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Book excerpt: Maple on Tap by Rich Finzer

Front cover of Maple on TapRich Finzer, author of the book Maple on Tap, has two decades’ worth of experience producing maple syrup. That experience is distilled into the each chapter of this book, which includes step-by-step instructions for all sugaring activities from tapping to bottling, as age-old skills are enhanced with modern technology.

There are also plenty of beautiful, full-color photos to further illuminate the process.

The excerpt below focuses on the community aspect of a local, sustainable practice. Continue Reading →

Book excerpt: Rebirth of the Small Family Farm

Front cover image for the book Rebirth of the Small Family FarmThe book “Rebirth of the Small Family Farm” is a concise handbook for starting a successful organic farm based on the community-supported agriculture concept. The authors, Bonnie and Bob Gregson, illustrate how they – two self-described “middle-aged novices” – made a decent living on less than 2 acres of land.

This is not just a theory book — it details specific tools, techniques and how-to information, which can be utilized by beginning and advanced farmers alike.

The excerpt below comes from Chapter 3, titled, “Key Factors to Success.” The authors go into detail for each of the 10 identified factors, including having like-minded partners, organic growing, physical ability, ongoing education, direct marketing, location close to consumers, value-added products, and more. Continue Reading →

Book excerpt: Food, Farming & Health by Vandana Shiva, et al.

The book Food, Farming & Health shows how our health is a continuum from the soil, to the plants, to our bodies. It demonstrates how chemical farming depletes the soils of nutrition, producing plants that are nutritionally empty but full of toxic residues, which cause us – its consumers – to suffer from diseases related to nutrient deficiency and/or toxins.

Among the authored chapters is Dr. Vandana Shiva, an Indian scholar, well-known environmental activist, food sovereignty advocate, and author.

The excerpt below, written by Maya Goburdhun – director of Navdanya, a seed and organic produce network in India – discusses how industrial food production robs our food of its nutritional values.

From Chapter 7: Biodiversity is Health

As food travels from the fields to reach our table it goes through two more stages: the processing and the retailing. Continue Reading →

Book excerpt: The Myths of Safe Pesticides by André Leu

Front cover of the Myths of Safe Pesticides bookIn his book The Myths of Safe Pesticides, organic agriculturist and lecturer André Leu delves into scientific research to present evidence dispelling the claims of chemical companies and pesticide regulators that pesticide, herbicide and insecticide products are safe when used as directed. Leu breaks down the five most-repeated myths about pesticide safety, refuting them using scientific data.

The excerpt below is from the chapter discussing the myth that “pesticides are essential to farming,” and asserting that pesticides are, in fact, not the only thing keeping our planet from starvation.

 

From Chapter 5: The “Pesticides are Essential to Farming” Myth

“We will starve to death without pesticides.”

The greatest of all the myths is that we must be exposed to numerous toxic chemicals; otherwise we will have mass starvation. This myth states that it is impossible to grow enough food without the widespread use of these poisons.

Continue Reading →

Book excerpt: Eco-Farm by Charles Walters – The Soil-Life Connection

Acres U.S.A. founder Charles Walters wrote Eco-Farm: An Acres U.S.A. Primer to be the definitive guide to eco-farming. That includes managing farm and ranch soil fertility, crops, fertilizers, weeds, insects and more while avoiding dangerous chemicals.

The excerpt below discusses the importance of maintaining the microorganisms and other lifeforms within the soil by understanding and working with the soil food web.

Continue Reading →

Book excerpt: Bread From Stones by Julius Hensel

Translated from the German writings of Julius Hensel, the book was designed to introduce the people of the U.S. to the idea that plants require healthy food in order to flourish, just as a human being does. It describes a then-new and rational system for fertilization which has become science today — fertilizing with stone dust.

In the excerpt below, Hensel dives into the chemicals which are found in various fields with different mineral makeups, and the plant species which flourish within.

 

Copyright 1991, softcover, 102 pages.

From Chapter 2: Healthy and Unhealthy Produce

According to the chemical examination of the ashes which remain when plants are incinerated, the average result shows about as much potash and soda as lime and magnesia. Silicic acid is somewhat more than one-fifth of the sum of these four bases, chlorine about one-twentieth of the whole, phosphoric acid is one-sixth, but sulfuric acid is only one-fourth in weight of the phosphoric acid.

Continue Reading →