Anyone can farm sustainably. Check out these backyard farming books for your small or large homestead.
This book is the first, and most comprehensive, guide about plant guilds ever written, and covers in detail both what guilds are and how to design and construct them, complete with extensive color photography and design illustrations.
From the heart of Big Sky Country comes this inspiring story of a handful of colorful pioneers who have successfully bucked the chemically based food chain and the entrenched power of agribusiness’s one percent by stubbornly banding together. Journalist and native Montanan Liz Carlisle weaves an eye-opening and richly reported narrative that will be welcomed by everyone concerned with the future of American agriculture and natural food in an increasingly uncertain world.
For more than four decades, the self-described “contrary farmer” and writer Gene Logsdon commented on the state of American agriculture. In Letter to a Young Farmer, his final book of essays, Logsdon addressed the next generation: young people moving back to the land to enjoy a better way of life as small-scale “garden farmers.” It’s a lifestyle that isn’t defined by accumulating wealth or by the “get big or get out” agribusiness mindset. Instead, it’s one that recognizes the beauty of nature, cherishes the land, respects our fellow creatures, and values rural traditions. It’s one that also looks forward and embraces “right technologies,” including new and innovative ways of working smarter, not harder, and avoiding premature burnout.
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.
Based on his personal experience, Greg Judy shows how to make a living from the land without owning it. He describes his successes as well as his mistakes to help others on the road to profit. By leasing land and cattle he went from 40 stockers to more than 1,100 head and was able to pay off his farm and home loan within three years. Today, he has 12 farms totaling more than 1,560 acres.
One-Straw Revolutionary is the first book to offer an intimate look at the philosophy and work of one of natural farming’s most influential practitioners: Japanese farmer and philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka.
Fukuoka (1913–2008) wrote the international best-seller The One-Straw Revolution (1978), a manifesto on his approach to no-till agriculture that requires no machinery, no chemicals, no prepared compost, and very little weeding or pruning.
When it was first published, the book presented a radical challenge to the global systems that supply the world’s food. Larry Korn, who was apprenticing with Fukuoka in Japan at the time, helped translate the manuscript into English and brought it to the United States, knowing it would forever change the conversation about how we grow our food. Edited by Korn and Wendell Berry, The One-Straw Revolution was an immediate success and established Fukuoka as a leading voice in the struggle against conventional industrial agriculture. This landmark book continues to inspire readers today.
In One-Straw Revolutionary, Korn distills his experience of more than 35 years of study with Fukuoka, and explains how natural farming can be used practically in areas other than agriculture, including personal growth and development, and for leading a richer and more fulfilling life.
Korn also discusses natural farming’s kinship with the ways of indigenous cultures and traditional Japanese farming. At the same time, he clearly distinguishes natural farming from other forms of agriculture, including scientific and organic agriculture, and permaculture.
One-Straw Revolutionary offers readers a rare insight into natural farming and what Fukuoka was like as a person. It explains how simple it actually is to farm naturally, and why it offers our only real hope for re-establishing a wholesome relationship with the Earth.
Permaculture for the Rest of Us presents the fundamental principles of this sometimes confusing concept in a humorous, reader-friendly way. Each chapter focuses on a specific method or technique, interspersing straightforward explanations with the author's own experiences.
Popular Poultry Breeds examines 40 popular breeds of chickens and bantams. Most breeds exist in several plumage color varieties, and in large and bantam (miniature) size versions, all of which are also included in this comprehensive book.
Jessi Bloom, the bestselling author of Free-Range Chicken Gardens and an ecological landscape designer, and permaculture expert Dave Boehnlein explain the basic principles and ethics of permaculture, show the entire design process from land assessment to the completed master plan, and offer detailed information on the plants, water, waste, energy, shelter, food, animals, and structures that make up the garden.
Whether you’re looking for a farm-to-table solution that provides fresh meat and dairy products today, or a long-term plan that will feed you and your family after the collapse of civilization (or both!), this all-in-one preparedness guide is for you. It teaches sustainable animal husbandry skills that allow you to build and operate your own small-scale ranch anywhere from a backyard to a bug-out bunker.
When disaster strikes, bugging out will be sufficient to escape short-term danger. But when widespread collapse comes, survival will depend on having a long-term prepper retreat ready and waiting. Prepper’s Survival Retreatsbreaks down the daunting task of strategic relocation into manageable steps that allow readers to create a personalized plan appropriate for their budget, needs, and specific goals. No two preppers are alike and no two strategic relocation plans should be the same,this book will show how to put together the perfect survival retreat for every prepper.
Produce your own milk, cheese, meat, fiber, fertilizer, and more
Incorporating dairy goats into a diversified homestead can be the key to greater self-sufficiency. Responding to questions and concerns from readers from all over North America and beyond, this fully revised and expanded edition of Raising Goats Naturally will help readers work with nature to raise dairy goats to produce milk, cheese, meat, fertilizer, leather, fiber, and soap – all without relying on drugs or following the factory farm model. By observing your own animals closely and educating yourself about their specific needs, you can create an individualized plan for keeping them healthy and maximizing their productivity.
The story of the four-wheel-drive tractors built by Steiger, International Harvester, Case, and Case IH is told in dramatic fashion in this authoritative guide. Starting with the development of early four-wheel-drive systems at International Harvester, the book traces the evolution and design some of the most powerful and capable tractors of the twentieth century. With fresh detail on the 4300, 4100, Steiger-built IH tractors, and the 2+2 tractors including the Super 70 series, the book offers prototype drawings of several models--including the complete story of the never-before-published Magnum 2+2-- as well as inside stories and backroom drama that is a must for any enthusiast for farm history or tractors. Learn the complete story of Steiger tractors, which were originally designed and built in the barn of John, Douglass, and Maurice Steiger located near Red Lake Falls, Minnesota. Containing interviews with more than 50 of the people who built Steiger from its humble origin to a world leader, the book traces the evolution of the lime green Steigers in engrossing detail. The book also covers the J.I. Case 4WD line in great detail. In addition, the book tells the story of how each of these significant players in the industry combined under one banner and—together—created one of the current industry-leading technologies, the Quadtrac. The modern evolution of the Steigers and the introduction of the STX Series (and more) also receive in-depth coverage.
Climate change presents an unprecedented challenge to the productivity and profitability of agriculture in North America. More variable weather, drought and flooding create the most obvious damage, but hot summer nights, warmer winters, longer growing seasons and other environmental changes have more subtle but far-reaching effects on plant and livestock growth and development.
Resilient Agriculture recognizes the critical role that sustainable agriculture will play in the coming decades and beyond. The latest science on climate risk, resilience and climate change adaptation is blended with the personal experience of farmers and ranchers to explore:
- The "strange changes" in weather recorded over the last decade
- The associated shifts in crop and livestock behavior
- The actions producers have taken to maintain productivity in a changing climate
The climate change challenge is real, and it is here now. To enjoy the sustained production of food, fiber and fuel well into the 21st century, we must begin now to make changes that will enhance the adaptive capacity and resilience of North American agriculture. The rich knowledge base presented in Resilient Agriculture is poised to serve as the cornerstone of an evolving, climate-ready food system.
The concept of silvopasture challenges our notions of both modern agriculture and land use. For centuries, European settlers of North America have engaged in practices that separate the field from the forest, and even the food from the animal. Silvopasture systems integrate trees, animals, and forages in a whole-system approach that offers a number of benefits to the farmer and the environment. Such a system not only offers the promise of ecological regeneration of the land, but also an economical livelihood and even the ability to farm extensively while buffering the effects of a changing climate: increased rainfall, longer droughts, and more intense storm events.
Silvopasture, however, involves more than just allowing animals into the woodlot. It is intentional, steeped in careful observation skills and flexible to the dynamics of such a complex ecology. It requires a farmer who understands grassland ecology, forestry, and animal husbandry. The farmer needn’t be an expert in all of these disciplines, but familiar enough with them to make decisions on a wide variety of time scales. A silvopasture system will inevitably look different from year to year, and careful design coupled with creativity and visioning for the future are all part of the equation.
More than a practical guide, Start Your Farm is a hopeful call to action for anyone who aspires to grow wholesome, environmentally sustainable food for a living. Take it from authors Forrest Pritchard and Ellen Polishuk: Making this dream a reality is not for the faint of heart, but it's well within reach … and there's no greater satisfaction under the sun!
Award-winning author Temple Grandin is famous for her groundbreaking approach to decoding animal behavior. Now she extends her expert guidance to small-scale farming operations. Grandin’s fascinating explanations of how to analyze herd animals’ behavior and of how to understand how they think — (describing their senses, fears, instincts, and memories) — will help you handle your livestock more safely and effectively. You’ll learn to become a skilled observer of animal movement and behavior, and detailed illustrations will help you set up simple and efficient facilities for managing a small herd of 3 to 25 cattle or pigs, or 5 to 100 goats or sheep.
If your family is among the growing number interested in raising chickens for eggs or meat, The Backyard Chicken Book contains all the essential information for hatching, brooding, rearing, and managing family-sized poultry flocks.
Conventional agriculture destroys our soils, pollutes our water and is a major contributor to climate change. What if our agricultural practices could stabilize, or even reverse these trends?
The Biochar Solution explores the dual function of biochar as a carbon-negative energy source and a potent soil-builder. Created by burning biomass in the absence of oxygen, this material has the unique ability to hold carbon back from the atmosphere while simultaneously enhancing soil fertility. Author Albert Bates traces the evolution of this extraordinary substance from the ancient black soils of the Amazon to its reappearance as a modern carbon sequestration strategy.
Combining practical techniques for the production and use of biochar with an overview of the development and future of carbon farming, The Biochar Solution describes how a new agricultural revolution can reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to below zero while increasing world food reserves and creating energy from biomass wastes. Biochar and carbon farming can reduce fossil fuels inputs into our food system; bring new life to desert landscapes; filter and purify drinking water; and help build carbon-negative homes, communities and nations.
Biochar is not without dangers if unregulated, and it is not a panacea, but if it fulfills its promise of taking us back from the brink of irreversible climate change, it may well be the most important discovery in human history.
The Bio-Integrated Farm is a 21st-century manual for managing nature’s resources. This groundbreaking book brings “system farming” and permaculture to a whole new level. Author Shawn Jadrnicek presents new insights into permaculture, moving beyond the philosophical foundation to practical advanced designs based on a functional analysis. Holding his designs to a higher standard, Jadrnicek’s components serve at least seven functions (classical permaculture theory only seeks at least two functions). With every additional function a component performs, the design becomes more advanced and saves more energy.