Chelsea Green Publishing

The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm

Pages:324 pages
Book Art:Color illustrations and maps
Size: 8 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603583305
Pub. Date November 30, 2011

The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm

A Cultivator's Guide to Small-Scale Organic Herb Production

By Peg Schafer
Contributions by Sean Fannin
Foreword by Steven Foster

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
November 30, 2011


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

It has become increasingly important-especially as the market for herbal medicine continues to grow-that we transition to local and domestic medicinal cultivation. Increasingly there are concerns in regards to not only the quality but the purity of imported herbs, and wild herbs picked for medicinal purposes are ever more endangered than in past years both at home and abroad.

Peg Schafer, longtime grower and teacher, guides readers with information on propagating, cultivating, and harvesting Chinese herbs, and presents fascinating new scientific data that reveal the age-old wisdom of nature and the traditional systems of Chinese medicine. Through 79 detailed herb profiles--all tested and trialed on Schafer's certified organic farm-Schafer offers easy-to-follow information, suitable for both growers and practitioners, for growing efficacious wild-simulated herbs. Also included is important information on species conservation, crop integration, and how to avoid the introduction of invasive species. Sidebars on traditional medicinal uses for each herb and delicious recipes are also featured throughout.

Vegetable and CSA farmers will find this book of great interest for adding value-added crops to their repertoire, and beginner growers looking to incorporate medicinals into their gardens will find this an invaluable guide to understanding where herbal medicine comes from, and will make eating-your-medicine more accessible than ever.


"For the practitioner of Chinese medicine, The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm is a teacher, drawing us closer to the herbs we use. For the casual gardener, it is a handbook for growing fresh Chinese herbs as part of a healthy diet. For anyone who has an interest in growing their own Chinese herbs, Peg Schafer gives us a new reason to look forward to spring."--Andrew Ellis, author of Notes from South Mountain: A Guide to Concentrated Herb Granules

"Peg Schafer, the most experienced Chinese medicinal herb grower in North America, charts a new course in Chinese medicinal plant cultivation by providing the guidance needed to grow the most important of these herbs domestically. This book offers more than just cultivation tips, but also an assurance of proper plant identification, optimal growing and harvesting conditions, freshness of materials, and the ability to access Chinese medicinals with the lowest carbon footprint possible."--Roy Upton, Executive Director, American Herbal Pharmacopoeia

"Peg Schafer understands in more ways than one that good health springs from the land. Herbs from the Chinese tradition perfectly complement more familiar healing plants. The concept of "regional medicine farms" resonates so well with the growing desire to eat more locally. But of course! We are what we eat, and that includes the medicinal plants that work with our bodies to create wholeness. Every plant person will instantly recognize the gift waiting within this book-Schafer shares many astute observations of how each plant garners medicinal oomph, what she calls the vital qi (chi) of each herb. And that's the right sort of inspiration to launch any thinking gardener!"--Michael Phillips, author of The Holistic Orchard, and co-author Nancy Phillips of The Herbalist's Way

"Peg Schafer is the best artisanal grower I know. For this book, she has distilled the knowledge of the small group who, over the past two decades, has pioneered North American production of Chinese medicinal herbs, and tested it through direct experience. This book clearly explains the whys as well as the how-tos, and delivers information into the eager hands of all perennial polyculturalists who will grow us a post-peak oil healthcare system; it is a gift to us all."--Jean Giblette, owner, High Falls Gardens and co-founder,

"This is by far the most detailed and thorough book that addresses the urgent issue of organic cultivation and processing of Chinese herbs. It will have a profound effect on future land use, herb availability, pesticide burdens, and sustainability in a field that is expanding rapidly around the world. I can't stress enough how valuable and rare this information is to practitioners and users of Chinese herbal medicine. I highly recommend this book for all TCM herbalists, as well as gardeners and farmers who want to learn the art of the organic cultivation of Chinese medicinals."--Bill Schoenbart, L.Ac., D.A.O.M

Book News-
Schafer, affiliated with the Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm in Petaluma, California, co-founded the first U.S. company to offer organic, domestically grown Chinese medicinal herbs. In this guide for Chinese medicine practitioners and organic farmers, she gives advice on organically growing and harvesting 79 medicinal herbs. Most of the herbs are used in Chinese medicine, but a few belong to the Ayurvedic tradition. The first section of the book gives background on herbal traditions, risks to the future of herbalism, and conservation and global trade in medicinal plants. This section also gives general advice on cultivation in the nursery, garden, and field, and on harvesting, drying, storing, and shipping herbs, collecting and saving seeds, and selling herbs. The book then provides profiles of 79 herbs. Each herb entry gives a plant description, advice on propagation and planting, a list of suitable plant companions, and a brief summary of medicinal uses, plus notes on field production, pests and diseases, and harvest and yield. Each entry also includes a couple of color photos of plants in the field and the roots, flowers, or other parts when processed for medicinal use.

"Comprehensive" best describes Schafer's specialized resource. She begins, appropriately, with a discussion of small-scale cultivation as a way to protect the environment and be part of the international trade in medicinal plants. The growth of herbal trade parallels the increase in the number of Americans exploring acupuncture and other elements of traditional Chinese medicine, so this guide will meet the rising do-it-yourself interest in growing medicinal herbs. Schafer's easily understood instructions are accompanied by boxed inserts of important tips, charts and tables, and photographs. Most of the book is dedicated to 79 detailed herb profiles with growing information and medicinal uses. Also provided are plant and medicinal name cross-references; hardiness-zone maps with a China-U.S. latitude overlay; resources for herb seeds and plants; recommended readings, listings of websites, and herbal and conservation organizations; and an all-important glossary of horticultural, medicinal, and Chinese terms. This genuinely unusual, authoritative manual will likely be in brisk demand.


Peg Schafer

Peg Schafer is recognized as one of the pioneers and leaders in the field of the cultivation of Asian herbs. After more than fifteen years of commercial herb cultivation and research at the Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm in Petaluma, California, Schafer has distilled her findings into a guide for growers and practitioners of Chinese medicine. Schafer has played an influential role in establishing a network of organizations including Fu Tian Herbs, the first company in the United States to solely offer certified organic, domestically grown Chinese herbs (which she co-founded), The Sonoma County Herb Association, and The Medicinal Herb Consortium. Along with offering seed and field-grown herbs, Schafer's own Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm operates as an experimental farm to investigate herb cultivation and aid herb conservation. Its internship program gives people hands-on knowledge experience in all aspects of growing and harvesting Chinese herbs.


Integrated Forest Gardening

Integrated Forest Gardening

By Wayne Weiseman and Daniel Halsey and Bryce Ruddock

Permaculture is a movement that is coming into its own, and the concept of creating plant guilds in permaculture is at the forefront of every farmer’s and gardener’s practice. One of the essential practices of permaculture is to develop perennial agricultural systems that thrive over several decades without expensive and harmful inputs: perennial plant guilds, food forests, agroforestry, and mixed animal and woody species polycultures.

The massive degradation of conventional agriculture and the environmental havoc it creates has never been as all pervasive in terms of scale, so it has become a global necessity to further the understanding of a comprehensive design and planning system such as permaculture that works with nature, not against it. The guild concept often used is one of a “functional relationship” between plants–beneficial groupings of plants that share functions in order to bring health and stability to a plant regime and create an abundant yield for our utilization. In other words, it is the integration of species that creates a balanced, healthy, and thriving ecosystem. But it goes beyond integration. A guild is a metaphor for all walks of life, most importantly a group of people working together to craft works of balance, beauty, and utility.

This book is the first, and most comprehensive, guide about plant guilds ever written, and covers in detail both what guilds are and how to design and construct them, complete with extensive color photography and design illustrations. Included is information on:

•    What we can observe about natural plant guilds in the wild and the importance of observation;
•    Detailed research on the structure of plant guilds, and a portrait of an oak tree (a guild unto itself);
•    Animal interactions with plant guilds;
•    Steps to guild design, construction, and dynamics: from assessment to design to implementation;
•    Fifteen detailed plant guilds, five each from the three authors based on their unique perspectives;
•    Guild project management: budgets, implementation, management, and maintenance.

Readers of any scale will benefit from this book, from permaculture designers and professional growers, to backyard growers new to the concept of permaculture. Books on permaculture cover this topic, but never in enough depth to be replicable in a serious way. Finally, it’s here!

Available in: Paperback

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Integrated Forest Gardening

Wayne Weiseman, Daniel Halsey, Bryce Ruddock

Paperback $45.00

The New Bread Basket

The New Bread Basket

By Amy Halloran

For more than 10,000 years, grains have been the staples of Western civilization. The stored energy of grain allowed our ancestors to shift from nomadic hunting and gathering and build settled communities—even great cities. Though most bread now comes from factory bakeries, the symbolism of wheat and bread—amber waves of grain, the staff of life—still carries great meaning.

Today, bread and beer are once again building community as a new band of farmers, bakers, millers, and maltsters work to reinvent local grain systems. The New Bread Basket tells their stories and reveals the village that stands behind every loaf and every pint.

While eating locally grown crops like heirloom tomatoes has become almost a cliché, grains are late in arriving to local tables, because growing them requires a lot of land and equipment. Milling, malting, and marketing take both tools and cooperation. The New Bread Basket reveals the bones of that cooperation, profiling the seed breeders, agronomists, and grassroots food activists who are collaborating with farmers, millers, bakers, and other local producers.

Take Andrea and Christian Stanley, a couple who taught themselves the craft of malting and opened the first malthouse in New England in one hundred years. Outside Ithaca, New York, bread from a farmer-miller-baker partnership has become an emblem in the battle against shale gas fracking. And in the Pacific Northwest, people are shifting grain markets from commodity exports to regional feed, food, and alcohol production. Such pioneering grain projects give consumers an alternative to industrial bread and beer, and return their production to a scale that respects people, local communities, and the health of the environment.

Many Americans today avoid gluten and carbohydrates. Yet, our shared history with grains—from the village baker to Wonder Bread—suggests that modern changes in farming and processing could be the real reason that grains have become suspect in popular nutrition. The people profiled in The New Bread Basket are returning to traditional methods like long sourdough fermentations that might address the dietary ills attributed to wheat. Their work and lives make our foundational crops visible, and vital, again.

Available in: Paperback

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The New Bread Basket

Amy Halloran

Paperback $17.95

The Eliot Coleman Set (3-Book Bundle)

The Eliot Coleman Set (3-Book Bundle)

By Eliot Coleman

Set includes: The New Organic Grower, Four-Season Harvest, and The Winter Harvest Handbook.

Available in: Paperback

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The Eliot Coleman Set (3-Book Bundle)

Eliot Coleman

Paperback $79.85

Grass, Soil, Hope

Grass, Soil, Hope

By Courtney White

This book tackles an increasingly crucial question: What can we do about the seemingly intractable challenges confronting all of humanity today, including climate change, global hunger, water scarcity, environmental stress, and economic instability?

The quick answers are: Build topsoil. Fix creeks. Eat meat from pasture-raised animals.

Scientists maintain that a mere 2 percent increase in the carbon content of the planet’s soils could offset 100 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions going into the atmosphere. But how could this be accomplished? What would it cost? Is it even possible? 

Yes, says author Courtney White, it is not only possible, but essential for the long-term health and sustainability of our environment and our economy.

Right now, the only possibility of large-scale removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere is through plant photosynthesis and related land-based carbon sequestration activities. These include a range of already existing, low-tech, and proven practices: composting, no-till farming, climate-friendly livestock practices, conserving natural habitat, restoring degraded watersheds and rangelands, increasing biodiversity, and producing local food.

In Grass, Soil, Hope, the author shows how all these practical strategies can be bundled together into an economic and ecological whole, with the aim of reducing atmospheric CO2 while producing substantial co-benefits for all living things. Soil is a huge natural sink for carbon dioxide. If we can draw increasing amounts carbon out of the atmosphere and store it safely in the soil then we can significantly address all the multiple challenges that now appear so intractable.

Available in: Paperback

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Grass, Soil, Hope

Michael Pollan, Courtney White

Paperback $19.95