Chelsea Green Publishing

The Independent Farmstead

Pages:336 pages
Book Art:Full-color photographs and illustrations throughout
Size: 8 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781603586221
Pub. Date September 07, 2016

The Independent Farmstead

Growing Soil, Biodiversity, and Nutrient-Dense Food with Grassfed Animals and Intensive Pasture Management

By Beth Dougherty and Shawn Dougherty
Foreword by Joel Salatin

Availability: In Stock

Paperback

Available Date:
September 07, 2016

$34.95

With in-depth information on electric fencing, watering, and husbandry for ruminants, poultry, and pigs, plus butchering, dairying, and more

“If we work hard, we sleep well.”

Twenty years ago, when authors Shawn and Beth Dougherty purchased the land they would come to name the Sow’s Ear, the state of Ohio designated it “not suitable for agriculture.” Today, their family raises and grows 90% of their own food.

Such self-sufficiency is largely the result of basing their farming practices around intensive pasture management. Pioneered by such luminaries as Allan Savory, Greg Judy, and Joel Salatin, the tenets of holistic grazing—employed mostly by larger-scale commercial operations—have been adapted by the Doughertys to fit their family’s needs. In The Independent Farmstead, The Sow’s Ear model for regenerating the land and growing food—“the best you ever tasted”—is elucidated for others to use and build upon.

In witty and welcoming style, The Independent Farmstead covers everything from choosing a species of ruminant and incorporating it into a grass-based system to innovative electric fencing and watering systems, to what to do with all of the milk, meat, and, yes, manure that the self-sustaining farm produces. Within these pages, the Doughertys discuss how to:

  • Find and improve poor, waste, or abused land and develop its natural water resources;
  • Select and purchase the appropriate ruminant for regenerating your farmstead;
  • Apply fencing strategies and pasture management basics;
  • Implement basic, uncomplicated food processing, including large and small animal butchering and cheese making; and
  • Integrate grass, gardens, and livestock to minimize or eliminate the need for off-farm inputs.

As the Doughertys write, more and more people today are feeling “the desire for clean, affordable food, unmodified, unprocessed, and unmedicated and the security of local food sourcing for ourselves and our children.” The Independent Farmstead is a must-have resource for those who count themselves as part of this movement: both new and prospective farmers and homesteaders, and those who are interested in switching to grass-based systems. Best of all it’s the kind of rare how-to book that the authors themselves view not as a compendium of one-size-fits-all instructions but as “the beginning of a conversation,” one that is utterly informative, sincere, and inspiring.

REVIEWS AND PRAISE

Choice-

“Literature about small, independent farms might be divided into books that focus broadly on sustainable farming and those that constitute a how-to guide. Here Shawn Dougherty and Beth Dougherty (both have been farmers for several decades) offer a whimsical fusion of practical application and agrarian philosophy to great effect. Unlike most monographs on the subject, this volume begins with the assertion that plant life, pasture, and forage (in particular) form the core of an effective small farmstead. From this foundation, the Dougherty’s discuss practical aspects of forage, including water, grasses, and fencing, as well as the dynamics of intensive rotational processes. A good portion of the book is devoted to leveraging forage using livestock, particularly ruminants. Their clear favorite is the dairy cow, although they do discuss the virtues of sheep, goats, and swine—but little on beef. The latter part of the work discusses the harvesting of meat and milk and the appropriate use of by-products. The book’s entertaining approach is tempered by a realistic view of the mindset required to productively nurture and incorporate the rigors of an independent farmstead into one’s lifestyle. Summing Up: Recommended. All readers.

Booklist-

"As mortifying and implausible as creating one’s own self-sustaining farmstead might sound to most city folk, the Doughertys, who embarked on their own farmstead 20 years ago, make the venture entirely feasible—even ennobling in the face of climate change—on as little as a half-acre of land. In a conversational style that is both welcoming and reality-based, the authors offer a big-picture plan—selecting property, sourcing water, building soil, choosing ruminants (chickens, goats, sheep, pigs, or cattle)—that is fully supported by a level of detail both practical and comforting to anyone new to the idea. Some examples: milking techniques for cows and goats, what grasses or fencing to consider for which animals, slaughtering techniques, watering tanks, and using paddocks for livestock. Highly recommended for libraries where such farmsteads are even remotely possible.”

Library Journal, Starred Review-

"Husband and wife Shawn and Beth ­Dougherty have written about the 'self-sustaining' grass-based farming movement on their blog, ­onecowrevolution.wordpress.com. Their first book, a well-organized overview of managing a diversified ‘farmstead,' takes the concept of backyard hobby farming to the next level. Drawing on their 20 years of experience on the Sow’s Ear Farm in eastern Ohio, the Doughertys offer practical know-how on a variety of farming topics, with photos and philosophical considerations of their methods. Although not exhaustive on any given issue, there is enough information for most readers to get started with confidence. They encourage readers to adopt holistic and creative problem-solving techniques. Oft-ignored subjects such as seasonal rhythms and interpersonal dynamics—the 'people aspect' of the farm ecosystem—are addressed. Easily navigable sections let readers skim as needed, but the conversational style lends a cohesive narrative. With a compelling foreword by holistic farmer Joel Salatin, this is right at home on a workbench or bedside table. VERDICT A solid choice for those embarking on a serious animal-based hobby or enterprise, aspiring homesteaders, and sustainable farmers who already have basic knowledge of animal husbandry and agriculture. The authors’ blog provides a nice supplement; for more introductory guides, try Carleen Madigan’s 'Backyard Homestead' books.”

Modern Farmer-

"Shawn and Beth Dougherty divulge how they used intensive pasture management to transform 24 seemingly uncultivable Ohio acres into a thriving livestock and vegetable operation capable of feeding their family of 10. Expect clear-eyed advice on rotational grazing methods, improving soil fertility, and much more." 

“With grace and grit, Shawn and Beth show you how to cultivate and care for an often overlooked but integrally important part of our food chain—grass—as well as the diverse livestock that transform pasture into the most wholesome foods on earth.”--David Asher, author of The Art of Natural Cheesemaking

“Shawn and Beth cover a broad range of topics in this readable and user-friendly book. They manage to touch on most of the essential information a small-scale farmer needs to graze a cow and make cheese, feed the waste milk to the pigs and make bacon, and practice sustainable land use and animal husbandry along the way.”--Sarah Flack, author of The Art and Science of Grazing 

“Playing off its title, this informative, companionable book could be called The Interdependent Farmstead: It notes how a successful operation relies on interactions among animals, soil, grass, sunlight, and community as well as human ingenuity and, invariably, humor. The book’s wisdom is that building on these synergies helps one realize the potential of any given piece of land.”--Judith D. Schwartz, author of Cows Save the Planet and Water In Plain Sight

“In The Independent Farmstead, Shawn and Beth Dougherty have rooted a wealth of practical and useful farming information in the fertile soil of social and economic reality and timeless ecological wisdom. Their farm is a grass-based homestead, and their personal story is compelling, but their insights are important for beginning or experienced farmers of any type or scale who don’t yet know—or have forgotten—what real farming is about.”--John Ikerd, professor emeritus of agricultural economics, University of Missouri

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Beth Dougherty

Shawn and Beth Dougherty have been farming together for over thirty years, the last twenty in eastern Ohio on their home farm, the Sow’s Ear, where they and their children raise grass, dairy and beef cows, sheep, pigs, and poultry. They identify intensive grass management as the point of union between good stewardship and good food. Their ongoing goal is to rediscover the methods and means by which a small parcel of land, carefully husbanded with the application of ruminants, pigs, and poultry, can be made to gain fertility and resilience while feeding the animals and humans living on it.

Shawn Dougherty

Shawn and Beth Dougherty have been farming together for over thirty years, the last twenty in eastern Ohio on their home farm, the Sow’s Ear, where they and their children raise grass, dairy and beef cows, sheep, pigs, and poultry. They identify intensive grass management as the point of union between good stewardship and good food. Their ongoing goal is to rediscover the methods and means by which a small parcel of land, carefully husbanded with the application of ruminants, pigs, and poultry, can be made to gain fertility and resilience while feeding the animals and humans living on it.

AUTHOR EVENTS

June 10, 2017

Shawn and Beth Dougherty at Mother Earth News -Burlington

MEN FAIR-VT, Burlington, VT | Shawn Dougherty
Shawn and Beth Dougherty will present the following workshops at the Mother Earth News Fair in Burlington, VT, on June 10-11. They include: Not Suitable for Agriculture: Good Farming with Poor land, small savings, and a lot to learn Forage-Based Family-Scale Food Production Mixed Species Management: Intensive Grazing on the small family farm

See all Events by this Author

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Kick the Hay Habit

Kick the Hay Habit

By Jim Gerrish

With today’s management systems, the cost of making hay far exceeds its value to grazing businesses. Studies have shown that winter feed costs are the largest single factor limiting the profitability for most livestock operations. In virtually every area of the USA, year-around grazing—without hay—is possible, yet many graziers continue making hay.

Kick the Hay Habit: A Practical Guide To Year-Around Grazing by Jim Gerrish will show you how much it really costs to produce a ton of hay. He explains how to use nature as your guide for low-cost winter grazing; how to conduct a pasture inventory; how to select the optimal breeding and birthing seasons; how to custom design your own winter forage system; and how to make the transition from hay feeding to grazing.

Wouldn’t you rather spend your time monitoring pastures and moving livestock than making hay?

Both the beginner and the experienced grazier will benefit from Kick the Hay Habit. Gerrish shares his personal experiences as a grazier in Missouri and Idaho as well as insights he gained as a researcher at the University of Missouri’s Forage Systems Research Center. As a grazing consultant he has helped farmers and ranchers throughout North and South America.

Wouldn’t you rather Kick the Hay Habit, dump the heavy metal, and start collecting the profits?

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Kick the Hay Habit

Jim Gerrish

Paperback $35.00

Permaculture Plants

Permaculture Plants

By Jeff Nugent and Julia Boniface

This is an easy-to-use guide to selecting hundreds of perennial species. It is indispensable for growers and designers working in subtropical and warm temperate/arid climates, and also includes some cool-climate tolerant species. Permaculture Plants: A Selection details hundreds of common and unusual edible, medicinal, and useful plants.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Permaculture Plants

Jeff Nugent, Julia Boniface

Paperback $29.95

Restoring Heritage Grains

Restoring Heritage Grains

By Eli Rogosa

Including recipes for baking with Einkorn

Wheat is the most widely grown crop on our planet, yet industrial breeders have transformed this ancient staff of life into a commodity of yield and profit—witness the increase in gluten intolerance and 'wheat belly’.  Modern wheat depends on synthetic fertilizer and herbicides that damage our health, land, water, and environment. Fortunately, heritage ‘landrace' wheats that evolved over millennia in the organic fields of traditional farms do not need bio-chemical intervention to yield  bountifully, are gluten-safe, have rich flavor and high nutrition. Yet the robust, majestic wheats that nourished our ancestors are on the verge of extinction.

In Restoring Heritage Grains, author Eli Rogosa of the Heritage Grain Conservancy,  invites readers to restore forgotten wheats such as delicious gluten-safe einkorn that nourished the first Neolithic farmers, emmer—the grain of ancient Israel, Egypt, and Rome that is perfect for pasta and flatbreads, rare durums that are drought-tolerant and high in protein, and many more little known wheat species, each of which have a lineage intertwined with the human species and that taste better than any modern wheat.

Restoring Heritage Grains combines the history of grain growing and society, in-depth practical advice on landrace wheat husbandry, wheat folk traditions and mythology, and guidelines for the Neolithic diet with traditional recipes for rustic bread, pastry and beer. Discover the ancient grains that may be one of the best solutions to hunger today, and provide resilience for our future.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Restoring Heritage Grains

Eli Rogosa

Paperback $24.95

Top-Bar Beekeeping (Book & DVD Bundle)

Top-Bar Beekeeping (Book & DVD Bundle)

By Les Crowder and Heather Harrell

In backyards and on rooftops all over the world, the top-bar hive design is revolutionizing the art and practice of beekeeping. With top-bar hives the bees naturally construct their own wax combs rather than relying on prefabricated frames of plastic cell foundation in a typical box-type hive. And top-bar hives are now being used to raise healthy bees organically, without the use of antibiotics, miticides, or other chemical inputs.

In recent years beekeepers have had to face tremendous challenges, from pests such as varroa and tracheal mites and from the mysterious but even more devastating phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Yet in backyards and on rooftops all over the world, bees are being raised successfully, even without antibiotics, miticides, or other chemical inputs.

More and more organically minded beekeepers are now using top-bar hives, in which the shape of the interior resembles a hollow log. Long-lasting and completely biodegradable, a top-bar hive made of untreated wood allows bees to build comb naturally rather than simply filling prefabricated foundation frames in a typical box hive with added supers.

Top-bar hives yield slightly less honey but produce more beeswax than a typical Langstroth box hive. Regular hive inspection and the removal of old combs helps to keep bees healthier and naturally disease-free.

This book + DVD set combines Top-Bar Beekeeping by Les Crowder and Heather Harrell, with an instructional DVD on how to use top-bar hives.

About Top-Bar Beekeeping:

Top-Bar Beekeeping provides complete information on hive management and other aspects of using these innovative hives. All home and hobbyist beekeepers who have the time and interest in keeping bees should consider the natural, low-stress methods outlined in this book. It will also appeal to home orchardists, gardeners, and permaculture practitioners who look to bees for pollination as well as honey or beeswax.

About Top-Bar Beekeeping with Les Crowder and Heather Harrell (DVD):

A hands-on workshop in the field from master beekeeper Les Crowder, focusing on how to manage bees naturally using the innovative top-bar hive system.

In this instructive video, New Mexico beekeeper Les Crowder shares his thirty years' experience in developing best practices for working with bees in top-bar hives. Les and Heather Harrell, authors of Top-Bar Beekeeping (Chelsea Green, 2012) discuss everything from hive management techniques to how to harvest and process honey and beeswax to the best plants to grow for the foraging bees.

The natural, low-stress methods outlined in this video are perfect for home or hobbyist beekeepers who have the time and interest that’s necessary to manage bees intensively and holistically. The material will also be valuable for home orchardists, gardeners, and permaculture practitioners who are interested in bees as pollinators, as well as for their honey and beeswax.

Available in: Mixed media product

Read More

Top-Bar Beekeeping (Book & DVD Bundle)

Les Crowder, Heather Harrell

Mixed media product $34.95