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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
From Erin Benzakein, owner of internationally renowned Floret Flower Farm and a leader in the locaflor farm-to-centerpiece movement, Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden is equal parts instruction and inspiration: a book overflowing with lush photography of magnificent flowers and breathtaking arrangements organized by season. This beautiful guide to growing, harvesting, and arranging gorgeous blooms year-round gives readers vital tools to nurture a stunning flower garden and use their blossoms to create showstopping arrangements. With irresistible photos of Benzakein's flower farm that showcase exquisite blooms, tips for growing in a variety of spaces and climates as well as step-by-step instructions for lavish garlands, airy centerpieces, and romantic floral décor for every season, Floret Farm's Cut Flower Garden informs and entices gardeners of all skill levels.
Author: E. Benzakein & J. Chai
Garden Builder is a treasure trove of lovely yard, patio, and garden projects you can build yourself!
Perfect for any gardener or outdoor enthusiast with a few basic DIY skills, it is packed with 35 complete project plans, each one featuring finished photos of the project along with cut lists and shopping lists, a construction diagram, and step-by-step instructions (complete with photos) show exactly how to build every project.
Most projects are made from durable exterior-rated wood and can be created with basic carpentry skills. But several of these highly desirable garden accessories are made with materials like concrete, metal, and wire.
Garden Builder is positively loaded with projects, a few you can look forward to building include:
-A tiny shed (it is very cute)
-A toad house
Simply follow the clear and comprehensive instructions, and you'll have a garden that's rich in design elements, useful aids, and practical furnishings.
Author: JoAnn Moser
Garden Projects gives you a range of plans for useful and ornamental additions to your garden. Each project is fully explained, with detailed step-by-step descriptions and illustrations to guide you through.
Author: Roger Marshall
Growing a pretty garden doesn't have to cost a pretty penny. Learn how to create a low-cost garden using a little elbow grease, a lot of creativity, and this book.
Author: Alex Mitchell
Gardening with Less Water offers simple, inexpensive, low-tech techniques for watering your garden much more efficiently — using up to 90 percent less water for the same results. With illustrated step-by-step instructions, David Bainbridge shows you how to install buried clay pots and pipes, wicking systems, and other porous containers that deliver water directly to a plant’s roots with little to no evaporation.
Author: David A. Bainbridge
Keep your lawn and garden lush without wasting resources by capturing and recycling the greywater that drains from your sink, shower, and washing machine. This accessible and detailed guide walks you through each step of planning for and installing a variety of greywater systems, including laundry-to-landscape and branched drain gravity-fed systems. After identifying greywater sources in your home and estimating flow rate, you’ll learn to pinpoint where to redirect the wastewater for the greatest benefit. No matter which system you decide to build, you'll have the information to construct it yourself or move forward with confidence to hire a professional.
Author: LAURA ALLEN
As communities across the country amend urban bylaws to allow backyard flocks, more and more of us are enjoying the pleasures and rewards of keeping hens in the garden. Her book is stuffed full of practical advice on keeping the garden both gorgeous and productive and hens happy and healthy. Signe Langford includes dozens of simple and elegant recipes from her own kitchen, as well as contributions from celebrated chefs.With beautiful photographs, illustrations, and garden plans, this book is sure to become a favorite of avid and aspiring backyard farmers alike.
Author: Signe Langford
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
This guide features easy-to-follow picture tutorials on how to build your own DIY survival projects (50 in all!). One of the prepping movement’s most prolific authors, Jim Cobb has taught readers how to fortify their homes, survive for weeks without electricity, and prepare themselves financially for years of economic turmoil. Now he turns to some of his favorite DIY projects to teach his thousands of fans how to create cheap, easy, and ingenious tools to help survive any natural disaster. Prepper’s Survival Hacks is filled to the brim with intriguing, fun, and innovative projects to secure any home.
Author: JIM COBB
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
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