Showing 1–16 of 136 results
Showing 1–16 of 136 results
Dig into our Articles - Farming & Homesteading
Anything involving farming almost always requires the help of another person, whether you’re feeding the animals or trying to decide if you want to expand the barn. Partnerships not only help with your personal life but the success of your business in the long run as well. Having someone to share the work and ease the…Read More
One of the most important skills to have in life is to be able to adapt to the changes that come your way. Being resilient sets you up to succeed with any challenges that may arise, but it’s not always an easy task. However, if you follow a few simple guidelines you can better prepare…Read More
When you think of a typical farm, you probably think of going out to feed the animals with a bucket of scraps. This has been one of the most common ways to recycle food for many years and helps reduce your waste footprint. However, composting with the help of animals is another technique used on…Read More
Farming & Homesteading
Letter to a Young Farmer
How to Live Richly without Wealth on the New Garden Farm
For more than four decades, the self-described “contrary farmer” and writer Gene Logsdon has commented on the state of American agriculture. In Letter to a Young Farmer, his final book of essays, Logsdon addresses the next generation—young people who are moving back to the land to enjoy a better way of life as small-scale “garden farmers.” It’s a lifestyle that isn’t defined by accumulating wealth or by the “get big or get out” agribusiness mindset. Instead, it’s one that recognizes the beauty of nature, cherishes the land, respects our fellow creatures, and values rural traditions. It’s one that also looks forward and embraces “right technologies,” including new and innovative ways of working smarter, not harder, and avoiding premature burnout.
Completed only a few weeks before the author’s death, Letter to a Young Farmer is a remarkable testament to the life and wisdom of one of the greatest rural philosophers and writers of our time. Gene’s earthy wit and sometimes irreverent humor combines with his valuable perspectives on many wide-ranging subjects—everything from how to show a ram who’s boss to enjoying the almost churchlike calmness of a well-built livestock barn.
Reading this book is like sitting down on the porch with a neighbor who has learned the ways of farming through years of long observation and practice. Someone, in short, who has “seen it all” and has much to say, and much to teach us, if we only take the time to listen and learn. And Gene Logsdon was the best kind of teacher: equal parts storyteller, idealist, and rabble-rouser. His vision of a nation filled with garden farmers, based in cities, towns, and countrysides, will resonate with many people, both young and old, who long to create a more sustainable, meaningful life for themselves and a better world for all of us.
The Suburban Micro-Farm
Modern Solutions for Busy People
Nonfiction Book Awards Gold Winner, November 2018
Reduce your lawn and your grocery budget. Take gardening to the next level!
Would you like to grow healthy food for your table? Do you want to learn the secrets of farming even though you live in a neighborhood? Author Amy Stross talks straight about why the suburbs might be the ideal place for a small farm.
In these pages you’ll learn:
- How to make your landscape as productive as it is beautiful
- Why the suburbs are primed with food-growing potential
- How to choose the best crops for success
- Why you don’t need the perfect yard to have a micro-farm
- How to use easy permaculture techniques for abundant harvests
If you’re ready to create a beautiful, edible yard, this book is for you.
The Suburban Micro-Farm will show you how to grow your own fruits, herbs, and vegetables even on a limited schedule. From seed to harvest, this book will keep you on track so you feel a sense of accomplishment for your efforts.
You’ll learn gardening tricks that are essential to success, like how to deal with a ‘brown thumb’, how to develop and nurture healthy soil, and how to manage garden pests.
Although this book has everything a new gardener needs to get started, experienced gardeners will not be disappointed. With helpful tips throughout, you will love the in-depth chapters about permaculture and making money on the micro-farm.
The Ecology, Economy, and Practice of a Family Farm
“Instead of taking us through his work, season by season, crop by crop–the narrative approach–Madison explores his farm and its methods analytically, from many overlapping angles. The result is profoundly interesting.” — The New York Review of Books
As the average age of America’s farmers continues to rise, we face serious questions about what farming will look like in the near future, and who will be growing our food. Many younger people are interested in going into agriculture, especially organic farming, but cannot find affordable land, or lack the conceptual framework and practical information they need to succeed in a job that can be both difficult and deeply fulfilling.
In Fruitful Labor, Mike Madison meticulously describes the ecology of his own small family farm in the Sacramento Valley of California. He covers issues of crop ecology such as soil fertility, irrigation needs, and species interactions, as well as the broader agroecological issues of the social, economic, regulatory, and technological environments in which the farm operates. The final section includes an extensive analysis of sustainability on every level.
Pithy, readable, and highly relevant, this book covers both the ecology and the economy of a truly sustainable agriculture. Although Madison’s farm is unique, the broad lessons he has gleaned from his more than three decades as an organic farmer will resonate strongly with the new generation of farmers who work the land, wherever they might live.
*This book is part of Chelsea Green Publishing’s NEW FARMER LIBRARY series, where we collect innovative ideas, hard-earned wisdom, and practical advice from pioneers of the ecological farming movement—for the next generation. The series is a collection of proven techniques and philosophies from experienced voices committed to deep organic, small-scale, regenerative farming. Each book in the series offers the new farmer essential tips, inspiration, and first-hand knowledge of what it takes to grow food close to the land.
The Permaculture Guide to Reed Beds
Designing, Building and Planting Your Treatment Wetland System
The Permaculture Guide to Reed Beds is a comprehensive overview of reed bed systems and treatment wetlands for household effluent treatment. Going from system selection and design to construction, planting and maintenance; this guide offers the reader a complete how-to manual for getting your own reed bed system up and running.
Reed beds are an efficient, effective, low-energy filter system for protecting local groundwater and streams from septic tank effluent and greywater. This thorough book explains the background to wastewater treatment and water quality and describes how reed beds work to get wastewater clean again.
Reed beds and treatment wetlands are well-established elements within permaculture design, and many of the permaculture principles are readily applied to them. This guide goes a step further than simply explaining how to design and build reed beds by providing greater insight into permaculture as a design tool and exploring how to maximize the yields, beneficial relationships, and sustainability of the reed bed and indeed the whole sewage treatment process within your site.
Complete with an overview of planning guidelines for the UK and Ireland, The Permaculture Guide to Reed Beds is an invaluable resource for homeowners who want to build their own system. It is also an essential reference manual for permaculture designers, architects, engineers, landscape designers, planners and others with an interest in this area. Easy to follow and clearly set out, with beautiful line drawings to illustrate the text, this is a book you’ll find both useful and inspiring.
The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables
More In-Depth Lean Techniques for Efficient Organic Production
At Clay Bottom Farm, author Ben Hartman and staff practice kaizen, or continuous improvement, cutting out more waste—of time, labor, space, money, and more—every year and aligning their organic production more tightly with customer demand. Applied alongside other lean principles originally developed by the Japanese auto industry, the end result has been increased profits and less work.
In this field-guide companion to his award-winning first book, The Lean Farm, Hartman shows market vegetable growers in even more detail how Clay Bottom Farm implements lean thinking in every area of their work, including using kanbans, or replacement signals, to maximize land use; germination chambers to reduce defect waste; and right-sized machinery to save money and labor and increase efficiency. From finding land and assessing infrastructure needs to selling perfect produce at the farmers market, The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables digs deeper into specific, tested methods for waste-free farming that not only help farmers become more successful but make the work more enjoyable. These methods include:
- Using Japanese paper pot transplanters
- Building your own germinating chambers
- Leaning up your greenhouse
- Making and applying simple composts
- Using lean techniques for pest and weed control
- Creating Heijunka, or load-leveling calendars for efficient planning
Farming is not static, and improvement requires constant change. The Lean Farm Guide to Growing Vegetables offers strategies for farmers to stay flexible and profitable even in the face of changing weather and markets. Much more than a simple exercise in cost-cutting, lean farming is about growing better, not cheaper, food—the food your customers want.
Your Successful Farm Business
Production, Profit, Pleasure
Twenty years ago Joel Salatin wrote You Can Farm, which has launched thousands of farm entrepreneurs around the world. With another 20 years of experience under his belt, bringing him to the half-century mark as a full-time farmer, he decided to build on that foundation with a sequel, a graduate level curriculum.
Everyone who reads and enjoys that previous work will benefit from this additional information. In those 20 years, Polyface Farm progressed from a small family operation to a 20-person, 6,000-customer, 50-restaurant business, all without sales targets, government grants, or an off-farm nest egg.
As a germination tray for new farmers ready to take over the 50 percent of America’s agricultural equity that will become available over the next two decades, Polyface Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley stands as a beacon of hope in a food and farming system floundering in dysfunction: toxicity, pathogenicity, nutrient deficiency, bankruptcy, geezers, and erosion. Speaking into that fear and confusion, Salatin offers a pathway to success, with production, profit, and pleasure thrown in for good measure.
Patrick’s Great Grass Adventure
With Greg the Grass Farmer
In his first children’s book, farmer-author Joel Salatin and his daughter Rachel team up on a whimsical tale about a pigeon, a farmer, and grass. This beautifully illustrated edu-tainment book introduces 4-7 year-olds to Greg the grass farmer through the eyes of Patrick Pigeon. What better way to discover ecology-enhancing grass farming than from an aerial view? Grass as crop, insect haven, and diversity blanket comes to life as Patrick Pigeon watches and reports on Greg the grass farmer’s activities. Discovering a real farm from a real farmer through captivating explanation and illustration brings a local grass farm to life.
Holistic Goat Care
A Comprehensive Guide to Raising Healthy Animals, Preventing Common Ailments, and Troubleshooting Problems
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 to carrying packs and clearing brush, there isn’t much that goats cannot do. Managing goats successfully requires an understanding of how nature designed them to thrive, including nutritional and psychological needs, as well as how to identify a problem and intercede before it’s too late.
For more than a decade, Gianaclis Caldwell and her family have operated Pholia Farm Creamery, an off-grid, raw milk goat cheese dairy. In Holistic Goat Care, Caldwell offers readers a comprehensive guide to maintaining a healthy herd of goats, whether they are dairy goats, meat goats, fiber goats, or pet goats.
Holistic Goat Care will empower even novice goat owners to confidently diagnose and treat most of the ailments that goats might experience. For the experienced goat farmer, the book offers a depth of insight and approaches to treatment not found in any other book. Caldwell places special emphasis throughout on holistic, natural, and alternative approaches to caring for goats, including information on:
- Handling and managing goats using their natural instincts as an asset
- Developing good farm management practices such as appropriate housing and fencing systems and manure and mortality management
- Making feeding decisions based on understanding goats’ ruminant digestive system and their evolutionary needs
- Growing forage and garden crops as feed and utilizing wild browse
- Troubleshooting health problems based on assessing symptoms
- Implementing advanced health procedures such as pain control, fecal testing, and transplanting rumen microbes from healthy to sick goats
- Diagnosing, treating, and preventing more than 75 common goat ailments
Whether your herd is two or two hundred, this first-of-its-kind, comprehensive book will help you keep your goats healthy, safe, and productive and give you a deep and enjoyable insight into the wondrous creature that is the goat.
Forest Gardening in Practice
An Illustrated Practical Guide for Homes, Communities and Enterprises
A forest garden is a place where nature and people meet halfway–between the canopy of trees and the soil underfoot. It doesn’t have to look like a forest: what’s important is that natural processes are allowed to unfold, to the benefit of plants, people and other creatures. The result is an edible ecosystem. For three decades experimental forest gardens have been planted in temperate cities and rural sites, in households, neighborhoods, community gardens, parks, market gardens and plant nurseries. Forest Gardening In Practice offers an in-depth review of forest gardening with living, best practice examples. It highlights the four core skills of forest gardeners: ecology, horticulture, design, and cooperation. It is for hobby gardeners, smallholders, community gardeners and landscape professionals.
Forest Gardening In Practice features:
- A history of forest gardening
- A step-by-step guide to creating your own edible ecosystem
- 14 in-depth case studies of established forest gardens and edible landscapes in Europe and the U.S.
- Chapters on integrating animals, learning, enterprises, working in community and public settings
How Symbiotic Fungi Work with Roots to Support Plant Health and Build Soil Fertility
Regenerative practices for the farm, garden, orchard, forest, and landscape
Mycorrhizal fungi have been waiting a long time for people to recognize just how important they are to the making of dynamic soils. These microscopic organisms partner with the root systems of approximately 95 percent of the plants on Earth, and they sequester carbon in much more meaningful ways than human “carbon offsets” will ever achieve. Pick up a handful of old-growth forest soil and you are holding 26 miles of threadlike fungal mycelia, if it could be stretched it out in a straight line. Most of these soil fungi are mycorrhizal, supporting plant health in elegant and sophisticated ways. The boost to green immune function in plants and community-wide networking turns out to be the true basis of ecosystem resiliency. A profound intelligence exists in the underground nutrient exchange between fungi and plant roots, which in turn determines the nutrient density of the foods we grow and eat.
Exploring the science of symbiotic fungi in layman’s terms, holistic farmer Michael Phillips (author of The Holistic Orchard and The Apple Grower) sets the stage for practical applications across the landscape. The real impetus behind no-till farming, gardening with mulches, cover cropping, digging with broadforks, shallow cultivation, forest-edge orcharding, and everything related to permaculture is to help the plants and fungi to prosper . . . which means we prosper as well.
Building soil structure and fertility that lasts for ages results only once we comprehend the nondisturbance principle. As the author says, “What a grower understands, a grower will do.” Mycorrhizal Planet abounds with insights into “fungal consciousness” and offers practical, regenerative techniques that are pertinent to gardeners, landscapers, orchardists, foresters, and farmers. Michael’s fungal acumen will resonate with everyone who is fascinated with the unseen workings of nature and concerned about maintaining and restoring the health of our soils, our climate, and the quality of life on Earth for generations to come.
The New Farmer’s Almanac, Volume III
Commons of Sky, Knowledge, Land, Water
Volume III of The New Farmer’s Almanac—360 pages of original agrarian content, essays, cartoons, imagery and historical snippets—harnesses the wisdom of over 120 contributors from our community of new farmers and ranchers. This volume explores the theme of The Commons, drawing from folklore, mathematical projections, empirical, emotional, and geographical observations of theory and praxis.
Farmers hold space in many interwoven commons, and possibilities for our shared future would seem to rest on how these intersecting commons are governed—particularly at the juncture of humanity and ecology where we make our workplace. In re-visiting the Almanac format, we assert our version of Americana and equip ourselves for the challenges of rebuilding the food system and restoring a more democratic, more diverse, and more resilient foundation for society.
We face a dystopian future, with guaranteed-unpredictable weather, the impending collapse of the fossil fuel economy, endlessly consolidating monopolies, and a country that is, for the first time in our history, majority urban. That’s why this Almanac is a utopian publication, one that reminds today’s farmers about the foundational concepts of an agrarian democracy—themselves utopian.
But we also reject the self-propelling logic of techno-utopia—dependent upon extraction economies and enclosure of common resources. We orient ourselves instead toward the words of Ursula Le Guin, who reminds us that our intent in utopian thinking should not be “reactionary, nor even conservative, but simply subversive. It seems that the utopian imagination is trapped, like capitalism and industrialism and the human population, in a one-way future consisting only of growth.”
This tidy volume holds a civil, lived testimony from people whose work, lifeworld, and behavior patterns beamingly subvert the normative values of the macro economy called America.
The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook
Organic Vegetable Production Using Protected Culture
Best practices for the eight most profitable crops
Today only a few dozen large-scale producers dominate the greenhouse produce market. Why? Because they know and employ best practices for the most profitable crops: tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, peppers, leafy greens, lettuce, herbs, and microgreens. The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook levels the playing field by revealing these practices so that all growers—large and small—can maximize the potential of their protected growing space. Whether growing in a heated greenhouse or unheated hoophouse, this book offers a decision-making framework for how to best manage crops that goes beyond a list of simple do’s and don’ts.
As senior trial technician for greenhouse crops at Johnny’s Selected Seeds, author Andrew Mefferd spent seven years consulting for growers using protected agriculture in a wide variety of climates, soils, and conditions. The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook brings his experience and expertise to bear in an in-depth guide that will help readers make their investment in greenhouse space worthwhile.
Every year, more growers are turning to protected culture to deal with unpredictable weather and to meet out-of-season demand for local food, but many end up spinning their wheels, wasting time and money on unprofitable crops grown in ways that don’t make the most of their precious greenhouse space. With comprehensive chapters on temperature control and crop steering, pruning and trellising, grafting, and more, Mefferd’s book is full of techniques and strategies that can help farms stay profitable, satisfy customers, and become an integral part of re-localizing our food system. From seed to sale, The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook is the indispensable resource for protected growing.
A Contrary Farmer’s Thoughts on Living Forever
Author Gene Logsdon—whom Wendell Berry once called “the most experienced and best observer of agriculture we have”—has a notion: That it is a little easier for gardeners and farmers to accept death than the rest of the populace. Why? Because every day, farmers and gardeners help plants and animals begin life and help plants and animals end life. They are intimately attuned to the food chain. They understand how all living things are seated around a dining table, eating while being eaten. They realize that all of nature is in flux.
Gene Everlasting contains Logsdon’s reflections, by turns both humorous and heart-wrenching, on nature, death, and eternity, all from a contrary farmer’s perspective. He recounts joys and tragedies from his childhood in the 1930s and ‘40s spent on an Ohio farm, through adulthood and child-raising, all the way up to his recent bout with cancer, always with an eye toward the lessons that farming has taught him about life and its mysteries.
Whether his subject is parsnips, pigweed, immortality, irises, green burial, buzzards, or compound interest, Logsdon generously applies as much heart and wit to his words as he does care and expertise to his fields.
The Permaculture Book of DIY
Permaculture is a low cost, environmental and creative approach to living. The Permaculture Book of DIY presents over 20 practical projects that show you how to cleverly recycle materials into useful and unique objects at low financial and environmental cost. Some projects can even be completed for free.
Want to spend more time enjoying your home and garden? With this diverse range of projects you could be growing vegetables in your own geodesic growdome, relaxing on a recycled wooden pallet garden bench whilst enjoying a cider from your very own cider press, or generating your own power with a self-installed solar panel!
Each project has been carefully tried and tested and is clearly laid out with step-by-step instructions and supporting photography and diagrams. It is suitable for anyone who wants to learn DIY skills, have fun and involve their kids too.
Learn how to make your own:
Solar food dryer
Self-watering raised bed
Wood-fired pizza oven
Rocket stove hot tub
and much more!
Farm to Table
The Essential Guide to Sustainable Food Systems for Students, Professionals, and Consumers
With information on purchasing, marketing, and employing farm-to-table principles in restaurants, schools, hospitals, and other institutions
Nearly a century ago, the idea of “local food” would have seemed perplexing, since virtually all food was local. Food for daily consumption—fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, and dairy products—was grown at home or sourced from local farms. Today, most of the food consumed in the United States and, increasingly, around the globe, is sourced from industrial farms and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), which power a food system rife with environmental, economic, and health-related problems.
The tide, however, is slowly but steadily turning back in what has been broadly termed the “farm-to-table” movement. In Farm to Table, Darryl Benjamin and Chef Lyndon Virkler explore how the farm-to-table philosophy is pushing back modern, industrialized food production and moving beyond isolated “locavore” movements into a broad and far-reaching coalition of farmers, chefs, consumers, policy advocates, teachers, institutional buyers, and many more all working to restore healthful, sustainable, and affordable food for everyone.
Divided into two distinct but complementary halves, “Farm” and “Table,” Farm to Table first examines the roots of our contemporary industrial food system, from the technological advances that presaged the “Green Revolution” to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz’s infamous dictum to farmers to “Get big or get out” in the 1970s. Readers will explore the many threats to ecology and human health that our corporatized food system poses, but also the many alternatives—from permaculture to rotation-intensive grazing—that small farmers are now adopting to meet growing consumer demand. The second half of the book is dedicated to illuminating best practices and strategies for schools, restaurants, healthcare facilities, and other business and institutions to partner with local farmers and food producers, from purchasing to marketing.
No longer restricted to the elite segments of society, the farm-to-table movement now reaches a wide spectrum of Americans from all economic strata and in a number of settings, from hospital and office cafeterias, to elementary schools and fast-casual restaurants. Farm to Table is a one-of-a-kind resource on how to integrate sustainable principles into each of these settings and facilitate intelligent, healthful food choices at every juncture as our food system evolves. While borrowing from the best ideas of the past, the lessons herein are designed to help contribute to a healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable tomorrow.
The Independent Farmstead
Growing Soil, Biodiversity, and Nutrient-Dense Food with Grassfed Animals and Intensive Pasture Management
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.