Prepare to live sustainably with our homesteading books. From raising animals to survival skills, learn how to live more conscientiously.

  • COMPACT FARMS

    Small is beautiful, and these 15 real farm plans show that small-scale farmers can have big-time success. Compact Farms is an illustrated guide for anyone dreaming of starting, expanding, or perfecting a profitable farming enterprise on 5 acres or less. The farm plans explain how to harness an area’s water supply, orientation, and geography in order to maximize efficiency and productivity while minimizing effort. Profiles of well-known farmers such as Eliot Coleman and Jean-Martin Fortier show that farming on a small scale in any region, in both urban and rural settings, can provide enough income to turn the endeavor from hobby to career. These real-life plans and down-and-dirty advice will equip you with everything you need to actually realize your farm dreams.

    Item: 8189
  • COUNTDOWN TO PREPAREDNESS

    This is a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to fully prepare your family for any cataclysmic event. Every year rivers flood, hurricanes strike, and earthquakes shake buildings to the ground. Catastrophic disasters can hit anywhere at any time. There’s simply no escaping them. The only reasonable thing you can do is get prepared. Accessible to absolute beginners, this guide to prepping shows how to create a self-sustainable home for surviving anything from a power outage to societal collapse. In just a few hundred well-thought-out pages, Countdown to Preparedness takes you and your family from clueless to completely ready.

    Item: 8892
  • DEAR COUNTY AGENT GUY

    “Jerry Nelson’s column comes from the true heart of the Midwest. He has the true voice, the slow twang. He knows wheat from barley. He knows hardware, he knows vegetation, he knows people.”—Garrison Keillor In the tradition of Mark Twain and Jean Shepherd, Dave Barry and Garrison Keillor, Jerry Nelson is a humorist whose beat is the American heartland, a small-town world of pickup trucks and Sunday night pancake dinners, dropping in on neighbors and complaining about the county agent. His depictions of daily life, from the point of view of an ex-dairy farmer and taciturn husband with a twinkle in his eye, are read by 250,000 people a week—and occasionally woven into Prairie Home Companion scripts. These are stories of courtship; childbirth—he offers the delivery room doctor the use of his calf puller; family; neighbors; chores; and the duties of a father—why is it that a man who spends his days in cow manure can’t change a baby’s diaper? Knee-slappingly funny one moment, poignant the next, it’s a very special look at a distinctly American way of life.

    Item: 8667
  • DR. PREPPER

    Preparedness must begin from the inside out. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can often determine whether or not you can physically endure catastrophic circumstances. Poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle can lead to health issues, and the simplest toothache can transform into an abscess that poisons the blood. You never know what small step you could have taken that would have helped you bounce back from an injury or could have reduced your risk of falling ill, so it is important to start preparing for the worst by treating your body the best you can. When you never know what’s going to happen, this book will give you the resources to plan ahead, assess your situation, find a solution, and help you keep going.

    Item: 8175
  • DUDE MAKING A DIFFERENCE

    You want to do something for the planet, but what? Change a light bulb, install a low-flow faucet, eat organic? How about ride 4,700 miles across America on a bamboo bicycle, using only water from natural sources, avoiding fossil fuels almost completely, supplying your few electrical needs with solar power, and creating nearly zero waste?

    Item: 8763
  • EARTH REPAIR

    Packed with valuable, firsthand information from visionaries in the field, Earth Repair empowers communities and individuals to take action and heal contaminated and damaged land. Encompassing everything from remediating and regenerating abandoned city lots for urban farmers and gardeners, to recovering from environmental disasters and industrial catastrophes such as oil spills and nuclear fallout, this fertile toolbox is essential reading for anyone who wishes to transform environmental despair into constructive action.

    Item: 6587
  • ECOPRENEURING

    CLEARANCE $8.44 This accessible and inspiring guide includes profiles of successful ecopreneurs and provides an in-depth exploration of: Eco-Business basics, Purposeful management, Marketing in the green economy, Running a lifestyle business.

    Item: 4586
  • ELECTRIC FENCING

    This practical guide covers everything you need to know about the types of electric fencing available, how to choose the type that is right for your needs, how electric fencing works, how to put an electric fencing system together, and even how to use portable electric fencing for rotational grazing. Whether you need to keep livestock in or predators out, you’ll find the information you need in this comprehensive handbook.

    Item: 6613
  • ESSENTIAL RAINWATER HARVESTING

    Essential Rainwater Harvesting is a comprehensive manual for designing, building, and maintaining water harvesting systems for the warm and cold climates of the world. Presenting design considerations and approaches for the most common household rainwater supply scenarios – primary, supplemental, and off-grid supply.

    Item: 9280
  • ESSENTIAL RAMMED EARTH CONSTRUCTION

    Essential Rammed Earth Construction covers design, building science, tools, and step-by-step building methods for any climate, with a special emphasis on building in cold climates of the northern United States, Canada, and northern Europe. The book provides an overview of earthen building, and goes over topics that include the appropriate use of rammed earth walls, stabilized versus raw rammed earth, and design considerations. Inside, you’ll find construction drawings with step-by-step building instructions.

    Item: 9447
  • EXTREME SIMPLICITY

    Christopher and Dolores Lynn Nyerges are prepared for everything from power failures and terrorist attacks to droughts and earthquakes. They'll show you the path to self-reliance, with strategies for coping with disasters as well as making the most of everyday life.

    Item: 7262
  • FARM ANATOMY

    What's the difference between a weanling and a yearling, or a farrow and a barrow? Country and city mice alike will delight in Julia Rothman's charming illustrated guide to the curious parts and pieces of rural living. Dissecting everything from tractors and pigs to fences, hay bales, crop rotation patterns, and farm tools, Rothman gives a richly entertaining tour of the quirky details of country life. From the shapes of squash varieties to the parts of a goat; from how a barn is constructed to what makes up a beehive, every corner of the barnyard is uncovered and celebrated. A perfect gift for gardeners, locavores, homesteaders, and country-living enthusiasts alike.

    Item: 5993
  • FARM FENCES & GATES

    In Farm Fences and Gates, you'll learn how to build and repair the fences you need … and make the difference between a world of trouble and peace of mind. Wood posts or steel, wire mesh, barbed wire, chain link, or rail: This book will help you figure out what kind of fence is appropriate and how to plan its construction. Useful diagrams and charts help you estimate how much material you'll need and how to go about installing and maintaining a solid, dependable fence. Writer and farm consultant Rick Kubik offers clear and expert advice on what works best in certain areas and for particular purposes. His instructions for planning and constructing each variety of fencing take the guesswork out of a job of critical importance to most landowners (and their neighbors).

    Farm Fences and Gates is the first and most essential tool for anyone thinking of building a fence. This complete guidebook will save time and money for beginners and seasoned builders alike by explaining how to do the job right the first time around.

    Item: 7239
  • FARM TO TABLE

    Nearly a century ago, the idea of “local food” would have seemed perplexing, because virtually all food was local. Food for daily consumption (fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, and dairy products) was grown at home or sourced from local farms. Today, most of the food consumed in the United States and, increasingly, around the globe, is sourced from industrial farms and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), which power a food system rife with environmental, economic, and health-related problems.

    The tide, however, is slowly but steadily turning back in what has been broadly termed the “farm-to-table” movement. In Farm to Table, Darryl Benjamin and Chef Lyndon Virkler explore how the farm-to-table philosophy is pushing back modern, industrialized food production and moving beyond isolated “locavore” movements into a broad and far-reaching coalition of farmers, chefs, consumers, policy advocates, teachers, institutional buyers, and many more all working to restore healthful, sustainable, and affordable food for everyone.

    Divided into two distinct but complementary halves, “Farm” and “Table,” Farm to Table first examines the roots of our contemporary industrial food system, from the technological advances that presaged the “Green Revolution” to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz’s infamous dictum to farmers to “Get big or get out” in the 1970s. Readers will explore the many threats to ecology and human health that our corporatized food system poses, but also the many alternatives (from permaculture to rotation-intensive grazing) that small farmers are now adopting to meet growing consumer demand. The second half of the book is dedicated to illuminating best practices and strategies for schools, restaurants, health care facilities, and other businesses and institutions to partner with local farmers and food producers, from purchasing to marketing.

    No longer restricted to the elite segments of society, the farm-to-table movement now reaches a wide spectrum of Americans from all economic strata and in a number of settings, from hospital and office cafeterias, from elementary schools to fast-casual restaurants. Farm to Table is a one-of-a-kind resource on how to integrate sustainable principles into each of these settings and facilitate intelligent, healthful food choices at every juncture as our food system evolves. While borrowing from the best ideas of the past, the lessons herein are designed to help contribute to a healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable tomorrow.

    Item: 8295
  • FARM...FOOD...FUN

    The Mushroom Hut @ Fox Farms is a small-scale diversified working and teaching farm. They are a registered nursery, licensed seed dealer, grain dealer, and dairy goat farm. This book includes recipes and information regarding their workshops, from simple-cheese making, tapping maple trees using sumac spiles, making flower essence jellies, growing hops and bloody butcher corn, and much more.

    Item: 7909
  • FARMING THE WOODS

    Learn how to fill forests with food by viewing agriculture from a remarkably different perspective: that a healthy forest can be maintained while growing a wide range of food, medicinal, and other non-timber products.

    The practices of forestry and farming are often seen as mutually exclusive, because in the modern world, agriculture involves open fields, straight rows, and machinery to grow crops, while forests are reserved primarily for timber and firewood harvesting.

    In Farming the Woods, authors Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel demonstrate that it doesn’t have to be an either-or scenario, but a complementary one; forest farms can be most productive in places where the plow is not: on steep slopes and in shallow soils. Forest farming is an invaluable practice to integrate into any farm or homestead, especially as the need for unique value-added products and supplemental income becomes increasingly important for farmers.

    Many of the daily indulgences we take for granted (such as coffee, chocolate, and many tropical fruits) all originate in forest ecosystems. But few know that such abundance is also available in the cool temperate forests of North America.

    Farming the Woods covers in detail how to cultivate, harvest, and market high-value non-timber forest crops such as American ginseng, shiitake mushrooms, ramps (wild leeks), maple syrup, fruit and nut trees, ornamentals, and more. Along with profiles of forest farmers from around the country, readers are also provided comprehensive information on:

    • historical perspectives of forest farming
    • mimicking the forest in a changing climate
    • cultivation of medicinal crops
    • cultivation of food crops
    • creating a forest nursery
    • harvesting and utilizing wood products
    • the role of animals in the forest farm
    • how to design your forest farm and manage it once it’s established

    Farming the Woods is an essential book for farmers and gardeners who have access to an established woodland, are looking for productive ways to manage it, and are interested in incorporating aspects of agroforestry, permaculture, forest gardening, and sustainable woodlot management into the concept of a whole-farm organism.

    Item: 7477
  • FARMING WHILE BLACK

    Farming While Black is the first comprehensive how-to guide for aspiring African-heritage growers to reclaim their dignity as agriculturists and for all farmers to understand the distinct, technical contributions of African-heritage people to sustainable agriculture.

    Item: 9288
  • FARMS WITH A FUTURE

    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.

    Item: 6417
  • FIELDS OF FARMERS

    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.

    Item: 6831
  • FINDING GOOD FARMLAND

    This practical guide contains all of the information you need to have before purchasing farmland, covering everything from the characteristics of the land and the surrounding area to government regulations, land use considerations, and financing. Checklists and questionnaires are included to help you decide exactly what you need and how to find it.

    Item: 6685

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