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YA Book Club POSTPONED! Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to cancel this Saturday's YA book club meeting. We will reschedule and post it here and on our social media as soon as we can. 

Farming and Agriculture

ART OF THE COMMONPLACE: THE AG

ART OF THE COMMONPLACE: THE AG

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Here is a human being speaking with calm and sanity out of the wilderness. We would do well to hear him.--The Washington Post Book World


The Art of the Commonplace gathers twenty essays by Wendell Berry that offer an agrarian alternative to our dominant urban culture. Grouped around five themes--an agrarian critique of culture, agrarian fundamentals, agrarian economics, agrarian religion, and geobiography--these essays promote a clearly defined and compelling vision important to all people dissatisfied with the stress, anxiety, disease, and destructiveness of contemporary American culture.

Why is agriculture becoming culturally irrelevant, and at what cost? What are the forces of social disintegration and how might they be reversed? How might men and women live together in ways that benefit both? And, how does the corporate takeover of social institutions and economic practices contribute to the destruction of human and natural environments?

Through his staunch support of local economies, his defense of farming communities, and his call for family integrity, Berry emerges as the champion of responsibilities and priorities that serve the health, vitality and happiness of the whole community of creation.

Beginner's Guide to Raising Chickens: How to Raise a Happy Backyard Flock

Beginner's Guide to Raising Chickens: How to Raise a Happy Backyard Flock

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The guide to raising happy backyard chickens that'll have you ruling the roost.

The Beginner's Guide to Raising Chickens makes it simple and easy to start keeping these surprisingly smart birds right in your backyard. From constructing coops to rearing chicks, you'll learn everything you need to know to make sure your chickens stay happy and healthy all year round.

Which breed of chicken is right for you? What's the best coop-bedding material? What sort of feed should you use? Let expert chicken keeper Anne Kuo answer these questions--and many others--in The Beginner's Guide to Raising Chickens.

The Beginner's Guide to Raising Chickens includes:

  • All cooped up--Create the perfect home for raising chickens using detailed backyard coop designs and construction guides.
  • From chickens to eggs--Find out how to pick the right breed, raise chicks, collect eggs, keep your birds safe from predators, and more.
  • Learn to speak bird--Start talking the talk thanks to an extensive glossary of common chicken-keeping terms.
  • Get your own flock started in no time--The Beginner's Guide to Raising Chickens shows you how.

    DIRT TO SOIL

    DIRT TO SOIL

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    A regenerative no-till pioneer.--NBC News

    We need to reintegrate livestock and crops on our farms and ranches, and Gabe Brown shows us how to do it well.--Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation

    See Gabe Brown--author and farmer--in the Netflix documentary Kiss the Ground

    Gabe Brown didn't set out to change the world when he first started working alongside his father-in-law on the family farm in North Dakota. But as a series of weather-related crop disasters put Brown and his wife, Shelly, in desperate financial straits, they started making bold changes to their farm. Brown--in an effort to simply survive--began experimenting with new practices he'd learned about from reading and talking with innovative researchers and ranchers. As he and his family struggled to keep the farm viable, they found themselves on an amazing journey into a new type of farming: regenerative agriculture.

    Brown dropped the use of most of the herbicides, insecticides, and synthetic fertilizers that are a standard part of conventional agriculture. He switched to no-till planting, started planting diverse cover crops mixes, and changed his grazing practices. In so doing Brown transformed a degraded farm ecosystem into one full of life--starting with the soil and working his way up, one plant and one animal at a time.

    In Dirt to Soil Gabe Brown tells the story of that amazing journey and offers a wealth of innovative solutions to restoring the soil by laying out and explaining his five principles of soil health, which are:

  • Limited Disturbance
  • Armor
  • Diversity
  • Living Roots
  • Integrated Animals
  • The Brown's Ranch model, developed over twenty years of experimentation and refinement, focuses on regenerating resources by continuously enhancing the living biology in the soil. Using regenerative agricultural principles, Brown's Ranch has grown several inches of new topsoil in only twenty years! The 5,000-acre ranch profitably produces a wide variety of cash crops and cover crops as well as grass-finished beef and lamb, pastured laying hens, broilers, and pastured pork, all marketed directly to consumers.

    The key is how we think, Brown says. In the industrial agricultural model, all thoughts are focused on killing things. But that mindset was also killing diversity, soil, and profit, Brown realized. Now he channels his creative thinking toward how he can get more life on the land--more plants, animals, and beneficial insects. "The greatest roadblock to solving a problem," Brown says, "is the human mind."

    Farm Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of Country Life

    Farm Anatomy: The Curious Parts and Pieces of Country Life

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    Learn the difference between a farrow and a barrow, and what distinguishes a weanling from a yearling. Country and city mice alike will delight in Julia Rothman's charming illustrated guide to the curious parts and pieces of rural living. Dissecting everything from the shapes of squash varieties to how a barn is constructed and what makes up a beehive to crop rotation patterns, Rothman gives a richly entertaining tour of the quirky details of country life.

    Also available in this series: Nature Anatomy, Nature Anatomy Notebook, Ocean Anatomy, and Food Anatomy.

    FARMING WHILE BLACK

    FARMING WHILE BLACK

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    James Beard Foundation Leadership Award 2019: Leah Penniman

    Choice Reviews, Outstanding Academic Title

    "An extraordinary book...part agricultural guide, part revolutionary manifesto"--VOGUE

    In 1920, 14 percent of all land-owning US farmers were black. Today less than 2 percent of farms are controlled by black people--a loss of over 14 million acres and the result of discrimination and dispossession. While farm management is among the whitest of professions, farm labor is predominantly brown and exploited, and people of color disproportionately live in "food apartheid" neighborhoods and suffer from diet-related illness. The system is built on stolen land and stolen labor and needs a redesign.

    Farming While Black is the first comprehensive "how to" guide for aspiring African-heritage growers to reclaim their dignity as agriculturists and for all farmers to understand the distinct, technical contributions of African-heritage people to sustainable agriculture. At Soul Fire Farm, author Leah Penniman co-created the Black and Latinx Farmers Immersion (BLFI) program as a container for new farmers to share growing skills in a culturally relevant and supportive environment led by people of color. Farming While Black organizes and expands upon the curriculum of the BLFI to provide readers with a concise guide to all aspects of small-scale farming, from business planning to preserving the harvest. Throughout the chapters Penniman uplifts the wisdom of the African diasporic farmers and activists whose work informs the techniques described--from whole farm planning, soil fertility, seed selection, and agroecology, to using whole foods in culturally appropriate recipes, sharing stories of ancestors, and tools for healing from the trauma associated with slavery and economic exploitation on the land. Woven throughout the book is the story of Soul Fire Farm, a national leader in the food justice movement.

    The technical information is designed for farmers and gardeners with beginning to intermediate experience. For those with more experience, the book provides a fresh lens on practices that may have been taken for granted as ahistorical or strictly European. Black ancestors and contemporaries have always been leaders--and continue to lead--in the sustainable agriculture and food justice movements. It is time for all of us to listen.

    First-Time Gardener: Growing Vegetables: All the Know-How and Encouragement You Need to Grow - And Fall in Love With! - Your Brand New Food Garden

    First-Time Gardener: Growing Vegetables: All the Know-How and Encouragement You Need to Grow - And Fall in Love With! - Your Brand New Food Garden

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    You're excited to plant your first vegetable garden--but where to start? In The First-Time Gardener: Growing Vegetables, you'll find the answers you're looking for.

    Homesteader Jessica Sowards, the warm and energetic host of YouTube's Roots and Refuge Farm, is the perfect teacher for new gardeners, offering not just know-how but inspiration and time-management tips for success.

    Before you sink your hands into the soil, she'll answer all those questions rolling around inside your head:

  • Where do I put my new garden?
  • How do I prepare the soil?
  • What vegetables should I plant?
  • Is it better to start new plants from seed or should I buy transplants?
  • What about watering, feeding, and taking care of my garden?
  • What do I do if bugs show up?
  • There are no stupid questions here. Everyone has to start somewhere, after all. Not only will you learn how to prepare, plant, and tend your first vegetable garden, you'll also learn:
  • How to design an eco-friendly layout
  • How to grow with the seasons
  • How to maximize your harvest, even if you only grow in a small space
  • Jessica wants your first food-growing experience to be a positive one, and she's prepared to go the distance to make sure tending the earth becomes your new favorite hobby.

    A single growing season is all it takes to fall in love with growing your own healthy, organic, nutrient-dense food. With Jessica as your guide, you'll soon discover all the satisfactions, challenges, and great joys of growing your own food garden.

    This book is part of The First-Time Gardener's Guides series from Cool Springs Press, which also includes The First-Time Gardener: Growing Plants and Flowers. Each book in The First-Time Gardener's Guides series is aimed at beginner gardeners and offers clear, fact-based information that's presented in a friendly and accessible way, including step-by-step instructions and full-color illustrations throughout.

    GAIAS GARDEN 2/E

    GAIAS GARDEN 2/E

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    Gaia's Garden will be recorded in history as a milestone for gardeners and landscapers. . . An amazing achievement.--Paul Stamets

    The classic book about ecological gardening--whatever size your garden--with over 250,000 copies sold!

    A great book!--Men's Journal

    Gaia's Garden has sparked the imagination of home gardeners the world over by introducing a simple message: working with nature, not against her, results in more beautiful, abundant, and forgiving gardens.

    Many people mistakenly think that ecological gardening--which involves growing a wide range of edible and other useful plants--can take place only on a large, multiacre scale. As Hemenway demonstrates, it's fun and easy--even for the beginner--to create a "backyard ecosystem" by assembling communities of plants that can work cooperatively and perform a variety of functions, including:

  • Building and maintaining soil fertility and structure
  • Catching and conserving water in the landscape
  • Providing a rewilded and biodiverse habitat for beneficial insects, birds, and animals
  • Growing an edible "forest" that yields seasonal fruits, nuts, and other foods
  • This revised and updated edition also features a chapter on urban permaculture, designed especially for people in cities and suburbs who have very limited growing space. Whatever size yard or garden you have to work with, you can apply basic permaculture principles to make it more diverse, more natural, more productive, and more beautiful. Best of all, once it's established, an ecological garden will reduce or eliminate most of the backbreaking work that's needed to maintain the typical lawn and garden.

    GROWING A REVOLUTION

    GROWING A REVOLUTION

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    For centuries, agricultural practices have eroded the soil that farming depends on, stripping it of the organic matter vital to its productivity. Now conventional agriculture is threatening disaster for the world's growing population. In Growing a Revolution, geologist David R. Montgomery travels the world, meeting farmers at the forefront of an agricultural movement to restore soil health. From Kansas to Ghana, he sees why adopting the three tenets of conservation agriculture--ditching the plow, planting cover crops, and growing a diversity of crops--is the solution. When farmers restore fertility to the land, this helps feed the world, cool the planet, reduce pollution, and return profitability to family farms.

    MARKET GARDENER

    MARKET GARDENER

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    Grow better not bigger with proven low-tech, human-scale, biointensive farming methods

    Making a living wage farming without big capital outlay or acreages may be closer than you think. Growing on just 1.5 acres, Jean-Martin and Maude-Helene feed more than 200 families through their thriving CSA and seasonal market stands. The secret of their success is the low-tech, high-yield production methods they've developed by focusing on growing better rather than growing bigger, making their operation more lucrative and viable in the process.

    The Market Gardener is a compendium of proven horticultural techniques and innovative growing methods. This complete guide is packed with practical information on:

  • Setting-up a micro-farm by designing biologically intensive cropping systems, all with negligible capital outlay;
  • Farming without a tractor and minimizing fossil fuel inputs through the use of the best hand tools, appropriate machinery and minimum tillage practices;
  • Growing mixed vegetables systematically with attention to weed and pest management, crop yields, harvest periods and pricing approaches.
  • 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.

    MINI FARMING

    MINI FARMING

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    Go back to basics--compost, raising chickens, water and irrigation, dealing with pests, and much more--with this unique, full color bestseller (over 400,000 sold).

    Mini Farming describes a holistic approach to small-area farming that will show you how to produce 85 percent of an average family's food on just a quarter acre--and earn $10,000 in cash annually while spending less than half the time that an ordinary job would require.

    Even if you have never been a farmer or a gardener, this book covers everything you need to know to get started:

  • Buying and saving seeds
  • Starting seedlings
  • Establishing raised beds
  • Soil fertility practices
  • Composting
  • Dealing with pest and disease problems
  • Crop rotation
  • Selling your produce arm planning, and much more.

  • Because self-sufficiency is the objective, subjects such as raising backyard chickens and home canning are also covered along with numerous methods for keeping costs down and production high. Materials, tools, and techniques are detailed with photographs, tables, diagrams, and illustrations.

    OLD FARMER'S ALMANAC 2021, TRA

    OLD FARMER'S ALMANAC 2021, TRA

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    Happy New Almanac Year! It's time to celebrate the 229th edition of The Old Farmer's Almanac! Long recognized as North America's most-beloved and best-selling annual, the handy yellow book fulfills every need and expectation as a calendar of the heavens, a time capsule of the year, an essential reference that reads like a magazine. Always timely, topical, and distinctively "useful, with a pleasant degree of humor," the Almanac is consulted daily by users from all walks of life, throughout the year.

    The 2021 edition contains the fun facts, predictions, and feature items that have made it a cultural icon: traditionally 80 percent-accurate weather forecasts; notable astronomical events and time-honored astrological dates; horticultural, culinary, fashion, and other trends; historical hallmarks; best fishing days; time- and money-saving garden advice; recipes for refreshment; facts on folklore, farmers, home remedies, and husbandry; amusements and contests, plus too much more to mention--all in the inimitable way that the Almanac has done since 1792.

    - Beloved by generations for being "useful, with a pleasant degree of humor," The Old Farmer's Almanac features everything under the Sun, including its much-in-demand long-range weather predictions, essential astronomical timetables, 2021 holidays, fascinating trends, best fishing days, valuable gardening information, tantalizing recipes, fun folklore, amusements, contests, and much more!
    - Exclusive: 32 reference pages, covering such popular topics as full Moon names, hurricane names, flowers that attract birds and butterflies, U.S./metric measurement conversions, and many more!
    - Easy-to-read edition, with crisp, white paper and larger type than the regular paperback version
    - Includes 112 full-color pages
    - Stiffer cover helps to protect the pages

    One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming

    One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming

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    Call it "Zen and the Art of Farming" or a "Little Green Book," Masanobu Fukuoka's manifesto about farming, eating, and the limits of human knowledge presents a radical challenge to the global systems we rely on for our food. At the same time, it is a spiritual memoir of a man whose innovative system of cultivating the earth reflects a deep faith in the wholeness and balance of the natural world. As Wendell Berry writes in his preface, the book "is valuable to us because it is at once practical and philosophical. It is an inspiring, necessary book about agriculture because it is not just about agriculture."

    Trained as a scientist, Fukuoka rejected both modern agribusiness and centuries of agricultural practice, deciding instead that the best forms of cultivation mirror nature's own laws. Over the next three decades he perfected his so-called "do-nothing" technique: commonsense, sustainable practices that all but eliminate the use of pesticides, fertilizer, tillage, and perhaps most significantly, wasteful effort.

    Whether you're a guerrilla gardener or a kitchen gardener, dedicated to slow food or simply looking to live a healthier life, you will find something here--you may even be moved to start a revolution of your own.

    ORGANIC GARDENING FOR EVERYONE

    ORGANIC GARDENING FOR EVERYONE

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    If you want to grow healthy vegetables at home, but have hesitated because it seems too hard and time consuming, Organic Gardening for Everyone is your perfect hands-on guide--an "if I can do it, you can do it" case study that addresses your concerns and gets you started.

    Loaded with practical advice and step-by-step guidance, Organic Gardening for Everyone takes a very personal and friendly approach to a subject that can be intimidating. It is a first-class primer on organic vegetable gardening, and an inspirational story about how anyone can balance the rigors of gardening with the demands of a modern, family-oriented lifestyle.

    In 2012, a California mom decided to start an organic vegetable garden. But she went about it in an unusual way: she crowdsourced it by launching a YouTube channel under the name "CaliKim" and asking for help. And then she started planting. As questions came up, she turned to her viewers and subscribers and they replied with answers and advice. As she learned, her garden grew successfully--even in the hot, harsh California climate. Her expertise also grew, and now she answers many more questions than she asks and has become a very accomplished home gardener.

    And CaliKim has a great story to tell: growing healthy organic vegetables for your family is not difficult, even for today's time-challenged lifestyles. She provides complete step-by-step information on growing the most popular edibles organically, and also gives sound advice on how to take on the challenges of balancing a hectic lifestyle with successful growing--and how to involve the whole family in the process.

    You'll be rewarded for your effort every time you place a plate of natural, organic vegetables on the family dinner table knowing exactly what they are, what is in them, and where they came from.

    SELF-SUFFICIENCY FOR THE 21ST

    SELF-SUFFICIENCY FOR THE 21ST

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    Find your route to a more sustainable lifestyle with Dick Strawbridge and his son, James.

    We can all take steps to reduce our carbon footprint and be more self-sufficient. For some, that might mean heading to the countryside to live off the land. For the rest of us, the reality might involve smaller, but no less important, lifestyle changes: cutting back on plastic or food waste, growing vegetables, preserving meat and fish, preparing jams and chutneys, baking sourdough bread, making your own plant-based milk, or keeping a chicken or two.

    Dick and James Strawbridge know what it's like to make these changes. Between them, they've lived on a smallholding, in a terraced house, and even a chateau. In this updated edition of Self-Sufficiency for the 21st Century, they share everything they've learned and give you the tools you need for a more rewarding and environmentally conscious life.

    Unsettling of America: Culture & Agriculture

    Unsettling of America: Culture & Agriculture

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    Since its publication in 1977, The Unsettling of America has been recognized as a classic of American letters. In it, Wendell Berry argues that good farming is a cultural and spiritual discipline. Today's agribusiness, however, takes farming out of its cultural context and away from families. As a result, we as a nation are more estranged from the land--from the intimate knowledge, love, and care of it.

    Sadly, his arguments and observations are more relevant than ever. Although "this book has not had the happy fate of being proved wrong," Berry writes, there are people working "to make something comely and enduring of our life on this earth." Wendell Berry is one of those people, writing and working, as ever, with passion, eloquence, and conviction.

    WHO REALLY FEEDS THE WORLD?: T

    WHO REALLY FEEDS THE WORLD?: T

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    Debunking the notion that our current food crisis must be addressed through industrial agriculture and genetic modification, author and activist Vandana Shiva argues that those forces are in fact the ones responsible for the hunger problem in the first place. Who Really Feeds the World? is a powerful manifesto calling for agricultural justice and genuine sustainability, drawing upon Shiva's thirty years of research and accomplishments in the field. Instead of relying on genetic modification and large-scale monocropping to solve the world's food crisis, she proposes that we look to agroecology--the knowledge of the interconnectedness that creates food--as a truly life-giving alternative to the industrial paradigm. Shiva succinctly and eloquently lays out the networks of people and processes that feed the world, exploring issues of diversity, the needs of small famers, the importance of seed saving, the movement toward localization, and the role of women in producing the world's food.