Author: David R. Montgomery
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date: 2017-05-09
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.
Author: David R. Montgomery
Publisher: Univ of California Press
Release Date: 2012-04-10
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.
Author: David R. Montgomery
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Release Date: 2015-11-16
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.
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.
Author: Beth Dougherty
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
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. "
Author: Josh Tickell
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2017-11-14
Discover the hidden power soil has to reverse climate change, and how a regenerative farming diet not only delivers us better health and wellness, but also rebuilds our most precious resource—the very ground that feeds us. Josh Tickell, one of America’s most celebrated documentary filmmakers and director of Fuel, has dedicated most of his life to saving the environment. Now, in Kiss the Ground, he explains an incredible truth: by changing our diets to a soil-nourishing, regenerative agriculture diet, we can reverse global warming, harvest healthy, abundant food, and eliminate the poisonous substances that are harming our children, pets, bodies, and ultimately our planet. Through fascinating and accessible interviews with celebrity chefs, ranchers, farmers, and top scientists, this remarkable book, soon to be a full-length documentary film narrated by Woody Harrelson, will teach you how to become an agent in humanity’s single most important and time sensitive mission. Reverse climate change and effectively save the world—all through the choices you make in how and what to eat.
Author: Will Allen
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."
Author: Charles Massy
Publisher: Univ. of Queensland Press
Release Date: 2017-09-13
Is it too late to regenerate the earth? Call of the Reed Warbler shows the way forward for the future of our food supply, our Australian landscape and our planet. This ground-breaking book will change the way we think of, farm and grow food. Author and radical farmer Charles Massy explores transformative and regenerative agriculture and the vital connection between our soil and our health. It is a story of how a grassroots revolution – a true underground insurgency – can save the planet, help turn climate change around, 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. He shows – through evocative stories – how innovative farmers are finding a new way and interweaves his own local landscape, its seasons and biological richness. At stake is not only a revolution in human health and our communities but the very survival of the planet. For farmer, backyard gardener, food buyer, health worker, policy maker and public leader alike, Call of the Reed Warbler offers a tangible path forward for the future of our food supply, our Australian landscape and our earth. It comprises a powerful and moving paean of hope.
Author: David Montgomery
Publisher: Basic Books
Release Date: 2009-04-28
Genre: Social Science
The salmon that symbolize the Pacific Northwest's natural splendor are now threatened with extinction across much of their ancestral range. In studying the natural and human forces that shape the rivers and mountains of that region, geologist David Montgomery has learned to see the evolution and near-extinction of the salmon as a story of changing landscapes. Montgomery shows how a succession of historical experiences -first in the United Kingdom, then in New England, and now in the Pacific Northwest -repeat a disheartening story in which overfishing and sweeping changes to rivers and seas render the world inhospitable to salmon. In King of Fish, Montgomery traces the human impacts on salmon over the last thousand years and examines the implications both for salmon recovery efforts and for the more general problem of human impacts on the natural world. What does it say for the long-term prospects of the world's many endangered species if one of the most prosperous regions of the richest country on earth cannot accommodate its icon species? All too aware of the possible bleak outcome for the salmon, King of Fishconcludes with provocative recommendations for reinventing the ways in which we make environmental decisions about land, water, and fish.
Author: Judith Schwartz
Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing
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.
Organic No-Till Farming offers a map to the Holy Grail of organic farming - a system that limits tillage, reduces labor, and improves soil structure. Based on the latest research by pioneering agriculturalists, this book arms you with new technologies and tools based on sound biological principles, making it possible to reduce and even eliminate tillage. Jeff Moyer's clear and comprehensive guided tour of organic no-till is based on using soil biology to power the system. Field-tested over many seasons, these methods make cover crops into a source of fertility as well as a tool for weed management. As traditional tillage turns into rotational tillage, natural soil biology is maximized and synthetic inputs are minimized. Combining the best aspects of no-till and satisfying the requirements of USDA organic regulations, the system laid out in this book "provides great potential for agricultural change," Moyer writes, "through the use of cover crops and reduction of synthetic herbicides, while giving organic farmers what they need in terms of weed management and soil building practices." For organic farmers who want to refine their practices and conventional farmers interested in new ideas, Organic No-Till Farming is indispensable.
Author: Mark Sundeen
Release Date: 2017-01-10
Genre: Social Science
“An in-depth and compelling account of diverse Americans living off the grid.” —Los Angeles Times The radical search for the simple life in today’s America. On a frigid April night, a classically trained opera singer, five months pregnant, and her husband, a former marine biologist, disembark an Amtrak train in La Plata, Missouri, assemble two bikes, and pedal off into the night, bound for a homestead they've purchased, sight unseen. Meanwhile, a horticulturist, heir to the Great Migration that brought masses of African Americans to Detroit, and her husband, a product of the white flight from it, have turned to urban farming to revitalize the blighted city they both love. And near Missoula, Montana, a couple who have been at the forefront of organic farming for decades navigate what it means to live and raise a family ethically. A work of immersive journalism steeped in a distinctively American social history and sparked by a personal quest, The Unsettlers traces the search for the simple life through the stories of these new pioneers and what inspired each of them to look for -- or create -- a better existence. Captivating and clear-eyed, it dares us to imagine what a sustainable, ethical, authentic future might actually look like.
From the bestselling author of Teaming with Microbes and Teaming with Nutrients Teaming with Fungi is an important guide to mycorrhizae and the role they play in agriculture, horticulture, and hydroponics. Almost every plant in a garden forms a relationship with fungi, and many plants would not exist without their fungal partners. By better understanding this relationship, gardeners can take advantage of the benefits of fungi, which include an increased uptake in nutrients, resistance to drought, earlier fruiting, and more. Learn how the fungi interact with plants and how to best to employ them in your home garden.
A Soil Owner's Manual: Restoring and Maintaining Soil Health, is about restoring the capacity of your soil to perform all the functions it was intended to perform. This book is not another fanciful guide on how to continuously manipulate and amend your soil to try and keep it productive. This book will change the way you think about and manage your soil. It may even change your life. If you are interested in solving the problem of dysfunctional soil and successfully addressing the symptoms of soil erosion, water runoff, nutrient deficiencies, compaction, soil crusting, weeds, insect pests, plant diseases, and water pollution, or simply wish to grow healthy vegetables in your family garden, then this book is for you. Soil health pioneer Jon Stika, describes in simple terms how you can bring your soil back to its full productive potential by understanding and applying the principles that built your soil in the first place. Understanding how the soil functions is critical to reducing the reliance on expensive inputs to maintain yields. Working with, instead of against, the processes that naturally govern the soil can increase profitability and restore the soil to health. Restoring soil health can proactively solve natural resource issues before regulations are imposed that will merely address the symptoms. This book will lead you through the basic biology and guiding principles that will allow you to assess and restore your soil. It is part of a movement currently underway in agriculture that is working to restore what has been lost. A Soil Owner's Manual: Restoring and Maintaining Soil Health will give you the opportunity to be part of this movement. Restoring soil health is restoring hope in the future of agriculture, from large farm fields and pastures, down to your own vegetable or flower garden.