Agriculture

Two of the greatest current challenges are climate change (and variability) and food security. Feeding nine billion people by 2050 will require major efforts aimed at climate change adaptation and mitigation. One approach to agriculture has recently been captured by the widely adopted term of "Climate Smart Agriculture" (CSA). This book not only explains what this entails, but also presents practical on-the-ground studies of practices and innovations in agriculture across a broader spectrum, including agroecology and conservation agriculture, in less developed countries.

It is shown that CSA is not a completely new science and a number of its recommended technologies have been used for some time by local farmers all over the world. What is relevant and new is ‘the approach’ to exploit their adaptation and mitigation potential. However, a major limitation is the lack of evidence-based knowledge that is necessary for policy makers to prepare strategies for adaptation and mitigation. This book assembles knowledge of CSA, agroecology and conservation agriculture, and perspectives from different regions of the world, to build resilient food systems.

The first part analyzes the concept, opportunities and challenges, and provides a global perspective, drawing particularly on studies from Africa and Asia. The second part of the book showcases results from various studies linked to soil, water and crop management measures from an ongoing program in India as well as experiences from other regions. The third section assesses the needs for an enabling policy environment, mainstreaming gender and sime final recommendations for up-scaling and/or out-scaling innovations.

In the last 20 years, there has been a remarkable emergence of innovations and technological advances that are generating promising changes and opportunities for sustainable agriculture, yet at the same time the agricultural sector worldwide faces numerous daunting challenges. Not only is the agricultural sector expected to produce adequate food, fiber, and feed, and contribute to biofuels to meet the needs of a rising global population, it is expected to do so under increasingly scarce natural resources and climate change. Growing awareness of the unintended impacts associated with some agricultural production practices has led to heightened societal expectations for improved environmental, community, labor, and animal welfare standards in agriculture.

Toward Sustainable Agricultural Systems in the 21st Century assesses the scientific evidence for the strengths and weaknesses of different production, marketing, and policy approaches for improving and reducing the costs and unintended consequences of agricultural production. It discusses the principles underlying farming systems and practices that could improve the sustainability. It also explores how those lessons learned could be applied to agriculture in different regional and international settings, with an emphasis on sub-Saharan Africa. By focusing on a systems approach to improving the sustainability of U.S. agriculture, this book can have a profound impact on the development and implementation of sustainable farming systems. Toward Sustainable Agricultural Systems in the 21st Century serves as a valuable resource for policy makers, farmers, experts in food production and agribusiness, and federal regulatory agencies.

The demand for food produced from sustainable and organic farm enterprises continues to grow worldwide, with demand exceeding supply for many items. This second edition of an extremely well received and successful book covers every aspect of an organic farm enterprise that can have an influence on profitability. As such the book is an essential purchase for all those involved in organic and sustainable farming.


Topics covered in this second edition of Profitable Organic Farming include grassland productivity, production systems for dairy, beef, sheep, pig, poultry and arable farms, farm size and enterprise combinations, organic standards, financial management, marketing, success factors and progress by organic farmers. The book concludes with a new chapter covering potential future scenarios for organic farming.


Drawing on new information available in the area and including case studies from successful organic farm businesses, the author Jon Newton has written a book that is of great commercial use to a wide range of workers including organic farm managers and those wishing to commence organic farming operations. The book is also of great use and interest to agricultural scientists and students and those working in government and regional agricultural advisory services worldwide. Libraries in research establishments, universities and colleges where agricultural sciences are studied and taught should have several copies of this important and useful book on their shelves.


Review of the first edition

‘It is an essential volume for any commercial organic farmers or budding organic farmers bookshelf. It will no doubt also be a very popular read and provide much food for thought amongst many agricultural students’: New Farmer & Grower.

Jon Newton is an agricultural consultant specialising in organic and sustainable agriculture based in North Wales, UK.

"The vertical farm is a world-changing innovation whose time has come. Dickson Despommier's visionary book provides a blueprint for securing the world's food supply and at the same time solving one of the gravest environmental crises facing us today."--Sting

Imagine a world where every town has their own local food source, grown in the safest way possible, where no drop of water or particle of light is wasted, and where a simple elevator ride can transport you to nature's grocery store - imagine the world of the vertical farm.

When Columbia professor Dickson Despommier set out to solve America's food, water, and energy crises, he didn't just think big - he thought up. Despommier's stroke of genius, the vertical farm, has excited scientists, architects, and politicians around the globe. Now, in this groundbreaking book, Despommier explains how the vertical farm will have an incredible impact on changing the face of this planet for future generations.
Despommier takes readers on an incredible journey inside the vertical farm, buildings filled with fruits and vegetables that will provide local food sources for entire cities.

Vertical farms will allow us to:
- Grow food 24 hours a day, 365 days a year
- Protect crops from unpredictable and harmful weather
- Re-use water collected from the indoor environment
- Provide jobs for residents
- Eliminate use of pesticides, fertilizers, or herbicides
- Drastically reduce dependence on fossil fuels
- Prevent crop loss due to shipping or storage
- Stop agricultural runoff

Vertical farms can be built in abandoned buildings and on deserted lots, transforming our cities into urban landscapes which will provide fresh food grown and harvested just around the corner. Possibly the most important aspect of vertical farms is that they can built by nations with little or no arable land, transforming nations which are currently unable to farm into top food producers. In the tradition of the bestselling The World Without Us, The Vertical Farm is a completely original landmark work destined to become an instant classic.
The illustrated guide to profitable, vibrant and sustainable permaculture-based market gardening

Permaculture tends to be very much in the domain of home gardeners and property owners. But what if we could take it all a step further, and merge the fields of permaculture and market gardening?

In The Permaculture Market Garden , author Zach Loeks brings together his passion for sustainable permaculture food production systems and beautiful, vibrant illustrations to provide a highly visual guide to the smooth integration of permaculture into the market garden, in ways that are scalable to specific situations. Profiling crops and ecosystem-based techniques, Loeks demonstrates a profitable, sustainable and approachable model for the future of market gardening.

Along the way, Loeks introduces his own system of PermaBeds, season extension techniques, intensive and rotational interplanting, in-depth discussions on soil health, and more, bringing activities, designs and prospects of farming to life through illustrations, so the reader can be immersed within the world of permaculture farming. Playful, informative and curious, inspiring and beautiful and packed with accessible practical information, The Permaculture Market Garden will inspire both the seasoned market gardener as well as anyone aspiring to start a business.

Zach Loeks is a market gardener, farm consultant and educator living in the Ottawa Valley. Winner of two regional awards for sustainability and innovation in agriculture, he shares his expertise in farming, design and business through a successful series of on-farm workshops, conferences and schools, as well as a successful year-round CSA.

At a time when food is becoming increasingly scarce in many parts of the world and food prices are skyrocketing, no industry is more important than agriculture. Humans have been farming for thousands of years, and yet agriculture has undergone more fundamental changes in the past 80 years than in the previous several centuries. In 1900, 30 million American farmers tilled the soil or tended livestock; today there are fewer than 4.5 million farmers who feed a population four times larger than it was at the beginning of the century. Fifty years ago, the planet could not have sustained a population of 6.5 billion; now, commercial and industrial agriculture ensure that millions will not die from starvation. Farmers are able to feed an exponentially growing planet because the greatest industrial revolution in history has occurred in agriculture since 1929, with U.S. farmers leading the way. Productivity on American farms has increased tenfold, even as most small farmers and tenants have been forced to find other work. Today, only 300,000 farms produce approximately ninety percent of the total output, and overproduction, largely subsidized by government programs and policies, has become the hallmark of modern agriculture. A Revolution Down on the Farm: The Transformation of American Agriculture since 1929 charts the profound changes in farming that have occurred during author Paul K. ConkinÕs lifetime. His personal experiences growing up on a small Tennessee farm complement compelling statistical data as he explores AmericaÕs vast agricultural transformation and considers its social, political, and economic consequences. He examines the history of American agriculture, showing how New Deal innovations evolved into convoluted commodity programs following World War II. Conkin assesses the skills, new technologies, and government policies that helped transform farming in America and suggests how new legislation might affect farming in decades to come. Although the increased production and mechanization of farming has been an economic success story for Americans, the costs are becoming increasingly apparent. Small farmers are put out of business when they cannot compete with giant, non-diversified corporate farms. Caged chickens and hogs in factory-like facilities or confined dairy cattle require massive amounts of chemicals and hormones ultimately ingested by consumers. Fertilizers, new organic chemicals, manure disposal, and genetically modified seeds have introduced environmental problems that are still being discovered. A Revolution Down on the Farm concludes with an evaluation of farming in the twenty-first century and a distinctive meditation on alternatives to our present large scale, mechanized, subsidized, and fossil fuel and chemically dependent system.
“Few books have grabbed my attention as dramatically as this one—because it’s ultimately do-able for thousands of would-be food and farm healers.” —Joel Salatin, Polyface Farm
 
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.
 
“Very well done and should be of great use to market growers everywhere.” —Eliot Coleman, organic farming pioneer and author of The New Organic Grower
 
“Both visionary and practical, it is a work of rare intelligence.” —Charles Herve-Gruyer, permaculture teacher and grower at la Fermedu BecHellouin, France
Urban and rural collide in this wry, inspiring memoir of a woman who turned a vacant lot in downtown Oakland into a thriving farm

Novella Carpenter loves cities-the culture, the crowds, the energy. At the same time, she can't shake the fact that she is the daughter of two back-to-the-land hippies who taught her to love nature and eat vegetables. Ambivalent about repeating her parents' disastrous mistakes, yet drawn to the idea of backyard self-sufficiency, Carpenter decided that it might be possible to have it both ways: a homegrown vegetable plot as well as museums, bars, concerts, and a twenty-four-hour convenience mart mere minutes away. Especially when she moved to a ramshackle house in inner city Oakland and discovered a weed-choked, garbage-strewn abandoned lot next door. She closed her eyes and pictured heirloom tomatoes, a beehive, and a chicken coop.

What started out as a few egg-laying chickens led to turkeys, geese, and ducks. Soon, some rabbits joined the fun, then two three-hundred-pound pigs. And no, these charming and eccentric animals weren't pets; she was a farmer, not a zookeeper. Novella was raising these animals for dinner. Novella Carpenter's corner of downtown Oakland is populated by unforgettable characters. Lana (anal spelled backward, she reminds us) runs a speakeasy across the street and refuses to hurt even a fly, let alone condone raising turkeys for Thanksgiving. Bobby, the homeless man who collects cars and car parts just outside the farm, is an invaluable neighborhood concierge. The turkeys, Harold and Maude, tend to escape on a daily basis to cavort with the prostitutes hanging around just off the highway nearby. Every day on this strange and beautiful farm, urban meets rural in the most surprising ways.

For anyone who has ever grown herbs on their windowsill, tomatoes on their fire escape, or obsessed over the offerings at the local farmers' market, Carpenter's story will capture your heart. And if you've ever considered leaving it all behind to become a farmer outside the city limits, or looked at the abandoned lot next door with a gleam in your eye, consider this both a cautionary tale and a full-throated call to action. Farm City is an unforgettably charming memoir, full of hilarious moments, fascinating farmers' tips, and a great deal of heart. It is also a moving meditation on urban life versus the natural world and what we have given up to live the way we do.
Mr. Faulkner’s masterpiece is recognized as the most important challenge to agricultural orthodoxy that has been advanced in this century. Its new philosophy of the soil, based on proven principles and completely opposed to age-old concepts, has had a strong impact upon theories of cultivation around the world. It was on July 5, 1943, when Plowman’s Folly was first issued, that the author startled a lethargic public, long bemused by the apparently insoluble problem of soil depletion, by saying, simply, “The fact is that no one has ever advanced a scientific reason for plowing.” With the key sentence, he opened a new era.For generations, our reasoning about the management of the soil has rested upon the use of the moldboard plow. Mr. Faulkner proved rather conclusively that soil impoverishment, erosion, decreasing crop yields, and many of the adverse effects following droughts or periods of excessive rainfall could be traced directly to the practice of plowing natural fertilizers deep into the soil. Through his own test-plot and field-scale experiments, in which he prepared the soil with a disk harrow, in emulation of nature’s way on the forest floor and in the natural meadow, by incorporating green manures into its surface, he transformed ordinary, even inferior, soils into extremely productive, high-yield croplands.Time magazine called this concept “one of the most revolutionary ideas in agriculture history.” The volume is being made available again not only because farmers, ranchers, gardeners, and agriculturists demanded it, but also because it details the kind of “revolution” which will aid those searching for the fruits of the earth in the emerging nations.
A practical, systems-based approach for a more sustainable farming operation

To many people today, using the words “factory” and “farm” in the same sentence is nothing short of sacrilege. In many cases, though, the same sound business practices apply whether you are producing cars or carrots. Author Ben Hartman and other young farmers are increasingly finding that incorporating the best new ideas from business into their farming can drastically cut their wastes and increase their profits, making their farms more environmentally and economically sustainable. By explaining the lean system for identifying and eliminating waste and introducing efficiency in every aspect of the farm operation, The Lean Farm makes the case that small-scale farming can be an attractive career option for young people who are interested in growing food for their community. Working smarter, not harder, also prevents the kind of burnout that start-up farmers often encounter in the face of long, hard, backbreaking labor.

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.

This book mainly presents the current state of knowledge on the use of of Silicon (Si) in agriculture, including plants, soils and fertilizers. At the same time, it discusses the future interdisciplinary research that will be needed to further our knowledge and potential applications of Si in agriculture and in the environmental sciences in general. As the second most abundant element both on the surface of the Earth’s crust and in soils, Si is an agronomically essential or quasi-essential element for improving the yield and quality of crops. Addressing the use of Si in agriculture in both theory and practice, the book is primarily intended for graduate students and researchers in various fields of the agricultural, biological, and environmental sciences, as well as for agronomic and fertilizer industry experts and advisors.

Dr. Yongchao Liang is a full professor at the College of Environmental and Resource Sciences of the Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.

Dr. Miroslav Nikolic is a research professor at the Institute for Multidisciplinary Research of the University of Belgrade, Serbia.

Dr. Richard Bélanger is a full professor at the Department of Plant Pathology of the Laval University, Canada and holder of a Canada Research Chair in plant protection.

Dr. Haijun Gong is a full professor at College of Horticulture, Northwest A&F University, China.

Dr. Alin Song is an associate professor at Institute of Agricultural Resources and Regional Planning, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing, China.

An in-depth exploration of organic mushroom cultivation practices, groundbreaking research and myriad ways to incorporate mushrooms into your life

"A clear, comprehensive guide that is a gift to amateur as well as professional mushroom growers. This book opens the doors wide to a diverse and fascinating fungal world."—Toby Hemenway, author of Gaia’s Garden

What would it take to grow mushrooms in space? How can mushroom cultivation help us manage, or at least make use of, invasive species such as kudzu and water hyacinth and thereby reduce dependence on herbicides? Is it possible to develop a low-cost and easy-to-implement mushroom-growing kit that would provide high-quality edible protein and bioremediation in the wake of a natural disaster? How can we advance our understanding of morel cultivation so that growers stand a better chance of success?

For more than twenty years, mycology expert Tradd Cotter has been pondering these questions and conducting trials in search of the answers. In Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation, Cotter not only offers readers an in-depth exploration of best organic mushroom cultivation practices; he shares the results of his groundbreaking research and offers myriad ways to apply your cultivation skills and further incorporate mushrooms into your life―whether your goal is to help your community clean up industrial pollution or simply to settle down at the end of the day with a cold Reishi-infused homebrew ale.

Inside, you’ll find:

  • The Fundamentals of Mushroom Cultivation
  • Innovative Applications and Projects Using Fungi
  • Basic Laboratory Construction, Equipment, and Procedures
  • Starting Cultures and Spawn Generation
  • Detailed descriptions of over 25 different genus

The book first guides readers through an in-depth exploration of indoor and outdoor cultivation. Covered skills range from integrating wood-chip beds spawned with king stropharia into your garden and building a “trenched raft” of hardwood logs plugged with shiitake spawn to producing oysters indoors on spent coffee grounds in a 4×4 space or on pasteurized sawdust in vertical plastic columns. For those who aspire to the self-sufficiency gained by generating and expanding spawn rather than purchasing it, Cotter offers in-depth coverage of lab techniques, including low-cost alternatives that make use of existing infrastructure and materials.

Cotter also reports his groundbreaking research cultivating morels both indoors and out, “training” mycelium to respond to specific contaminants, and perpetuating spawn on cardboard without the use of electricity. Readers will discover information on making tinctures, powders, and mushroom-infused honey; making an antibacterial mushroom cutting board; and growing mushrooms on your old denim jeans.

Geared toward readers who want to grow mushrooms without the use of pesticides, Cotter takes “organic” one step further by introducing an entirely new way of thinking―one that looks at the potential to grow mushrooms on just about anything, just about anywhere, and by anyone.

"This comprehensive introduction to growing and utilizing fungi has something for all mushroom-inclined readers . . . . Both practical and passionate, Cotter offers extensive and detailed information.”—Publishers Weekly

Should you buy organic food? Is it just a status symbol, or is it really better for us? Is it really better for the environment? What about organic produce grown thousands of miles from our kitchens, or on massive corporately owned farms? Is “local” or “small-scale” better, even if it’s not organic? A lot of consumers who would like to do the right thing for their health and the environment are asking such questions.

Sapna Thottathil calls on us to rethink the politics of organic food by focusing on what it means for the people who grow and sell it—what it means for their health, the health of their environment, and also their economic and political well-being. Taking readers to the state of Kerala in southern India, she shows us a place where the so-called “Green Revolution” program of hybrid seeds, synthetic fertilizers, and rising pesticide use had failed to reduce hunger while it caused a cascade of economic, medical, and environmental problems. Farmers burdened with huge debts from buying the new seeds and chemicals were committing suicide in troubling numbers. Farm laborers suffered from pesticide poisoning and rising rates of birth defects. A sharp fall in biodiversity worried environmental activists, and everyone was anxious about declining yields of key export crops like black pepper and coffee.

In their debates about how to solve these problems, farmers, environmentalists, and policymakers drew on Kerala’s history of and continuing commitment to grassroots democracy. In 2010, they took the unprecedented step of enacting a policy that requires all Kerala growers to farm organically by 2020. How this policy came to be and its immediate economic, political, and physical effects on the state’s residents offer lessons for everyone interested in agriculture, the environment, and what to eat for dinner. Kerala’s example shows that when done right, this kind of agriculture can be good for everyone in our global food system.
Swine flu. Bird flu. Unusual concentrations of cancer and other diseases. Massive fish kills from flesh-eating parasites. Recalls of meats, vegetables, and fruits because of deadly E-coli bacterial contamination.

Recent public health crises raise urgent questions about how our animal-derived food is raised and brought to market. In Animal Factory, bestselling investigative journalist David Kirby exposes the powerful business and political interests behind large-scale factory farms, and tracks the far-reaching fallout that contaminates our air, land, water, and food.

In this thoroughly researched book, Kirby follows three families and communities whose lives are utterly changed by immense neighboring animal farms. These farms (known as "Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations," or CAFOs), confine thousands of pigs, dairy cattle, and poultry in small spaces, often under horrifying conditions, and generate enormous volumes of fecal and biological waste as well as other toxins. Weaving science, politics, law, big business, and everyday life, Kirby accompanies these families in their struggles against animal factories. A North Carolina fisherman takes on pig farms upstream to preserve his river, his family's life, and his home. A mother in a small Illinois town pushes back against an outsized dairy farm and its devastating impact. And a Washington State grandmother becomes an unlikely activist when her home is invaded by foul odors and her water supply is compromised by runoff from leaking lagoons of cattle waste.

Animal Factory is an important book about our American food system gone terribly wrong---and the people who are fighting to restore sustainable farming practices and save our limited natural resources.
A protégé of Michael Pollan shares the story of a little known group of renegade farmers who defied corporate agribusiness by launching a unique sustainable farm-to-table food movement.

The story of the Lentil Underground begins on a 280-acre homestead rooted in America’s Great Plains: the Oien family farm. Forty years ago, corporate agribusiness told small farmers like the Oiens to “get big or get out.” But twenty-seven-year-old David Oien decided to take a stand, becoming the first in his conservative Montana county to plant a radically different crop: organic lentils. Unlike the chemically dependent grains American farmers had been told to grow, lentils make their own fertilizer and tolerate variable climate conditions, so their farmers aren’t beholden to industrial methods. Today, Oien leads an underground network of organic farmers who work with heirloom seeds and biologically diverse farm systems. Under the brand Timeless Natural Food, their unique business-cum-movement has grown into a million dollar enterprise that sells to Whole Foods, hundreds of independent natural foods stores, and a host of renowned restaurants.

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.
Award-winning journalist Simran Sethi explores the history and cultural importance of our most beloved tastes, paying homage to the ingredients that give us daily pleasure, while providing a thoughtful wake-up call to the homogenization that is threatening the diversity of our food supply.

Food is one of the greatest pleasures of human life. Our response to sweet, salty, bitter, or sour is deeply personal, combining our individual biological characteristics, personal preferences, and emotional connections. Bread, Wine, Chocolate illuminates not only what it means to recognize the importance of the foods we love, but also what it means to lose them. Award-winning journalist Simran Sethi reveals how the foods we enjoy are endangered by genetic erosion—a slow and steady loss of diversity in what we grow and eat. In America today, food often looks and tastes the same, whether at a San Francisco farmers market or at a Midwestern potluck. Shockingly, 95% of the world’s calories now come from only thirty species. Though supermarkets seem to be stocked with endless options, the differences between products are superficial, primarily in flavor and brand.

Sethi draws on interviews with scientists, farmers, chefs, vintners, beer brewers, coffee roasters and others with firsthand knowledge of our food to reveal the multiple and interconnected reasons for this loss, and its consequences for our health, traditions, and culture. She travels to Ethiopian coffee forests, British yeast culture labs, and Ecuadoran cocoa plantations collecting fascinating stories that will inspire readers to eat more consciously and purposefully, better understand familiar and new foods, and learn what it takes to save the tastes that connect us with the world around us.

Do you long for the country life? Get back to nature and feel your toes in the dirt with this friendly guide to a new farming lifestyle

Don’t know the first thing about how to handle the basics of small-scale farming, from growing healthy crops to raising livestock and managing your property? Hobby Farming For Dummies is the no-nonsense guide you need to decide what to farm, find the right piece of property, set up utilities, select plants and livestock, protect your investment, and so much more.

You’ll get a realistic look into what it really means to move from your current lifestyle to a life farming in the countryside, starting with figuring out if the farming lifestyle is right for you. From what you need to know about maintaining country property to how to access a power supply, you’ll get help with major decisions of hobby farming:

  • Whether you’re better off with subsistence farming or a more ambitious project
  • Which outbuildings you’ll need for shelter and storage
  • What tools are best for various types of farm labor
  • Which animals you want to raise and care for
  • Where to buy the land and how to acquire it

This comprehensive and user-friendly guide also shows you how to:

  • Avoid common farming pitfalls
  • Choose plans for your farm
  • Get along with your neighbors
  • Maintain your equipment and machinery
  • Raise and care for animals, including caring for sick or injured animals
  • Get creative by turning fiber into scarves and making cheese or yogurt
  • Enrich your soil with manure and compost
  • Reap the benefits of preserving fruits and vegetables
2012 IACP Award Winner in the Food Matters category

Supermarket produce sections bulging with a year-round supply of perfectly round, bright red-orange tomatoes have become all but a national birthright. But in Tomatoland, which is based on his James Beard Award-winning article, "The Price of Tomatoes," investigative food journalist Barry Estabrook reveals the huge human and environmental cost of the $5 billion fresh tomato industry. Fields are sprayed with more than one hundred different herbicides and pesticides. Tomatoes are picked hard and green and artificially gassed until their skins acquire a marketable hue. Modern plant breeding has tripled yields, but has also produced fruits with dramatically reduced amounts of calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin C, and tomatoes that have fourteen times more sodium than the tomatoes our parents enjoyed. The relentless drive for low costs has fostered a thriving modern-day slave trade in the United States. How have we come to this point?

Estabrook traces the supermarket tomato from its birthplace in the deserts of Peru to the impoverished town of Immokalee, Florida, a.k.a. the tomato capital of the United States. He visits the laboratories of seedsmen trying to develop varieties that can withstand the rigors of agribusiness and still taste like a garden tomato, and then moves on to commercial growers who operate on tens of thousands of acres, and eventually to a hillside field in Pennsylvania, where he meets an obsessed farmer who produces delectable tomatoes for the nation's top restaurants.

Throughout Tomatoland, Estabrook presents a who's who cast of characters in the tomato industry: the avuncular octogenarian whose conglomerate grows one out of every eight tomatoes eaten in the United States; the ex-Marine who heads the group that dictates the size, color, and shape of every tomato shipped out of Florida; the U.S. attorney who has doggedly prosecuted human traffickers for the past decade; and the Guatemalan peasant who came north to earn money for his parents' medical bills and found himself enslaved for two years.

Tomatoland reads like a suspenseful whodunit as well as an expose of today's agribusiness systems and the price we pay as a society when we take taste and thought out of our food purchases.

Only once we understand the long history of human efforts to draw sustenance from the land can we grasp the nature of the crisis that faces humankind today, as hundreds of millions of people are faced with famine or flight from the land. From Neolithic times through the earliest civilizations of the ancient Near East, in savannahs, river valleys and the terraces created by the Incas in the Andean mountains, an increasing range of agricultural techniques have developed in response to very different conditions. These developments are recounted in this book, with detailed attention to the ways in which plants, animals, soil, climate, and society have interacted.
Mazoyer and Roudart’s A History of World Agriculture is a path-breaking and panoramic work, beginning with the emergence of agriculture after thousands of years in which human societies had depended on hunting and gathering, showing how agricultural techniques developed in the different regions of the world, and how this extraordinary wealth of knowledge, tradition and natural variety is endangered today by global capitialism, as it forces the unequal agrarian heritages of the world to conform to the norms of profit.
During the twentieth century, mechanization, motorization and specialization have brought to a halt the pattern of cultural and environmental responses that characterized the global history of agriculture until then. Today a small number of corporations have the capacity to impose the farming methods on the planet that they find most profitable. Mazoyer and Roudart propose an alternative global strategy that can safegaurd the economies of the poor countries, reinvigorate the global economy, and create a livable future for mankind.
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