Anyone can farm sustainably. Check out these backyard farming books for your small or large homestead.

  • THE BACKYARD CHICKEN BOOK: A BEGINNER'S GUIDE

    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.
    Item: 7135

    Author: H. Lee Schwanz

    Format: Paperback

  • THE BIOCHAR SOLUTION: CARBON FARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE

    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.

    Item: 4783

    Author: Albert K. Bates

    Format: Paperback

  • THE BIO-INTEGRATED FARM

    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.

    Item: 7871

    Author: SHAWN JADRNICEK

    Format: Paperback

  • THE CHICKEN KEEPER'S PROBLEM SOLVER

    While keeping chickens certainly isn't rocket science, doing it properly does involve decent levels of understanding, commitment and attention to detail. Getting the basics right is essential, and this demands a solid appreciation of important areas such as housing, feeding, breed choice and health.

    Whether you're a newcomer or an old hand, The Chicken Keeper's Problem Solver provides the information you need to nip problems in the bud … and, better still, avoid them in the first place. Let longtime chicken keeper and poultry expert Chris Graham guide you through 100 common problems faced by chicken keepers. You'll discover in clear and simple terms what the underlying cause is and how to solve it. Each issue is tackled in depth, with photographs and diagrams, as well as a wide range of practical tips and useful insights. The problems are divided into 10 chapters covering the main areas of chicken keeping, from health and housing to parasites and predators. Don't let a simple problem ruin your love for chicken keeping. The Chicken Keeper's Problem Solver has the answers you need!

    Item: 7704

    Author: Chris Graham

    Format: Paperback

  • THE COMPLETE ILLUSTRATED GUIDE TO FARMING

    Are you interested in the country lifestyle or becoming more self-reliant? Do you think about someday raising livestock or growing crops? If you're ready to make these thoughts a reality, The Complete Illustrated Guide to Farming is the perfect place to start. Farming experts Philip Hasheider and Samantha Johnson explain farming from start to finish: build your own fence, repair your own machinery, and know what to look for when you're buying a tractor. Instead of buying a book on each subject area, you need just this one, which condenses the most important and relevant information on every aspect of running a farm into a single handy volume. Unlike other books, it's designed specifically for the owner of a working farm. This practical illustrated guide provides hard-won expert advice on raising livestock, growing crops, making repairs, harvesting and butchering, managing a woodlot, and more. It's everything you need to know to establish and maintain your farm.

    Item: 7404

    Author: P. Hasheider & S. Johnson

    Format: Paperback

  • THE DROUGHT RESILIENT FARM

    Rainfall levels are rarely optimal, but there are hundreds of things you can do to efficiently conserve and use the water you do have and to reduce the impact of drought on your soil, crops, livestock, and farm or ranch ecosystem.

    Item: 9033

    Author: Dale Strickler

    Format: Paperback

  • THE FARMER'S OFFICE

    You decided to become a farmer because you love being outside, working the land and making a difference in the way we eat and farm.

    And when you decided to become a farmer, you also became an entrepreneur and business person. In order to be ecologically and financially sustainable, you must understand the basics of accounting and bookkeeping, and learn how to manage a growing business.

    Author Julia Shanks distills years of teaching and business consulting with farmers into this comprehensive, accessible guide. She covers all aspects of launching, running, and growing a successful farm business through effective bookkeeping and business management. She provides tools to make managerial decisions, apply for a loan or other financing, and offers general business and strategy advice for growing a business.

    Whether you've been farming for many years or are just getting started, The Farmer's Office gives you the tools needed to think like an entrepreneur and thoughtfully manage your business for success.

    Item: 8254

    Author: Julia Shanks

    Format: Paperback

  • THE FIELD GUIDE TO FLEECE

    With this compact, portable reference in hand, crafters can quickly and easily look up any of 100 sheep breeds, the characteristics of their fleece, and the kinds of projects for which their fleece is best suited.

    Item: 6907

    Author: Deborah Robson & Carol Ekarius

    Format: Paperback

  • THE INDEPENDENT FARMSTEAD

    Such self-sufficiency is largely the result of basing their farming practices around intensive pasture management. witty and welcoming style, The Independent Farmstead covers everything from choosing a species of ruminant and incorporating it into a grass-based system to innovative electric fencing and watering systems. Best of all, it’s the kind of rare how-to book that the authors themselves view not as a compendium of one-size-fits-all instructions but as “the beginning of a conversation,” one that is utterly informative, sincere, and inspiring.

    Item: 7979

    Author: Shawn & Beth Dougherty

    Format: Paperback

  • THE JOY OF KEEPING A ROOT CELLAR, 2ND EDITION

    Root cellaring isn’t just for off-the-grid types or farmers with large gardens. Storing food makes good sense, both financially and environmentally. And root cellars can easily fit anywhere. In this intelligent, convincing book, authors Jennifer Megyesi and Geoff Hansen show how to make them part of every reader’s life.

    Item: 8925

    Author: JENNIFER MEGYESI

    Format: Paperback

  • THE LEAN FARM

    The Lean Farm makes the case that small-scale farming can be an attractive career option for young people who are interested in growing food for their community. Working smarter, not harder, also prevents the kind of burnout that startup farmers often encounter in the face of long, hard, backbreaking labor.

    Item: 7740

    Author: Ben Hartman

    Format: Paperback

  • THE NEW AGRITOURISM

    For those interested in developing their own agritourism project, this book offers an overview of the origins of agritourism and provides useful information on developing an original plan. With profiles of farmers and their microfarms from around the world, this book shows innovative ways to develop and structure a plan that is safe, legal, promotes the enterprise, and is sure to progress and prosper in coming years.

    Item: 8076

    Author: Barbara Berst Adams

    Format: Paperback

  • THE NEW FARMER'S ALMANAC, VOLUME 3: COMMONS OF SKY, KNOWLEDGE, LAND, WATER

    The New Farmer’s Almanac, Volume 3 contains 360 pages of original agrarian content, essays, cartoons, imagery, and historical snippets, ?harnessed from more than 120 contributors to the Greenhorns (a nontraditional grassroots organization made up of young farmers and ranchers). Farmers hold space in many interwoven commons, and possibilities for our shared future rests on how these intersecting commons are governed?particularly at the juncture of humanity and ecology, where farmers make their workplace. In re-visiting the almanac format, this volume asserts a version of Americana and addresses how to equip ourselves for the challenges of rebuilding the food system and restoring a more democratic, more diverse, and more resilient foundation for society. In the face of a dystopian future where the weather is unpredictable, the fossil fuel economy is on the point of collapse, monopolies are endlessly consolidating, and the country is, for the first time in our history, majority urban, this publication provides a utopian voice. It reminds today’s farmers about the foundational concepts of an agrarian democracy?concepts that are themselves utopian. This almanac also rejects the self-propelling logic of techno-utopia?dependent upon extraction economies and enclosure of common resources. Instead, the book orients itself toward the words of Ursula Le Guin, who reminds us that the intent in utopian thinking should not be “reactionary, nor even conservative, but simply subversive. It seems that the utopian imagination is trapped, like capitalism and industrialism and the human population, in a one-way future consisting only of growth.” This tidy volume holds a civil, lived testimony from people whose work, lifeworld, and behavior patterns beamingly subvert the normative values of the macro economy called America.

    Item: 8398

    Author: GREENHORNS

    Format: Paperback

  • THE NEW LIVESTOCK FARMER

    The New Livestock Farmer provides pasture-based production essentials for a wide range of animals, from common farm animals (cattle, poultry, pigs, sheep and goats) to more exotic species (bison, rabbits, elk and deer).

    Item: 7630

    Author: R. Thistlethwaite, J. Dunlop

    Format: Paperback

  • THE NEW ORGANIC GROWER

    Coleman updates practical information on marketing the harvest, on small-scale equipment, and on farming and gardening for the long-term health of the soil. Written for a serious gardener or small market farmer, The New Organic Grower proves that, in terms of both efficiency and profitability, smaller can be better. As seen in High Mowing Organic Seeds catalog.

    Item: 529

    Author: Eliot Coleman

    Format: Paperback

  • THE ORGANIC MEDICINAL HERB FARMER

    Both a business guide and a farming manual, The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer will teach readers how to successfully grow and market organic medicinal herbs.

    Whether you’re trying to farm medicinal plants, culinary herbs, or at-risk native herbs exclusively or simply add herbal crops to what you’re already growing, successful small-scale herb farmers Jeff and Melanie Carpenter will guide you through the entire process—from cultivation to creating value-added products.

    Using their Zack Woods Herb Farm in Vermont as a backdrop, the Carpenters cover all the basic practical information farmers need to know to get an organic herb farm up and running, including:

    • Size and scale considerations
    • Layout and design of the farm and facilities
    • Growing and cultivation information, including types of tools
    • Field and bed prep
    • Plant propagation
    • Weed control, and pests and diseases
    • Harvesting, as well as wild harvesting and the concept of geo-authentic botanicals
    • Postharvest processing; and
    • Value-added products and marketing

    The authors also provide fifty detailed plant profiles, going deeper into the herbs every farmer should consider growing. In an easy-to-understand, practical, and comprehensive manner, readers will learn how to focus on quality over quantity, and keep costs down by innovating with existing equipment, rather than expensive technology. Market farmers who have never before considered growing medicinal herbs will learn why it’s more important to produce these herbs domestically.

    The Organic Medicinal Herb Farmer makes a convincing case that producing organic medicinal herbs can be a viable, profitable, farming enterprise. The Carpenters also make the case for incorporating medicinal herbs into existing operations, as it can help increase revenue in the form of value-added products, not to mention improve the ecological health of farmland by encouraging biodiversity as a path toward greater soil health.

    Item: 7617

    Author: Jeff & Melanie Carpenter

    Format: Paperback

  • THE PERMACULTURE HANDBOOK

    The urban landscape has swallowed vast swaths of prime farmland across North America. Imagine how much more self-reliant our communities would be if 30 million acres of lawns were made productive again. Permaculture is a practical way to apply ecological design principles to food, housing, and energy systems; making growing fruits, vegetables and livestock easier and more sustainable.

    The Permaculture Handbook is a step-by-step, beautifully illustrated guide to creating resilient and prosperous households and neighborhoods, complemented by extensive case studies of three successful farmsteads and market gardens. This comprehensive manual casts garden farming as both an economic opportunity and a strategy for living well with less money. It shows how, by mimicking the intelligence of nature and applying appropriate technologies such as solar and environmental design, permaculture can:

    • Create an abundance of fresh, nourishing local produce
    • Reduce dependence on expensive, polluting fossil fuels
    • Drought-proof our cities and countryside
    • Convert waste into wealth
    Permaculture is about working with the earth and with each other to repair the damage of industrial overreach and to enrich the living world that sustains us. The Permaculture Handbook is the definitive, practical North American guide to this revolutionary practice, and is a must-read for anyone concerned about creating food security, resilience and a legacy of abundance rather than depletion.

    Item: 6017

    Author: Peter Bane

    Format: Paperback

  • THE PREPPER'S POCKET GUIDE

    This guide contains 101 easy things you can do to ready your home for a disaster. The simple yet smart projects ensure that any household is prepared for that inevitable day when disaster strikes. From California earthquakes and Rocky Mountain wildfires to Midwest floods and Atlantic hurricanes, millions of people face life-threatening emergencies each year. This handy and helpful book shows readers how easy it is to prepare their home and family for any disaster. By breaking down the many facets of prepping into straightforward steps, this book transforms a seemingly daunting task into easy-to-do, manageable projects. Author Bernie Carr’s unique “survivalist lite” approach requires readers to dedicate little time, money, or space, but provides a big payoff: being fully prepared and self-sufficient.

    Item: 8894

    Author: BERNIE CARRR

    Format: Paperback

  • THE PREPPER'S WATER SURVIVAL GUIDE

    No source is left untapped in this all-encompassing guide to supplying lifesaving water after a disaster. Of all the resources needed after a catastrophe strikes (food, heat, electricity, communication, and transportation) none are as important as water! While a substantial supply should be stored, the size and weight of water make storage impractical for long-term survival. Therefore it’s critical to know how to acquire and purify additional water supplies over time. This guide addresses all of these factors and more with straightforward instruction.

    Suitable for novice and expert preppers alike, this book’s laser-sharp focus on water allows for a depth of information not found in any other guide.

    Item: 8893

    Author: DAISY LUTHER

    Format: Paperback

  • THE SHEER ECSTASY OF BEING A LUNATIC FARMER

    Shunned by industrial farmers, vilified by corporate agri-business, and stalked by food police as being a lunatic, farmer-entrepreneur Joel Salatin enjoys the sheer ecstasy of being surrounded by happy, frolicking animals, dancing earthworms, and appreciative customers.

    His family's farm nestled in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley has achieved iconic status worldwide by featuring prominently in the Oscar-nominated documentary, Food. Inc., and the documentary, Fresh," as well as the runaway New York Times best-seller The Omnivore's Dilemma. From his own pen, Salatin explains both the rationale for the satisfaction from a solar-driven, pastured-based, locally-marketed, symbiotic, synergistic, relationally-oriented farm.

    This book describes, with stories and evangelistic fervor, the breadth and depth of the paradigm differences between healing and exploitive food systems. A landscape and food policy epiphany awaits every reader.

    About the author

    Joel Salatin and his family own and operate Polyface Farm, arguably the nation's most famous farm since it was profiled in Michael Pollan's New York Times best-seller, The Omnivore's Dilemma and two subsequent documentaries, "Food, Inc.", and "Fresh." An accomplished author and public speaker, Salatin has authored seven books. Recognition for his ecological and local-based farming advocacy includes an honorary doctorate, the Heinz Award, and many leadership awards.

    Item: 4808

    Author: Joel Salatin

    Format: Paperback

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