Growing a Revolution Bringing Our Soil Back to Life

Author: David R. Montgomery
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393608335
Release Date: 2017-05-09
Genre: Science

A MacArthur Fellow’s impassioned call to make agriculture sustainable by ditching the plow, covering the soil, and diversifying crop rotations. The problem of agriculture is as old as civilization. Throughout history, great societies that abused their land withered into poverty or disappeared entirely. Now we risk repeating this ancient story on a global scale due to ongoing soil degradation, a changing climate, and a rising population. But there is reason for hope. David R. Montgomery introduces us to farmers around the world at the heart of a brewing soil health revolution that could bring humanity’s ailing soil back to life remarkably fast. Growing a Revolution draws on visits to farms in the industrialized world and developing world to show that a new combination of farming practices can deliver innovative, cost-effective solutions to problems farmers face today. Cutting through standard debates about conventional and organic farming, Montgomery explores why practices based on the principles of conservation agriculture help restore soil health and fertility. Farmers he visited found it both possible and profitable to stop plowing up the soil and blanketing fields with chemicals. Montgomery finds that the combination of no-till planting, cover crops, and diverse crop rotations provides the essential recipe to rebuild soil organic matter. Farmers using these unconventional practices cultivate beneficial soil life, smother weeds, and suppress pests while relying on far less, if any, fertilizer and pesticides. These practices are good for farmers and the environment. Using less fossil fuel and agrochemicals while maintaining crop yields helps farmers with their bottom line. Regenerative practices also translate into farms that use less water, generate less pollution, lower carbon emissions—and stash an impressive amount of carbon underground. Combining ancient wisdom with modern science, Growing a Revolution lays out a solid case for an inspiring vision where agriculture becomes the solution to environmental problems, helping feed us all, cool the planet, and restore life to the land.

Growing a Revolution

Author: David R. Montgomery
Publisher: W. W. Norton
ISBN: 0393356094
Release Date: 2018-07-10
Genre: Science

For centuries agricultural practices have eroded the soil farming depends on, stripping it of organic matter vital to its productivity, and now threatening disaster for the world's growing population. In Growing a Revolution, geologist David R. Montgomery travels the world, meeting farmers at the forefront of an agricultural movement to restore soil health. From Kansas to Ghana, he sees why adopting the three tenets of conservation agriculture--ditching the plow, planting cover crops, and growing a diversity of crops--is the solution. For when farmers restore fertility to the land it helps feed the world, cool the planet, reduce pollution, and return profitability to family farms. "In his reader-friendly style, Montgomery describes the environmental crossroads at which we stand, and shows us not only the devastation, but the potential solution, that exists right beneath our feet."-- Hope Jahren, author of Lab Girl

Growing a Revolution

Author: David R. Montgomery
Publisher: W. W. Norton
ISBN: 0393608328
Release Date: 2017-05-09
Genre: Science

An inspiring vision for restoring the soil that feeds us all and turns agriculture into a solution for environmental crises.

Dirt

Author: David R. Montgomery
Publisher: Univ of California Press
ISBN: 9780520952119
Release Date: 2012-04-10
Genre: Nature

Dirt, soil, call it what you want—it's everywhere we go. It is the root of our existence, supporting our feet, our farms, our cities. This fascinating yet disquieting book finds, however, that we are running out of dirt, and it's no laughing matter. An engaging natural and cultural history of soil that sweeps from ancient civilizations to modern times, Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations explores the compelling idea that we are—and have long been—using up Earth's soil. Once bare of protective vegetation and exposed to wind and rain, cultivated soils erode bit by bit, slowly enough to be ignored in a single lifetime but fast enough over centuries to limit the lifespan of civilizations. A rich mix of history, archaeology and geology, Dirt traces the role of soil use and abuse in the history of Mesopotamia, Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, China, European colonialism, Central America, and the American push westward. We see how soil has shaped us and we have shaped soil—as society after society has risen, prospered, and plowed through a natural endowment of fertile dirt. David R. Montgomery sees in the recent rise of organic and no-till farming the hope for a new agricultural revolution that might help us avoid the fate of previous civilizations.

The Rocks Don t Lie

Author: David R. Montgomery
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393082395
Release Date: 2012-08-27
Genre: Religion

Using rocks as proof, a geologist examines the great flood stories found in many cultures and religions and travels across countries and landscapes to discover a place where theology and science converge. 13,000 first printing.

The Hidden Half of Nature The Microbial Roots of Life and Health

Author: David R. Montgomery
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
ISBN: 9780393244410
Release Date: 2015-11-16
Genre: Science

A riveting exploration of how microbes are transforming the way we see nature and ourselves—and could revolutionize agriculture and medicine. Prepare to set aside what you think you know about yourself and microbes. Good health—for people and for plants—depends on Earth’s smallest creatures. The Hidden Half of Nature tells the story of our tangled relationship with microbes and their potential to revolutionize agriculture and medicine, from garden to gut. When David R. Montgomery and Anne Biklé decide to restore life into their barren yard by creating a garden, dead dirt threatens their dream. As a cure, they feed their soil a steady diet of organic matter. The results impress them. In short order, the much-maligned microbes transform their bleak yard into a flourishing Eden. Beneath their feet, beneficial microbes and plant roots continuously exchange a vast array of essential compounds. The authors soon learn that this miniaturized commerce is central to botanical life’s master strategy for defense and health. They are abruptly plunged further into investigating microbes when Biklé is diagnosed with cancer. Here, they discover an unsettling truth. An armada of bacteria (our microbiome) sails the seas of our gut, enabling our immune system to sort microbial friends from foes. But when our gut microbiome goes awry, our health can go with it. The authors also discover startling insights into the similarities between plant roots and the human gut. We are not what we eat. We are all—for better or worse—the product of what our microbes eat. This leads to a radical reconceptualization of our relationship to the natural world: by cultivating beneficial microbes, we can rebuild soil fertility and help turn back the modern plague of chronic diseases. The Hidden Half of Nature reveals how to transform agriculture and medicine—by merging the mind of an ecologist with the care of a gardener and the skill of a doctor.

The Soil Will Save Us

Author: Kristin Ohlson
Publisher: Rodale Books
ISBN: 9781609615550
Release Date: 2014-03-18
Genre: Nature

Thousands of years of poor farming and ranching practices—and, especially, modern industrial agriculture—have led to the loss of up to 80 percent of carbon from the world's soils. That carbon is now floating in the atmosphere, and even if we stopped using fossil fuels today, it would continue warming the planet. In The Soil Will Save Us, journalist and bestselling author Kristin Ohlson makes an elegantly argued, passionate case for "our great green hope"—a way in which we can not only heal the land but also turn atmospheric carbon into beneficial soil carbon—and potentially reverse global warming. As the granddaughter of farmers and the daughter of avid gardeners, Ohlson has long had an appreciation for the soil. A chance conversation with a local chef led her to the crossroads of science, farming, food, and environmentalism and the discovery of the only significant way to remove carbon dioxide from the air—an ecological approach that tends not only to plants and animals but also to the vast population of underground microorganisms that fix carbon in the soil. Ohlson introduces the visionaries—scientists, farmers, ranchers, and landscapers—who are figuring out in the lab and on the ground how to build healthy soil, which solves myriad problems: drought, erosion, air and water pollution, and food quality, as well as climate change. Her discoveries and vivid storytelling will revolutionize the way we think about our food, our landscapes, our plants, and our relationship to Earth.

Kiss the Ground

Author: Josh Tickell
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781501170256
Release Date: 2017-11-14
Genre: Nature

Pre-publication subtitle: A food revolutionary's guide to reversing climate change.

Life in the Soil

Author: James B. Nardi
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226568539
Release Date: 2009-09-15
Genre: Science

Leonardo da Vinci once mused that “we know more about the movement of celestial bodies than about the soil underfoot,” an observation that is as apt today as it was five hundred years ago. The biological world under our toes is often unexplored and unappreciated, yet it teems with life. In one square meter of earth, there lives trillions of bacteria, millions of nematodes, hundreds of thousands of mites, thousands of insects and worms, and hundreds of snails and slugs. But because of their location and size, many of these creatures are as unfamiliar and bizarre to us as anything found at the bottom of the ocean. Lavishly illustrated with nearly three hundred color illustrations and masterfully-rendered black and white drawings throughout, Life in the Soil invites naturalists and gardeners alike to dig in and discover the diverse community of creatures living in the dirt below us. Biologist and acclaimed natural history artist James B. Nardibegins with an introduction to soil ecosystems, revealing the unseen labors of underground organisms maintaining the rich fertility of the earth as they recycle nutrients between the living and mineral worlds. He then introduces readers to a dazzling array of creatures: wolf spiders with glowing red eyes, snails with 120 rows of teeth, and 10,000-year-old fungi, among others. Organized by taxon, Life in the Soil covers everything from slime molds and roundworms to woodlice and dung beetles, as well as vertebrates from salamanders to shrews. The book ultimately explores the crucial role of soil ecosystems in conserving the worlds above and below ground. A unique and illustrative introduction to the many unheralded creatures that inhabit our soils and shape our environment aboveground, Life in the Soil will inform and enrich the naturalist in all of us.

Healthy Crops

Author: Francis Chaboussou
Publisher: Jon Carpenter Publishing
ISBN: STANFORD:36105115161783
Release Date: 2004
Genre: Science

This work powerfully asserts the idea that rather than using pesticides, the key to helping crops resist attacks from pests is to improve their strength through natural processes. Many of industrial agriculture's fundamental principles for fighting disease, in particular the reliance on pesticides and fertilizers, are explained and convincingly challenged and a new set of guiding principles for an ecological agricultural system are presented as a genuine alternative to the widespread use of chemicals.

The Independent Farmstead

Author: Beth Dougherty
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
ISBN: 9781603586221
Release Date: 2016-09-07
Genre: Organic farming

With in-depth information on electric fencing, watering, and husbandry for ruminants, poultry, and pigs, plus butchering, dairying, and more If we work hard, we sleep well. Twenty years ago, when authors Shawn and Beth Dougherty purchased the land they would come to name the Sow s Ear, the state of Ohio designated it not suitable for agriculture. Today, their family raises and grows 90% of their own food. Such self-sufficiency is largely the result of basing their farming practices around intensive pasture management. Pioneered by such luminaries as Allan Savory, Greg Judy, and Joel Salatin, the tenets of holistic grazing employed mostly by larger-scale commercial operations have been adapted by the Doughertys to fit their family s needs. In The Independent Farmstead, The Sow s Ear model for regenerating the land and growing food the best you ever tasted is elucidated for others to use and build upon. In witty and welcoming style, The Independent Farmstead covers everything from choosing a species of ruminant and incorporating it into a grass-based system to innovative electric fencing and watering systems, to what to do with all of the milk, meat, and, yes, manure that the self-sustaining farm produces. Within these pages, the Doughertys discuss how to: Find and improve poor, waste, or abused land and develop its natural water resources; Select and purchase the appropriate ruminant for regenerating your farmstead; Apply fencing strategies and pasture management basics; Implement basic, uncomplicated food processing, including large and small animal butchering and cheese making; and Integrate grass, gardens, and livestock to minimize or eliminate the need for off-farm inputs. As the Doughertys write, more and more people today are feeling the desire for clean, affordable food, unmodified, unprocessed, and unmedicated and the security of local food sourcing for ourselves and our children. The Independent Farmstead is a must-have resource for those who count themselves as part of this movement: both new and prospective farmers and homesteaders, and those who are interested in switching to grass-based systems. Best of all it s the kind of rare how-to book that the authors themselves view not as a compendium of one-size-fits-all instructions but as the beginning of a conversation, one that is utterly informative, sincere, and inspiring. "

Cultivating an Ecological Conscience

Author: Frederick L. Kirschenmann
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
ISBN: 9780813139586
Release Date: 2010-11-30
Genre: Nature

Theologian, academic, and third-generation organic farmer Frederick L. Kirschenmann is a celebrated agricultural thinker. In the last thirty years he has tirelessly promoted the principles of sustainability and has become a legend in his own right. Cultivating an Ecological Conscience: Essays from a Farmer Philosopher documents Kirschenmann's evolution and his lifelong contributions to the new agrarianism in a collection of his greatest writings on farming, philosophy, and sustainability. Working closely with agricultural economist and editor Constance L. Falk, Kirschenmann recounts his intellectual and spiritual journey. In a unique blend of personal history, philosophical discourse, spiritual ruminations, and practical advice, Kirschenmann interweaves his insights with discussion of contemporary agrarian topics. This collection serves as an invaluable resource to agrarian scholars and introduces readers to an agricultural pioneer whose work has profoundly influenced modern thinking about food.

The Good Food Revolution

Author: Will Allen
Publisher: Avery
ISBN: 9781592407606
Release Date: 2013
Genre: Biography & Autobiography

"A MacArthur ""Genius Award"" recipient and co-launcher of First Lady Michelle Obama's Let's Move! program describes his early experiences as a sharecropper's son and a KFC executive before building a preeminent urban farm to feed, educate and employ thousands of at-risk youths."

Cows Save the Planet

Author: Judith Schwartz
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
ISBN: 9781603584333
Release Date: 2013-05-20
Genre: Technology & Engineering

In Cows Save the Planet, journalist Judith D. Schwartz looks at soil as a crucible for our many overlapping environmental, economic, and social crises. Schwartz reveals that for many of these problems—climate change, desertification, biodiversity loss, droughts, floods, wildfires, rural poverty, malnutrition, and obesity—there are positive, alternative scenarios to the degradation and devastation we face. In each case, our ability to turn these crises into opportunities depends on how we treat the soil. Drawing on the work of thinkers and doers, renegade scientists and institutional whistleblowers from around the world, Schwartz challenges much of the conventional thinking about global warming and other problems. For example, land can suffer from undergrazing as well as overgrazing, since certain landscapes, such as grasslands, require the disturbance from livestock to thrive. Regarding climate, when we focus on carbon dioxide, we neglect the central role of water in soil—"green water"—in temperature regulation. And much of the carbon dioxide that burdens the atmosphere is not the result of fuel emissions, but from agriculture; returning carbon to the soil not only reduces carbon dioxide levels but also enhances soil fertility. Cows Save the Planet is at once a primer on soil's pivotal role in our ecology and economy, a call to action, and an antidote to the despair that environmental news so often leaves us with.

The One Straw Revolution

Author: Masanobu Fukuoka
Publisher: New York Review of Books
ISBN: 9781590173923
Release Date: 2010-09-08
Genre: Nature

Call it “Zen and the Art of Farming” or a “Little Green Book,” Masanobu Fukuoka’s manifesto about farming, eating, and the limits of human knowledge presents a radical challenge to the global systems we rely on for our food. At the same time, it is a spiritual memoir of a man whose innovative system of cultivating the earth reflects a deep faith in the wholeness and balance of the natural world. As Wendell Berry writes in his preface, the book “is valuable to us because it is at once practical and philosophical. It is an inspiring, necessary book about agriculture because it is not just about agriculture.” Trained as a scientist, Fukuoka rejected both modern agribusiness and centuries of agricultural practice, deciding instead that the best forms of cultivation mirror nature’s own laws. Over the next three decades he perfected his so-called “do-nothing” technique: commonsense, sustainable practices that all but eliminate the use of pesticides, fertilizer, tillage, and perhaps most significantly, wasteful effort. Whether you’re a guerrilla gardener or a kitchen gardener, dedicated to slow food or simply looking to live a healthier life, you will find something here—you may even be moved to start a revolution of your own.