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Long before sunflower seeds became a popular snack food, they were a foodstuff valued by Native Americans. For some 10,000 years, from the end of the Pleistocene to the 1800s, the indigenous peoples of the plains regarded edible native plants, like the sunflower, as an important source of food. Not only did plants provide sustenance during times of scarcity, they also added variety to what otherwise would have been a monotonous diet of game. Nevertheless, the use of native plants as food sharply declined when white men settled the Great Plains and imposed their own culture, with its differing notions of what was fit to eat. Those notions tended to exclude from the accepted diet such plants as soapweed, lambsquarter, ground cherry, prairie turnip and prickly pear. Today it is strange to think of eating chokecherries, which were a key ingredient in that staple of the Indian diet, pemmican.
Based on plant lore documented by historical and archaeological evidence, Edible Wild Plants of the Prairie relates how 122 plant species were once used as food by the native and immigrant residents on the prairie. Written for a broad audience of amateur naturalists, botanists, ethnologists, anthropologists and agronomists, this guide is intended to educate the reader about wild plants as food sources, to synthesize information on the potential use of native flora as new food crops, and to encourage the conservation and cultivation of prairie plants.
By writing about the edible flora of the American prairie, Kelly Kindscher has provided us with the first edible plant book devoted to the region that Walt Whitman called "North America's characteristic landscape" and that Willa Cather called "the floor of the sky." In describing how plants were used for food, he has drawn upon information concerning tribes that inhabited the prairie bioregion. As a consequence, his book serves as a handy compendium for readers seeking to learn more about historical uses of plants by Native Americans.
The book is organized into 51 chapters arranged alphabetically by scientific name. For those who are interested in finding and identifying the plants, the book provides line drawings, distribution maps, and botanical and habitat descriptions. The ethnobotanical accounts of food use form the major portion of the text, but the reader will also find information on the parts of the plants used, harvesting, propagation (for home gardeners), and the preparation and taste of wild food plants.
Author: Kelly Kindscher
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
America's average farmer is 60 years old. When young people can't get in, old people can't get out. Approaching a watershed moment, our culture desperately needs a generational transfer of millions of farm acres facing abandonment, development or amalgamation into ever-larger holdings. Based on his decades of experience with interns and multigenerational partnerships at Polyface Farm, farmer and author Joel Salatin digs deep into the problems and solutions surrounding this land- and knowledge-transfer crisis. Fields of Farmers empowers aspiring young farmers, midlife farmers and nonfarming landlords to build regenerative, profitable agricultural enterprises.
Author: Joel Salatin
From farmer Joel Salatin's point of view, life in the 21st century just ain't normal. In Folks, This Ain't Normal, he discusses how far removed we are from the simple, sustainable joy that comes from living close to the land and the people we love. Salatin has many thoughts on what normal is and shares practical and philosophical ideas for changing our lives in small ways that have big impact.
Salatin, hailed by the New York Times as "Virginia's most multifaceted agrarian since Thomas Jefferson [and] the high priest of the pasture" and profiled in the Academy Award-nominated documentary Food, Inc. and the best-selling book The Omnivore's Dilemma, understands what food should be: wholesome, seasonal, raised naturally, procured locally, prepared lovingly, and eaten with a profound reverence for the circle of life. And his message doesn't stop there. From child-rearing, to creating quality family time, to respecting the environment, Salatin writes with a wicked sense of humor and true storyteller's knack for the revealing anecdote.
Salatin's crucial message and distinctive voice – practical, provocative, scientific, and down-home philosophical in equal measure – make Folks, This Ain't Normal a must-read book.
Author: Joel Salatin
For hard-working urban professionals Kristy Athens and her husband, Michael, living in the country was a romantic dream. After purchasing 7 acres in Washington's beautiful Columbia River Gorge, Athens and her husband were surprised to learn just how challenging rural life could be.
Get Your Pitchfork On! provides the hard-learned nuts-and-bolts of rural living, from city folk who were in over their heads. Practical and often hilarious.
Get Your Pitchfork On! gives urbanites the practical tools they need to realize their own dreams of getting away from it all, with the basics of home, farm and hearth. The book enters territory that others avoid-straightforward advice about the social aspects of country living, from health care to schools to small-town politics. Athens doesn't shy away from controversial subjects, such as owning firearms and hiring migrant workers.
Kristy Athens' nonfiction and short fiction have been published in a number of magazines, newspapers and literary journals, most recently Jackson Hole Review, High Desert Journal, Barely South Review and the anthology Mamas and Papas. Athens currently lives in Portland, Oregon, where she works for Oregon Humanities and is also an artist and novice fiddle player. She and her husband are plotting their next attempt at rural living.
Author: Kristy Athens
Our food system is dominated by industrial agriculture, and has become economically and environmentally unsustainable. The incidence of diet-related diseases including obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cancer and heart disease has skyrocketed to unprecedented levels. Whether you have 40 acres and a mule or a condo with a balcony, you can do more than you think to safeguard your health, your money and the planet.
Homegrown and Handmade shows how making things from scratch and growing at least some of your own food can help you eliminate artificial ingredients from your diet, reduce your carbon footprint and create a more authentic life. Whether your goal is increasing your self-reliance or becoming a full-fledged homesteader, it’s packed with answers and solutions to help you:
This comprehensive guide to food and fiber from scratch proves that attitude and knowledge is more important than acreage. Written from the perspective of a successful, self-taught modern homesteader, this well-illustrated, practical and accessible manual will appeal to anyone who dreams of a simpler life.
Author: Deborah Niemann
Discover how humanely handling your livestock can improve the day-to-day operation and profitability of your farm. Stressing the importance of understanding livestock behavior, Temple Grandin shows you how to develop a respectful working relationship with your animals to promote their health and productivity. With detailed construction plans for animal-friendly facilities of all sizes and dozens of low-stress methods for moving your livestock on pastures, padlocks, and feedlot pens, this guide has everything you need to know to create a comfortable atmosphere for thriving, happy livestock.
Author: TEMPLE GRANDIN
Like so many other city-dwellers, Cam and Michelle Mather longed for a simpler, quieter life in the country. When they found a century-old farmhouse on 150 acres of land that was in their price range, they jumped at the chance to make their move. The fact that the home was "off-grid" with no power or telephone lines connecting it to the outside world seemed like a bonus!
Twelve years later their life in the country is not quite as simple as they had envisioned, but it is peaceful. There were more challenges than they could have anticipated, as well as more rewards.
Along the way they installed more solar panels, erected a wind turbine, and upgraded and replaced all of the major components of their off-grid electrical system. They installed a solar-thermal hot water system; figured out how to have a phone, Internet and satellite TV; and kept their home heated with wood cut from their own property. They also carved out a garden and began growing much of their own food.
They acquired new skills and knowledge, but most importantly they learned to appreciate the value of good neighbors, good books and good manure.
Author: Cam Mather, Michelle Mather
In a hectic world of mass-produced food, clothing, and entertainment, it’s easy to miss out on the simple pleasures of doing things for yourself. Meet Jenna Woginrich, a 26-year-old web designer who decided to take control of her life — what she ate, what she wore, and how she spent her free time. Learn a few basic country skills, she reasoned, and she would be able to produce at least some of the food and other resources she used every day. Made from Scratch tells the story of Woginrich's hilarious, heartbreaking, soul-satisfying journey, inspiring and entertaining readers who dream about a more self-sufficient lifestyle. Discover the joys of homesteading with Woginrich as she experiences the satisfaction of making bread, keeping chickens, keeping bees, sew clothing, grow vegetables and more!
Author: JENNA WOGINRICH
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A perfect gift for maple lovers! Savor the surprising history of maple sugaring, learn to identify the various kinds of maple trees, discover how to tap your own trees and make your own syrup, and indulge yourself with tempting recipes for old-fashioned treats like maple nut bread, maple eggnog, baked beans, maple nutmeg butternut squash, maple-glazed salmon and pecan pie. What could be sweeter?
Author: Tim Herd
Author: BOB AND ROB ARTLEY
In 2010, Cody and his Wranglerstar family decided to turn their backs on a comfortable city life and become modern-day homesteaders. Their adventure starts in the rugged mountains of the Pacific Northwest. They are now popular pioneers in a growing movement of people seeking independence from debt, freedom to raise their family with values and faith, and the peace of a simpler, more meaningful approach to life.
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