Notable New Books

The best new reads from our favorite publishers.

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6/27/2014

Integrated Forest Gardening is the first, and most comprehensive, guide about plant guilds ever written, and it covers in detail both what guilds are and how to design and construct them, complete with extensive color photography and design illustrations. Other books on permaculture cover this topic, but never in enough depth to be replicable in a serious way.

One of the essential practices of permaculture is to develop perennial agricultural systems that thrive over several decades without expensive and harmful inputs. Those systems include perennial-plant guilds, food forests, agroforestry, and mixed animal- and woody-species polycultures.

The guild concept often used is one of a “functional relationship” between plants—beneficial groupings of plants that share functions in order to bring health and stability to a plant regime and create an abundant yield for our utilization. In other words, it is the integration of species that creates a balanced, healthy, and thriving ecosystem.

The massive degradation of conventional agriculture and the environmental havoc it creates has never been as all pervasive in terms of scale, so it has become a global necessity to further the understanding of a comprehensive design and planning system such as permaculture that works with nature, not against it.

Integrated Forest Gardening will benefit readers of any scale, from permaculture designers and professional growers, to backyard growers new to the concept of permaculture.

Buy this book from Chelsea Green: Integrated Forest Gardening.



6/10/2014

Earthen Floors Book CoverAs well as boasting a unique and beautiful aesthetic, natural building techniques are accessible, affordable and nontoxic. Earthen Floors: A Modern Approach to an Ancient Practice is the first comprehensive, fully illustrated manual covering the history, use and maintenance of this attractive, practical flooring option. This detailed, fully-illustrated guide explains every part of the process, including:

• Sourcing and harvesting materials
• Preparing the subfloor
• Pouring, finishing and sealing the floor
• Living with and maintaining your earthen floor.

Drawing on the combined knowledge of the most qualified earthen floor practitioners, as well their own substantial experience, the authors deliver the definitive resource for this exciting technique, perfect for everyone from the novice to veteran builder.

Sukita Reay Crimmel has installed over 20,000 sq ft of earthen flooring, and is one of the preeminent experts in the emerging field of earthen floors.

James Thomson is a part of House Alive, one of the leading natural building training organizations in the country.

Buy this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store.



6/10/2014

Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good book coverCommoning was a way of life for most of our ancestors. In Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good, author Heather Menzies journeys to her roots in the Scottish Highlands, where her family lived in direct relation with the land since before recorded time.

Beginning with an intimate account of unearthing the heritage of the commons and the real tragedy of its loss, Menzies offers a detailed description of the self-organizing, self-governing and self-informing principles of this nearly forgotten way of life, including its spiritual practices and traditions. She then identifies pivotal commons practices that could be usefully revived today. A final ‘manifesto’ section pulls these facets together into a unified vision for reclaiming the commons, drawing a number of current popular initiatives into the commons and commoning frame – such as local food security, permaculture and the Occupy Movement.

An engaging memoir of personal and political discovery, Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good combines moving reflections on our common heritage with a contemporary call to action, individually and collectively, locally and globally. Readers will be inspired by the book’s vision of reviving the commons ethos of empathy and mutual respect, and energized by her practical suggestions for connecting people and place for the common good.

Heather Menzies is an award-winning writer, scholar and member of the Order of Canada, and the author of nine books, including Whose Brave New World? and No Time.

Buy this book from the New Society store.



5/2/2014

Cooking With FireRecent research suggests that humans have been cooking with fire for almost two million years — a practice that not only informed the course of human evolution but also inspired generations of cooks from countless bygone cultures to manipulate fire and food in the creation of flavors and techniques that still form the foundations of regional culinary traditions everywhere. Storey Publishing is proud to announce the release of "Cooking with Fire" (Storey Publishing, 2014), a cookbook capturing many of these techniques and recipes — adapted for modern use and a DIY mindset — by food historian and wood-fired cooking enthusiast Paula Marcoux.

With more than 100 recipes for preparing everything from meat and fish to breads and beverages, Marcoux leads readers through a comprehensive and often humorous examination of live-fire cooking across cultures and throughout the ages. Readers begin by learning to cook with fire at its most elemental level — live fire and food on a stick — and progress to simple apparatuses such as spits, skewers, grills, and planks before moving on to pots, pans, and griddles. From there, Marcoux provides step-by-step instructions for building inexpensive structures that harness heat and maximize flavor, including a tannur and a simple wood-fired masonry oven. Fun, historic recipes and cultural references bring these techniques to life — accomplished cooks and weekend barbecue warriors alike will find new ways to amaze with dishes such as Roma-style bacon on a greenwood stick, roasted pork loin (Cormarye) on a spit, seared sea scallop lollipops on a griddle, and Vienna bread in a wood-fired oven. And don’t forget that favorite early American tavern treat, flip — a delicious concoction of rum, molasses, and beer mixed together and “burnt” with a red-hot poker!  

Wood-fired cooking is a hot trend; "Cooking with Fire" stands out from the crowd with a fun, affordable, accessible approach that mixes the DIY aesthetic with a pinch of geek, a pat of humor, and a generous serving of culinary history — and, of course, truly mouthwatering recipes.

About the Author: Paula Marcoux is a food historian who has also worked professionally as an archaeologist, cook, and bread-oven builder. She is the food editor of Edible South Shore magazine, writes on food history topics for popular and academic audiences, and consults with museums, film producers, and publishers. Paula also gives regular workshops on natural leavening, historic baking, and wood-fired cooking. She lives in Plymouth, Massachusetts.

Buy this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store.



5/2/2014

Rabbit Raising Problem SolverRabbits are popular with both farmers and families. With the increase in demand for locally sourced meat and many homesteaders keeping livestock of their own, rabbits are one of the most efficient animals to raise for healthful, high-quality meat with little space required. And more than 1.4 million households in the United States keep rabbits as pets. Rabbit owners of both kinds have questions about how to best raise their rabbits, and Karen Patry has the answers.

In her new book, "The Rabbit-Raising Problem Solver: Your Questions Answered about Housing, Feeding, Behavior, Health Care, Breeding, and Kindling" (Storey Publishing, 2014), Patry covers the full range of issues related to rabbits, whether they are pets, meat animals, or a source of fiber, with sections on rabbit basics, housing and feeding, rabbit breeding, and illness and injury. The book includes detailed information in each chapter, such as choosing a breed, understanding rabbit behavior, and handling a variety of common health issues.

With the convenient Q&A format organized by topic, readers can easily find the answers they are looking for. "Does a rabbit need a hiding box in a wire cage?" "How old does a rabbit have to be to start eating fresh veggies?" "My rabbit gave birth four days ago, but I haven’t yet seen her feed the babies. Should I be concerned?" Whether rabbit owners are keeping rabbits for meat, fiber, or pets, Karen Patry’s comprehensive answers will guide them to success.

"An excellent, well-written book that will become a classic resource for experienced and novice rabbit breeders." — Don Atchison, President of the National Rex Rabbit Club

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Karen Patry owns Aurora Rex Rabbit Ranch and runs the popular website raising-rabbits.com, where she answers thousands of rabbit-related questions. A member of the American Rabbit Breeders Association and the National Rex Rabbit Club, she lives in Port Angeles, Washington.

Buy this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store.



5/2/2014

The Farm Then And NowIn late 1960s San Francisco, the colorful and celebrated counterculture icon Stephen Gaskin set in motion a chain of events that would lead to one of the most dynamic social experiments of modern time.

"Monday Night Class," a weekly gathering which drew together an eclectic mix of truth-seekers and flower children, soon became a caravan of 60 school buses on an epic journey for peace and love.

Tennessee became the Promised Land, a place to put ideas into practice. It was here, on 1,700 acres of forest and a field, that The Farm, the world’s best-known intentional community, was born.

The Farm had one goal: change the world … and in many ways it did, but the world also changed The Farm. This is the story of The Farm Then and Now (New Society, 2014), told by Douglas Stevenson, a member for 40 years. The Farm has been featured on CNN, Vanity Fair and Atlantic Monthly, as well as many other regional and national publications.

The Farm Then and Now is the first insider look at the successes and shortcoming of this ongoing social experiment, tracing its evolution from what was once the largest commune in the world into an exceptional example of living lightly on the land.

Douglas Stevenson has been a member of The Farm Community for 40 years. His company Green Life Retreats hosts the Farm Experience Weekend and other instructional seminars about sustainable living.

Buy this book from the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store.



5/1/2014

Grass Soil HopeGrass, Soil, Hope (Chelsea Green, 2014) tackles an increasingly crucial question: What can we do about the seemingly intractable challenges of climate change, global hunger, water scarcity, environmental stress, and economic instability?

An important answer lies in the soil. Scientists maintain that a mere 2 percent increase in the carbon content of the planet’s soils could offset a large percentage of greenhouse gas emissions going into the atmosphere. Could this be accomplished? What would it cost? Is it even possible?

Yes, says author Courtney White. It is not only possible, it’s essential.

The key is carbon, because it is everywhere. It’s the soil beneath our feet, the plants that grow, the land we walk, the wildlife we watch, the livestock we raise, the food we eat, the energy we use, and the air we breathe. Without it we die; with the just right amounts we thrive; with too much we suffer.

Removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere only requires plant photosynthesis and related land-based carbon sequestration efforts that are low-tech and already being used by farmers, ranchers, and gardeners around the world. These efforts include composting, no-till farming, climate-friendly livestock practices, conserving natural habitat, restoring degraded watersheds and rangelands, increasing biodiversity, and producing local food.

In Grass, Soil, Hope, White shows how these efforts can be bundled together into an economic and ecological whole, with the aim of reducing atmospheric CO2 while producing substantial co-benefits for all living things.

Buy this book from the Chelsea Green Bookstore.









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