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Staff-Picked Reads

From the employee-owners of Chelsea Green Publishing

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Look no further. Your next read is right here. We asked our employee-owners what their recommended reads are. You'll thank us later.  If you’re still looking for some inspiration, check out our new releases for a look at the best new books of the season.

Receive 35% off all books in this guide with code CGP18!

Employee-owned Chelsea Green publishes books written by experts grounded in holistic principles that you will turn to time and time again. We don't tailor to the latest trends but focus on being a trusted resource for timeless, traditional skills, while bringing new ideas and techniques. We publish books and ideas for communities looking for solutions - and individuals looking for paths toward self-reliance and sustainability. From print to practice - in the authors we publish, our partnerships and printing practices - we're more than a publishing company. In short, we publish books to live in concert with the natural world and provide a vehicle for creating a better world.

Happy Reading from the employee-owners of Chelsea Green Publishing

In 2012, Chelsea Green decided to practice what it publishes and became an employee-owned company. Transitioning to employee ownership will keep Chelsea Green an independent publisher and ensure that the publishing vision started in 1984 lives far into the future.

Sandor chatting with Gretchen at an event.

The Art of Fermentation

Michael Pollan calls him the “Johnny Appleseed of Fermentation” and he’s known far and wide as Sandorkraut. He’s also been dubbed The Prince of Pickles and a Fermentation Fetishist, but we  know him as Sandor Ellix Katz—The New York Times-bestselling and Beard Award-winning author.  His love for all things fermented is contagious.

Not being an expert in the kitchen, The Art of Fermentation was my go to guide for home fermentation. Along the way, I saw fermentation as a way to reclaim our  food. Applying the principles of mass production to our food has been a huge failure, in terms of environmental destruction, the damage to our health, and the diminishment of economic security. Thank you, Sandor Katz, fermentation guru of the highest order, to guide me through it.

Join me and make friends with the microbes in your life!

Gretchen Kruesi, Director of Digital Development

Eager

It’s hard not to be inspired by the fact that for all of our technological might, animals can affect ecological outcomes in ways that we can’t, and for the better. Beavers have been anthropomorphized to seem both silly and pesky, but like all creatures they deserve our admiration, and our help.

It’s also hard not to be inspired by such a warm, witty, and deeply considerate writer such as Ben Goldfarb, whose first book is a marvel, and was a pleasure to work on.

Michael Metivier, Editor

What’s Making Our Children Sick?

As a parent of two young children, this book really spoke to me. With so many factors in our society having an adverse effect on our children’s health, it was so encouraging to read a book that offered solutions, and action items we can do as parents, to help keep our family healthy.

Jenna Dimmick Stewart, Author Events Manager

Surviving the Future

Other than the most ruthlessly mindful among us, who doesn’t find our minds wandering off into the future, a future that feels everyday a shade duskier, a little less certain. If you need a companion for those darkening woods, may I suggest the late British visionary David Fleming, whose erudition and wide-ranging imagination complement a conviviality, humor, and commitment to community that I find, somehow, deeply comforting.

Shaun Chamberlin’s extract from Fleming’s Lean Logic begins to flesh out some aspects of a post-capitalist future that most of us glimpse only dimly. It’s one of my favorite books we’ve ever published.

Michael Weaver, Trade Sales Manager

Eager

The name of my wedding DJ was "Super Flying Beaver," so I was drawn to this book from the very beginning. And, it did not disappoint! Full of fun beavers facts that make for lively conversation at any cocktail party, Eager by Ben Goldfarb is not only an entertaining book, but shows us how beavers can play an important role in helping to solve some of our most pressing environmental problems.

Christina Butt, Senior Book Strategist

Lessons in Resilience Collection

Recently, author Michael Foley (Farming for the Long Haul) included this Wendell Berry quote in an email he sent me: "Expect the end of the world. Laugh. Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.”

Berry's words informed my recommendation of these three titles—all of which focus on resourcefulness, self-reliance, and resilience while accepting that we live in uncertain times. More succinctly (and here I’ll quote hip hop artists Cypress Hill): "When the st*t goes down, you better be ready.”

Read these books. Study them. Keep them close at hand. With a little bit of knowledge and preparation, it will be easier to laugh at the absurdity of it all.

Sean Maher, Director of Marketing

Mesquite

My current favorite book is Mesquite: An Arboreal Love Affair by Gary Nabhan. Gary is a gifted and prolific writer, but this book, like Gary himself, is entirely unique. It's a fascinating natural and cultural history of the amazing and resilient mesquite tree, wrapped in an often goofy, pun-filled barrage of personal stories and tales of metamorphosis from deep in the Sonoran Desert.

In this sense, Gary belongs to the proud tradition of environmental heroes and writers like Edward Abbey, who have found both truth and humor in the stark beauty of this arid landscape. Plus, who can resist a book with a foreword by someone named Petey Mesquitey?

Ben Watson, Senior Editor

A Language Older Than Words

I read A Language Older Than Words more than a decade ago while I was working at a different job. I can still picture the red chair I sat in, the dirty window sill I had my feet on, and the nor'easter that raged outside my little moldy apartment. I also remember thinking that Derrick Jensen was brilliant, that I was pretty lonely in this f$$ked up world, and that I needed to be around people who were reading, writing, thinking, and publishing in this way.

Brianne Goodspeed, Senior Editor

The Ketogenic Kitchen

The Peanutty Chocolate Torte is one of my favorite and surprisingly easy treats to make from The Ketogenic Kitchen. Along with many of the other recipes, this dessert was extremely helpful in my family’s transition to a low-carb diet. I don’t use cookbooks regularly—sometimes just as inspiration—but drastically changing my eating habits required the support this book offers. It guided me to my new meal and pantry favorites! And best of all, I love the visual charts showing the ratios of carbs, protein, and fat per portion. The whole book is a beautiful resource!

—Melissa Jacobson, Book Designer

Lean Logic

Lean Logic advocates asides, long-windedness if it comes with a story, frank untruths if there is a reasonable chance that the other person can untangle the irony, broken logic if it reflects the difficulty of explaining things which break your heart or are hard to understand. It does not share the modest self-restraint which we find in Psalm 131: "I do not exercise myself in great matters which are too high for me."

Lean Logic finds that, when dealing with great matters, it can, from time to time, be a good thing if there are cracks and faults in the argument, for the repair of which help is invited. It is a reminder that a conversation is a cooperative affair, not just a series of beautifully-manicured statements.

Jeffrey Slayton, Sales Assistant

The Seed Underground

I liked Janisse Ray as soon as I read the dedication to her book The Seed Underground. "For Wendell Berry—No monument would be tall enough."

Ray tells stories of her travels in search of heirloom seeds and the families that treasure them. So captivating is her storytelling that it doesn’t matter whether you have ever saved seeds yourself or ever even planted a seed. The Seed Underground is for anyone who loves their home place and their family stories, or wishes they had a home place and heritage to tell stories about. It is for anyone who shares Ray’s anger and despair about how broken our food system is and is looking for signs of hope in the work of seed saving.

Ray’s beautiful, soulful stories lead to a call to action. "I may not have a lot of hope," Ray writes, "but I have plenty of love, which gives me fight." Read The Seed Underground, and be inspired to fight.

Fern Marshall Bradley, Senior Editor

Oil, Power, and War

A daring, brilliant work of research bringing to light a dark and alternative history of America's pursuit of oil, while examining the origins and consequences of our reliance on fossil fuels. From its earliest days drilling in Pennsylvania and its heydays brought on by the advent of Ford's automobile assembly line, to the many wars it has spawned spanning the last hundred years, Auzanneau follows the U.S. oil industry and its magnates from John D. Rockefeller to David Koch, uncovering its real story of fortunes gained and lost, environmental degradation, war, and the ever-increasing and enormous ecological and social consequences it has exacted.

Steven Pomije, Director of Publicity

Not in His Image

I first read Not in His Image: Gnostic Vision, Sacred Ecology, and the Future of Belief when it was published in late 2006, before I ever heard of Chelsea Green Publishing. I started working for Chelsea Green in January 2007 . . . or as the Buddhists say, auspicious coincidences. In my opinion, this is the most heretical, radical, and outrageous book we’ve ever published. It should be read by any human being concerned about what’s happening to our world, what’s happening to our species, and definitely by all Pagans yearning to dance in the moonlight. Highly recommended as a manual of disruption and enlivenment.

Darrell Koerner, Special and Corporate Sales Manager

The Small-Scale Poultry Flock

This was my first acquisition at Chelsea Green, and the author (Harvey Ussery) was a joy to work with. At the time I had just moved from New York City and was raising over 150 chickens on my homestead, and editing became a deep learning experience for me 'in the field' as well. This book represents to me the depth and magnitude of a Chelsea Green book, even in the super-focused niche that is poultry.

My chickens thank me every day.

Makenna Goodman, Senior Editor

The Carbon Farming Solution

While doomsayers refuse to imagine climate change solutions outside of capitalism—and prepare to go silently into the night—Eric Toensmeier has done his math and written out a plan for carbon sequestration on a planetary scale. In The Carbon Farming Solution he lists exactly how much carbon we need to sequester, exactly which permaculture-based methods to use, exactly where to use them, and exactly how to pay for it.

—Alexander Bullett, Production Coordinator

Tamed and Untamed

Sy Montgomery and Elizabeth Marshall Thomas are both brilliant, compassionate women leading fascinating lives—getting to work with them has definitely been a highlight of my time at Chelsea Green!

This fascinating collection of essays offers insight into the lives of our fellow creatures, from water bears to cats and dogs to great white sharks.

Joni Cushman, Media Communications Coordinator

Call of the Reed Warbler

The cover drew me in, the image of the Masseys’ farm is beautiful. The book lived up to the cover, Charles’s writing is lovely.

Charles weaves his family’s story and those of other farmers into the evolution of modern-day regenerative agriculture; making the topic that much more compelling and relatable. He honors the wisdom and traditions of Indigenous people and their relationship and management of the land—past and present. A great read about life and farming, and how we can turnaround the negative impacts of industrial agriculture.

Patricia Stone, Production Director

Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening

Gardening—the word itself implies a challenge. Yet somehow in clear and simple terms enhanced by beautiful color photos Peter Burke turns the challenge into an invitation down the sprouted road to success.

This complete garden novice accepted his invitation and to my amazement was indeed rewarded with nutritious greens in less than 10 days just as promised! Without leaving the house I not only cultivated wonderful greens but a great sense of personal satisfaction at being able to make this healthy contribution to the family diet in such an efficient, practical and low-cost manner.

The book is a home-grown gem.

Elizabeth Babcock, Fulfillment & Distribution Assistant