As communities seek greater resiliency in the wake of economic upheaval, job loss, climate change and global food shortages, local farmers are seen as a key resource to help reinvigorate (or create) a diversified, regionalized, ecologically based food system. Farms with a Future explores the passion, creativity and entrepreneurship that's needed to help family farms find their niche and remain sustainable and successful in an age of agribusiness and consolidation.
What is a farm with a future? What will make it sustainable and resilient? And what key qualities and skills does a farmer need in today's climate to be successful?
Rebecca Thistlethwaite addresses these and other crucial questions in this must-read book for anyone aspiring to get into small to mid-scale market farming, or who wants to make their existing farm more dynamic, profitable and, above all, sustainable.
A growing interest in locally grown food is evident: In 2008, local food sales (direct to consumers or direct to restaurants/retailers) totaled $4.8 billion dollars, according to a U.S. Department of Agriculture report. Those sales were predicted to top $7 billion by the end of 2011.
An experienced farmer herself, Thistlethwaite does not idealize or romanticize her subject in Farms with a Future. "If you are not prepared for some serious hard work, inclement weather, dirt lodged in every crevice of your body, and being so dog-tired that you fall into your easy chair at night and don't wake up until the next morning, then you might look into another vocation," the author warns.
Thistlethwaite and her husband took a one-year sabbatical and traveled the length and breadth of the United States to live and work alongside some of the nation's most innovative farmers to learn some of their best practices … and a whole lot about what doesn't work too.
Farms with a Future introduces readers to some of the country's most innovative farmers, who are embracing their "inner entrepreneur": unabashedly marketing and sharing the pride they have for what they produce; building systems and finding efficiencies and cost savings so they don't have to keep raising prices every year; shying away from huge debt loads by developing ways to build their businesses patiently over time, using earned income or creative arrangements with their community of customers; harnessing natural processes to ensure they are not degrading the natural resources the farms depend upon; and treating their employees and volunteers like family.
While many other books address agricultural production, very few talk about business management for long-term sustainability. Farms with a Future will help guide farmers to manage for long-term sustainability and build a triple-bottom-line farming business focused on economic viability, social justice and ecological soundness.
Author: Rebecca Thistlethwaite
Join Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko, proprietors of the award-winning Inn Serendipity, as they launch a return to our roots of independence, self-sufficiency, and frugality, blended with the spice of modern living. Farmstead Chef whips up a quirky, homespun tale of how we can eat well, nourish our bodies, and restore the planet. Rediscover the benefits of homegrown food and homemade cooking, preserving the harvest, and stocking the pantry, all while building community.
From breakfasts to mouth-watering desserts, Farmstead Chef showcases the creative and budget-friendly side to eating lower on the food chain more often while taking responsibility for the food we put into our bodies — by growing it, sharing it, and savoring it. Recipes include:
After your meal, pull up a chair and enjoy inviting slice-of-life "Kitchen Table" features, such as interviews with local food heroes and visionaries transforming our food system. Farmstead Chef also shares practical cooking tips and lively short essays inspired by John and Lisa's organic, self-reliant homestead and bed and breakfast. This fully illustrated cookbook will show you how to reconnect with nature through food, especially when shared with friends.
About the author:
Lisa Kivirist and John Ivanko are co-authors of the award-winning Ecopreneuring and Rural Renaissance. Lisa is also a distinguished Kellogg Food and Society Policy Fellow, and John is co-author and principal photographer for six multicultural children's books. John and Lisa are innkeepers of the award-winning Inn Serendipity Bed & Breakfast.
Author: J. Ivanko & L. Kivirist
Fences, Gates, and Bridges, Second Edition, is your practical instruction guide to the best methods of building an incredible variety of fences, gates, and bridges for all regions and weather conditions.
Originally published in 1900, Fences, Gates, and Bridges, Second Edition features a section on fences that boasts an impressive medley of materials and designs, including the zigzag fence, the cheap and portable barbed-wire fence, and a sampling of sod and stone fences.
And what is a fence without a gate? The second segment of this fully illustrated book guides you through the making and setting of posts, as well as the construction and installation of swinging gates, sliding gates, pulley gates, and more.
The final section consists of information on a number of bridges, depicting a wide selection, designed for crossing gullies and culverts, as well as ornamental bridges for gardens and walkways.
Fences, Gates, and Bridges, Second Edition is a functional pocket manual and a testament to American ingenuity for all of your fencing, gating and bridging needs.
Author: George A. Martin
First published in 1887, Fences, Gates, and Bridges is an instructional guide to the best ways to build a variety of fences, gates, hedges, bridges, and culverts. The section on fences boasts a wealth of information on building various types of fences, including rail, composite, garden, board, and picket. It also explores how to construct an effective barbed wire fence, how to use a stone wall to reinforce a wooden fence, and highlights the pros of building portable fences. Fences, Gates, and Bridges is a classic manual for anyone who wants to build their own structures for their farm, large property, or quaint backyard.
Author: George A. Martin
From Erin Benzakein, owner of internationally renowned Floret Flower Farm and a leader in the locaflor farm-to-centerpiece movement, Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden is equal parts instruction and inspiration: a book overflowing with lush photography of magnificent flowers and breathtaking arrangements organized by season. This beautiful guide to growing, harvesting, and arranging gorgeous blooms year-round gives readers vital tools to nurture a stunning flower garden and use their blossoms to create showstopping arrangements. With irresistible photos of Benzakein's flower farm that showcase exquisite blooms, tips for growing in a variety of spaces and climates as well as step-by-step instructions for lavish garlands, airy centerpieces, and romantic floral décor for every season, Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden informs and entices gardeners of all skill levels.
Author: E. Benzakein & J. Chai
The first edition of Gaia's Garden sparked the imagination of America's home gardeners, introducing permaculture's central message: Working with Nature, not against her, results in more beautiful, abundant and sustainable gardens. As Toby Hemenway demonstrates, it's satisfying and easy to create a permaculture garden, a complete backyard ecosystem, by assembling communities of plants that can work cooperatively and perform a variety of functions, including:
This revised and updated edition also features a new chapter on urban sustainable permaculture, designed especially for people in cities and suburbs who have very limited growing space. Gaia's Garden: A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture details the steps to designing and assembling an ecological garden. Whatever size yard or garden you have to work with, you can apply basic permaculture principles to make it more diverse, more natural, more productive and more beautiful.
About the Author: Toby Hemenway is an adjunct assistant professor at Portland State University. He teaches permaculture and consults and lectures on ecological design throughout the country. His writing has appeared in magazines such as Whole Earth Review, Natural Home and Kitchen Gardener.
Author: Toby Hemenway
Garden Builder is a treasure trove of lovely yard, patio, and garden projects you can build yourself!
Perfect for any gardener or outdoor enthusiast with a few basic DIY skills, it is packed with 35 complete project plans, each one featuring finished photos of the project along with cut lists and shopping lists, a construction diagram, and step-by-step instructions (complete with photos) show exactly how to build every project.
Most projects are made from durable exterior-rated wood and can be created with basic carpentry skills. But several of these highly desirable garden accessories are made with materials like concrete, metal, and wire.
Garden Builder is positively loaded with projects, a few you can look forward to building include:
-A tiny shed (it is very cute)
-A toad house
Simply follow the clear and comprehensive instructions, and you'll have a garden that's rich in design elements, useful aids, and practical furnishings.
Author: JoAnn Moser
Garden Projects gives you a range of plans for useful and ornamental additions to your garden. Each project is fully explained, with detailed step-by-step descriptions and illustrations to guide you through.
Garden Projects suit your needs and abilities, from practical and simple raised garden beds to more ambitious things, like a toolshed. There are more whimsical structures too: a flagpole, a garden swing, and an ornamental wheelbarrow for flower arrangements. Author Roger Marshall has carefully designed projects that don’t require a vast array of tools or advanced woodworking skills. Every gardener will find ideas and plans to enhance his or her garden in this helpful book. Marshall applies his know-how and skillful delivery to a wide range of building projects that might take a weekend afternoon or provide a way to pass the time constructively on those dark winter days when you can’t wait to get back out into the garden.
Author: Roger Marshall
Owning a small wood or being able to help look after one well has become an increasingly popular subject. Getting Started in Your Own Wood has all you need to know about the basics. It is written by experts committed to the care and stewardship of woodland resources and provides practical advice and guidance for those coming to woodland management for the first time.
Getting Started in Your Own Wood is an expanded and updated edition of Julian Evans’ hugely successful Badgers, Beeches and Blisters, first published in the United Kingdom in 2006 and reprinted four times. Every chapter has been revised, and two new chapters were added by Will Rolls on firewood and tree pests and diseases. This revised and expanded edition includes:
Author: Julian Evans & Will Rolls
If you're considering a solar or wind system for your home or business, this solar power guide is a valuable resource. In Got Sun? Go Solar, the authors explain how installing a solar or wind system is an economically attractive and environmentally responsible option.
From Vermont to California, homeowners are plugging in to a hot new idea — reducing or eliminating their electric bills by using free energy from the sun and wind. In this straight-talking new solar power guide, authors Rex Ewing and Doug Pratt tell other grid-connected homeowners how to capture alternative energy and put it to use in their home.
Renewable energy is going mainstream, thanks to affordable new technologies with rebates and incentives from many states. Today more and more homeowners believe that installing a home RE system is the economically-attractive and environmentally-responsible thing to do. Whether they install a solar/wind system to benefit their checkbooks or to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, they also enjoy the added independence of a more self-sufficient lifestyle.
This solar power guide covers battery backup versus non-battery systems, as well as equipment needed and installation considerations. Other topics include legal and safety issues, incentives/rebates, and permits and paperwork. An extensive appendix of resources, state energy offices, system sizing worksheets, and much more turns this 160-page book (filled with more than 120 photos and illustrations) into a must-have book for anyone interested in exploring their power options.
About the authors:
The authors of this solar power guide know firsthand how these systems work. Rex Ewing, author of Power With Nature has lived off-the-grid in the Colorado Rockies since 1999. Doug Pratt, the former technical editor of the Solar Living Sourcebook, lives in a grid-tied home in northern California, and has been on the front lines of the renewable energy revolution since 1985.
Recommended product for Wiser Living: Today, more than ever before, our society is seeking ways to live more conscientiously. To help bring you the very best inspiration and information about greener, more sustainable lifestyles, Mother Earth News is recommending books to its readers. For nearly 40 years, Mother Earth News has been North America's "Original Guide to Living Wisely," creating books and magazines for people with a passion for self-reliance and a desire to live in harmony with nature.
Author: Rex A. Ewing and Doug Pratt
According to conventional wisdom, building a green home is an expensive endeavor. The standard approach treats green as an add-on, tacking "premium" products, finishes and equipment onto a traditional home design. As a result, many green home projects end up over budget or fail to achieve their environmental and performance goals.
Green Home Building explodes the myth that green homes have to cost more. Using proven methods based on applied building science, authors Miki Cook and Doug Garrett show how to:
This comprehensive guide to building green on any budget defines the strategies that maximize the return on green investments. Written for anyone who has ever been swayed by the argument that the price tag limits how green a home can be, Green Home Building is a must-read for builders, contractors, architects, designers and homeowners.
Author: Miki Cook & Doug Garrett
In a tight economy, this book offers clear financial benefits by helping homeowners immediately cut their utility bills. Many of these smaller home improvements require only a modest investment, and give readers an edge when they sell their homes: Buyers are looking for energy efficiency, and they are also tuned into green health and environmental concerns.
The book's projects include quick and easy, low- or no-cost tasks — like insulating a water heater, sealing foundation cracks or painting with insulating paint — as well as bigger-ticket items, such as installing a new energy-efficient heating system, windows or green flooring. The more than 65 "Go Green" tips highlighted throughout the book give readers ideas to make their homes and lifestyles greener.
Author: DAN CHIRAS
CLEARANCE $6.61. PREVIOUS RETAIL PRICE WAS $12.95. AVAILABLE ONLY WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!
Green Transportation Basics is a guide to greening your personal driving habits by dramatically improving the efficiency of an existing vehicle using simple measures such as trip planning and regular maintenance to improve fuel economy. This handy guide also explores the most promising new green cars and trucks, including electric vehicles, hybrids, plug-in hybrids and natural-gas cars. And it critically examines sustainable fuels including ethanol, biodiesel, straight vegetable oil, hydrogen and biomethane, evaluating each according to a set of established criteria. Each green fuel source must:
Don't let your dream of greening your transportation idle – Green Transportation Basics will guide you through the myths and misconceptions and provide clear options for the road to a more sustainable future.
About the Author
Dan Chiras is a respected educator and author who has published more than 25 books on residential renewable energy and green building. He is the founder and director of The Evergreen Institute, where he teaches workshops on small wind energy systems, solar electricity, passive solar design, energy efficiency, and green and natural building.
Author: DAN CHIRAS
Keep your lawn and garden lush without wasting resources by capturing and recycling the greywater that drains from your sink, shower, and washing machine. This accessible and detailed guide walks you through each step of planning for and installing a variety of greywater systems, including laundry-to-landscape and branched drain gravity-fed systems. After identifying greywater sources in your home and estimating flow rate, you’ll learn to pinpoint where to redirect the wastewater for the greatest benefit. No matter which system you decide to build, you'll have the information to construct it yourself or move forward with confidence to hire a professional.
Author: LAURA ALLEN
Grow Create Inspire is a rallying cry, itself an inspiration urging all of us to help fill the vital need for growth … not only of food, but also in the hearts and the minds of individuals around the globe. Focusing on step-by-step approaches to accumulating skills toward self-sufficiency, Grow Create Inspire is a comprehensive guide to creating a beautiful, regenerative, and deeply satisfying life, covering everything from basic and more advanced growing tips, preparing and preserving harvest, and generally greening those aspects of life that bring about happiness, including, food, art, music, beauty, and time in nature.
Author: Crystal Stevens
Interest in local, sustainable food is at an all-time high. Devotees of farmers market and community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs, backyard homesteaders, and community gardeners all want to know more (much more) about how our food is raised. Now, seventh-generation farmer and author Forrest Pritchard introduces us to 18 heroes of the sustainable food movement.
Author: Forrest Pritchard
This innovative collection features 35 simple, inexpensive projects that you can make from salvaged and upcycled materials: cardboard, metal, plastic and wood. The projects include tables, shelving units, chairs, lamps, and more, in a variety of styles. Many are stackable and easily portable, most can be made in a weekend, and all include instructions for disassembly and disposal when you’re ready to repurpose the materials. If you’d rather make than buy, these low-budget, high-style designs are just what you’re looking for.
Author: Will Holman
In her newest book, Hand Spun, art-yarn pioneer and Pluckyfluff creator Lexi Boeger offers yet another exciting collection of new and innovative spinning techniques. This well-rounded book also covers a handful of traditional styles for the spinner to master and then turn on their ear. The many uses of these beautiful one-of-a-kind yarns are demonstrated in Boeger's trademark, surprising, and inventive projects. Learn the basics of fiber prep, from washing raw fleece to carding techniques. Find out how to adapt basic spinning styles to create cutting-edge forms. Be inspired by a stunning gallery of hand-spun yarns that combine various techniques shown in the book. Get complete instructions for 20 fashion-forward, yet accessible, projects including chunky scarves, fabulous hats, a belt, a rug, boas, and more.
Author: Lexi Boeger