Chelsea Green Publishing

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A Short History of Agricultural Seed

Seeds are the foundation of agriculture.

As John Navazio describes in this excerpt from his new book, The Organic Seed Grower: A Farmer’s Guide to Vegetable Seed Production, America was once home to hundreds of small-scale seed producers, each of which developed seeds adapted to grow best in the surrounding region.

Today, following the trend of most business, just a few large companies provide seed for farmers everywhere. With the advent and rapid spread of transgenic seeds, and companies like Monsanto actually owning patents to the organisms they sell, we’ve come a long way since the first human saved the first spelt seed back in the Fertile Crescent!

What have we lost in the move to corporate seed production? Navazio explains in this excerpt, and points the way to a better system.

A Short History of Agricultural Seed: An Excerpt from The Organic Seed Grower by


Ask the Expert: Andrew Mefferd

Before writing The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook: Organic Vegetable Production Using Protected Culture, Andrew Mefferd spent seven years in the research department at Johnny’s Selected Seeds, traveling around the world to consult with researchers and farmers on the best practices in greenhouse growing. Andrew has graciously agreed to offer up his expertise to our […] Read More

Top 10 favorite goat facts (with gifs)

New this month from author Gianaclis Caldwell, Holistic Goat Care is the essential resource on caring for your herd. Goats have provided humankind with essential products for centuries; indeed, they bear the noble distinction of being the first domesticated farm animal. From providing milk and meat for sustenance and fiber and hides for clothing and shelter […] Read More

New French edition of The Resilient Farm and Homestead available

Great news for French-speaking fans of Ben Falk’s The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach. The French language translation is now available from Imagine Un Colibri, from French booksellers, and on Amazon.fr. Falk’s book is a technical manual that details the strategies he and his team have developed for […] Read More

How to Make Biochar

Doing some spring cleaning around your property? By making biochar from brush and other hard-to-compost organic material, you can improve soil—it enhances nutrient availability and also enables soil to retain nutrients longer. This excerpt from The New Farmer’s Almanac, Volume 3, explains how to get started. To make biochar right in your garden, start by […] Read More

Generosity as Activism, and Other Homesteading Principles to Live By

“Like everyone I know, we occasionally find ourselves faced with a decision to which there is no obvious answer,” says Ben Hewitt, coauthor of The Nourishing Homestead. “Do we borrow money to build a bigger barn, or do we keep getting by with what we have? Do we spend our meager savings on trees and […] Read More
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