readers around his lush alpine farm — where he grows a variety of crops even at a high altitude and a cold climate, and his latest book Desert or Paradise focuses on his methods of engineering water in a landscape to overcome degraded soil.

    If you’re intrigued by the ideas outlined in the excerpt below from Holzer’s latest book Desert or Paradise, this Spring you have a rare chance to learn from the master himself. Sepp Holzer lives in Austria, but will be teaching 5 day workshops in Bozeman, MT, Duluth, MN, Loma Mar, CA, and Detroit, MI to introduce his innovative methods of regenerating landscapes to US students. Holzer has used permaculture principles to restore landscapes throughout the Mediterranean region and elsewhere. This is a rare opportunity to learn his innovative methods.

    These workshops will focus on agroforestry, aquaculture, crops, animal husbandry, landscaping, botany, food/nutrition, old and proven farming techniques, and concept development/planning, and more.

    Find out more information about these workshops, and how to register, here. Information about the Detroit workshop can be found here.

    Sepp Holzer’s 10 Step Plan to Combat World Hunger by Chelsea Green Publishing

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