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2015/2016 NOFA/Mass Recommended Winter Reading - Part 1

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This article comes from the NOFA/Massachusetts 2015 December Issue Newsletter

by Glenn Oliveira

It is nearly time to turn our attention to the books that we just haven’t had the time to read this past growing season. The list of books below represents just a few of the many books our Board and Staff will be diving into this winter. From books on chickens to market gardening, eighty year old books on the origins of organic agriculture to yet published books on carbon farming, the list of books is as diverse as the NOFA/Mass community. We invite you to join us in reading, learning and being inspired this winter.

An Agricultural Testament by Sir Albert Howard

This is the book that started the organic farming and gardening revolution, the result of Howard's 25 years of research at Indore in India. The essence of organics is brilliantly encapsulated in the Introduction, which begins: "The maintenance of the fertility of the soil is the first condition of any permanent system of agriculture."

 

All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and All Things Wise and Wonderful  by James Herriot

Perhaps better than any other writer, James Herriot reveals the ties that bind us to the natural world. Collected here are three of his masterpieces—All Creatures Great and Small, All Things Bright and Beautiful, and All Things Wise and Wonderful—which have been winning over animal lovers everywhere for almost fifty years. From his night visits to drafty barns during freezing northern England winters, to the beautiful vitality of rural life in the summertime, to the colorful menagerie of animals—and their owners—that pass through his office, Herriot vividly evokes the daily challenges and joys that come with being a veterinarian.

 

The Art of Fermentation  by Sandor Ellix Katz

The Art of Fermentation is the most comprehensive guide to do-it-yourself home fermentation ever published. Sandor Katz presents the concepts and processes behind fermentation in ways that are simple enough to guide a reader through their first experience making sauerkraut or yogurt, and in-depth enough to provide greater understanding and insight for experienced practitioners.

 

The Carbon Farming Solution: A Global Toolkit of Perennial Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices for Climate Change Mitigation and Food Security by Eric Toensmeier

Agriculture is rightly blamed as a major culprit of our climate crisis. But in this groundbreaking new book, Eric Toensmeier argues that agriculture?specifically, the subset of practices known as “carbon farming” – can, and should be, a linchpin of a global climate solutions platform.


The Chicken Health Handbook
 
by Gail Damerow

This must-have reference for the small flock owner covers the problems and diseases common to chickens of all breeds and all ages. Generously illustrated, The Chicken Health Handbook teaches you how to hatch healthy chicks, provide proper nutrition, fight parasites, spot diseases and infections in their early stages, protect flocks from predators, and build safe houses and yards.

 

Chicken Tractor by Andy Lee & Pat Foreman                                   

A chicken tractor is a bottomless, portable pen that fits over your garden beds. Just set it wherever you need help in your garden. The chickens peck and scratch the soil to clean your beds, eat pest bugs and weed seeds. Best of all, they provide eggs and meat with that old-fashioned flavor. Chicken tractors have helped thousands of gardeners have better gardens and taken chickens out of factory farms and put them in the garden where they are your personal helpers.

 

The Color of Food: Stories of Race, Resilience and Farming  by Natasha Bowens

Imagine the typical American farmer. Many people visualize sun-roughened skin, faded overalls, and calloused hands – hands that are usually white. While there's no doubt the growing trend of organic farming and homesteading is changing how the farmer is portrayed in mainstream media, farmers of color are still largely left out of the picture. The Color of Food seeks to rectify this. By recognizing the critical issues that lie at the intersection of race and food, this stunning collection of portraits and stories challenges the status quo of agrarian identity. Author, photographer, and biracial farmer Natasha Bowens's quest to explore her own roots in the soil leads her to unearth a larger story, weaving together the seemingly forgotten history of agriculture for people of color, the issues they face today, and the culture and resilience they bring to food and farming.

 

The Farm as Ecosystem  by Jerry Brunetti

Jerry Brunetti collects a lifetime of experiences and uncanny observations in this fascinating work on the interconnected dynamics of the farm—geology, biology, and diversity. Brunetti explores the farm as a complex ecosystem, synthesizing facts and experiences to formulate principles for holistic farm management.

 

Fearless Farm Finances: Farm Financial Management Demystified       Published by MOSES

This book will help you understand how to manage the financial aspects of your farm. It includes instructions, tips and tools–plus real-life examples from successful farmers and sample data from fictitious farmer “Otto B. Organic.”

 

Fertility Pastures and Cover Crops            by Newman Turner

Turner details his methods of intensive pasture-based production of beef and dairy cows in a practical guide to profitable, labor-saving livestock production. He developed a system of complex “herbal ley mixtures,” or blends of pasture grasses and herbs, with each ingredient chosen to perform an essential function in providing a specific nutrient to the animal or enhancing the fertility of the soil. He explains his methods of cultivation, seeding and management. He also details the roles individual herbs play in the prevention and treatment of disease.

 

Field of Farmers: Interning, Mentoring, Starting, Continuing  by Joel Salatin

America's average farmer is sixty years old. When young people can't get in, old people can't get out. Approaching a watershed moment, our culture desperately needs a generational transfer of millions of farm acres facing abandonment, development, or amalgamation into ever-larger holdings. Based on his decades of experience with interns and multigenerational partnerships at Polyface Farm, farmer and author Joel Salatin digs deep into the problems and solutions surrounding this land- and knowledge-transfer crisis.

 

The Flower Farmer: An Organic Grower’s Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers  by Lynn Byczynski

With the cut flower business growing at record rates, demand is at all time highs, challenging growers to take advantage of new techniques to prolong the harvest. New sections on utilizing greenhouses, recommendations for flower cultivars, and post harvest handling will help growers throughout all of North America improve their bottom line. Also updated is the acclaimed resource directory, complete with sources of seeds, plants and supplies, and expert information on organic production under the National Organic Program.

 

The Four Season Farm Gardeners Cookbook        by Barbara Damrosch & Eliot Coleman

A four-season cookbook with 120 recipes from Barbara, from Stuffed Squash Blossom Fritters to Red Thai Curry with Fall Vegetables to Hazelnut Torte with Summer Berries. We show you how to turn your garden’s bounty into great meals, using simple recipes that can be adapted to whatever’s in season.

 

Growing Great Garlic: The Definitive Guide for Organic Gardeners and Small Farmers  by Ron L. Engeland

Growing Great Garlic is the definitive grower's guide written by a small scale farmer who makes his living growing over 200 strains of garlic. Commercial growers will want to consult this book regularly.

 

Home Cheese Making: Recipes for 75 Homemade Cheeses  by Ricki Carroll
Here are 75 recipes for cheeses and other dairy products that require basic cheese making techniques and the freshest of ingredients, offering the satisfaction of turning out a coveted delicacy. Among the step-by-step tested recipes for cheese varieties are farmhouse cheddar, gouda, fromage blanc, queso blanco, marscarpone, ricotta, and 30-minute mozzarella.

 

The Intelligent Gardener: Growing Nutrient Dense Food  by Steve Solomon

To grow produce of the highest nutritional quality the essential minerals lacking in our soil must be replaced, but this re-mineralization calls for far more attention to detail than the simple addition of composted manure or NPK fertilizers. The Intelligent Gardener demystifies the process while simultaneously debunking much of the false and misleading information perpetuated by both the conventional and organic agricultural movements. In doing so, it conclusively establishes the link between healthy soil, healthy food, and healthy people.

 

Joy of Gardening  by Dick Raymond

The best of Dick Raymond's vegetable gardening wisdom--his proven methods for raised beds, wide rows, and other simple techniques that promise a bigger harvest with much less work--is here in one comprehensive guide. Raymond covers everything from preparing the soil to starting plants, stopping weeds, caring for your garden through the season, and even storing your bounty in a root cellar.

 

Lean Farm: How to Minimize Waste, Increase Efficiency, and Maximize Value and Profits with Less Work  by Ben Hartman

A practical, systems-based approach for a more sustainable farming operation. Lean principles grew out of the Japanese automotive industry, but they are now being followed on progressive farms around the world. Using examples from his own family’s one-acre community-supported farm in Indiana, Hartman clearly instructs other small farmers in how to incorporate lean practices in each step of their production chain, from starting a farm and harvesting crops to training employees and selling goods. While the intended audience for this book is small-scale farmers who are part of the growing local food movement, Hartman’s prescriptions for high-value, low-cost production apply to farms and businesses of almost any size or scale that hope to harness the power of lean in their production processes.

 

The Market Gardener  by Jean-Martin Fortier

Inspired by the French intensive tradition of maraichage and by iconic American vegetable grower Eliot Coleman, author and farmer Jean-Martin shows by example how to start a market garden and make it both very productive and profitable. Making a living wage farming without big capital outlay or acreages may be closer than you think.

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