Backyard Homesteading addresses the needs of many people who want to take control of the food they eat and the products they use-even if they live in an urban or suburban house on a typical-size lot. It shows homeowners how to turn their yard into a productive and wholesome "homestead" that allows them to grow their own fruits and vegetables and raise farm animals, including chickens, ducks and goats. Backyard Homesteading covers the laws and regulations of raising livestock in populated areas and demonstrates to readers how to use and preserve the bounty they produce.
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Author: David Toht
Nearly a century ago, the idea of “local food” would have seemed perplexing, because virtually all food was local. Food for daily consumption (fruits, vegetables, grains, meat, and dairy products) was grown at home or sourced from local farms. Today, most of the food consumed in the United States and, increasingly, around the globe, is sourced from industrial farms and concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs), which power a food system rife with environmental, economic, and health-related problems.
The tide, however, is slowly but steadily turning back in what has been broadly termed the “farm-to-table” movement. In Farm to Table, Darryl Benjamin and Chef Lyndon Virkler explore how the farm-to-table philosophy is pushing back modern, industrialized food production and moving beyond isolated “locavore” movements into a broad and far-reaching coalition of farmers, chefs, consumers, policy advocates, teachers, institutional buyers, and many more all working to restore healthful, sustainable, and affordable food for everyone.
Divided into two distinct but complementary halves, “Farm” and “Table,” Farm to Table first examines the roots of our contemporary industrial food system, from the technological advances that presaged the “Green Revolution” to U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz’s infamous dictum to farmers to “Get big or get out” in the 1970s. Readers will explore the many threats to ecology and human health that our corporatized food system poses, but also the many alternatives (from permaculture to rotation-intensive grazing) that small farmers are now adopting to meet growing consumer demand. The second half of the book is dedicated to illuminating best practices and strategies for schools, restaurants, health care facilities, and other businesses and institutions to partner with local farmers and food producers, from purchasing to marketing.
No longer restricted to the elite segments of society, the farm-to-table movement now reaches a wide spectrum of Americans from all economic strata and in a number of settings, from hospital and office cafeterias, from elementary schools to fast-casual restaurants. Farm to Table is a one-of-a-kind resource on how to integrate sustainable principles into each of these settings and facilitate intelligent, healthful food choices at every juncture as our food system evolves. While borrowing from the best ideas of the past, the lessons herein are designed to help contribute to a healthier, more sustainable, and more equitable tomorrow.
Author: D. Benjamin & L. Virkler
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
This book tackles an increasingly crucial question: What can we do about the seemingly intractable challenges confronting all of humanity today, including climate change, global hunger, water scarcity, environmental stress and economic instability?
The quick answers are: Build topsoil. Fix creeks. Eat meat from pasture-raised animals. Soil scientists maintain that a mere 2 percent increase in the carbon content of the planet's soils could offset 100 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions going into the atmosphere. But how could this be accomplished? What would it cost? Is it even possible?
Yes, says author Courtney White, it is not only possible, but essential for the long-term health and sustainability of our environment and our economy.
Right now, the only possibility of large-scale removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere is through plant photosynthesis and related land-based carbon sequestration activities. These include a range of already existing, low-tech, and proven practices: composting, no-till farming, climate-friendly livestock practices, conserving natural habitat, restoring degraded watersheds and rangelands, increasing biodiversity, and producing local food.
In Grass, Soil, Hope, the author shows how all these practical strategies can be bundled together into an economic and ecological whole, with the aim of reducing atmospheric CO2 while producing substantial co-benefits for all living things. Soil is a huge natural sink for carbon dioxide. If we can draw increasing amounts of carbon out of the atmosphere and store it safely in the soil, we can significantly address all the multiple challenges that now appear so intractable.
Author: Courtney White
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
In 2010, Cody and his Wranglerstar family decided to turn their backs on a comfortable city life and become modern-day homesteaders. Their adventure starts in the rugged mountains of the Pacific Northwest. They are now popular pioneers in a growing movement of people seeking independence from debt, freedom to raise their family with values and faith, and the peace of a simpler, more meaningful approach to life.
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
The Community-Scale Permaculture Farm describes not only the history of the D Acres project, but its evolving principles and practices that are rooted in the land, its inhabitants and the joy inherent in collective empowerment.
For almost 20 years, D Acres of New Hampshire has challenged and expanded the common definition of a farm. As an educational center that researches, applies and teaches skills of sustainable living and small-scale organic farming, D Acres serves more than just a single function to its community. By turns it is a hostel for travelers to northern New England, a training center for everything from metalworking and woodworking to cob building and seasonal cooking, a gathering place for music, poetry, joke-telling and potluck meals, and much more.
While this book provides a wide spectrum of practical information on the physical systems designed into a community-scale homestead, author Josh Trought also reviews the economics and organizational particulars that D Acres has experimented with over the years.
The D Acres model envisions a way to devise a sustainable future by building a localized economy that provides more than seasonal produce, a handful of eggs and green appliances. With the goal of perennial viability for humanity within their ecosystem, D Acres is attempting an approach to sustainability that encompasses practical, spiritual and ethical components. In short: They are trying to create a rural community ecology that evolves in perpetuity.
No other book contains such a wealth of innovative ideas and ways to make your farm or homestead not only more sustainable, but more inclusive of, and beneficial to, the larger community. Readers will find information on such subjects as:
Emphasizing collaboration, cooperation and mutualism, this book promises to inspire a new generation of growers, builders, educators, artists and dreamers who are seeking new and practical ways to address today’s problems on a community scale.
Author: Josh Trought
Long embraced by corporations that are driven only by the desire for profit, industrial agriculture wastes precious resources and spews millions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere each year, exacerbating climate change and threatening the very earth and water on which we depend. However, this dominant system, from which Americans obtain most of their food, is being supplanted by a new paradigm.
The Emergent Agriculture is a collection of 14 thematic essays on sustainability viewed through the lens of farming. Arguing that industrial food production is incompatible with the realities of nature, science and ethics, this lyrical narrative makes the case for a locally based food system that is:
A revolution in food production is underway. Written from the vantage point of an ecologist who is also a farmer, The Emergent Agriculture is essential reading for anyone interested in food security and the potential for growing local economies. It’s food for thought about the future of food.
Author: Gary Kippel
The Organic Seed Grower is a comprehensive manual for the serious vegetable grower who is interested in growing high-quality seeds using organic farming practices. It is written for both home seed savers and diversified small-scale farmers who want to learn the necessary steps involved in successfully producing a commercial seed crop organically.
Detailed profiles for each of the major vegetables provide users with practical, in-depth knowledge about growing, harvesting and processing seed for a wide range of common and specialty vegetable crops, from Asian greens to zucchini.
In addition, readers will find extensive and critical information on topics including: o The reproductive biology of crop plants o Annual vs. biennial seed crops o Isolation distances needed to ensure varietal purity o Maintaining adequate population size for genetic integrity o Seed crop climates o Seed-borne diseases o Seed cleaning basics o Seed storage for farmers o And more ...
This book can serve as a bridge to lead skilled gardeners, who are already saving their own seed, into the idea of growing seed commercially. And for diversified vegetable farmers who are growing a seed crop for sale for the first time, it will provide details on many of the tricks of the trade that are used by professional seed growers. This manual will help the budding seed farmer become more knowledgeable, efficient and effective in producing a commercially viable seed crop.
With the strong demand for certified organic produce, many regional seed companies are increasingly seeking out dedicated seed growers to ensure a reliable source of organically grown seeds for their farmer and gardener customers. This trend represents a great business opportunity for small-scale commercial growers who wish to raise and sell vegetable seeds as a profitable part of their diversified small-farm operation. Written by well-known plant breeder and organic seed expert John Navazio, The Organic Seed Grower is the most up-to-date and useful guide to best practices in this exciting and important field.
Author: John Navazio
Dreading the weekly lawn mow? Need to whack the weeds in your orchard? Cringing at the drudgery and incessant blare of the mower? Imagine instead long sweeps of an elegant scythe cutting your grass and pesky weeds in blissful, meditative silence.
That is the power of the "scythe revolution" sweeping North America.
Written by a master of the scythe, professionally trained in Austria, and drawing deeply on research into original German texts, The Scything Handbook brings centuries-old scything techniques into the 21st century.
Detailed illustrations cover scythe assembly, perfecting the stroke, blade selection, honing, peening, and aftercare, as well as background on how scythes are forged. Also covered are the basics of making hay and mulch by hand, and how to grow and harvest grains at the home and homestead scale for self-sufficiency.
Scything promotes health, flexibility, mind-body connection, and a meditative contemplation of the natural world while producing beautiful lawns and luscious mulch for the modern gardener and homesteader. This is truly an heirloom tool to master.
Join the scythe revolution!
Author: Ian Miller
Hobby farming is alive and thriving in semi-rural, suburban, and rural areas across the country, and female farmers have been cited as the fastest growing sector within the farming community in recent years. With more than 1 million women in the United States and Canada describing farming as their primary source of income, and many more for whom hobby farming is just that—a hobby—the time is right for a publication dedicated to hobby farming from a female perspective. Written for women, by a woman, this insightful volume is packed with stories and advice from women hobby farmers and looks at female-specific farming challenges as well as issues that all farmers face.
Inside The Woman Hobby Farmer:
•Discussions on the who, what, why, and where of hobby farming
•Deciding on your farming goals and making a plan
•What to expect in your new endeavor
•How to decide what to plant and prepare your planting sites
•Advice on feeding, caring for, and housing different types of livestock
•A look at “agripreneurship”—running and marketing your hobby farm as a successful business
•Stories, quotes, and advice from successful female hobby farmers
Author: Karen Lanier