Raising Pastured Rabbits for Meat
An All-Natural, Humane, and Profitable Approach to Production on a Small Scale
In recent years, there has been talk in the food world that rabbits make more sense than chicken. In a country with a $41 billion broiler chicken industry, this might seem like a pretty bold statement, but it’s hardly unsubstantiated. And yet while media has been abuzz about the supposed super protein, very few farmers are stepping up to meet the rapidly increasing interest in sustainably raised rabbit meat. This is partly due to the lack of available resources in the field of rabbit husbandry.
Raising Pastured Rabbits for Meat is the first book to address the growing trend of ecological rabbit husbandry for the beginning to market-scale farmer. Inspired by Daniel Salatin, who has long been considered the pioneer in integrated rabbit farming, Nichki Carangelo proves that a viable pasture-based rabbitry is not only possible and user-friendly, it’s also profitable.
In Carangelo’s approach, happy, healthy rabbits are seasonally raised outside on pasture, using a pasture and wire hybrid system that promotes natural behaviors and a diverse diet, while effectively managing the associated risks. Raising Pastured Rabbits for Meat offers valuable information on how farmers can build their own rabbit enterprise from scratch and includes tips on breed selection, breeding techniques, nutrition guidelines, record keeping tools, slaughtering and butchering instructions, marketing advice, and enterprise guides to help farmers plan for profitability. This is an essential guide for anyone interested in integrating rabbits onto a diversified farm or homestead.
The Growing Movement for a New System of Local Clothing Production and Slow Fashion
Building regional textile cultures & economies
There is a major disconnect between what we wear and our knowledge of its impact on land, air, water, labor, and human health. Even those who value access to safe, local, nutritious food have largely overlooked the production of fiber, dyes, and the chemistry that forms the backbone of modern textile production. While humans are 100 percent reliant on their second skin, it’s common to think little about the biological and human cultural context from which our clothing derives.
Almost a decade ago, weaver and natural dyer Rebecca Burgess developed a project focused on wearing clothing made from fiber grown, woven, and sewn within her bioregion of North Central California. As she began to network with ranchers, farmers, and artisans, she discovered that even in her home community there was ample raw material being grown to support a new regional textile economy with deep roots in climate change prevention and soil restoration. A vision for the future came into focus, combining right livelihoods and a textile system based on economic justice and soil carbon enhancing practices. Burgess saw that we could create viable supply chains of clothing that could become the new standard in a world looking to solve the climate crisis.
In Fibershed readers will learn how natural plant dyes and fibers such as wool, cotton, hemp, and flax can be grown and processed as part of a scalable, restorative agricultural system. They will also learn about milling and other technical systems needed to make regional textile production possible. Fibershed is a resource for fiber farmers, ranchers, contract grazers, weavers, knitters, slow-fashion entrepreneurs, soil activists, and conscious consumers who want to join or create their own fibershed and topple outdated and toxic systems of exploitation..
Going Over Home
A Search for Rural Justice in an Unsettled Land
Charles D. Thompson, Jr. was born in southwestern Virginia into an extended family of small farmers. Yet as he came of age he witnessed the demise of every farm in his family. Over the course of his own life of farming, rural education, organizing, and activism, the stories of his home place have been his constant inspiration, helping him identify with the losses of others and to fight against injustices. In Going Over Home, Thompson shares revelations and reflections, from cattle auctions with his grandfather to community gardens in the coal camps of eastern Kentucky, racial disparities of white and Black landownership in the South to recent work with migrant farm workers from Latin America. In this heartfelt first-person narrative, Thompson unpacks our country’s agricultural myths and addresses the history of racism and wealth inequality and how they have come to bear on our nation’s rural places and their people.
Farming on the Wild Side
The Evolution of a Regenerative Organic Farm and Nursery
Growing fruit, perennial plants, biodiversity, and resilience
Northern Vermont’s Nancy and John Hayden have spent the last 25 years transforming their draft horse–powered, organic vegetable and livestock operation into an agroecological, regenerative, biodiverse, organic fruit farm, fruit nursery, and pollinator sanctuary. In Farming on the Wild Side they explain the philosophical and scientific principles that influenced them as they phased out sheep and potatoes and embraced apples, pears, stone fruits, and a wide variety of uncommon berry crops; turned much of their property into a semi-wild state; and adapted their marketing and sales strategies to the new century. As the Haydens pursued their goals of enhancing biodiversity and regenerating their land, they incorporated agroforestry and permaculture principles into perennial fruit polycultures, a pollinator sanctuary, repurposed greenhouses for growing fruit, hügelkultur, and ecological “pest” management. Beyond the practical techniques and tips, this book also inspires readers to develop greater ecological literacy and respect for the mysteries of the global ecosystem. Farming on the Wild Side tells a story about new ways to manage small farms and homesteads, about nurturing land, about ecology, about economics, and about things that we can all do to heal both the land and ourselves.
Happy Pigs Taste Better
A Complete Guide to Organic and Humane Pasture-Based Pork Production
What does it take to raise a happy pig? Armed with experience from running the largest organic hog operation in Maine, author Alice Percy is well equipped to answer this question.
Pigs are much closer to their cousin, the wild boar, than other domesticated animals. Ethically managing pigs requires an understanding of their natural mannerisms, including factors such as social grouping, mating, territory, housing, and, of course, their love of wallowing in the mud.
In Happy Pigs Taste Better Percy offers a comprehensive look at raising organic, pasture-fed, gourmet meat. She advises readers on pasturing and feeding hogs organically, as well as managing the breeding herd and administering effective natural healthcare. In addition, she provides an overview of marketing and distribution for those looking to turn their hog farming operation into a lucrative business.
This book is the first of its kind to offer an in-depth approach to organic, high-welfare commercial production, including information on:
– Designing a hog business from the ground up
– Housing pigs, including benefits and drawbacks of various housing systems
– Evaluating the nutritional content of common organic feedstuffs
– Butchering humanely and economically
– Recordkeeping, with templates for financial tracking
Whether you’re looking to convert a conventional operation to organic, grow your backyard hog operation into a viable business, or start from scratch, this comprehensive book has got you covered, nose to tail.
The Whole Okra
A Seed to Stem Celebration
With recipes for gumbos and stews, plus okra pickles, tofu, marshmallow, paper, and more
Chris Smith’s first encounter with okra was of the worst kind: slimy fried okra at a greasy-spoon diner. Despite that dismal introduction, Smith developed a fascination with okra, and as he researched the plant and began to experiment with it in his own kitchen, he discovered an amazing range of delicious ways to cook and eat it, along with ingenious and surprising ways to process the plant from tip-to-tail: pods, leaves, flowers, seeds, and stalks. Smith talked okra with chefs, food historians, university researchers, farmers, homesteaders, and gardeners. The summation of his experimentation and research comes together in The Whole Okra, a lighthearted but information-rich collection of okra history, lore, recipes, craft projects, growing advice, and more.
The Whole Okra includes classic recipes such as fried okra pods as well as unexpected delights including okra seed pancakes and okra flower vodka. Some of the South’s best-known chefs shared okra recipes with Smith: Okra Soup by culinary historian Michael Twitty, Limpin’ Susan by chef BJ Dennis, Bhindi Masala by chef Meherwan Irani, and Okra Fries by chef Vivian Howard.
Okra has practical uses beyond the edible, and Smith also researched the history of okra as a fiber crop for making paper and the uses of okra mucilage (slime) as a preservative, a hydrating face mask, and a primary ingredient in herbalist Katrina Blair’s recipe for Okra Marshmallow Delight.
The Whole Okra is foremost a foodie’s book, but Smith also provides practical tips and techniques for home and market gardeners. He gives directions for saving seed for replanting, for a breeding project, or for a stockpile of seed for making okra oil, okra flour, okra tempeh, and more. Smith has grown over 75 varieties of okra, and he describes the nuanced differences in flavor, texture, and color; the best-tasting varieties; and his personal favorites. Smith’s wry humor and seed-to-stem enthusiasm for his subject infuse every chapter with just the right mix of fabulous recipes and culinary tips, unique projects, and fun facts about this vagabond vegetable with enormous potential.
Carving Out a Living on the Land
Lessons in Resourcefulness and Craft from an Unusual Christmas Tree Farm
When he first envisioned becoming a farmer, author Emmet Van Driesche never imagined his main crop would be Christmas trees, nor that such a tree farm could be more of a managed forest than the conventional grid of perfectly sheared trees. Carving Out a Living on the Land tells the story of how Van Driesche navigated changing life circumstances, took advantage of unexpected opportunities, and leveraged new and old skills to piece together an economically viable living, while at the same time respecting the land’s complex ecological relationships.
From spoon carving to scything, coppicing to wreath-making, Carving Out a Living on the Land proves that you don’t need acres of expensive bottomland to start your land-based venture, but rather the creativity and vision to see what might be done with that rocky section or ditch or patch of trees too small to log. You can lease instead of buy; build flexible, temporary structures rather than sink money into permanent ones; and take over an existing operation rather than start from scratch. What matters are your unique circumstances, talents, and interests, which when combined with what the land is capable of producing, can create a fulfilling and meaningful farming life.
Trees of Power
Ten Essential Arboreal Allies
The organic grower’s guide to planting, propagation, culture, and ecology
Trees are our allies in healing the world. Partnering with trees allows us to build soil, enhance biodiversity, increase wildlife populations, grow food and medicine, and pull carbon out of the atmosphere, sequestering it in the soil.
Trees of Power explains how we can work with these arboreal allies, specifically focusing on propagation, planting, and individual species. Author Akiva Silver is an enthusiastic tree grower with years of experience running his own commercial nursery. In this book he clearly explains the most important concepts necessary for success with perennial woody plants. It’s broken down into two parts: the first covering concepts and horticultural skills and the second with in-depth information on individual species. You’ll learn different ways to propagate trees: by seed, grafting, layering, or with cuttings. These time-honored techniques make it easy for anyone to increase their stock of trees, simply and inexpensively.
Ten chapters focus on the specific ecology, culture, and uses of different trees, ones that are common to North America and in other temperate parts of the world:
Chestnut: The Bread Tree
Apples: The Magnetic Center
Poplar: The Homemaker
Ash: Maker of Wood
Mulberry: The Giving Tree
Elderberry: The Caretaker
Hickory: Pillars of Life
Hazelnut: The Provider
Black Locust: The Restoration Tree
Beech: The Root Runner
Trees of Power fills an urgent need for up-to-date information on some of our most important tree species, those that have multiple benefits for humans, animals, and nature. It also provides inspiration for new generations of tree stewards and caretakers who will not only benefit themselves, but leave a lasting legacy for future generations.
Trees of Power is for everyone who wants to connect with trees. It is for the survivalist, the gardener, the homesteader, the forager, the permaculturist, the environmentalist, the parent, the schoolteacher, the farmer, and anyone who feels a deep kinship with these magnificent beings.
Community-Scale Composting Systems
A Comprehensive Practical Guide for Closing the Food System Loop and Solving Our Waste Crisis
Composting at scales large enough to capture and recycle the organic wastes of a given community, whether a school, neighborhood, or even a small city, is coming of age, propelled by a growing awareness not only of our food waste crisis, but also the need to restore natural fertility in our soils. In-depth yet accessible, Community-Scale Composting Systems is a technical resource for farmers, designers, service providers, organics recycling entrepreneurs, and advocates of all types, with a focus on developing the next generation of organics recycling infrastructure that can enable communities to close the food-soil loop in their local food systems.
The main scope of the book is dedicated to compost system options and design, from basic sizing and layout to advanced techniques such as aerated static pile composting. Management techniques and operational considerations are also covered, including testing, feedstock characteristics, compost recipe development, and system-specific best management practices.
Though focused on recycling systems that include food scraps—the fastest growing sector of community-scale composting—the book is informed by and relevant to other composting sectors and will be a vital resource for anyone invested in diverting organic materials away from landfilling and incineration. Topics covered include:
- Community-scale models
- Estimating organics from individual generators and whole communities
- Food scrap collection
- Compost system sizing
- Aerated static pile (ASP) systems design
- In-vessel systems selection
- Integrating animals with composting
- Compatibility with compost heat recovery, vermicomposting, and other specialized methodologies
- Composting best management practices
- Nuisance management
- Mitigating persistent herbicides
- End uses, marketing, and sales
Whether you’re an engineer, community organizer, permaculturalist, public sector waste manager, farmer, or just a dirt lover, Community-Scale Composting Systems is the definitive manual on composting, written at a crucial time when communities are just starting to see what the composting movement will ultimately offer our food systems, local and regional economies, and planet.
Farming for the Long Haul
Resilience and the Lost Art of Agricultural Inventiveness
It’s all but certain that the next fifty years will bring enormous, not to say cataclysmic, disruptions to our present way of life. World oil reserves will be exhausted within that time frame, as will the lithium that powers today’s most sophisticated batteries, suggesting that transportation is equally imperiled. And there’s another, even more dire limitation that is looming: at current rates of erosion, the world’s topsoil will be gone in sixty years. Fresh water sources are in jeopardy, too. In short, the large-scale agricultural and food delivery system as we know it has at most a few decades before it exhausts itself and the planet with it.
Farming for the Long Haul is about building a viable small farm economy that can withstand the economic, political, and climatic shock waves that the twenty-first century portends. It draws on the innovative work of contemporary farmers, but more than that, it shares the experiences of farming societies around the world that have maintained resilient agricultural systems over centuries of often-turbulent change. Indigenous agriculturalists, peasants, and traditional farmers have all created broad strategies for survival through good times and bad, and many of them prospered. They also developed particular techniques for managing soil, water, and other resources sustainably. Some of these techniques have been taken up by organic agriculture and permaculture, but many more of them are virtually unknown, even among alternative farmers. This book lays out some of these strategies and presents techniques and tools that might prove most useful to farmers today and in the uncertain future.
The Worm Farmer’s Handbook
Mid- to Large-Scale Vermicomposting for Farms, Businesses, Municipalities, Schools, and Institutions
Techniques and systems for processing food scraps, manure, yard debris, paper, and more
Turning waste into wealth sounds too good to be true, but many worm farmers are finding that vermicomposting is a reliable way to do just that. Vermicast—a biologically active, nutrient-rich mix of earthworm castings and decomposed organic matter—sells for $400 or more per cubic yard. Compare that to regular compost, sold at about $30 a cubic yard, and you’ll see why vermicomposting has taken root in most countries and on every continent but Antarctica.
Vermicomposting is also one of the best sustainable solutions for organic waste management. Vermicomposting manure and crop wastes on farms improves crop yields while reducing demand for off-farm inputs. Vermicast has higher nutrient levels and lower soluble salt content than regular compost, and it improves soil aeration, porosity, and water retention. Plus, vermicast suppresses plant diseases and insect attacks. Municipalities, businesses, community gardens, schools, and universities can set up vermicomposting operations to process food residuals and other waste materials.
The Worm Farmer’s Handbook details the ins and outs of vermicomposting for mid- to large-scale operations, including how to recycle organic materials ranging from food wastes and yard trimmings to manure and shredded office paper. Vermicomposting expert Rhonda Sherman shares what she has learned over twenty-five years working with commercial worm growers and researchers around the world. Her profiles of successful worm growers across the United States and from New Zealand to the Middle East and Europe describe their proven methods and systems.
This book digs into all the details, including:
- Choosing the right production system
- Regulatory issues and developing a business and marketing plan
- Finding and managing feedstocks
- Pre-composting: why and how to do it
- Monitoring an active worm bed
- Harvesting, screening, testing, packaging, and storing vermicast
- Markets for earthworms and vermicast
- Food security: how vermicast benefits soils and plants
- Keys to success: avoiding common pitfalls
From livestock farms and restaurants to colleges, military bases, and prisons, Sherman details why and how commercial-scale vermicomposting is a fast-growing, sustainable solution for organic waste management. The Worm Farmer’s Handbook is the first and only authoritative how-to guide that goes beyond small-scale operations and demystifies the science and logistics of the fascinating process that is vermicomposting.
Farming While Black
Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land
In 1920, 14 percent of all land-owning US farmers were black. Today less than 2 percent of farms are controlled by black people—a loss of over 14 million acres and the result of discrimination and dispossession. While farm management is among the whitest of professions, farm labor is predominantly brown and exploited, and people of color disproportionately live in “food apartheid” neighborhoods and suffer from diet-related illness. The system is built on stolen land and stolen labor and needs a redesign.
Farming While Black is the first comprehensive “how to” guide for aspiring African-heritage growers to reclaim their dignity as agriculturists and for all farmers to understand the distinct, technical contributions of African-heritage people to sustainable agriculture. At Soul Fire Farm, author Leah Penniman co-created the Black and Latinx Farmers Immersion (BLFI) program as a container for new farmers to share growing skills in a culturally relevant and supportive environment led by people of color. Farming While Black organizes and expands upon the curriculum of the BLFI to provide readers with a concise guide to all aspects of small-scale farming, from business planning to preserving the harvest. Throughout the chapters Penniman uplifts the wisdom of the African diasporic farmers and activists whose work informs the techniques described—from whole farm planning, soil fertility, seed selection, and agroecology, to using whole foods in culturally appropriate recipes, sharing stories of ancestors, and tools for healing from the trauma associated with slavery and economic exploitation on the land. Woven throughout the book is the story of Soul Fire Farm, a national leader in the food justice movement.
The technical information is designed for farmers and gardeners with beginning to intermediate experience. For those with more experience, the book provides a fresh lens on practices that may have been taken for granted as ahistorical or strictly European. Black ancestors and contemporaries have always been leaders—and continue to lead—in the sustainable agriculture and food justice movements. It is time for all of us to listen.
Dirt to Soil
One Family’s Journey into Regenerative Agriculture
Gabe Brown didn’t set out to change the world when he first started working alongside his father-in-law on the family farm in North Dakota. But as a series of weather-related crop disasters put Brown and his wife, Shelly, in desperate financial straits, they started making bold changes to their farm. Brown—in an effort to simply survive—began experimenting with new practices he’d learned about from reading and talking with innovative researchers and ranchers. As he and his family struggled to keep the farm viable, they found themselves on an amazing journey into a new type of farming: regenerative agriculture.
Brown dropped the use of most of the herbicides, insecticides, and synthetic fertilizers that are a standard part of conventional agriculture. He switched to no-till planting, started planting diverse cover crops mixes, and changed his grazing practices. In so doing Brown transformed a degraded farm ecosystem into one full of life—starting with the soil and working his way up, one plant and one animal at a time.
In Dirt to Soil Gabe Brown tells the story of that amazing journey and offers a wealth of innovative solutions to our most pressing and complex contemporary agricultural challenge—restoring the soil. The Brown’s Ranch model, developed over twenty years of experimentation and refinement, focuses on regenerating resources by continuously enhancing the living biology in the soil. Using regenerative agricultural principles, Brown’s Ranch has grown several inches of new topsoil in only twenty years! The 5,000-acre ranch profitably produces a wide variety of cash crops and cover crops as well as grass-finished beef and lamb, pastured laying hens, broilers, and pastured pork, all marketed directly to consumers.
The key is how we think, Brown says. In the industrial agricultural model, all thoughts are focused on killing things. But that mindset was also killing diversity, soil, and profit, Brown realized. Now he channels his creative thinking toward how he can get more life on the land—more plants, animals, and beneficial insects. “The greatest roadblock to solving a problem,” Brown says, “is the human mind.”
The New Organic Grower, 3rd Edition
A Master’s Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener, 30th Anniversary Edition
“Updated for its 30th anniversary edition; [This book] remains as relevant as ever.”—New York Times Book Review
Since its original publication in 1989, The New Organic Grower has been one of the most important farming books available, with pioneer Eliot Coleman leading the charge in the organic movement in the United States. Now fully illustrated and updated, this 30th Anniversary Edition is a must-have for any agricultural library.
Eliot Coleman’s books and innovative methods have helped innumerable organic farmers build successful farms in deep accordance with nature. The wisdom in this seminal book holds true even as the modern agricultural canon has grown—in large part due to Coleman’s influence as a wise elder with decades of experience. New information has been included in this edition to showcase the new tools and techniques that Eliot has been developing over the last thirty-five years.
Inspired by the European intensive growers, The New Organic Grower, 30th Anniversary Edition, offers a very approachable and productive form of farming that has proven to work well for the earth and its stewards for centuries. Gardeners working on 2.5 acres or less will find this book especially useful, as it offers proof that small-scale market growers and serious home gardeners can live good lives close to the land and make a profit at the same time. The New Organic Grower is ideal for young farmers just getting started, or gardeners seeking to expand into a more productive enterprise.
New material in this edition includes:
- Beautiful color photographs throughout, taken by master gardener and author Barbara Damrosch (Eliot’s wife and co-farmer)
- Updated information throughout on how Eliot’s practices have changed through his experiments over the years
- A new section from Damrosch about incorporating flowers on the small farm
- More information on new tools Eliot has invented that don’t appear in any of his other books
Call of the Reed Warbler
A New Agriculture, A New Earth
“Charles Massy has written a definitive masterpiece that takes its place along with the writings of Aldo Leopold, Wendell Berry, Masanobu Fukuoka, Humberto Maturana, and Michael Pollan. No work has more brilliantly defined regenerative agriculture and the breadth of its restorative impact upon human health, biodiversity, climate, and ecological intelligence.” –Paul Hawken
In Call of the Reed Warbler, Charles Massy explores regenerative agriculture and the vital connection between our soil and our health.
It is the story of how a grassroots revolution—a true underground insurgency—can save the planet, help reduce and reverse climate change, and build healthy people and healthy communities, pivoting significantly on our relationship with growing and consuming food.
Using his personal experience as a touchstone—from an unknowing, chemical-using farmer with dead soils to a radical ecologist farmer carefully regenerating a 2000-hectare property to a state of natural health—Massy tells the real story behind industrial agriculture and the global profit-obsessed corporations driving it. With evocative stories, he shows how other innovative and courageous farmers are finding a new way.
At stake is not only a revolution in human health and in our communities, but the very survival of the planet. For farmers, backyard gardeners, food buyers, health workers, policy makers, and public leaders alike, Call of the Reed Warbler offers a tangible path forward and a powerful and moving paean of hope.
It’s not too late to regenerate the earth. Call of the Reed Warbler shows the way forward for the future of our food supply, our planet, and our health.
The Community Food Forest Handbook
How to Plan, Organize, and Nurture Edible Gathering Places
Collaboration and leadership strategies for long-term success
Fueled by the popularity of permaculture and agroecology, community food forests are capturing the imaginations of people in neighborhoods, towns, and cities across the United States. Along with community gardens and farmers markets, community food forests are an avenue toward creating access to nutritious food and promoting environmental sustainability where we live. Interest in installing them in public spaces is on the rise. People are the most vital component of community food forests, but while we know more than ever about how to design food forests, the ways in which to best organize and lead groups of people involved with these projects has received relatively little attention.
In The Community Food Forest Handbook, Catherine Bukowski and John Munsell dive into the civic aspects of community food forests, drawing on observations, group meetings, and interviews at over 20 projects across the country and their own experience creating and managing a food forest. They combine the stories and strategies gathered during their research with concepts of community development and project management to outline steps for creating lasting public food forests that positively impact communities.
Rather than rehash food forest design, which classic books such as Forest Gardening and Edible Forest Gardens address in great detail, The Community Food Forest Handbook uses systems thinking and draws on social change theory to focus on how to work with diverse groups of people when conceiving of, designing, and implementing a community food forest. To find practical ground, the authors use management phases to highlight the ebb and flow of community capitals from a project’s inception to its completion. They also explore examples of positive feedbacks that are often unexpected but offer avenues for enhancing the success of a community food forest.
The Community Food Forest Handbook provides readers with helpful ideas for building and sustaining momentum, working with diverse public and private stakeholders, integrating assorted civic interests and visions within one project, creating safe and attractive sites, navigating community policies, positively affecting public perception, and managing site evolution and adaptation. Its concepts and examples showcase the complexities of community food forests, highlighting the human resilience of those who learn and experience what is possible when they collaborate on a shared vision for their community.