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Over the past 70 years, the industrial farming system and its ruinous practices have exhausted our soils, poisoned our groundwater, and provided the basis for a food culture that is making most of our population sick. In order to move forward, toward a more regenerative and sustainable form of agriculture, author and organic farmer Michael Foley suggests we will have to look back to recover lessons from traditional agriculture societies, stewardship, social organization, community, and resilience.
Farming for the Long Haul is a guide to building a viable small farm economy; one that can withstand the economic, political, and climatic shock waves that the 21st century portends. It details the innovative work of contemporary farmers, but more than anything else, it draws from the experience of farming societies that maintained resilient agriculture systems over centuries of often turbulent change.
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.
First published in 1887, Fences, Gates, and Bridges is an instructional guide to the best ways to build a variety of fences, gates, hedges, bridges, and culverts. The section on fences boasts a wealth of information on building various types of fences, including rail, composite, garden, board, and picket. It also explores how to construct an effective barbed wire fence, how to use a stone wall to reinforce a wooden fence, and highlights the pros of building portable fences. Fences, Gates, and Bridges is a classic manual for anyone who wants to build their own structures for their farm, large property, or quaint backyard.
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.
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.
Owning a small wood or being able to help look after one well has become an increasingly popular subject. Getting Started in Your Own Wood has all you need to know about the basics. It is written by experts committed to the care and stewardship of woodland resources and provides practical advice and guidance for those coming to woodland management for the first time.
Getting Started in Your Own Wood is an expanded and updated edition of Julian Evans’ hugely successful Badgers, Beeches and Blisters, first published in the United Kingdom in 2006 and reprinted four times. Every chapter has been revised, and two new chapters were added by Will Rolls on firewood and tree pests and diseases. This revised and expanded edition includes:
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.
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.
Country living can be extremely rewarding, but also intense. With this premium country living collection, you’ll find time-tested tips and guidance for becoming a country living expert yourself!
GRIT Premium: Guide to Frugal Country Living, Winter 2016
GRIT has compiled expertly written tips on thriving on less out where the pavement ends. The GRIT Premium Issue: Guide to Frugal Country Living features 112 pages of articles that help you live a more sustainable lifestyle. Inside, you’ll find how to create your own home-based business, heat the homestead with wood, build a hoop house, feed a flock of chickens the easy way, learn more about cast-iron cookware, make your own soap, and so much more.
GRIT Premium: Guide to Chickens
GRIT has created more than six editions of their Guide to Chickens, and all have been extremely popular with readers and full of valuable, expertly written articles on raising and maintaining a healthy backyard flock. Now, the editors have compiled the best of the best chicken articles into one premium issue! There are more than 111 tips for raising the best poultry flock, advice from experienced flock owners, more than 27 egg and meat recipes, information on heritage chicken breeds, a look at the pros and cons of coop lights, details on other poultry (such as quail and ducks), and so much more.
The Best of GRIT Winter 2015
This first Best of GRIT edition covers a wide range of topics, including the best articles on gardening, comfort food recipes, livestock, tools and equipment, do-it-yourself projects, wildlife, and country life.
Grow Create Inspire is a rallying cry, itself an inspiration urging all of us to help fill the vital need for growth … not only of food, but also in the hearts and the minds of individuals around the globe. Focusing on step-by-step approaches to accumulating skills toward self-sufficiency, Grow Create Inspire is a comprehensive guide to creating a beautiful, regenerative, and deeply satisfying life, covering everything from basic and more advanced growing tips, preparing and preserving harvest, and generally greening those aspects of life that bring about happiness, including, food, art, music, beauty, and time in nature.
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.
This innovative collection features 35 simple, inexpensive projects that you can make from salvaged and upcycled materials: cardboard, metal, plastic and wood. The projects include tables, shelving units, chairs, lamps, and more, in a variety of styles. Many are stackable and easily portable, most can be made in a weekend, and all include instructions for disassembly and disposal when you’re ready to repurpose the materials. If you’d rather make than buy, these low-budget, high-style designs are just what you’re looking for.