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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
The Salatin family farm, known as Polyface and located in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley, is one of the nation's premier ecological farms and has been featured in countless print, radio and video media. Exemplifying local food systems and imbedded community-based agriculture, the farm caught the attention of Michael Pollan in his runaway New York Times best-seller The Omnivore's Dilemma (when Salatin refused to ship T-bone steaks to New York).
Behind the glitz, however, the farm struggles with a labyrinth of government regulations and cultural perceptions that terrorize the antidote to mad cows, avian influenza, and food fears. The solution is simple: allow freedom for traditional food growing and purchasing choices.
This book brings to life, with humor and verve, the everyday conflict between the entrenched industrial food system and the local artisanal neighbor-friendly farmer-entrepreneur.
Joel Salatin is also the author of: Pastured Poultry Profit$, Salad Bar Beef, You Can Farm, Family Friendly Farming, Holy Cows and Hog Heaven.
Author: Joel Salatin
Embrace the jewel-toned fruits, flaming foliage, and woody plants of the fall garden Ondra and Cohen’s expertise is complemented by stunning color photographs that illustrate the beauty. You’ll be inspired to use vines, tree shrubs, and flowers to contribute color, texture, and beauty to your garden well past summer’s peak.
Author: Nancy J. Ondra & Stephanie Cohen
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.
Author: D. Benjamin & L. Virkler
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
In Gaining Ground, author Forrest Pritchard recounts his ambitious and often hilarious endeavors to save his family's seventh-generation Virginia farm in the Shenandoah Valley. Through much trial and error, he not only saves Smith Meadows from insolvency but turns it into a leading light in the sustainable, grass-fed, organic farm-to-market community.
Author: Forrest Pritchard
A vivid, geeky travelogue of a journey to meet the inventors, engineers, and young scientists helping to give birth to the world's next scientific superpower—a nation built not on conquest, oil, or minerals, but on the scientific ingenuity of its people
Author: Angela Saini
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In Getting a Grip 2, Frances Moore Lappé, author of the groundbreaking Diet for a Small Planet, speaks to everyone distressed by the state of our world. In a vibrant, intimate voice, she challenges us to re-examine outdated assumptions about who we are and how the world works. She then weaves surprising facts and stories of courage into a novel narrative of meaning and action.
Drawing on breakthroughs from neuroscience to anthropology, Lappé offers us a way of seeing possibility based not in wishful thinking but hard evidence.
Getting a Grip 2, thoroughly rewritten for this moment, shows us how reframing the very meaning of democracy, power, fear, courage and even hope itself, can free us to create the lives and the world we really want.
Lappé's startling message leaves readers feeling liberated and courageous.
Author: Frances Moore Lappé
It's not often that someone stumbles into entrepreneurship and ends up reviving a community and starting a national economic-reform movement. But that’s what happened when, in 1983, Judy Wicks founded the White Dog Café on the first floor of her house on a row of Victorian brownstones in West Philadelphia. After helping to save her block from demolition, Judy grew what began as a tiny muffin shop into a 200-seat restaurant—one of the first to feature local, organic, and humane food. The restaurant blossomed into a regional hub for community, and a national powerhouse for modeling socially responsible business.
Good Morning, Beautiful Business is a memoir about the evolution of an entrepreneur who would not only change her neighborhood, but would also change her world—helping communities far and wide create local living economies that value people and place as much as commerce and that make communities not just interesting and diverse and prosperous, but also resilient.
Wicks recounts a girlhood coming of age in the sixties, a stint working in an Alaska Eskimo village in the seventies, her experience cofounding the first Free People's store (now well known as Urban Outfitters), her accidental entry into the world of restauranteering, the emergence of the celebrated White Dog Café, and her eventual role as an international leader and speaker in the local-living-economies movement.
Her memoir traces the roots of her career—exploring what it takes to marry social change and commerce, and do business differently. Passionate, fun, and inspirational, Good Morning, Beautiful Business explores the way women, and men, can follow both mind and heart, do what’s right, and do well by doing good.
Author: Judy Wicks
This book tackles an increasingly crucial question: What can we do about the seemingly intractable challenges confronting all of humanity today, including climate change, global hunger, water scarcity, environmental stress and economic instability?
The quick answers are: Build topsoil. Fix creeks. Eat meat from pasture-raised animals. Soil scientists maintain that a mere 2 percent increase in the carbon content of the planet's soils could offset 100 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions going into the atmosphere. But how could this be accomplished? What would it cost? Is it even possible?
Yes, says author Courtney White, it is not only possible, but essential for the long-term health and sustainability of our environment and our economy.
Right now, the only possibility of large-scale removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere is through plant photosynthesis and related land-based carbon sequestration activities. These include a range of already existing, low-tech, and proven practices: composting, no-till farming, climate-friendly livestock practices, conserving natural habitat, restoring degraded watersheds and rangelands, increasing biodiversity, and producing local food.
In Grass, Soil, Hope, the author shows how all these practical strategies can be bundled together into an economic and ecological whole, with the aim of reducing atmospheric CO2 while producing substantial co-benefits for all living things. Soil is a huge natural sink for carbon dioxide. If we can draw increasing amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere and store it safely in the soil, we can significantly address all the multiple challenges that now appear so intractable.
Author: Courtney White
Author: Brian F. Keane
Merlin, Gandalf, Voldemort: These well-known sorcerers from popular culture are famed for their amazing spells and spectacular magical powers. In ancient times, however, a wizard was actually a freelance intellectual whose main stock in trade was good advice, supported by a thorough education in agriculture, navigation, political and military science, languages, commerce, mathematics, medicine, and the natural sciences - in essence, the true Renaissance man.
In Green Wizardry, author John Michael Greer proposes a modern mage for uncertain times; one who possesses a startling array of practical skills gleaned from the appropriate tech and organic gardening movements forged in the energy crisis of the 1970s. Covering everything from the basic concepts of ecology to a plethora of practical techniques such as composting, green manure, low-tech food preservation and storage, small-scale chicken and rabbit raising, solar water heating, alternative energy sources, and more, this book acts as a comprehensive manual for today's wizard-in-training.
Providing a solid practical introduction to the entire appropriate tech toolkit, Green Wizardry is a must-read for anyone concerned about decreasing our dependence on an overloaded industrial system and, in a world of serious energy shortages and economic troubles, making life a great deal less traumatic and more livable.
Author: John Michael Greer