A Homesteader's Sampler of U.S. Government Publications

Surprisingly homesteaders can find a wealth of information available on the techniques of rural self-sufficiency through U.S. government publications.

| May/June 1975

  • 033-068-01a
    The past decade has seen the beginnings of a new exodus: a move back to the land and to a simpler, saner life lived in consonance with nature.

  • 033-068-01a

The past decade has seen the beginnings of a new exodus: a move back to the land and to a simpler, saner life lived in consonance with nature. This has created a growing demand for information on the techniques of rural self-sufficiency . . . and one of the best sources has turned out to be none other than government publications from the U.S. Government. Publications like the Whole Earth Catalog and MOTHER EARTH NEWS have done much to make their readers aware of the enormous amount of useful information which is available to the public at low cost. So far though, only tire tip of the iceberg has been revealed.

For example: Much information of value to the homesteader is distributed — surprisingly enough — by the Department of Defense. In Part I of the following bibliography, I've listed a sampling of the relevant titles from this source. All the booklets so identified are currently available from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.

You'll notice, as you read through Part I of the bibliography, that my listings do not include prices. This is international since the cost of most government documents is skyrocketing at present and any quotations I might give would soon be outdated. In addition, the GPO has revised several of its procedures recently and no longer issues price lists for such items . . . thus making the public's job much harder. A postcard to the Superintendent of Documents citing full particulars of a specific publication, however, should bring you the current charge for the booklet.

Please note that the titles of government publications I've selected are only a sample and are drawn from just one government department. A wealth of other material — on a surprising range of topics is stored in Washington for the public's use. Your local library can help you determine what publications on a given subject are currently available from the Government Printing Office.

And that brings up another point: When you seek assistance from the library, don't neglect its files of older government publications. Much of the information which may be most valuable to you is out of print and can't be ordered from the Superintendent of Documents. This is especially true of the "outdated", often priceless Farmer's Bulletins such as those I've listed in Part 11 of the following bibliography. The fanning methods employed at the turn of the century — and subsequently abandoned in favor of increasing mechanization and sophistication — now have a new importance as non-polluting, energy-conserving alternatives . . . and many of the pre-agribusiness government documents in this field are too good to be lost.

To repeat: The Department of Agriculture bulletins listed in Part II of the bibliography are out of print and no longer for sale in Washington. These and many other excellent publications can, however, often be found in the files of local libraries and may possibly also be borrowed from county extension agents. By all means, check your nearby sources of information, and remember that the few titles mentioned here are only a sample of the wealth of materials that can be found with a little effort.

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