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

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.

CONNECT WITH THIS AUTHOR

Beth's Website - The One Cow Revolution

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.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

Holy Shit

Holy Shit

By Gene Logsdon

In his insightful new book, Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind, contrary farmer Gene Logsdon provides the inside story of manure-our greatest, yet most misunderstood, natural resource. He begins by lamenting a modern society that not only throws away both animal and human manure-worth billions of dollars in fertilizer value-but that spends a staggering amount of money to do so. This wastefulness makes even less sense as the supply of mined or chemically synthesized fertilizers dwindles and their cost skyrockets. In fact, he argues, if we do not learn how to turn our manures into fertilizer to keep food production in line with increasing population, our civilization, like so many that went before it, will inevitably decline.

With his trademark humor, his years of experience writing about both farming and waste management, and his uncanny eye for the small but important details, Logsdon artfully describes how to manage farm manure, pet manure and human manure to make fertilizer and humus. He covers the field, so to speak, discussing topics like:

  • How to select the right pitchfork for the job and use it correctly
  • How to operate a small manure spreader
  • How to build a barn manure pack with farm animal manure
  • How to compost cat and dog waste
  • How to recycle toilet water for irrigation purposes, and
  • How to get rid ourselves of our irrational paranoia about feces and urine.

Gene Logsdon does not mince words. This fresh, fascinating and entertaining look at an earthy, but absolutely crucial subject, is a small gem and is destined to become a classic of our agricultural literature.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

Read More

Holy Shit

Gene Logsdon, Brooke Budner

Paperback $17.50

The Bio-Integrated Farm

The Bio-Integrated Farm

By Shawn Jadrnicek and Stephanie Jadrnicek

Permaculture designer and farmer Shawn Jadrnicek is a master at engaging the free forces of nature to create sustainable food production systems. He weaves water, wind, sunlight, convection, gravity, and decomposition into his projects, showing us how to create sustenance in our landscapes with little effort or work on our part.

The Bio-Integrated Farm is a must-read, twenty-first-century manual for managing these natural resources and brings system farming and permaculture to a whole new level.

Jadrnicek’s groundbreaking insights into permaculture go beyond the term’s philosophical foundation to create hardworking farm-scale designs. Holding his designs to a higher standard, Jadrnicek’s components serve at least seven functions, while classical permaculture theory only seeks at least two functions. With every additional function that a component performs, the design becomes more advanced and saves even more energy.

A bio-integrated greenhouse, for example, doesn’t just extend the season for growing vegetables; it also serves as a rainwater collector, a pond site, an aquaponics system, and a heat generator. The Bio-Integrated Farm offers in-depth information about designing and building a wide range of bio-integrated projects including:

  • Reflecting and water-storage ponds
  • Multipurpose basins
  • Greenhouses
  • Compost heat extraction
  • Pastured chicken systems
  • Aquaculture, hydroponics, and hydronic heating
  • Water filtration and aeration
  • Cover cropping
  • Innovative rainwater-harvesting systems that supply water for drip irrigation and flushing toilets

Jadrnicek focuses on his experience as farm manager at the Clemson University Student Organic Farm and at his residence in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. He created permaculture patterns that simplified the operation of the 125-share CSA farm while reducing reliance on outside resources. His landscape requires only the labor of harvesting, and the only outside input he buys is a small amount of chicken feed. Jadrnicek’s prevalent theme is using water to do the work. Although applicable in many climates, his designs are particularly important for areas coping with water scarcity.

If you are interested in spending less time maintaining your farm or homestead, if you want to increase productivity, if you want to decrease your dependency on outside resources, or if you are curious about how to inexpensively extend your growing season, then this book is for you. The process is simple—put nature to work through intelligent design.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Bio-Integrated Farm

Shawn Jadrnicek, Stephanie Jadrnicek

Paperback $39.95

Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening

Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening

By Will Bonsall

"Society does not generally expect its farmers to be visionaries." Perhaps not, but longtime Maine farmer and homesteader Will Bonsall does possess a unique clarity of vision that extends all the way from the finer points of soil fertility and seed saving to exploring how we can transform civilization and make our world a better, more resilient place.

In Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening, Bonsall maintains that to achieve real wealth we first need to understand the economy of the land, to realize that things that might make sense economically don't always make sense ecologically, and vice versa. The marketplace distorts our values, and our modern dependence on petroleum in particular presents a serious barrier to creating a truly sustainable agriculture.

For him the solution is, first and foremost, greater self-reliance, especially in the areas of food and energy. By avoiding any off-farm inputs (fertilizers, minerals, and animal manures), Bonsall has learned how to practice a purely veganic, or plant-based, agriculture—not from a strictly moralistic or philosophical perspective, but because it makes good business sense: spend less instead of making more.

What this means in practical terms is that Bonsall draws upon the fertility of on-farm plant materials: compost, green manures, perennial grasses, and forest products like leaves and ramial wood chips. And he grows and harvests a diversity of crops from both cultivated and perennial plants: vegetables, grains, pulses, oilseeds, fruits and nuts—even uncommon but useful permaculture plants like groundnut (Apios).

In a friendly, almost conversational way, Bonsall imparts a wealth of knowledge drawn from his more than forty years of farming experience.

"My goal," he writes, "is not to feed the world, but to feed myself and let others feed themselves. If we all did that, it might be a good beginning."

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening

Will Bonsall

Paperback $34.95

The Soul of Soil

The Soul of Soil

By Joseph Smillie and Grace Gershuny

Soil is the basis not only for all gardening, but for all terrestrial life. No aspect of agriculture is more fundamental and important, yet we have been losing vast quantities of our finite soil resources to erosion, pollution, and development.

Now back in print, this eminently sensible and wonderfully well-focused book provides essential information about one of the most significant challenges for those attempting to grow delicious organic vegetables: the creation and maintenance of healthy soil.

Chapter 2, "Understanding the Soil System," is alone worth the price of admission. Gershuny and Smillie give lay readers and experts a clear explanation of subjects--soil life and nutrient cycles--that have confounded most authors. Nowhere will the reader find simpler and more coherent descriptions of key concepts including cation exchange capacity and chelation.

There are other books about soil available, including Grace Gershuny's comprehensive Start with the Soil, and there are books that feature chapters on soil building. What distinguishes The Soil of Soilis the authors' concise presentation; they give readers important information, including technical essentials, without getting bogged down in scientific or quasiscientific mumbo-jumbo. In addition, useful tables list specific compost materials, green manures, and other resources that allow growers to translate into action the more general information provided by the book.

The soil-building techniques featured include:

  • Organic matter management
  • Building and maintaining humus
  • On-site composting
  • Green manures and rotations
  • Cultivation and weed control
  • Nutrient balances and soil testing
  • Using mineral fertilizers
  • Planning for organic certification

Updates to the 1999 edition include analysis of Proposed Rules for the National Organic Standards, and expanded recommendations for private testing services and soil-testing equipment for home gardeners and organic farmers.

All of us involved in the cultivation of plants--from the backyard gardener to the largest farmer--need to help regenerate a "living soil," for only in the diversity of the soil and its creatures can we ensure the long-term health of ourselves and our environment. The Soul of Soil offers everyone a basic understanding of what soil is and what we can do to improve our own patch of it. Seen in this light, this practical handbook will be an inspiration as well.

 

Available in: Paperback, eBook

Read More

The Soul of Soil

Joseph Smillie, Grace Gershuny

Paperback $25.00