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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.
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.
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.
For more than four decades, the self-described “contrary farmer” and writer Gene Logsdon commented on the state of American agriculture. In Letter to a Young Farmer, his final book of essays, Logsdon addressed the next generation: young people moving back to the land to enjoy a better way of life as small-scale “garden farmers.” It’s a lifestyle that isn’t defined by accumulating wealth or by the “get big or get out” agribusiness mindset. Instead, it’s one that recognizes the beauty of nature, cherishes the land, respects our fellow creatures, and values rural traditions. It’s one that also looks forward and embraces “right technologies,” including new and innovative ways of working smarter, not harder, and avoiding premature burnout.
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.
It doesn’t happen overnight. No one quits their 9-to-5 job, rolls up to a new farm, and suddenly has the independent and sustainable lifestyle they’ve been dreaming of. Before you start ordering seeds and choosing chicken breeds, you’ll need the right homestead (and the right philosophy). With everything that needs done while starting a new homestead, the Beginner’s Guide to Self-Sufficiency is here to help.
We are pairing two great Mother Earth News Collector Series together to give you the ultimate set on modern homesteading and organic gardening! The first volume in this set provides all the knowledge needed to grow your own quick and simple organic garden! It starts with a guide for beginners, takes you through maintaining your garden naturally, and even teaches you how to store what you harvest. That’s just the start of things. The second volume furnishes timeless tips and information for today’s homesteader. Inside its pages, you’ll learn all about making a living off 1.5 acres, financial planning for going off-grid, and taking a simple approach to mob grazing. Together, these editions offer more than 300 pages that provide plenty of information and inspiration for folks looking to live more simply, more securely, and more sustainably. Here are just a few of the other topics covered: • How to Choose the Right Chainsaw for Your Homestead • How to Make Cheap Garden Beds • Feed Your Flock to Boost Omega-3s • Grow More Food in a Movable Greenhouse • DIY Outdoor Cookers • Best Vegetable to Grow in the Shade • How to Tan a Deer Hide • DIY Greenhouse for Winter Growing • Easy Ways to Preserve Fresh Food • Beginning Gardening • Easy One-Pot Meals • Best Tips for Starting Seeds Indoors • Guide to Organic Pest Control • Winning Against Weeds • Grow Your Own Mushrooms • Easy DIY Garden Shed Plans • Winter Gardening Tips Get this great set today while this deal still lasts!
The ultimate guide to acquiring, assembling, and using lifesaving emergency communication systems, this book includes in-depth information on operating ham radios, walkie-talkies, shortwave radios, and citizens band (CB) radios. When disaster strikes, calls, texts and emails don’t work. After 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and Hurricane Sandy, cell phones were rendered useless when transmission towers were destroyed and networks became overloaded. Having an alternative way of reaching family and loved ones at these critical moments is essential. With this guide, learn the best tips, tricks, and expert secrets for surviving when phones and the internet fail. This comprehensive guide covers everything needed to be fully prepared for when the grid goes down.
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.
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.
Worried about ever-rising fuel bills and longing for the day when you can be off-grid and independent? Anxious about the quality of the food you eat and planning to go organic? Yearning to get back to the way it was but don't know where to start? This book will show you how to achieve the eco-friendly good life. The authors cover the ecological gamut from geothermal heating to crop rotation to soap making. They answer important questions like how much land is really needed to be self-sufficient, whether or not to depend entirely on natural forms of energy, and which farm animals will best meet your needs. There’s practical information here on building an insulated flue pipe chimney, identifying edible wild plants, and composting with worms?as well as recipes for jams, rhubarb wine, cheeses, and more. Packed with full-color photographs, helpful illustrations, and diagrams, Self-Sufficiency Handbook will appeal to urban dwellers who want to adopt certain aspects of greener living and to serious adherents of back-to-basics living.