News posts from jmccharen's Archive


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

Are We Condemning Bees to Death?

Friday, March 1st, 2013

“Could it be that bees are telling us that the methods we are using to manipulate them, although well intentioned, are actually condemning the bees to death?” — Ross Conrad, from Natural Beekeeping (Revised and Expanded edition)

Bees are some of the hardest workers in all of agriculture — but they’re on the verge of collapse.

Since its publication in 2007, Natural Beekeeping has guided both beginning beekeepers and experienced ones interested in switching to organic methods through a challenging era, when mysterious diseases and disappearances have threatened bees worldwide. This week, we’re proud to unveil a revised, expanded, full-color edition of Natural Beekeeping — on sale for 35% off.

The current state of industrial honey production is bad news for bees, and Conrad explains why small-scale beekeepers are sorely needed at this critical time:

  • Bees in commercial honey production are fed pollen substitutes and corn syrup — but what does this do to their immune systems and overall health? Just like us, bees are more resilient when they’re fed real food, in their case real pollen and nectar from diverse crops.
  • Small-scale, local beekeeping efforts avoid the stresses of trucking bees across the country to perform “pollination services” for monoculture commodity crops.
  • As the costs of fuel rise, farmers will opt for raising their own pollinators instead of renting them — and they need to learn natural beekeeping to help raise the strongest possible bees.

The most immediate difference readers will notice with the new edition is the gorgeous full-color design including tons of photos. The expanded edition also offers new sections on a wide range of subjects, including the basics of bee biology and anatomy; urban beekeeping, and more. Browse the Table Of Contents here.

Ross Conrad’s new DVD is another teaching tool for the aspiring bee whisperer. Get clear examples of Conrad’s practices and tips, along with footage from one of his popular workshops. The DVD is available alone, or as a bundle along with the book. Watch the trailer below.

And remember, the book is on sale for 35% off this week.

Order Heirloom Seeds from Carol Deppe, Author of The Resilient Gardener

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

…And order them now! Quantities of these special seeds are extremely limited.

Carol Deppe, author of The Resilient Gardener and Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties, sells packets of the seeds she raises. With a focus on the survival crops she describes in The Resilient Gardener, her seed catalog doesn’t read like your typical, flowery missive from Burpee or Seeds of Change. Deppe carefully and simply explains the virtues of each crop, such as the ease of drying possessed by ‘Costata Romanesco’ Squash, and the delicious, distinct flavor of ‘Black Coco’ Bush Dry Beans, (“…bland just doesn’t cut it for me.”).

Deppe also hints at a tiny bit of the story of developing each crop, which she has carefully bred to its current form. And reminds growers of qualities you might not be familiar with if you typically purchase large-scale commercial seed.

The entry for ‘Gaucho’ Bush Dry Beans cautions, “I’m expecting about 1% off types from this year’s crop. Just cull anything that dries down much later than the Gauchos or is a little viney instead of bushy. Give your Gaucho dry beans as much isolation as you can from your Phaseolus vulgaris green bean types, but don’t worry overly much about purity. Gaucho wasn’t pure when I got it, as is common with heirloom beans.”

If you’ve read The Resilient Gardener, your mouth is probably already watering at the chance to get the perfect corn to grow for Carol’s Universal Skillet Bread, or her favorite snack food, pop beans.

Download a PDF of the Fertile Valley Seeds catalog here (ordering instructions are on page one).

Also available as a Word document, and in Rich Text Format.

And just to reiterate, quantities of these seeds are extremely limited. So don’t wait too long to place your order.

New Books from our Publishing Partners

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Chelsea Green creates most of our books from scratch. We determine the next great topic for a book in, say, sustainable agriculture, find an expert who has perfected that practice, and steward their book from start to finish (and sometimes, all the way to the New York Times best-seller’s list!).

But we also offer a helping hand to smaller publishers and the growing number of authors who are choosing to self-publish their work. Because they’re small, or based in another country, these publishers and authors can lack access to markets here in the United States, so we distribute their books and DVDs to mainstream retailers and indie bookstores alike.

If you are an author with a book or DVD on sustainability, ecological agriculture, or ethical food, you can find out more about our distribution process by downloading this PDF.

Below are the latest titles from our publishing partners.

~~

More than just a cookbook, Long Way on a Little presents farmer and author Shannon Hayes’s practical knowledge about integrating livestock into a sustainable society with her accessible writing and engaging wit.  Designed to be the only meat book a home cook could ever need, Long Way on a Little is packed with Hayes’ signature delicious no-fail recipes for perfect roasts and steaks cooked indoors and out on the grill, easy-to-follow techniques to make use of the less-conventional, inexpensive cuts that often go to waste, tips on stretching a sustainable food budget, and an extensive section on using leftovers and creating soups; all with the aim of helping home cooks make the most effective and economical use of their local farm products or their own backyard livestock.

Raising the Bar: The Future of Fine Chocolate tells the story of what that next movement in the fine flavor chocolate symphony might hold. Told in four lively parts covering everything from before the bean to after the bar—genetics, farming, manufacturing, and bonbons—the book features interviews with dozens of international stakeholders across the fine flavor industry to consider the promises and pitfalls ahead. It looks through what is happening today to understand where things are going, while unwrapping the possibilities for the millions and millions of us who believe that life without the very best chocolate is no life at all.

In Build Your Own Barrel Oven, Max and Eva Edleson offer a comprehensive guide for planning and building a practical, efficient and affordable wood-fired oven. The barrel oven offers surprising convenience because it is hot and ready to bake in within 15-20 minutes and is easy to maintain at a constant temperature.
The Passivhaus Handbook is an essential guide for everyone wanting to realize a supremely comfortable, healthy and durable home with exceptionally low energy costs. Whether you are building an extension, renovating your house or starting from scratch; and are new to low-energy design or already have some experience, this book will help you navigate the potential pitfalls and misconceptions. It brings together current thinking and best practices.
In Sustainability: A Cultural History, Ulrich Grober reassesses the concept of sustainability using a range of fascinating historical instances of its application. He considers the vision of men such as Hans Carl von Carlowitz, credited with having first formulated the three pillars of sustainability: environmental equilibrium, economic security, and social justice. The journey takes in Francis of Assisi‘s thirteenth-century “Canticle of the Sun,” as well as Greek philosophers and Enlightenment scholars. Whether in the court of Louis XIV or the silver mines of Saxony, Grober reveals that sustainability is always born of crisis and yet also marks the birth of a new awareness, a realization that the planet we live on has to be sustained and preserved for future generations.

Hot Beds is a 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 using energy from fossil fuels or elaborate equipment.

From award-winning journalist Jared Flesher comes Sourlands, a film that weaves a provocative tale of ecology, energy, and agriculture. From a deep forest surrounded by the sprawling suburbs of New Jersey, Flesher’s film lays out a story that feels simultaneously intimate and expansive.

In the film Genetic Roulette, from Jeffrey Smith, never-before-seen evidence points to genetically engineered foods as a major contributor to rising disease rates in the U.S. population, especially among children. Gastrointestinal disorders, allergies, inflammatory diseases, and infertility are just some of the problems identified in humans, pets. livestock, and lab animals that eat genetically modified soybeans and corn.

For the second year running, Slow Food International offers an English language edition of annual wine guide, Slow Wine, which adopts a new approach to wine criticism and looks at qualities that extend well beyond the palate. Slow Wine doesn’t simply select and review Italy’s finest bottles. It describes what’s in the glass, but also tells you what’s behind it. Namely the work, the aims and the passion of producers, their bond with the land and their choice of cultivation and cellar techniques — favoring the ones who implement ecologically sustainable winegrowing and winemaking practices. That’s not all! This year over half the producers listed will offer you a discount of at least 10% on your purchases, if you visit them with a copy of this guide in your hand.

Plant the Seeds of Greatness

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

This month, plant the seeds of a great growing season. Spend some time planning what you’ll do in the spring, so as soon as the soil thaws you can get planting.

Want to incorporate permaculture principles into your vegetable beds this year? Curious about trying new varieties of plants this year, or a new method of composting?

These select farming and gardening books are on sale to help you have an abundant and joyful harvest in the coming year.

Sepp Holzer is known around the world for bringing deserted landscapes back to life using his unique methods of creating water-retention basins. In Desert or Paradise, Holzer applies his core philosophy for increasing food production, earth health, reconnecting mankind with nature, and reforestation and water conservation across the world. He urges us to look beyond failed “solutions” to drought by learning from his lengthy catalog of successes in arid, rainfall-dependent regions such as Greece, Turkey, Spain, and Portugal.

From his twenty-seven years of experience at Cate Farm in Vermont, Richard Wiswall knows firsthand the joys of starting and operating an organic farm—as well as the challenges of making a living from one. Farming offers fundamental satisfaction from producing food, working outdoors, being one’s own boss, and working intimately with nature. But, unfortunately, many farmers avoid learning about the business end of farming, and because of this, they often work harder than they need to, or quit farming altogether because of frustrating—and often avoidable—losses. In this set, featuring The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook, plus the DVD Business Advice for Organic Farmers, Wiswall shares his story, and offers detailed advice on how to make your farm production more efficient, better manage your employees and finances, and turn a profit.

With The Winter Harvest Handbook, anyone can have access to Eliot Coleman’s innovative, highly successful methods for raising crops throughout the coldest of winters.

Coleman offers clear, concise details on greenhouse construction and maintenance, planting schedules, crop management, harvesting practices, and even marketing methods in this complete, meticulous, and illustrated guide. Readers have access to all the techniques that have proven to produce higher-quality crops on Coleman’s own farm.

Imagine growing vegetables that require just about the same amount of care as perennial flowers and shrubs, need no annual tilling or planting, yet thrive and produce abundant and nutritious crops throughout the season.

Get the best information on growing these easy and interesting crops from Eric Toensmeier in this Book & DVD set, featuring his award-winning book Perennial Vegetables, and tour his own lush forest garden in the new DVD, Perennial Vegetable Gardening with Eric Toensmeier.

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.

Pastured Poultry Profit$ by Joel Salatin shows how a couple working six months per year for 50 hours per week on 20 acres can net $25,000-$30,000 per year with an investment equivalent to the price of one new medium-sized tractor. Seldom has agriculture held out such a plum. In a day when main-line farm experts predict the continued demise of the family farm, the pastured poultry opportunity shines like a beacon in the night, guiding the way to a brighter future.

Go Beyond Sustainability with Community Resilience Guides

Monday, February 18th, 2013

As we enter the second decade of the twenty-first century, how will we face the problems our industrial economy has caused? Globalization pretends that place no longer matters, and that moving jobs to distant countries is no more important a decision than making a tax deduction. Burning fossil fuels is becoming increasingly expensive both financially and environmentally, while climate change threatens the very foundations of our civilization, and our ability to feed ourselves.

The threats are clear, yet the governments of the world do nothing. It turns out that many of the best solutions to the myriad afflictions we face are not to be found in national policy, but instead through hyper-local action. And, in fact, cities and towns across the world are already succeeding where federal authorities have failed.

Chelsea Green Publishing has partnered with Post Carbon Institute to publish a series of Community Resilience Guides to detail some of the most inspiring and replicable of local efforts to counteract the negative effects of globalization, climate change, and the industrial food system.

We hope these guides will inspire you to imagine a different way of doing business, and empower you with resources and ideas to enact the same change in your community.

We’ve made the Guides available as a set — get them for 35% off when you get them as the full set. You can also purchase the books individually by clicking on the cover images below.

Learn more about the series at Resilience.org.

Rebuilding the Foodshed: How to Create Local, Sustainable, and Secure Food Systems

by Philip Ackerman-Leist

Rebuilding the Foodshed refocuses the local-food lens on the broad issue of rebuilding regional food systems that can replace the destructive aspects of industrial agriculture, meet food demands affordably and sustainably, and be resilient enough to endure potentially rough times ahead.

Showcasing some of the most promising, replicable models for growing, processing, and distributing sustainably grown food, this book points the reader toward the next stages of the food revolution. It also covers the full landscape of the burgeoning local-food movement, from rural to suburban to urban, and from backyard gardens to large-scale food enterprises.

Power From the People: How to Organize, Finance, and Launch Local Energy Projects

by Greg Pahl

More than ninety percent of the electricity we use to light our communities, and nearly all the energy we use to run our cars, heat our homes, and power our factories comes from large, centralized, highly polluting, nonrenewable sources of energy.

It doesn’t have to be that way. In Power from the People, energy expert Greg Pahl shows how homeowners, co-ops, nonprofits, governments, and businesses are already putting power in the hands of local communities through distributed energy programs and energy-efficiency measures.

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

by Michael H. Shuman

How can people increasingly concerned with the poor returns from Wall Street and the devastating impact of global companies on their communities invest in Main Street?

In Local Dollars, Local Sense, local economy pioneer Michael Shuman shows investors, including the nearly 99% who are unaccredited, 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.

Join us at the NOFA Vermont Winter Conference!

Friday, February 15th, 2013

This weekend at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Chelsea Green staff and a selection of our northeast-based authors will be attending the Northeast Organic Farming Association’s annual winter conference.

If you’re an aspiring farmer, or a seasoned pro looking to learn some new skills or network with others in your field (pun intended, sorry), the NOFA-VT conference is a great place to spend a day or the full weekend.

Below is a list of authors, the workshops they’ll be leading, and the time of their book signings. Their books will also be on sale, and Chelsea Green staff will be tabling and hosting their signings, so stop by and say hello!

Registration info and further details can be found here.

NOFA-VT (February 15-17)

  • Eliot Coleman (The Winter Harvest Handbook) Saturday, 2:15 –3:30PM- Keeping Four Season Farming in the Family • Book Signing Following Workshop •
  • Ross Conrad (Natural Beekeeping Revised and Expanded Edition) — Sunday, 2:15-3:30 PM - Apitherapy: Health and Healing from the Hive
  • Ben Falk (The Resilient Farm and Homestead) — Saturday, 10:45-12:00 PM - Homestead Resiliency: Principles in Practice
  • Stephen Leslie (The New Horse-Powered Farm) — Saturday, 3:45-5:00 PM - The New Horse Powered Farm
  • David Buchanan (Taste, Memory) — Friday, February 15 – Fermenting the Harvest
  • Jack Lazor (The Organic Grain Grower) — Sunday, 10:45- 12:00 PM – Growing and Processing Oats for Human Consumption in VT
    Sunday, 2:15 – 5:00 PM (Double Session) – Making Organic Even Better by Producing Nutrient Dense Crops for Ourselves and our Livestock
  • Susan Clark (Slow Democracy) — Saturday, 10:45AM- 12:00 PM – Slow Democracy: Skills for Success in Community Change • Book Signing Following Workshop •
  • Grace Gershuny (Compost, Vermicompost, and Compost Tea) — Sunday, 3:45 – 5:00 PM – Is Organic Sustainable?
  • Philip Ackerman-Leist (Rebuilding the Foodshed) — Sunday, 1:00 PM • Book Signing Only •

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