From the heart of Big Sky Country comes this inspiring story of a handful of colorful pioneers who have successfully bucked the chemically based food chain and the entrenched power of agribusiness’s one percent by stubbornly banding together. Journalist and native Montanan Liz Carlisle weaves an eye-opening and richly reported narrative that will be welcomed by everyone concerned with the future of American agriculture and natural food in an increasingly uncertain world.
In 1982, at the age of 23, Elspeth Beard left her family and friends in London and set off on a 35,000-mile solo adventure around the world on her 1974 BMW R60/6.
With some savings from her pub job, a tent, a few clothes, and some tools, all packed on the bike, she was determined to prove herself and to get over a recent heartbreak. She had ridden bikes since her teens and was already well traveled, but this journey would be the toughest thing she’d ever done. By the time she returned to England two years later, she was 30 pounds lighter and decades wiser.
The Plains Indians found medicinal value in more than 200 species of native prairie plants. Unfortunately, modern American culture has not paid much attention.
White settlers did learn a few plant-based remedies from the Indians, and a few prairie plants were prescribed by frontier doctors. A couple dozen prairie species were listed as drugs in the U.S. Pharmacopeia at one time or another, and one or two, like the Purple Coneflower, found their way into the bottles of patent medicine.
But in both the number of species used and the varieties of treatments administered, Indians were far more proficient than white settlers. Their familiarity with the plants of the prairie was comprehensive: There probably were Indian names for all prairie plants, and they recognized more varieties of some species than scientists do today. Their knowledge was refined and exact enough that they could successfully administer medicinal doses of plants that are poisonous. All of the species used by frontier doctors were used first by Indians.
In Medicinal Wild Plants of the Prairie, ethnobotanist Kelly Kindscher documents the medicinal use of 203 native prairie plants by the Plains Indians. Using information gleaned from archival materials, interviews and fieldwork, Kindscher describes plant-based treatments for ailments ranging from hyperactivity to syphilis, from arthritis to worms. He also explains the use of internal and external medications, smoke treatments, moxa (the burning of a medicinal substance on the skin), and the doctrine of signatures (the belief that the form or characteristics of a plant are signatures or signs that reveal its medicinal uses). He adds information on recent pharmacological findings to further illuminate the medicinal nature of these plants.
Not since 1919 has the ethnobotany of native Great Plains plants been examined so thoroughly. Kindscher's study is the first to encompass the entire Prairie Bioregion, a 1 million-square-mile area bounded by Texas on the south, Canada on the north, the Rocky Mountains on the west, and the deciduous forests of Missouri, Indiana and Wisconsin in the east. Along with information on the medicinal uses of prairie plants by the Indians, Kindscher also lists Indian, common, and scientific names and describes Anglo folk uses, medical uses, scientific research and cultivation. Descriptions of the plants are supplemented by 44 exquisite line drawings and more than 100 range maps.
This book will help increase appreciation for prairie plants at a time when prairies and their biodiversity urgently need protection throughout the region.
Miraculous Abundance is the eloquent tale of the couple’s evolution from creating a farm to sustain their family to delving into an experiment in how to grow the most food possible, in the most ecological way possible, and create a farm model that can carry us into a post-carbon future … when oil is no longer moving goods and services, energy is scarcer, and localization is a must.
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Mountaintop removal (MTR) does exactly what it says: A mountaintop is stripped of trees, blown to bits with explosives, then pushed aside by giant equipment … all to expose a layer of coal to be mined. Hundreds of thousands of acres of ancient forested mountains have been ''removed'' this way and will never again support the biologically rich and diverse forest and stream communities that evolved there over millions of years. Instead, they've been sacrificed to support a flawed national energy policy. Mountain Justice tells a terrific set of firsthand stories about living with MTR and offers on-the-scene (and behind-the-scenes) reporting of what people are doing to try to stop it. Tricia Shapiro lets the victims of mountaintop removal and their allies tell their own stories, allowing moments of quiet dignity and righteous indignation to share center stage. This book includes coverage of the sharp escalation of anti-MTR civil disobedience, with more than 130 arrests in West Virginia alone during the first year of the Obama administration. This is an international issue, with campaigns against this massively damaging method of mining taking place in the United Kingdom, India, Canada, New Zealand and Burma. The proposed destruction of a number of habitats, from mountaintops to heath land to jungle, is a loss for us all.
Learn how to identify and gather wild mushrooms and other fungi!
An authoritative field guide to more than 450 species of wild mushrooms from around the world, Mushrooms shows the life cycle and features of a mushroom, what supplies are needed for mushroom foraging, and how to take a spore deposit.
A photographic field guide forms the heart of the book, providing information on size, range, and habitat. The clear images and illustrations of specimens, along with information on what's poisonous and what's edible, make this the ultimate guide to mushrooms.
There is nothing quite like watching the interesting animals in your yard. In Natural Birdhouses, you’ll find instructions for making birdhouses, feeders, bat houses, and pollinator houses using materials that you can find locally for free.
In Nature as Measure, a collection of Jackson’s essays from Altars of Unhewn Stone and Becoming Native to This Place, these ideas of land conservation and education are written from the point of view of a man who has practiced what he’s preached and proven that it is possible to partially restore much of the land that we’ve ravaged. Wes Jackson lays the foundation for a new farming economy, grounded in nature’s principles and located in dying small towns and rural communities.
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Bigger has turned out not to be better. Servicing the global economy has exacted a heavy toll in the erosion of our communities and the destruction of our environment. Increasingly, we are coming to realize that the way forward looks a lot like the way back — back to strong local economies, back to resilient, tight-knit communities, back to the land and work that is real.
As we chart our course through these uncertain times, we are hungry for inspiration. Robert Swann was a self-taught economist, a tireless champion of decentralism, and the father of the relocalization movement. A conscientious war resistor imprisoned for his beliefs, Swann engaged in lifelong nonviolent direct action against war, racism and economic inequity. His legacy is a vision of a life-affirming, alternative economy of peace founded on innovations in land and monetary reform.
Swann's story is also the untold history of decentralism in the United States. He associated with a constellation of vital, intelligent independent authors and activists, and ultimately co-founded the Schumacher Society based on the philosophies of Small Is Beautiful author E. F. Schumacher.
Swann forged tools to build productive, resilient local and regional economies. Now as global industrial civilization flails in the throes of ecological and economic crisis, Swann's working innovations are at the ready to help neighborhoods, local entrepreneurs, and willing communities to rebuild at appropriate scales.
The largest edible fruit native to the United States tastes like a cross between a banana and a mango. The trees are an organic grower’s dream, requiring no pesticides or herbicides to thrive, and containing compounds that are among the most potent anticancer agents yet discovered.
In Pawpaw (a 2016 James Beard Foundation Award nominee in the Writing & Literature category), author Andrew Moore explores the past, present, and future of this unique fruit, traveling from the Ozarks to Monticello; canoeing the lower Mississippi in search of wild fruit; drinking pawpaw beer in Durham, North Carolina; tracking down lost cultivars in Appalachian hollers; and helping out during harvest season in a Maryland orchard. Along the way, he gathers pawpaw lore and knowledge not only from the plant breeders and horticulturists working to bring pawpaws into the mainstream (including Neal Peterson, known in pawpaw circles as the fruit’s own “Johnny Pawpawseed”), but also regular folks who remember eating them in the woods as kids, but haven’t had one in more than 50 years.
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Janisse Ray, award-winning author of Ecology of a Cracker Childhood and Wild Card Quilt, writes an evocative paean to wildness and wilderness restoration with an extraordinary journey into southern Georgia's Pinhook Swamp.
Pinhook Swamp acts as a vital watershed and wildlife corridor, a link between the great southern wildernesses of Okefenokee Swamp and Osceola National Forest. Together Okefenokee, Osceola and Pinhook form one of the largest expanses of protected wild land east of the Mississippi River. This is one of America's last truly wild places, and Pinhook takes us into its heart.
Ray comes to know Pinhook intimately as she joins the fight to protect it, spending the night in the swamp, tasting honey made from its flowers, tracking wildlife, and talking to others about their relationship with the swamp. Ray sees Pinhook through the eyes of the people who live there: naturalists, beekeepers, homesteaders, hunters and locals at the country store. In lyrical, down-home prose, she draws together the swamp's need for restoration and the human desire for wholeness and wildness in our own lives and landscapes.
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Concerns over climate change and energy depletion are increasing exponentially. Mainstream solutions still assume a panacea that will cure our climate ills without requiring any serious modification to our way of life.
Plan C explores the risks inherent in trying to continue our energy-intensive lifestyle. Using dirtier fossil fuels (Plan A) or switching to renewable energy sources (Plan B) allows people to remain complacent in the face of a potential global catastrophe. Dramatic lifestyle change is the only way to begin to create a sustainable, equitable world. The converging crises of Peak Oil, Climate Change and increasing inequity are presented in a clear, concise manner, as are the twin solutions of community (where cooperation replaces competition) and curtailment (deliberately reducing consumption of consumer goods).
Plan C shows how each person's individual choices can dramatically reduce CO2 emissions. It offers specific strategies in the areas of food, transportation and housing. One chapter analyzes the decimation of the Cuban economy when the USSR stopped oil exports in 1990 and provides an inspiring vision for a low energy way of living.
Plan C is an indispensable resource for anyone interested in living a lower-energy, saner and sustainable lifestyle.