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With Projects to Get You Off the Grid, the Instructables community of do-it-yourselfers have pooled their knowledge into a compact book focused on a series of projects that will get you thinking creatively about thinking green. This collection of 20 projects illustrate just how simple it can be to make your own backyard chicken coop, or turn a wine barrel into a rainwater collector.
Illustrated with dozens of full-color photographs per project as well as easy-to-follow instructions, this Instructables collection uses the best that the online community has to offer, turning a far-reaching group of people into a mammoth database churning out ideas to make life better, easier, and in this case, greener.
Author: Edited by Noah Weinstein
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.
This wonderful resource also:
Author: David Toht
A lighthearted A-to-Z encyclopedia of farm lore, Barnyard Confidential covers everything you need to know about living in the country, from courting to dealing with manure, root picking to rat catching, winter chores to tractor restoration, hay mows to outhouses … anything and everything related to farm life. Entries from well-known country authors like E. B. White, Gwen Petersen, Roger Welsch and Patricia Penton Leimbach range from funny definitions to full stories and are illustrated throughout with a charming mix of fun, nostalgic, black-and-white photos and illustrations. These stories are both humorous and practical and will remind you why you often have a love-hate relationship with rural living. Before you move to the country (or even if you already live there), learn all the secrets to success from Barnyard Confidential.
Featured authors include: Eric Sloane, Roger Welsch, Gwen Petersen, Ben Logan, Jim Heynen, Bob Artley, Marjorie Myers Douglas, Hamlin Garland, E. B. White, Jerry Stelmok, Louis Bromfield, Bob Becker, William Hazlett Upson, Patricia Penton Leimbach, Jerry L. Twedt, Michael Perry, Willa Cather, Jerry Apps, Josh Billings, Michael Dregni, Jared Van Wagenen Jr., Hugh Orchard, Dorothy Canfield, Virginia Bell Dabney, Tom Anderson, Ronald Jager, Margret Aldrich, Bill Vossler, and Gordon Green.
Author: Melinda Keefe
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
Eric Toensmeier argues that agriculture—specifically, the subset of practices known as “carbon farming”—can, and should be, a linchpin of a global climate solutions platform. Carbon farming is a suite of agricultural practices and crops that sequester carbon in the soil and in aboveground biomass.
Author: Eric Toensmeier
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:
Author: Gary Kippel
The essential resource for modern homesteading, raising chickens, and growing and preserving foods, The Encyclopedia of Country Living covers how to cultivate a garden, buy land, bake bread, raise farm animals, make sausage, can peaches, milk a goat, grow herbs, churn butter, build a chicken coop, catch a pig, cook on a wood stove, and much, much more. This comprehensive resource is the most authoritative guide available to leading a sustainable lifestyle and living off of the land.
Carla Emery started writing The Encyclopedia of Country Living in 1969, during the back-to-the-land movement. She continued to add content and refine the information over the years, and the book went from a self-published mimeographed document to a book of 928 pages.
This 40th Anniversary Edition reflects the most up-to-date resource information and is the most personal version of the book that became Carla Emery's lifework. It remains the original manual of basic country skills that have proved essential and necessary for people living in the country, the city, and everywhere in between.
Author: Carla Emery
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