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Books in the News: ‘The Tao of Vegetable Gardening’ & More!

Thursday, April 16th, 2015

What does Taoism have to do with gardening? That question is being answered in The Washington Post this week with a lengthy profile of Chelsea Green author Carol Deppe—gardener, plant breeder, seed expert, and geneticist based in Oregon—and her new book The Tao of Vegetable Gardening.

“Once I read The Tao of Vegetable Gardening, with its mix of sly humor, dirt gardening (how to use a hoe with the least effort), the art of non-doing (very Tao), how to cook greens and even freeze them (heretofore impossible in my kitchen), and passages from Deppe’s own translations of 2,500-year-old Chinese texts — well, I had to meet this woman,” writes reporter Anne Raver in her profile of Deppe, which appeared in the Post’s Home and Garden section.

The story is a mix of her visit to Deppe’s homestead back in February along with what she learned from that meeting and how she’s applying it to her Maryland homestead, and includes a photo slideshow of some of Deppe’s squash and corn, along with pictures of some of her greens that she grows.

Demand for Deppe’s insight and wisdom was not only evident in Raver’s article, but also in a review by Rachel Foster, garden writer for The Eugene Weekly, who wrote, “If you grow vegetables, or hope to, you need this book.” And, Library Journal recently listed The Tao of Vegetable Gardening as one of the bestselling gardening books nationwide. The top 20 list of books most ordered by librarians around the country also includes another Chelsea Green title, Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation by Tradd Cotter.

Other authors in the news recently:

Speaking of Tradd Cotter and his bestselling mushroom book, he was recently on WSPA-TV Your Carolina to talk about growing mushrooms, their medicinal uses, and his recent workshops at the Mother Earth News Fair in Asheville, NC. Our favorite question by the host: “What happened to you growing up that made you this way?” 

The Wild Wisdom of Weeds author Katrina Blair was recently on Sierra Club Radio to talk about the 13 weeds found anywhere in the world that are edible, and can also be used for medicine and self-care.

Per Espen Stoknes—author of What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming—had a front-page feature on BoingBoing.net about the five psychological barriers to taking action on climate change.

Author Gianaclis Caldwell (The Small-Scale Dairy, The Small-Scale Cheese Business, and Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking) was on Cooking Up a Story recently to talk about what it takes to run a small-scale, off-the-grid goat farm and cheesemaking business.

And, finally, it’s the one-year anniversary this week of the death of author Michael Ruppert (Confronting Collapse) and writer Frank Kaminski penned this tribute to Ruppert’s life and enduring legacy.

Permaculture Month: Ask the Experts

Wednesday, April 15th, 2015

This May, in honor of Permaculture Month, we are once again putting our pioneering permaculture authors at your disposal for a month-long Q&A session designed to help you become a better permaculturalist.

Over the years, the term permaculture has become increasingly popular among those who grow food on both large and small scales. However, the philosophy behind permaculture can be applied to all aspects of our daily lives and relationships. 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. Chelsea Green is proud to publish and distribute some of the most recognized, and award-winning names (both present and future) in permaculture, and we’re making several of them available to our readers to answer any and all permaculture-related questions.

Our Permaculture Experts

The participating authors are: Toby Hemenway, author of a perennial Chelsea Green bestseller Gaia’s Garden and a new book out this summer The Permaculture CityEric Toensmeier, author of the award-winning Perennial Vegetables and the latest Paradise Lot, and a host of new Chelsea Green authors including Josh Trought (The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm), founder of D Acres—an ecologically designed educational center in New Hampshire, Olivia Rathbone (The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center Cookbook), kitchen manager for one of the most successful and established permaculture sites in the word, Steve Gabriel (Farming the Woods), co-founder of the Finger Lakes Permaculture Institute and forest farming extraordinaire, and Tao Orion (Beyond the War on Invasive Species), teacher of permaculture design at Oregon State University and active in ecosystem restoration. Also joining this group will be plant specialists Stephen Barstow (Around the World in 80 Plants) and Anni Kelsey (Edible Perennial Gardening) whose books we are distributing in our catalog.

Toby Hemenway Eric Toensmeier Josh Trought Olivia Rathbone
Steve Gabriel Tao Orion Stephen Barstow Anni Kelsey

Do you want to learn more about a specific design you have in mind or how to incorporate permaculture into your community? Or are you just getting started and want to know how to best evaluate your backyard or homestead? Whether you’re tackling edible garden spaces or acres of farm fields, our expert authors are prepared to answer your questions on permaculture design, edible landscaping, plant guilds, perennial plantings, as well as the economics and social impact of permaculture.

To submit your permaculture question, use the form below. Feel free to put your query to the attention of a specific author (if you have a question about something you’ve read or tried in their book), or ask a general question and we’ll direct it to the right author to respond. Keep checking back throughout the month as we’ll not only be posting answers, but excerpts and other information to celebrate permaculture month.

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Wild Edibles: 5 Tips for Beginner Foragers

Monday, April 13th, 2015

Ever spotted a dandelion growing in your backyard and wondered, can I eat that? According to wild plants expert Katrina Blair, the answer is a resounding yes. And there are plenty of other commonly found weeds that fall into this category as well.

In her book The Wild Wisdom of Weeds, Blair introduces readers to thirteen weeds that can be found growing all over the world—especially in densely populated areas like cities and suburbs. These nutritious “survival plants”, as she calls them, can be eaten from root to seed and used for a variety of medicinal purposes to achieve optimal health.

If you are new to foraging, below are a few beginner tips from Katrina Blair to get you started on your hunt for wild edibles. And, next time you are taking a walk around the neighborhood keep your eyes peeled for these thirteen plants: dandelion, mallow, purslane, plantain, thistle, amaranth, dock, mustard, grass, chickweed, clover, lambsquarter, and knotweed.

For more information on edible weeds and how Blair uses them for food and medicine listen to her interviews on Sierra Club Radio and Heritage Radio Network’s “Sharp and Hot”. Or if you’re ready to eat now, check out her suggestions for how to use lambsquarter.

*****

5 Tips for Beginner Foragers

  1. Ask for help. Seek the guidance of a local plant expert who can help you identify the subtle differences between various plant species.
  2. Stay close to home. The wild plants that grow closest to where you live are the ones best adapted to support your ability to thrive in your current environment. Wild plants are extremely resilient and they help us embody those same qualities of excellence.
  3. Be mindful of where you harvest wild weeds. Use your observation skills to determine if an area may have been sprayed with herbicides or heavily fertilized with chemicals. If a plant is discolored or curls downward in an unnatural way it may best to harvest elsewhere.
  4. Start off simple. Look for the common simple plants first that are easy to recognize like dandelions. Dice them up finely and add to your dinner salad along with something sweet like apple slices.
  5. A little goes a long way. Wild plants are very potent so it is best to start by ingesting small amounts. Begin by nibbling a taste of a common wild edible plant and slowly introduce it to your body and taste buds.

 

Soil Blocks vs. Pots: Two Ways to Start Seedlings This Spring

Thursday, April 9th, 2015

With Spring having finally sprung (in many places), it brings the official start of planting season, and we have two experts with advice on how to get your seedlings off to the right start and ready for the garden.

When it comes to starting your first seedlings, are you a pothead or a blockhead? We’re talking about using pots versus soil blocks and no matter which you choose, our authors offer step-by-step methods and troubleshooting advice.

Master gardener Eliot Coleman is an advocate for soil blocks. In the excerpt below from The New Organic Grower, he outlines how soil blocks work, why they’re beneficial, the equipment you need to make them, and shares some helpful recipes to prepare your own block mix.

Josh Trought on the other hand, author of The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm, uses plastic trays and containers to grow his nursery starts. Unlike soil blocks that use ingredients like peat moss and coconut fibers to maintain their structure, Trought prefers the all-purpose potting soil mix he has developed that requires limited out-sourced amendments.

Read more about Josh Trought’s potting soil recipe here.

Related:
3 Steps to Start Your Plants Off Right
Transplanting Tree Seedlings Using Roof Gutters

*****

Soil Blocks

by Eliot Coleman

How Soil Blocks Work

A soil block is pretty much what the name implies—a block made out of lightly compressed potting soil. It serves as both the container and the growing medium for a transplant seedling. The blocks are composed entirely of potting soil and have no walls as such. Because they are pressed out by a form rather than filled into a form, air spaces provide the walls. Instead of the roots circling as they do upon reaching the wall of a container, they fill the block to the edges and wait. The air spaces between the blocks and the slight wall glazing caused by the block form keep the roots from growing from one block to another. The edge roots remain poised for rapid outward growth. When transplanted to the field, the seedling quickly becomes established. If the plants are kept too long in the blocks, however, the roots do extend into neighboring blocks, so the plants should be transplanted before this happens.

Despite being no more than a cube of growing medium, a soil block is not fragile. When first made, it is bound together by the fibrous nature of the moist ingredients. Once seeded, the roots of the young plant quickly fill the block and ensure its stability even when handled roughly. Soil blocks are the answer for a farm-produced seedling system that costs no more than the “soil” of which it is composed.

Advantages

The best thing about the soil-block system is that everything that can be done in small pots, “paks,” trays, or plugs can be done in blocks without the expense and bother of a container. Blocks can be made to accommodate any need. The block may have a small depression on the top in which a seed is planted, but blocks can also be made with a deep center hole in which to root cuttings. They can also be made with a large hole in which to transplant seedlings. Or they can be made with a hole precisely the size of a smaller block, so seedlings started in a germination chamber in small blocks can be quickly transplanted onto larger blocks.

Blocks provide the modular advantages of plug trays without the problems and expense of a plug system. Blocks free the grower from the mountains of plastic containers that have become so ubiquitous of late in horticultural operations. European growers sell bedding plants in blocks to customers, who transport them in their own containers. There is no plastic pot expense to the grower, the customer, or the environment. In short, soil blocks constitute the best system I have yet found for growing seedlings.

The Soil-Block Maker

The key to this system is the tool for making soil blocks—the soil-block maker or “blocker.” Basically, it is an ejection mold that forms self-contained cubes out of a growing medium. Both hand and machine models are available. For small-scale production, hand-operated models are perfectly adequate. Motorized block-making machines have a capacity of over 10,000 blocks per hour. But they are way overscaled for a 5-acre vegetable farm.

There are two features to understand about the blocker in order to appreciate the versatility of soil blocks: the size of the block form and the size and shape of the center pin.

The Form

Forms are available to make ¾-inch blocks (the mini-blocker), 1½-inch blocks, 2-inch blocks, 3-inch blocks, and 4-inch blocks (the maxi-blocker). The block shape is cubic rather than tapered. Horticultural researchers have found a cubic shape to be superior to the tapered-plug shape for the root growth of seedlings.

Two factors influence choice of block size—the type of plant and the length of the intended growing period prior to transplanting. For example, a larger block would be used for early sowings or where planting outside is likely to be delayed. A smaller block would suffice for short-duration propagation in summer and fall. The mini-block is used only as a germination block for starting seedlings.

Obviously, the smaller the block, the less potting mix and greenhouse space is required (a 1½-inch block contains less than half the volume of a 2-inch block). But, in choosing between block sizes, the larger of the two is usually the safer choice. Of course, if a smaller size block is used, the plants can always be held for a shorter time. Or, as is common in European commercial blocking operations, the nutrient requirements of plants in blocks too small to maintain them can be supplemented with soluble nutrients. The need for such supplementary fertilization is an absolute requirement in plug-type systems, because each cell contains so much less soil than a block. The popular upside-down pyramid shape, for example, contains only one-third the soil volume of a cubic block of the same top dimension.

My preference is always for the larger block, first because I believe it is false economy to stint on the care of young plants. Their vigorous early growth is the foundation for later productivity. Second, I prefer not to rely on soluble feeding when the total nutrient package can be enclosed in the block from the start. All that is necessary when using the right size block and soil mix is to water the seedlings.

Another factor justifying any extra volume of growing medium is the addition of organic matter to the soil. If lettuce is grown in 2-inch blocks and set out at a spacing of 12 by 12 inches, the amount of organic material in the blocks is the equivalent of applying 5 tons of compost per acre! Since peat is more than twice as valuable as manure for increasing long-term organic matter in the soil, the blocks are actually worth double their weight in manure. Where succession crops are grown, the soil-improving material added from transplanting alone can be substantial.

The Pin

The pin is the object mounted in the center of the top press-form plate. The standard seed pin is a small button that makes an indentation for the seed in the top of the soil block. This pin is suitable for crops with seeds the size of lettuce, cabbage, onion, or tomato. Other pin types are dowel- or cube-shaped. I use the cubic pin for melon, squash, corn, peas, beans, and any other seeds of those dimensions. A long dowel pin is used to make a deeper hole into which cuttings can be inserted. Cubic pins are also used so a seedling in a smaller block can be potted on to a larger block; the pin makes a cubic hole in the top of the block into which the smaller block is placed. The different types of pins are easily interchangeable.

Blocking Systems

The ¾-inch block made with the mini-blocker is used for starting seeds. With this small block, enormous quantities of modular seedlings can be germinated on a heating pad or in a germination chamber. This is especially useful for seeds that take a long time to germinate, because a minimum of space is used in the process.

Mini-blocks are effective because they can be handled as soon as you want to pot on the seedlings. The oft-repeated admonition to wait until the first true leaves appear before transplanting is wrong. Specific investigations by W.J.C. Lawrence, one of the early potting-soil researchers, have shown that the sooner young seedlings are potted on, the better is their eventual growth.

The 1½-inch block is used for short-duration transplants of standard crops (lettuce, brassicas) and as the seed block for cucumbers, melons, and artichokes by using the large seed pin. When fitted with a long dowel pin it makes an excellent block for rooting cuttings.

The 2-inch block is the standard for longer-duration transplants. When fitted with the ¾-inch cubic pin, it is used for germinating bean, pea, corn, or squash seeds and for the initial potting on of crops started in mini-blocks.

The 3-inch block fitted with a ¾-inch cubic pin offers the option to germinate many different field crops (squash, corn, cucumber, melon) when greenhouse space is not critical. It is also an ideal size for potting on asparagus seedlings started in mini-blocks.

The 4-inch block fitted with a 1½- or 2-inch cubic pin is the final home of artichoke, eggplant, pepper, and tomato seedlings. Because of its cubic shape, it has the same soil volume as a 6-inch pot and can grow exceptional plants of these crops to their five- to eight-week field transplant age.

Other Pin Options

In addition to the pins supplied with the blocker, the grower can make a pin of any desired size or shape. Most hard materials (wood, metal, or plastic) are suitable, as long as the pins have a smooth surface. Plug trays can be used as molds and filled with quick-hardening water putty to make many different sizes of pins that allow the integration of the plug and block systems.

Blocking Mixes

When transplants are grown, whether in blocks or pots, their rooting area is limited. Therefore the soil in which they grow must be specially formulated to compensate for these restricted conditions. For soil blocks, this special growing medium is a blocking mix. The composition of a blocking mix differs from an ordinary potting soil because of the unique requirements of block-making. A blocking mix needs an extra fibrous material to withstand being watered to a paste consistency and then formed into blocks. Unmodified garden soil treated this way would become hard and impenetrable. A blocking mix also needs good water-holding ability, because the blocks are not enclosed by a nonporous container. The bulk ingredients for blocking mixes are peat, sand, soil, and compost. Store-bought mixes can also work, but most will contain chemical additives not allowed by many organic certification programs. If you can find a commercial peat-pearlite mix with no additives, you can supplement it with the soil, compost, and extra ingredients described below.

In the past few years commercial, preformulated organic mixes with reasonably goof growth potential have begun to appear on the market. However, shipping costs can be expensive if you live far away from the supplier. To be honest, I have yet to find any of these products that will grow as nice seedlings as my own housemade mixes.

Peat

Peat is a partly decayed, moisture-absorbing plant residue found in bogs and swamps. It provides fiber and extra organic matter in a mix. All peats are not created equal, however, and quality can vary greatly. I recommend using the premium grade. Poor-quality peat contains a lot of sticks and is very dusty. The better-quality peats have more fiber and structure. Keep asking and searching your local garden suppliers until you can find good-quality peat moss. Very often a large greenhouse operation that makes its own mix will have access to a good product. The peat gives “body” to a block.

Sand

Sand or some similar granular substance is useful to “open up” the mix and provide more air porosity. A coarse sand with particles having a 1/8 to 1/16 inch diameter is the most effective. I prefer not to use vermiculite, as many commercial mixes do, because it is too light and tends to be crushed in the block-making process. If I want a lighter-weight mix I replace the sand with coarse perlite. Whatever the coarse product involved, adequate aeration is key to successful plant growth in any medium.

Compost and Soil

Although most modern mediums no longer include any real soil, I have found both soil and compost to be important for plant growth in a mix. Together they replace the “loam” of the successful old-time potting mixtures. In combination with the other ingredients, they provide stable, sustained-release nutrition to the plants. I suspect the most valuable contribution of the soil may be to moderate any excess nutrients in the compost, thus giving more consistent results. Whatever the reason, with soil and compost included there is no need for supplemental feeding.

Compost is the most important ingredient. It is best taken from two-year-old heaps that are fine in texture and well decomposed. The compost heap must be carefully prepared for future use in potting soil. I use no animal manure in the potting-mix compost. I construct the heap with 2- to 6-inch layer of mixed garden waste (e.g. outer leaves, pea vines, weeds) covered with a sprinkling of topsoil and 2 to 3 inches of straw sprinkled with montmorillionite clay. The sequence is repeated until the heap is complete. The heap should be turned once the temperature rises and begins to decline so as to stimulate further decomposition.

There are no worms involved in our composting except those naturally present, which is usually a considerable number. (I have purchased commercial worm composts [castings] as a trial ingredient, and they did make an adequate substitute for our compost.) Both during the breakdown and afterwards the heap should be covered with a landscape fabric. I strongly suggest letting the compost sit for an additional year (so that it is one and a half to two years old before use); the resulting compost is well worth the trouble. The better the compost ingredient, the better the growth of the plants will be. The exceptional quality of the seedlings grown in this mix is reason enough to take special care when making a compost. Compost for blocking mixes must be stockpiled the fall before and stored where it won’t freeze. Its value as a mix ingredient seems to be enhanced by mellowing in storage over the winter.

Soil refers to a fertile garden soil that is also stockpiled ahead of time. I collect it in the fall from land off which onions have just been harvested. I have found that seedlings (onions included) seem to grow best when the soil in the blocking mix has grown onions. I suspect there is some biological effect at work here, since crop-rotation studies have found onion (and leeks) to be highly beneficial preceding crops in a vegetable rotation. The soil and compost should be sifted through a ½-inch mesh screen to remove sticks, stones, and lumps. The compost and peat for the extra-fine mix used either for mini-block or for the propagation of tiny flower seeds are sifted through a ¼-inch mesh.

Extra Ingredients

Lime, blood meal, colloidal phosphate, and greensand are added in smaller quantities.

Lime. Ground limestone is added to adjust the pH of the blocking mix. The quantity of lime is determined by the amount of peat, the most acidic ingredient. The pH of compost or garden soil should not need modification. My experience, as well as recent research results, has led me to aim for a growing medium pH between 6 and 6.5 for all the major transplant crops. Those growers using different peats in the mix may want to run a few pH tests to be certain. However, the quantity of lime given in the formula below works for the different peats that I have encountered.

Blood Meal. I find this to be the most consistently dependable slow-release source of nitrogen for growing mediums. English gardening books often refer to hoof-and-horn meal, which is similar. I have also used crab-shell meal with great success. Recent independent research confirms my experience and suggests that cottonseed meal and dried whey sludge also work well.

Colloidal Phosphate. A clay material associated with phosphate rock deposits and containing 22 percent P2O5. The finer the particles the better.

Greensand (Glauconite). Greensand contains some potassium but is used here principally as a broad-spectrum source of micronutrients. A dried seaweed product like kelp meal can serve the same purpose, but I have achieved more consistent results with greensand.

The last three supplementary ingredients—blood meal, colloidal phosphate and greensand—when mixed together in equal parts are referred to as the “base fertilizer.”

Blocking Mix Recipe

A standard 10-quart bucket is the unit of measurement for the bulk ingredients. A standard cup measure is used for the supplementary ingredients. This recipe makes approximately 2 bushels of mix. Follow the steps in the order given.

3 buckets brown peat
½ cup lime. Mix.
2 buckets coarse sand or perlite
3 cups base fertilizer. Mix.
1 bucket soil
2 buckets compost

Mix all ingredients together thoroughly.

The lime is combined with the peat because that is the most acidic ingredient. Then the sand or perlite is added. The base fertilizer is mixed in next. By incorporating the dry supplemental ingredients with the peat in this manner, they will be distributed as uniformly as possible throughout the medium. Next add the soil and compost, and mix completely a final time.

Mini-Block Recipe

A different blend is used for germinating seeds in mini-blocks. Seeds germinate better in a “low-octant” mix, without any blood meal added. The peat and compost are finely screened through a ¼ inch mesh before adding them to the mix.

4 gallons brown peat
1 cup colloidal phosphate
1 cup greensand (If greensand is unavailable,
leave it out. Do not substitute a dried seaweed
product in this mix.)
1 gallon compost (well decomposed)

New Arrivals: Save 35% On New Spring Books!

Wednesday, April 8th, 2015

Are you itching to start your gardening projects?

Dreaming of what this year’s plans will bring? What better way to celebrate the transition from winter to the spring months than exploring all our exciting new books!

Save 35% on our new books. But hurry you don’t want to miss out!

For thirty years, Chelsea Green has published books that you will turn to again and again. We don’t cater to fads or trends, but focus on being a resource for a timeless and holistic approach.

Let our new spring releases inspire you with ideas and practical skills!

Happy reading from your friends at Chelsea Green Publishing.

P.S. Need a recommendation? We’re here to help. Email us [email protected]


Sale runs until April 19th. Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books already on sale for example. Free shipping for orders $100 or more is applied after the discount is applied. (U.S. Orders Only). International orders can be placed by phone (802-295-6300) or email.


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Depressed about Climate Change? Good. Here’s How to Take Action

Monday, April 6th, 2015

The facts about climate change are settled. Mostly. In fact, the news seems to get worse, and more urgent, every day. Yet, the more the facts stack up, the less resolve many people seem to have about getting behind solutions that will stem, or turn, the tide. What gives?

In What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming, economist and psychologist Per Espen Stoknes offers a refreshing take on why we’re avoiding the obvious, and inevitable, and how climate change believers can better talk to, and support, people who are having a hard time making sense of just what it is they are supposed to be doing—eat better, buy different light bulbs, drive less, walk more, all of the above?

For Further Reading

In his book, Stoknes masterfully identifies the five main psychological barriers to climate action, but he then offers up five new strategies that are social, positive, and simple, and lead to making climate-friendly behaviors easy and convenient. He also examines how the consistent doom-and-gloom messages from some climate activists have only reinforced those barriers to action, and how we can turn that around.

We posed a few questions to Stoknes about his new book and how he believes we can take steps to move beyond the “Great Grief” of climate change and move toward actions that are meaningful, and improve our future.

 A Conversation with Per Espen Stoknes

There are many surprises in your book, including your explanation of what really keeps people from taking action on climate change. It’s not always what people might expect. So, what keeps us from doing the right thing?

There are at least five main defenses—the five D’s as I call them—that keep us from acknowledging the need for change: We distance ourselves from the climate issue; we avoid doom and sacrifice messengers; we experience cognitive dissonance; we get rid of fear and guilt through denial mechanisms; and, automatically resist criticisms of my identity, job, and lifestyle.

And, I should be clear: It’s not that people don’t care. The problem is that people can’t see there are any effective solutions. Then they feel helpless, start distancing themselves from the issue, and give little priority to it. Our limited pool of what we most often worry about is often filled with concerns closer to us— our job, family, health, and education.

 

A key difference in your book, as compared to other recent climate books, is that you reveal how simple it can be to change behavior if we approach the topic differently. What should we be doing differently, and how are these new approaches proving effective?

For too long we’ve relied solely on a highly rational double push: More scientific facts will finally convince the wayward about climate change. And there must be a global price on carbon emissions. But neither is rooted in our messy, social reality or guided by how our brains actually think. Oddly enough, more facts and more taxes don’t build policy support among people.

It’s time for a different approach: Finding ways of engaging that go with the evolutionary flow of the human mind, rather than push against it. One starting point is to use the power of social networks. Most of us imitate others. If I believe everyone else is driving big cars and using more energy than me, then I’ll do the same—or more! Research has shown that if people believe their neighbors are conserving more energy and water than themselves, then they’ll start doing it, too—or more!

When working with social networks, we should avoid framing climate change as catastrophe, cost, and sacrifice. Rather, we should employ supportive framings by positioning climate change as opportunities for smarter growth solutions for our cities and companies, or as a national insurance issue, or as a public health concern.

 

SONY DSCYou point out that people often change their behaviors before they change their beliefs. So is it really possible to get a denier to make behavioral changes—to live a more climate-friendly life or back more climate change-friendly policies? And will that really lead to him or her accepting the facts, eventually, on climate change?

In reality, behavior nudges are also methods of climate communication. They help us get around the five main barriers that hinder support for climate policy: They work around the distance barrier by making the climate issue feel near and relevant to personal behavior. They nudge us out of the cost and sacrifice framing that haunts the climate issue and creates the doom barrier. They promote behavior that influences attitudes, helping us reduce the dissonance and denial barriers.

It is easier to behave consistently with our beliefs when nudged. Research shows that giving money or time to a cause strengthens our positive attitudes about that cause. So nudges that combine thinking and doing can turn cognitive dissonance around for the good: If I do all these things—insulate my house, go solar, have high-quality and efficient appliances, recycle—then the cause must be important, and therefore the science behind it right. This seems to be the way our minds work—more psychological than logical.

 

You define the feeling that many climate change activists and scientists have around the gloom and doom of global warming as the “Great Grief.” Are we working through the five stages of grief as the notion of a dying planet takes hold? Explain how we can move from depression to action.

Climate depression is … well, depressing! Despair, anger, sorrow, loss, and exasperation … all these types of feelings are creeping up on people who get into the reality of global warming. It feels devastating, looks inevitable and terribly destructive to the beautiful landscapes we love. Most want to move out of this darkness, and into hope and action immediately. Scientists in particular are trained to take their feelings out of the equations. But, maybe we should not discard the despair and depression so fast. That our individual grief and emotional loss can actually be a broadly shared reaction to the decline of nature is an idea that rarely appears in conversation or the popular media. This more-than-personal sadness is what I call the Great Grief, a feeling rising in us, in our psyche, as if from the earth itself at this time.

The challenge is to not shut ourselves out from this Great Grief when it comes to awareness. By entering more fully into the Grief, we may move through denial and bargaining, despair, and grief to a fuller acceptance of the mess we’re in. Paradoxically, as we travel through it – shaping it, expressing it – we may find a renewed way of caring for the land, air, ourselves, and others. Contact with the pain of the world can also open the heart to reach out to all things still living. Through this mourning we may gradually shift from helpless depression to a heartfelt appreciation and re-engagement. Going more fully down to the depths of despair can also bring healing. It cracks the stressed-out, numbed heart open to a deeper reconnection with the more-than-human world. Painful, yes, and potentially transformative.

New Cookbook Offers Hundreds of Garden-to-Plate Recipes

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Are you a gardener interested in finding new ways to cook with your vegetables or a farmers’ market shopper looking to expand your repertoire? Maybe you are a home cook who wants to prepare healthy meals for your family and friends or a professional chef looking for inspired recipes using wild edibles? Or are you a member of a community-based organization who cooks for crowds on a regular basis?

If you nodded your head to any of these questions, then The Occidental Arts & Ecology Center Cookbook is for you.

This unique cookbook is a beautifully illustrated collection of 200 inspired vegetarian recipes using fresh-from-the-garden seasonal ingredients from the OAEC, a renowned farm, educational retreat center, eco-thinktank and home of the Mother Garden—one of California’s first certified organic farms.

You’ll learn how to incorporate a diverse array of ingredients including weeds, flowers, herbs, nuts, fruits, mushrooms, and other forages, into your family’s everyday meals. The recipes also provide the quantities and measurements necessary to cook for a crowd—making each dish perfect to cook at home, or to share at parties, potlucks, and community events.

The OAEC has a passionate ethos about eating seasonally, and their book shows readers how to cook based on what is available in the garden at any given time of the year. Nothing illustrates this concept better than their signature dish, the Biodiversity Salad Mix, which frequently features more than 60 varieties of greens and wild edibles.

Acclaimed chef and author Alice Waters writes in her foreword, “It is a testament to the remarkable biodiversity of the Occidental Arts and Ecology Center that something as ostensibly simple as a green salad can be such a revelation. But a revelation it is.” Pretty impressive for a bowl of greens.

Most likely you don’t have the resources to incorporate 60 ingredients into a salad, but lead author Olivia Rathbone encourages us to experiment with the biodiversity available in our own regions.

“We are not seeking out rare and endangered food crops of the world in order to ‘discover’ and profit from the next exotic ingredient to be marketed and consumed by the industrial food system,” writes Rathbone in her introduction. “Through trial-and-error research, we are taking full advantage of our regional growing conditions to find what works, and we encourage you to do the same kind of experimentation in your own backyard.”

And, for those less adventurous eaters, fear not, a reviewer from Booklist points out that many of the recipes “demonstrate simple techniques that work with many different vegetables.”

In The OAEC Cookbook you’ll find seasonal menus that offer a wide range of dishes such as: Carrot and Chamomile Soup and Pepita-Encrusted Squash Blossoms Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Mint. There are a variety of delicious salad dressing recipes, sauces, and pestos for garden-fresh greens. There are comfort foods like pots of savory Biodiversity Beans and Winter Sourdough Pizza and crowd pleasing desserts like Fresh Fruit Fools and Cardamom-Rose-Plum Bars.

Is your mouth watering yet? Check out the sample recipes below and start planning your next dinner party. Can we come?

Sample Recipes from The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center Cookbook

We’re Hiring! Join Our Team as Assistant to the Production Director

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

The Assistant to the Production Director is a part-time in-house employee reporting to the Production Director. This position is based out of the White River Junction office and could become full-time in the future.

The Assistant to the Production Director provides general assistance in all aspects of editorial production from manuscript to bound book and eBooks. Working independently and in support of the Production Director, the ideal candidate will be able to focus on details of projects in a fast-paced work environment.

Responsibilities of the Position Include:

General/Administrative
• Provide general production assistance (scanning, file transmission, photocopying, filing, mailing, etc.).
• Copyedit and proofread miscellaneous front matter, back matter, and cover and jacket copy.
• Proofread corrections to pages and revised pages.
• Traffic manuscripts and associated materials to freelancers, compositors, and printers.
• Review and reconcile author and editorial changes in manuscript and page proofs.
• Upload files to printers and e-book distributors.
• Format/tag manuscripts for submission to typesetter.
• Archive and maintain production files on the server.
• Participate in weekly project schedule meetings.
• Participate in front-list planning meetings.
• Develop project management skills for full-color illustrated books

Position Requirements
• Bachelor’s or associate’s degree
• Excellent organizational skills and attention to detail
• Ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously on time and on budget
• Excellent writing and editing skills
• Proficiency in Microsoft Office applications Word, Excel, and Outlook
• Competence with Adobe Acrobat and other graphic-arts programs
• Must work out of the White River Junction, VT office of Chelsea Green
• Publishing and/or graphic arts experience a plus
• Digital file management experience a plus

To Apply: Send cover letter and resume to Patricia Stone, [email protected], by Friday May 1, 2015. No phone calls, please.

Chelsea Green to Revolutionize Industry with Edible Books

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015

Move over Gutenberg: In advance of Earth Day 2015, environmental publishing leader Chelsea Green Publishing is announcing the introduction of an entirely new type of book – the completely biodegradable, and in certain instances edible, book.

While some publishers tout the recycled content of their papers, or use of soy-based inks, Chelsea Green, which turned 30 in 2014, is embarking on a new type of book that promises to revolutionize how we think of books as objects. These books are designed to nourish the mind, and the body. Literally.

Using all-natural and organic ingredients as their base, similar to the methods used in a new line of plantable coffee cups by a California entrepreneur, and these coffee cup makers in North Dakota, our limited line of biodegradable books will allow readers to use their books to:

  • Make healing bone broth;
  • Grow mushrooms;
  • Plant heirloom squash and other select varietals;
  • Reforest areas degraded by those “other” book publishers, and much more.

Each of these limited-edition books will come with a free, companion eBook, to allow you to return to those pages you’ve now planted, or eaten. These books are designed to help do more than just put seeds of knowledge into people’s hands, but the seeds themselves.

The broth-brewing books, based on the recent top-selling book The Heal Your Gut Cookbook, will come in three flavors —Beef, Chicken or Fish. Why stand in line at Brodo waiting for a cup of broth, when you can simply make it yourself in the comfort of your kitchen.

How does it work? For the bone broth book, it’s simple: Since each page is made from a combination of finely ground bones, marrow, and a vegetable seasoning powder, when you’re done reading a section of the book, simply tear out the book’s pages at its perforated edge and drop into boiling water. Within minutes you’ll have a delicious steaming hot bone broth. The more pages you use, the stronger the broth!

Other titles to be released in our new biodegradable series include:

  • Organic Mushroom Farming: Pages from this book are inoculated with mushroom mycelium. Just place the pages on top of a growing substrate—some cardboard or an old pair of jeans— and it’ll start growing fungi! You can use those mushrooms for food, or as author Tradd Cotter points out in his book, for a variety of health and environmental mycoremediation projects.
  • The Tao of Vegetable Gardening: Grow some of Carol Deppe’s amazing heirloom varietals, including squash and corn by planting pages from her book. Select pages will help you seed an “Eat-All Greens Garden,” her revolutionary way of growing greens that can raise enough fresh, leafy greens for a small family for a year.
  • Farming the Woods: Pages from this book will help you reforest deforested northern woodlands by planting a mix of deciduous and conifer trees. Techniques in the book laid out by authors Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel will show you how to then add plantings of wild garlic, ginseng, and more to augment the production of food from your forest.
  • Holy Shit: With the subtitle of “Managing Manure to Save Mankind,” need we say more? This treatise on all things bowel-related and how we can harness its richness to fertilize the land—including the use of humanure. This book is edible enough to become compost after you chomp it, yet biodegradable enough for the less adventurous who merely want to toss it on the compost pile when they’re done. If neither appeals, it does make for a great bathroom read.

Unlike the creator of the K-Cup, we have no regrets about bringing books into the world, and want to ensure that no one makes a viral video accusing us of “Killing the Planet” with our hefty how-to tomes because people may have concerns about their environmental impact.

For more information about this revolutionary publishing technology, visit www.eat-this-book.com.

And … Happy April 1st!

March Roundup: News, Views & Stuff You Can Use

Monday, March 30th, 2015

Check out the latest news and opinions from Chelsea Green and our authors, as well as tips and techniques about how you can bring our books to life in your kitchen, backyard, or community. Don’t miss the special sales and new releases!

 


Building a Sustainable Community: The D Acres Model
Building a Sustainable Community: The D Acres Model
 
If you were going to create a community-based homestead or farm from scratch, where would you start? What building materials would you use? What crops would you grow and what animals would you raise? And, how would you make sure all of this evolves in perpetuity and is truly sustainable? Read »»

Here Comes Spring: Get Your Garden Ready
Here Comes Spring: Get Your Garden Ready
Spring has sprung! We’re itching to grab some pruners and get outdoors. We bet you are too!
 
Whether you are planting or planning your garden, homestead or backyard paradise we’re here to help you get an early start with our gardening and homesteading books. Get Ready »»

Book Exposes Scientific Fraud, Collusion on GMOs
Book Exposes Scientific Fraud, Collusion on GMOs
Altered Genes, Twisted Truth is an important book that is long overdue in the United States, and Chelsea Green Publishing is proud to distribute this book to consumers who need to read the whole story behind how government officials and chemical companies have colluded to mislead the public about GM crops and foods. Learn More »»

Get Garden Reading! 30% Off Gardening Books
Get Garden Reading! 30% Off Gardening Books
Want a great garden? It all starts with a good plan. You’ll find growing is easier than you ever imagined. To help jump-start your garden planning we’ve included some tips and inspiration from our expert authors. Plan »»

Perennial Gardening: Grow More Food with Less Work!
Perennial Gardening: Grow More Food with Less Work!
Congratulations, you survived another long winter! It is officially spring and time to dig in.
Perennial vegetables are a food gardener’s dream. Plant them once, treat them well, and they’ll keep feeding you year after year. You’ll have plants you never dreamed could be dinner. Plant »»

Ducks Vs. Chickens
Duck vs. Chickens
Thinking about adding a laying flock to your backyard, but having trouble deciding between ducks and chickens? Agonize no more. Carol Deppe has the lowdown on which type of poultry might be right for you. Quack or Cluck? »»

You’ve Got Mail. And it’s Chicks!
You’ve Got Mail. And it’s Chicks
There’s nothing quite like having a box of cute, fluffy chicks arrive in the mail. It’s miraculous, notes author and homesteader Ben Hewitt, that a newly hatched chick can survive without food and water for exactly the amount of time it takes to mail a package from anywhere in the United States to anywhere else in the United States.Get Ready »»

Manage Your Chicken Manure: The Joys of Deep Litter
Manage Your Chicken Manure: The Joys of Deep Litter
Ever heard the phrase, “always follow your nose?” As it turns out, this is a good rule of thumb when it comes to chicken manure—but what is it that your nose is telling you, exactly? Find Out »»

Gardening Tips from Eliot Coleman: How to Start Seedlings in a Cold Frame
How to Start Seedlings in a Cold Frame
Are you ready to get a start on the gardening season? With a cold frame you can jump in now. cold frame, essentially a garden bed surrounded by an angled frame and covered with glass, is a simple way to harness the heating power of the sun to get seedlings going before it’s warm enough to plant them outside unprotected. Make »»

Get More from Your Mission: The Social Profit Handbook
Get More from Your Mission: The Social Profit Handbook
For-profit institutions measure their success primarily by monetary gains. But nonprofit institutions are different; they aim for social profit, or improving the well-being of people, place, and planet. Learn More »»

New Audiobook—Slowspoke: A Unicyclist’s Guide to America
New Audiobook – Slowspoke: A Unicyclist’s Guide to America
If you’ve ever yearned to slow down, let life’s winds wobble you, and devote yourself to the act of anticipation rather than immediacy, then learn to ride a unicycle. Or, you could follow the thoughtful and guiding principles of author, homesteader, and unicyclist Mark Schimmoeller in his latest book Slowspoke. Listen »»

We’re Hiring! Join the Team as Our Next Editorial Intern
We’re Hiring! Join the Team as Our Next Editorial Intern
We are currently hiring for the position of Editorial Intern to be based in our White River Junction office. This is a three-month internship with the potential to turn into a full-time, Editorial Assistant position. Learn More »»

~ ~ Need More? Don’t miss our New Releases  ~ ~

Altered Genes, Twisted Truth

The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center Cookbook The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm The Social Profit Handbook

What We Think About When We Try Not To Think About Global Warming


Discount codes do not combine with other offers—our books
already on sale for example. Free shipping for orders $100 or
more is applied after the discount is applied. (U.S. Orders Only)
 

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