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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.
Author: Rebecca Thistlethwaite
Interest in local, sustainable food is at an all-time high. Devotees of farmers market and community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs, backyard homesteaders, and community gardeners all want to know more (much more) about how our food is raised. Now, seventh-generation farmer and author Forrest Pritchard introduces us to 18 heroes of the sustainable food movement.
Author: Forrest Pritchard
In today's high-tech society, even the most advanced devices and systems are not fail-safe. Tools can break or wear out, batteries can go dead, and all sorts of malfunctions can render the modern conveniences we rely on totally useless. If quick replacements of failed items are not readily available, the ability to improvise and adapt in the workshop suddenly becomes very practical.
James Ballou, author of the best-selling Long-Term Survival in the Coming Dark Age, dramatically expands on the popular home workshop material in his first book to present a "makeshifter's" way of building and repairing things with only a pile of raw or salvaged materials, your hands and your mind. In this fascinating new book, he presents a wide range of unconventional, remarkably creative home workshop skills, including:
Ballou also gives extensive instruction in makeshift metalworking, practical calculating skills, resourceful salvaging, plus dozens of practical tips for the craftsman or handyman who might need this information in an emergency or who simply enjoys learning about alternative ways to handle home workshop projects.
Author: James Ballou
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A perfect gift for maple lovers! Savor the surprising history of maple sugaring, learn to identify the various kinds of maple trees, discover how to tap your own trees and make your own syrup, and indulge yourself with tempting recipes for old-fashioned treats like maple nut bread, maple eggnog, baked beans, maple nutmeg butternut squash, maple-glazed salmon and pecan pie. What could be sweeter?
Author: Tim Herd
Here is a holistic approach to small-area farming that will show you how to produce 85 percent of an average family's food on just one-quarter acre — and earn $10,000 in cash annually. This is not back-to-the-land utopianism, but a tested and pragmatic method that can be applied in small lots in rural, suburban and even urban areas. Even if you have never been a farmer or a gardener, Brett Markham's advice will teach you what you need to know:
More than just a how-to guide for self-sufficiency, Mini Farming teaches you the underlying principles of mini-farming so you will have the knowledge to make your own unique applications. Materials, tools and techniques are detailed with over a hundred photographs, tables, diagrams and illustrations.
Author: Brett L. Markham
The 1970s classic has been out of print for years. Now, updated for today's readers and back in print, its information is as useful as ever. It contains instructions and illustrations for everything from harnessing solar energy to cultivating a sustainable garden to learning how to keep bees. Simply put, Mother Earth News Almanac is designed to empower readers to be self-sufficient.
Author: Mother Earth News
Have you ever wanted to build your own chicken coop, cider press or herb-drying rack? How about a clever two-bin composter, horse-blanket washing machine or genuine Langstroth beehive? In Practical Projects for Self-Sufficiency, you'll find these projects and a couple dozen more to help you develop and grow your self-reliant lifestyle. Most self-sufficiency books give you pages of words and a couple of small drawings for an explanation, but this book shows you exactly how to do things, employing beautiful photos and complete plans. The projects are organized into four categories: Food Prep & Preservation, Homestead, Garden and Animals. Among the projects are a simple brooder box for chicks, a jumbo cold frame, a basic loom, a large-capacity soil sifter, fencing, trellises and even a solar oven. So, whether you're a longtime do-it-yourselfer looking to complete your skill set or a newcomer taking your first step toward sustainability, Practical Projects for Self-Sufficiency is the book to get you there.
Author: Chris Peterson
Author: Bob Bennett
Shelters, Shacks and Shanties, Second Edition presents lively, step-by-step tutelage on building all types of temporary and long-term accommodations from both natural and man-made materials. Originally published in 1914, this practical classic is as essential a guide for today's modern homesteader as it was at the turn of the 20th century.
Included are instructions for dozens of worry-free shelters for you to choose from, including a sod house for the lawn, a treetop house, over-water camps, a bog ken and much more. Satisfying the builder's need for the creature comforts of home, it also provides tips on how to build hearths and chimneys, notched log ladders, and even how to rig a front door with a secret look. Illustrated throughout with a bounty of helpful line drawings, Shelters, Shacks and Shanties, Second Edition harkens back to the can-do spirit of the American frontier that still thrives today.
Author: D.C. Beard
With just a quarter acre of land, you can feed a family of four with fresh, organic food year-round. This comprehensive guide to self-sufficiency gives you all the information you need to grow and preserve a variety of vegetables, fruits, herbs, nuts and grains; raise chickens for eggs and meat; raise cows, sheep and goats for meat or milk; raise pigs and rabbits; and keep honeybees. Simple instructions make it easy to enjoy canned, frozen, dried and pickled produce all winter; use your own grains to make bread, pasta and beer; turn fresh milk into delicious homemade yogurt, butter and cheese; make your own wine, cordials and herbal teas; and much, much more. It truly is possible to eat entirely from your backyard.
Recommended Product for Wiser Living: 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 and products to 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.
Author: Carleen Madigan
Homesteaders, gardeners, small farmers, and outdoor living enthusiasts will love these 76 DIY projects for practical outdoor items designed to help you live more sustainably and independently. Expert woodworker Spike Carlsen offers clear, simple, fully illustrated instructions for everything from plant supports and a clothesline to a potting bench, a chicken coop, a hoop greenhouse, a cold frame, a beehive, a root cellar with storage bins, and an outdoor shower. Most of the projects are suitable for complete novices, and all use just basic tools and standard building materials.
Author: Spike Carlsen
Every woodworker will want to own this colorful, information-packed, mammoth resource for weekend crafting. It's filled with 150 classic projects and features an introductory section that walks readers through the various planning stages. It's all covered: selecting the right wood, working with patterns, gluing and finishing. Novices can effortlessly make simple mirrors, shelves, clocks and jewelry boxes, while those with slightly more advanced skills can try the small cupboard, blanket chest or side table. For outdoors, there are whimsical weather vanes, whirligigs, plant stands and trellises. Some of the sweetest items are just for kids, such as animal pull toys, wheeled cars, puzzles, a winged rocking chair, and vintage-style doll accessories. Every project includes finishes or surface decoration options, plus drawings and patterns.
Author: John A. & Joyce Nelson
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