- Recommended Products
Conventional agriculture destroys our soils, pollutes our water and is a major contributor to climate change. What if our agricultural practices could stabilize, or even reverse these trends?
The Biochar Solution explores the dual function of biochar as a carbon-negative energy source and a potent soil-builder. Created by burning biomass in the absence of oxygen, this material has the unique ability to hold carbon back from the atmosphere while simultaneously enhancing soil fertility. Author Albert Bates traces the evolution of this extraordinary substance from the ancient black soils of the Amazon to its reappearance as a modern carbon sequestration strategy.
Combining practical techniques for the production and use of biochar with an overview of the development and future of carbon farming, The Biochar Solution describes how a new agricultural revolution can reduce net greenhouse gas emissions to below zero while increasing world food reserves and creating energy from biomass wastes. Biochar and carbon farming can reduce fossil fuels inputs into our food system; bring new life to desert landscapes; filter and purify drinking water; and help build carbon-negative homes, communities and nations.
Biochar is not without dangers if unregulated, and it is not a panacea, but if it fulfills its promise of taking us back from the brink of irreversible climate change, it may well be the most important discovery in human history.
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.
Increasing the energy efficiency of your home can save you money, help the environment and enhance your comfort, but how do you decide which improvements are the most beneficial and cost-effective? Completely revised to incorporate the latest developments in green technology, The Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings is the definitive resource for consumers who want to better their home's performance while reducing their energy bills.
Well-organized and highly readable, The Consumer Guide to Home Energy Savings begins with an overview of the relationships between energy use, economics and the environment. Updated and expanded chapters focus on specific aspects of any home, such as heating and cooling, ventilation, electronics, lighting, cooking and laundry, and provide helpful explanations for each, including:
This comprehensive resource is packed with tips on improving existing equipment and guidance for when and why to invest in new purchases, as well as a reminder to check local government and utilities for purchase or retrofit grants or incentives. It is a must-read for anyone concerned about reducing both their energy bills and their environmental impact.
In the Summer of Love in San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury, a charismatic young hippie by the name of Stephen Gaskin launched "Monday Night Class" - a weekly event which drew together an eclectic mix of truth-seekers and flower children. Soon the class became a caravan, and after touring the country this colorful crew decided to seek a plot of land and found a commune based on their shared values. Thus was born The Farm in Summertown, Tenn.
The Farm Then and Now presents the story of a group that has defied the odds, blending idealism with a practical approach to intentional community and creating a model for sustainable living. Just as the Monday Night Classes taught students to open their hearts and minds, The Farm continues as a school of change, demonstrating ways to operate collectively in terms of:
For humans to survive as a species, we must re-learn the skills needed to work together; the lessons of The Farm can be applied in any community or organization. The Farm Then and Now addresses both the successes and shortcomings of this unique ongoing social experiment, showing how what was once the largest commune in the world has evolved into an exceptional example of living lightly on the earth.
As the movement to eat what is grown locally gains momentum, there is an increasing awareness of how best to incorporate this philosophy into our everyday lives. We can grow our own food and buy food grown locally at food cooperatives and markets, but what happens when we eat out? There are a number of chefs around the country dedicated to using only the freshest, locally grown ingredients in all the dishes they prepare and serve. This book takes the reader on a private tour of outstanding chefs of the Long Island area and their gardens. Each profile reflects the chef's personal style, cultural background, desire for healthy, just-picked ingredients, and gardening philosophy. Recipes, plant lists, garden layouts, and color photos are included.
In the How-To Guide to Building With Straw Bales (Load Bearing) DVD, you'll discover how this form of construction uses the bales themselves as the structural element of the home. The roof sits directly on the bale walls and the straw itself is load-bearing. Nearly two hours of instruction takes you through the entire process of building a load-bearing straw bale home in a day-by-day teaching format.
The DVD shows in detail everything from creating a pad and pier raised floor foundation to installing toe-ups, baling the walls square and plumb, using the best strapping to pre-compress your walls, installing the rafters, attaching the roof sheathing, installing windows and doors, dealing with cabinetry installations, and much more.
A full-color, accessible primer on starting a backyard barnyard. When the going gets rough, the rough . . . start raising their own food. In the first full-color guide of its kind, author and small farm owner Laura Childs reveals exactly what it takes to start raising your own animals, including chickens, geese, goats, sheep, pigs and cows. Childs discusses what you can expect to harvest from your animals — from eggs to milk to meat to wool — based on her own real-life experiences. Whether you want to raise a few chickens for eggs alone, try your hand at a few goats with the aim of making your own cheese, or are looking to sustain your family and make some extra money from raising and selling beef, this is the book for you.
Childs offers general information for each breed and animal, from how to get started to what to feed and where to house the animals. This invaluable guide is the perfect first book for anyone interested in starting a backyard barnyard or a small farm — or simply dreaming about the idea. 100 color illustrations.
About the author
Laura Childs spent 30 years as a self-professed “downtown city girl” before breaking free from urban life when her daughter was born. Her website goodbyecitylife.com chronicles their adventures on her small, self-sustained farm in Ontario, Canada, where she raises goats, chickens, horses and other animals.
Recommended Product for Wiser Living: Today, more than ever before, our society is seeking ways to live more conscientiously. To help bring you the very best inspiration and information about greener, more sustainable lifestyles, MOTHER EARTH NEWS is recommending books to readers. For 40 years, MOTHER EARTH NEWS has been North America’s “Original Guide to Living Wisely,” creating books and magazines for people with a passion for self-reliance and a desire to live in harmony with nature.
Looking over the vast open plains of eastern Colorado, western Kansas and southwestern Nebraska, where one can travel miles without seeing a town or even a house, it is hard to imagine the crowded landscape of the last decades of the 19th century. In those days farmers, speculators, and town builders flooded the region, believing that rain would follow the plow and that the "Rainbelt" would become their agricultural Eden. It took a mere decade for drought and economic turmoil to drive these dreaming thousands from the land, turning farmland back to rangeland and reducing settlements to ghost towns.
David J. Wishart's The Last Days of the Rainbelt is the sobering tale of the rapid rise and decline of the settlement of the western Great Plains. History finds its voice in interviews with elderly residents of the region by Civil Works Administration employees in 1933 and 1934. Evidence similarly emerges from land records, climate reports, census records and diaries, as Wishart deftly tracks the expansion of westward settlement across the central plains and into the Rainbelt. Through an examination of migration patterns, land laws, town-building, and agricultural practices, Wishart re-creates the often-difficult life of settlers in a semiarid region who undertook the daunting task of adapting to a new environment. His book brings this era of American settlement and failure on the western Great Plains fully into the scope of historical memory.
The Meaty Truth is an eye-opening look at the massive problems caused by the American population’s food supply. Water, meat, and milk and other dairy products are filled with toxins, antibiotics, untested growth hormones, ammonia, and animal pus and manure. The current conditions of the food production industry must drastically improve, and until they do, it is absolutely vital to monitor what you eat. Authors Shushana Castle and Amy-Lee Goodman take a hard-hitting look at what America is putting into its food, the negative effects this has on the world, and the best ways to make healthy, informed decisions about eating.
As the antibiotic age ends, the rise of pandemic diseases is approaching. Approximately half of the illnesses that claim American lives today are related to what we eat, and our health care system is focused on treating the sick, not preventing illnesses from occurring. To fix our health problems, to continue feeding the world’s ever-growing population, and to save our planet from ecological destruction, we can no longer avoid making changes to how American meat and dairy are produced. This guide is easy to read, applicable to anyone’s lifestyle, and impossible to put down.
Permaculture is more than just the latest buzzword; it offers positive solutions for many of the environmental and social challenges confronting us. And nowhere are those remedies more needed and desired than in our cities. The Permaculture City provides a new way of thinking about urban living, with practical examples for creating abundant food, energy security, close-knit communities, local and meaningful livelihoods, and sustainable policies in our cities and towns. The same nature-based approach that works so beautifully for growing food—connecting the pieces of the landscape together in harmonious ways—applies perfectly to many of our other needs. Toby Hemenway, one of the leading practitioners and teachers of permaculture design, illuminates a new way forward through examples of edge-pushing innovations, along with a deeply holistic conceptual framework for our cities, towns and suburbs.
The Permaculture City begins in the garden but takes what we have learned there and applies it to a much broader range of human experience; we’re not just gardening plants but people, neighborhoods and even cultures. Hemenway lays out how permaculture design can help town dwellers solve the challenges of meeting our needs for food, water, shelter, energy, community and livelihood in sustainable, resilient ways. Readers will find new information on designing the urban home garden and strategies for gardening in community, rethinking our water and energy systems, learning the difference between a “job” and a “livelihood,” and the importance of placemaking and an empowered community.
This important book documents the rise of a new sophistication, depth and diversity in the approaches and thinking of permaculture designers and practitioners. Understanding nature can do more than improve how we grow, make or consume things; it can also teach us how to cooperate, make decisions and arrive at good solutions.
This is the first book to describe in depth the timber framing methods used by most contractors, framers and owner-builders — methods that use modern metal fasteners, special screws, and common-sense building principles to create post and beam structures in much less time. The book includes everything an owner-builder needs to know about building strong and beautiful structural frames from heavy timbers.
Recommended Product for Wiser Living: Today, more than ever before, our society is seeking ways to live more conscientiously. To help bring you the very best inspiration and information about greener, more sustainable lifestyles, Mother Earth News is recommending books to readers. For 40 years, Mother Earth News has been North America’s “Original Guide to Living Wisely,” creating books and magazines for people with a passion for self-reliance and a desire to live in harmony with nature.