Mycorrhizal fungi have been waiting a long time for people to recognize just how important they are to the making of dynamic soils. These microscopic organisms partner with the root systems of approximately 95 percent of the plants on Earth, and they sequester carbon in much more meaningful ways than human “carbon offsets” will ever achieve. Most of these soil fungi are mycorrhizal, supporting plant health in elegant and sophisticated ways. The boost to green immune function in plants and community-wide networking turns out to be the true basis of ecosystem resiliency. A profound intelligence exists in the underground nutrient exchange between fungi and plant roots, which in turn determines the nutrient density of the foods we grow and eat.
In No-Till Intensive Vegetable Culture, O’Hara describes the methods he has developed, which are completely free of herbicides or other pesticides and require only a few acres of land and minimal capital investment. He asserts that this flexible, ecological methodology is as important for soil fertility as it is for his economic success.
This book documents the many reasons why raising livestock on a natural diet of grass is better for consumers, family farmers, the environment and the animals. Includes proof that meat, eggs and dairy products from grass-fed animals are richer in numerous vitamins and nutrients and lower in fat.
Today, more than ever before, our society is seeking ways to live more conscientiously. To help bring you the very best inspiration and information about greener, more sustainable lifestyles, Mother Earth News is recommending books to its readers. For more than 40 years, Mother Earth News has been North America’s “Original Guide to Living Wisely,” creating books and magazines for people with a passion for self-reliance and a desire to live in harmony with nature.
What goes into feed and why? How important is grit? What do I do when my birds get sick? All of these questions are answered in Pastured Poultry: Feeding and Management, 3rd edition! This is the perfect hands-on guide for understanding and developing your own pastured poultry feed. Whether you only have a few backyard chickens or a farm with hundreds, this book will be a helpful resource to dive into.
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.
Houdan. Nankin. Indian Runner. Narragansett. These may sound like exotic place names or unusual varieties of produce, but each actually refers to one of the many hundreds of lesser-known poultry breeds that tempt the livestock owner who's prepared to venture into less-familiar territory. Providing an alternative to commercial breeds and hybrids, heritage breeds each boast their own unique characteristics and personality traits, and are a valuable (and entertaining) addition to a sustainable food system.
Pure Poultry is the first book in nearly 100 years to focus specifically on heritage breeds of chickens, turkeys and ducks and their role in a self-reliant lifestyle. This timely, beautifully illustrated resource includes:
Brimming with quiet humor, Pure Poultry is an immensely readable how-to and why-to resource. Based entirely on her personal experience, author Victoria Redhed Miller includes plenty of lessons learned the hard way. Pure Poultry shows how heritage-breed poultry can enhance and deepen anyone's quality of life, whether you have a farm, a small backyard, or a neighbor with space to share.
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. This unique, fully illustrated guide will teach you to help your herd thrive with:
• Breed-specific descriptions to help you choose the right goats for your goals and lifestyle
• Detailed information on housing, fencing, breeding, health, milking, and nutrition
• Complete recipes and instructions for making your own cheese, dairy products, and soap, as well as cooking with goat meat
Packed with personal experiences and backed up by expert veterinary advice and scientific studies, Raising Goats Naturally brings together a wealth of practical information on raising goats for the love of it and using their milk and meat to become more self-reliant.
A comprehensive guide-book for those interested in raising poultry on pasture. Numerous articles from a diversity of authors, each highlighting their "lessons learned" and "best practices." Organized in an easy-to-use format, topics range from brooding to processing, laying hens to broilers and turkeys. This book offers everything from the basics to the finest details shared by successful pastured poultry producers. Included are discussions of various shelter designs and comparisons of "day-range" vs "closed shelter" systems.
Chapters on Marketing and Equipment help producers make decisions in these areas. Profiles of numerous successful producers and suppliers of specialized equipment from around the U.S. are included. Fully indexed.
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.
Whether a farmer is raising one cow or a herd, Storey’s Guide to Raising Beef Cattle is the most reliable reference for ensuring a successful, healthy cattle operation. In this fully updated, full-color fourth edition, longtime cattle rancher and author Heather Smith Thomas explains every aspect of bovine behavior and provides expert guidance on breed selection, calving, feeding, housing, pasture, and health care.
Whether you're an architect, engineer, contractor, or owner-builder interested in making informed choices, Straw Bale Building Details is the indispensable guide to current practice in straw bale design and construction.
Across North America, an agricultural renaissance is unfolding. A growing number of market gardeners are emerging to feed our appetite for organic, regional produce. At the same time, most books and resources about food production aim at the backyard and hobby gardener, who simply want to supplement their family's diet with a few homegrown fruits and vegetables. Targeted at serious growers in every climate zone, Sustainable Market Farming acts as a comprehensive manual for small-scale farmers raising organic crops sustainably on a few acres.
Informed by the author's extensive experience growing a wide variety of fresh, organic vegetables and fruit to feed the approximately 100 members of Twin Oaks Community in central Virginia, this practical guide provides:
Whether you are a beginning market grower or an established enterprise seeking to improve your skills, Sustainable Market Farming is an invaluable resource and a timely book for the maturing local agriculture movement.
While supplies last.
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.
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.
Delicious wild edible plants and mushrooms are abundant throughout North America, not only in the wilderness but in urban areas, too. Learn how to identify, harvest, and eat the tastiest plants in your backyard. Dandelion flowers become wine, Japanese knotweed becomes rhubarb-like compote and tangy sorbet, red clover blossoms give quick bread a delightfully spongy texture and hint of sweetness.
Build your homesteading dreams with all the affordable DIY innovations, tips, and stories you need to successfully set out on a path to self-sufficiency. Raise and grow your own food, connect with nature, and consume less while producing more! The Frugal Homesteader is a fun, inspirational, and educational guide filled with a lifetime of learning that comes along with becoming a homesteader.
The Fruit Forager’s Companion is a how-to guide with nearly 100 recipes devoted to the secret, sweet bounty just outside our front doors and ripe for the taking, from familiar apples and oranges to lesser-known pawpaws and mayhaws. Seasoned chef, gardener, and forager Sara Bir primes readers on foraging basics, demonstrates gathering and preservation techniques, and presents a suite of recipes including habanero crabapple jelly, lime pickle, pawpaw lemon curd, and fermented cranberry relish.
Today only a few dozen large-scale producers dominate the greenhouse produce market. Why? Because they know and employ best practices for the most profitable crops: tomatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, peppers, leafy greens, lettuce, herbs, and microgreens. The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook levels the playing field by revealing these practices so that all growers, large and small, can maximize the potential of their protected growing space. With comprehensive chapters on temperature control and crop steering, pruning and trellising, grafting, and more, Mefferd’s book is full of techniques and strategies that can help farms stay profitable, satisfy customers, and become an integral part of re-localizing our food system. From seed to sale, The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook is the indispensable resource for protected growing.
No-till — a method of growing crops and providing pasture without disturbing the soil — has become an important alternative to standard farming practices. In this comprehensive guide to successful no-till vegetable farming for aspiring and beginning farmers, author Daniel Mays, owner and manager of an organic no-till farm in Maine, outlines the environmental, social, and economic benefits of this system.
The methods described are designed for implementation at the human scale, relying primarily on human power, with minimal use of machinery. The book presents streamlined planning and record-keeping tools as well as marketing strategies, and outlines community engagement programs like CSA, food justice initiatives, and on-farm education.
The Nourishing Homestead tells the story of how we can create truly satisfying and permanent relationships with the land, nature and one another.
Ben and Penny Hewitt offer practical ways to grow nutrient-dense food on a small plot of land, and think about a farm, homestead or home as an ecosystem. Much of what the Hewitts have come to understand and embrace about their lives of deep nourishment is informed by their particular piece of land and local community in northern Vermont, but what they have gleaned is readily transferable to any place—whether you live on 4 acres, 40 acres or in a 400-square-foot studio apartment.
The Hewitts (including their two sons) maintain copious gardens, dozens of fruit and nut trees, and other perennial plantings, as well as a pick-your-own blueberry patch. In addition to these cultivated food crops, they also forage for wild edibles, process their own meat, make their own butter, and ferment, dry and can their own vegetables. Their focus is to produce nutrient-dense foods from vibrant, mineralized soils for themselves and their immediate community. They are also committed to sharing the traditional skills that support their family, helping them be self-sufficient and thrive in these uncertain times.
Much of what the Hewitts are attempting on their homestead is to close the gaps that economic separation has created in our health, spirit and skills. They use the term “practiculture” to describe the family’s work with the land—a term that encompasses the many practical life skills and philosophies they embody to create a thriving homestead, including raw-milk production, soil remediation, wildcrafting, Weston A. Price principles, bionutrient-dense farming, permaculture, agroforestry, traditional Vermont hill farming, and more. The Nourishing Homestead also includes information on deep nutrition, the importance of good fats and integrating children into the work of a homestead.
The Hewitts’ story is reminiscent of The Good Life, by Helen and Scott Nearing, and is sure to inspire a new generation of homesteaders, or anyone seeking a simpler way of life and a deeper connection to the world.