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
Discover how to get off the consumer treadmill and enjoy a simpler lifestyle. Gary Collins documents his firsthand experience in this comprehensive guide on how to find property and build a self-sustaining home to achieve happiness through simplicity. Included are tips for how to deal with general contractors and a review of common types of off-the-grid home construction (standard, straw bale, logs, and green cinder block) that highlights energy efficiency and insulation. All the basics are thoroughly covered, such as well water, septic and sewage disposal, and off-the-grid energy options (solar, wind, hydro, and geothermal). Factored in are contemporary concerns, including access to internet and cell phone service and the importance of an effective security system. Chapter summaries drive home key points for success, and a list of resources directs readers to key information.
Author: Gary Collins, MS
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
Food recalls, dubious health claims, scary and shocking ingredients in health and beauty products. Our increasingly industrialized supply system is becoming more difficult to navigate, more frightening, and more frustrating, leaving us feeling stuck choosing in many cases between the lesser of several evils.
Author Deborah Niemann offers healthier, more empowering choices, by showing us how to reclaim links in our food and purchasing chains, to make choices that are healthier for our families, ourselves, and our planet. In this fully updated and revised edition of Homegrown and Handmade, Deborah shows how making things from scratch and growing some of your own food can help you eliminate artificial ingredients from your diet, reduce your carbon footprint, and create a more authentic life.
Whether your goal is increasing your self-reliance or becoming a full-fledged homesteader, it’s packed with answers and solutions to help you rediscover traditional skills, take control of your food from seed to plate, and much more. This comprehensive guide to food and fiber from scratch proves that attitude and knowledge is more important than acreage. Written from the perspective of a successful, self-taught modern homesteader, this well-illustrated, practical, and accessible manual will appeal to anyone who dreams of a more empowered life.
Deborah Niemann presents and teaches extensively on topics ranging from soapmaking to livestock care. She and her family raise livestock for meat, eggs and dairy products, while an organic garden and orchard provide fruit and vegetables. Deborah is also the author of Raising Goats Naturally.
Author: DEBORAH NIEMANN
Homesteading from Scratch is for people who want to do things differently: the type of people who want to eat real food, grow herbs, make cheese, raise baby animals, hunt mushrooms, pick blackberries, can jelly, ferment kraut, farm organically, connect to nature, live intentionally, and more.
Guiding readers from desire to full-blown off-the-grid living (and everything in between), this book covers farming, animal husbandry, food preparation, homeschooling, fiber arts, and even marketing. It provides inspiration from homesteaders who have made a go of it with operations large and small, and outlining their successes and failures. The book helps to democratize the homesteading movement, by providing “ins” for nearly every level of dedication, from the container gardener to full-time farmer. It provides the knowledge necessary to discover homesteading as a movement and as a lifestyle.
Inspired by From Scratch Magazine, an online publication devoted to homesteading and intentional living, this book provides readers with continued support and community for information and resources online. Homesteading from Scratch serves as a reference, as well as a cheerleader, for those who want a bit more control and responsibility over where their food comes from, what they consume, and how they live their lives.
Author: Steven Jones
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
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
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
When disaster strikes, bugging out will be sufficient to escape short-term danger. But when widespread collapse comes, survival will depend on having a long-term prepper retreat ready and waiting. Prepper’s Survival Retreatsbreaks down the daunting task of strategic relocation into manageable steps that allow readers to create a personalized plan appropriate for their budget, needs, and specific goals. No two preppers are alike and no two strategic relocation plans should be the same,this book will show how to put together the perfect survival retreat for every prepper.
Author: CHARLEY HOGWOOD
Now, more than ever, people across the country are turning toward simpler, greener, and quieter ways of living, whether they’re urbanites or country folk. This large, fully illustrated book provides the entire family with the information they need to make the shift toward self-sufficient living.
Self-Sufficiency provides tips, advice, and detailed instructions on how to improve everyday life from an environmentally and organic perspective while keeping the focus on the family. Readers will learn how to plant a family garden and harvest the produce; can fruits and vegetables; bake bread and cookies; design interactive and engaging “green” projects; harness natural wind and solar energy to cook food and warm their homes; boil sap to make maple syrup; and build treehouses, furniture, and more. Also included are natural crafts readers can do with their children, such as scrapbooking, making potato prints, dipping candles, and constructing seasonal decorations. Whether the goal is to live entirely off the grid or just to shrink their carbon footprints, families will find this book a thorough resource and a great inspiration.
Author: Abigail R. Gehring