Chelsea Green Publishing

Chelsea Green Blog

Old MacDonald Had a Factory

Everywhere it is introduced, factory farming creates ecological and public health disasters, from new animal and human diseases to air and water pollution to the loss of livestock genetic resources. Factory farms crowd hundreds of thousands of animals together with little natural light or fresh air, creating a ripe environment for breeding disease. Waste from the animals is collected in large lagoons where it can seep into nearby waterways, contaminate groundwater, and spread a sickening stench for miles. Workers in meat processing plants work long hours in miserable conditions and have among the highest accident rates in the United States. All of this is done with an eye towards minimizing costs and maximizing profits with little regard for human, environmental, or animal welfare.

Rethinking the global meat industry is not just about keeping factory farms safe from disease outbreaks and mitigating their environmental effects. The real challenge, and the real reward, will come from taking a different approach to the way we raise food. Reversing the factory farm tide will require thinking about farming systems as more than a source of economic wealth. We must recognize that preserving prosperous family farms and their landscapes and raising healthy and humanely treated animals are their own form of affluence.

So writes Danielle Nierenberg in the State of the World 2006.

Is this really the future we want?


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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