Historically, seed companies were generally small, often family-run businesses. Because they were regionally based, they could focus on varieties well-suited to the local environment. A Pacific Northwest company, for example, would specialize in different cultivars than a company based in the Southeast. However, the absorption of these small, independent seed businesses into large multinationals – combined with the advancement of biotechnology, resulting in hybrids and genetically modified seeds – has led to a serious loss of genetic diversity. The public is now at the mercy of the corporations who control the seeds.
In the past few years, gardeners have realized the inherent danger in this situation. A growing movement is striving to preserve and expand our stock of heritage and heirloom varieties through seed saving and sharing opportunities. Seed Libraries is a practical guide to saving seeds through community programs, including:
Whoever controls the seeds controls the food supply. By empowering communities to preserve and protect the genetic diversity of their harvest, Seed Libraries is the first step toward reclaiming our self-reliance … while enhancing food security and ensuring that the future of food is healthy, vibrant, tasty and nutritious.
Now, more than ever, people across the country are turning toward simpler, greener, and quieter ways of living, whether they’re urbanites or country folk. This large, fully illustrated book provides the entire family with the information they need to make the shift toward self-sufficient living.
Self-Sufficiency provides tips, advice, and detailed instructions on how to improve everyday life from an environmentally and organic perspective while keeping the focus on the family. Readers will learn how to plant a family garden and harvest the produce; can fruits and vegetables; bake bread and cookies; design interactive and engaging “green” projects; harness natural wind and solar energy to cook food and warm their homes; boil sap to make maple syrup; and build treehouses, furniture, and more. Also included are natural crafts readers can do with their children, such as scrapbooking, making potato prints, dipping candles, and constructing seasonal decorations. Whether the goal is to live entirely off the grid or just to shrink their carbon footprints, families will find this book a thorough resource and a great inspiration.
Small-Space Vegetable Gardens explains the basics of growing a bounty of edibles in a minimal amount of space. Andrea Bellamy, author of the award-winning blog Heavy Petal, shares all the knowledge she’s gained from years of gardening small: how to find and assess a space, and how to plan and build a garden. Bellamy also highlights the top 60 edible plants and offers complete information on how to sow, grow and harvest them. This hardworking and enthusiastic guide teaches gardeners how to take advantage of the space they have—whether it’s a balcony, a patio, a plot in a community garden, or even a small yard—to create the food garden of their dreams.
Master gardener Barbara Pleasant takes the guesswork and anxiety out of growing food, explaining in simple language exactly how to start, maintain and eventually expand an organic vegetable garden, even in the smallest of spaces. Choose one of 24 no-fail, small-scale garden plans and find out how easy it is to enjoy your own fresh food all season long!
The Bio-Integrated Farm is a 21st-century manual for managing nature’s resources. This groundbreaking book brings “system farming” and permaculture to a whole new level. Author Shawn Jadrnicek presents new insights into permaculture, moving beyond the philosophical foundation to practical advanced designs based on a functional analysis. Holding his designs to a higher standard, Jadrnicek’s components serve at least seven functions (classical permaculture theory only seeks at least two functions). With every additional function a component performs, the design becomes more advanced and saves more energy.
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.
This book turns the compost bin upside down with a natural six-way gardening system of keeping compost heaps right in the garden, rather than in some dark corner behind the garage. The compost and plants live together from the beginning in a nourishing, organic environment.
Author Barbara Pleasant's bountiful, compost-rich gardens require less digging, weeding, mulching and even less planting. And here's one of the best parts — no more backbreaking slogs from compost bin to garden. Pleasant and co-author Deborah Martin even identify the plants that benefit most from compost and how the elements of a composted garden work together. Their natural six-way compost gardening system provides the ruling principles for successfully improving every garden with healthy compost.
This must-have reference will help you navigate the complex world of science. It defines more than 6,000 words from 16 branches of science that are of particular interest to gardeners, from abscission (a plant’s rejection of an organ) to zoochory (the dispersal of seeds by animals). Hundreds of illustrations clarify key definitions and help explain abstract concepts.
In this timely new book, thrifty and resourceful Alys Fowler shows that there is a way to take the good life and refashion it to fit in with life in the city. Abandoning the limitations of traditional gardening methods, she has created a beautifully productive garden where tomatoes sit happily next to roses, carrots are woven between the lavenders and potatoes grow in pots on the patio. And all of this is produced in a way that mimics natural systems, producing delicious homegrown food for her table. And she shares her favorite recipes for the hearty dishes, pickles and jams she makes to use up her bountiful harvest, proving that no-one need go hungry on her grow-your-own regime.
Good for the pocket, good for the environment and hugely rewarding for the soul, The Edible Garden urges urbanites everywhere to chuck out the old gardening rules and create their own haven that's as good to look at as it is to eat.
This is your personal guide to growing and using scented plants!
Combining the popular subjects of gardening and aromatherapy, The Essential Aromatherapy Garden contains everything you need to know about growing and using scented plants. Learn about the history of aromatic gardens, what to grow, and how to plan an apothecary garden, as well as how to enhance your health and home with fragrant herbs and flowers.
This book includes detailed profiles of more than 50 aromatic plants, with information on their cultivation as well as a description of their scent and how they can be used for aromatherapy, decoration, cooking, and health. Written by respected aromatherapist and gardener Julia Lawless, this guide will show you have to create a beautiful garden that’s a means to well-being and pleasure.
Humanure: waste or resource? Joseph Jenkins answers this question in this guide to reclaiming and recycling human waste through composting. Offers simple and practical solutions anyone can use.
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 its 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.