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August 2005: Publications

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The purpose of Micro Eco-Farming: Prospering from Backyard to Small Acreage in Partnership with the Earth by Barbara Berst Adams (New World Publishing, 11543 Quartz Drive #1, Auburn CA 95602; 2004; $16.95) is to inspire and encourage current and potential small-scale market producers in their pursuits. The author wants them to know they are not alone, that they are part of a growing network of farmers who are filling the "tons of niches" left by commercial agribusiness. The movement is also responding to increased awareness on the part of consumers, who are "remembering something lost. And wanting it again." Adams weaves brief stories of successful micro-farmers into her text, which overall is a celebration of diversity, the joys of working in harmony with the Earth, and the Earth's abundance. She includes chapters on restoring the Earth's fertility, using "abundance" methods, getting started, and ideas for selling what is grown. The Epilogue is a beautiful retelling of experiences that reconnect children with the Earth.

The Bidet by William Bruneau (Self-published:,; 2004; $7.95) is a full coverage of this little-known subject. The author has obviously done his research. He discusses different kinds and types of bidets and includes a comprehensive list of manufacturers and the features of their product, as well as listing retailers with their phone number and/or website. All of the many quotations within the text have citations. Bruneau also talks about the benefits of using a bidet, including health benefits. The body's natural functions are described in natural language, with much of this coming from the author's own experience. This is a good book for anyone who has thought about adding a bidet to their bathroom or for anyone interested in the subject.

The following was computed at Ecology Action as a supplement to the above subject: Each person in the U.S. uses an average of 40 rolls of toilet paper each year. If we were not using this paper, about 6.8 million trees, 48 million cubic feet of landfill, 56,000 trips by garbage trucks, and 4.88 billion gallons of water would be saved annually.

Gardening for the Earth and Soul by Heather Dean and Tom Benvenuto (Brethern Press, 1451 Dundee Avenue, Elgin IL 60120; 2004) offers many gardening basics but presents them in such a way that the reader is drawn into relationship with the Earth, Spirit and other people. As one of the authors states in the Epilogue, one of the goals of this book is to celebrate "connections between gardening and peacemaking." It is stressed that whatever is happening in the world, our personal, life-affirming actions can make a difference. One chapter is devoted to community gardening, laying out the steps a group might take from visualizing to manifesting. Each chapter has a page of kids' activities and resources for further education. Many chapters also profile different organizations that encourage local, sustainable food-related activities. The book's illustrations somehow manage to convey peace and the inner life. This is a fine book that we recommend.

The purpose of Renewing America's Food Traditions: Bringing Cultural and Culinary Mainstays from the Past into the New Millenium, edited by Gary Paul Nabhan and Ashley Rood (Center for Sustainable Environments at Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff AZ; 2004) is to inspire and encourage readers to help in the restoration and preservation of these foods. This small book lists 10 foods which are endangered, 10 that are making a comeback due to preservation efforts, and a longer list of other foods that are endangered, threatened, recovering or extinct. There are interesting descriptions of each of the foods in the first two lists, telling what is known of their origin, historical usage, and path towards extinction (and recovery). It is a mind-opening experience to realize what has been traditionally used for food in various regions, such as the American alligator and the Eulachon smelt (which, when dried, can also be used as a candle). This book should prove to be an important consciousness-raising step towards renewing our connection with the region we live in and our local heritage.

Keepers of the Spring: Reclaiming Our Water in an Age of Globalization by Fred Pearce (Island Press, 1718 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20009; 2004; $26) looks first at the "mega" water projects that we have counted on to fulfill our water and energy needs. Though they have provided these necessities in many cases, they have also brought dislocation, environmental destruction, and territorial conflicts. The author then cites many examples of people who are relearning ways to deliver adequate water on a community level. There are as many different ways of doing this as there are geographical and climatic conditions. This is an excellent book-inspirational and educational-a "must read" for anyone interested in alternative community water systems.

Country Wisdom and Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Live Off the Land (Distributed by Workman Publishing Co., 708 Broadway, New York NY 10003; 2004; $19.95) is a compendium of Country Wisdom bulletins first published by Storey Books in the 1970s-a lot of information for a small price. Included are complete directions for making cheese and yogurt, instructions for keeping chickens and rabbits and butchering livestock. There are sections on natural healing, simple home repairs, and what to do when the power fails. A large gardening section has good information on soil and many other aspects of gardening. The book's cover advertises "8,167 Useful Skills and Step-by-Step Instructions." Not all are survival skills. There are instructions for making baskets and other crafts and a large section on birds. With this much to choose from, the reader is likely to find much that is useful for his or her situation.

The Story of Corn by Betty Fussell (University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque; 1992) is a fascinating, informative and somewhat overwhelming book that must have involved an awesome amount of research. Although corn and only corn is the subject, it is offered in a myriad of ways. Corn in mythology is explored through original texts, artifacts, ruins and oral history. A science chapter has a small amount of botany and a large amount of history, including significant disputes over the origins of corn. Native American connections with corn are presented throughout. Corn as food, as drink, as schmaltz and many other manifestations of the grain have found their way into this book. The author has an eclectic way of writing, and working one's way through the mass of information can be challenging, but many gems of information can be gleaned by a persistent reader.

The Gardner's A-Z Guide to Growing Flowers from Seed to Bloom by Eileen Powell (Storey Publishing; 2004; $24.95) is an excellent reference tool for selecting and growing flowers. A short section of planting instructions is practical and easy to read. This is followed by a plant guide of over 300 pages that includes sowing, germinating, transplanting, plant care instructions and other information for each reference. This is followed by a section of color photos of many of the plants and a well-thought-out chart for a quick survey of plant needs. The book should prove to be a one-stop reference for many flower growers.

Slow Food by Carlo Petrini (Columbia University Press; 2001). Twenty years ago a movement was born to counteract the proliferation of the fast food industry. Protesting the global corporate agenda for fast profits at the expense of nutrition and cultural identity, Carlo Petrini founded the Slow Food movement. For the past two decades his organization has been preaching the benefits of preserving local indigenous gastronomic traditions. This book is a reflection of those human values which are quickly becoming extinct as a result of our fatalistic quest for a quick fix and how we may recover before it is too late.

The Compleat Squash: A Passionate Grower's Guide to Pumpkins, Squashes and Gourds by Amy Goldman (Artisan; 2004). This is a beautiful coffee table-sized book that makes a great gift for your gardener friend who has lost sleep over what to do with all those squashes in his or her garden. The book consists of three excellent topics pertaining to pumpkins and squashes. The first provides growing, harvesting, pollinating and seed- saving techniques. The second categorizes over 150 different varieties, complete with color pictures. The third part includes delicious recipes which will have your friends coming back for more.

The following books came to our organization but we did not have time to review them:

  • Teaching Organic Farming and Gardening: the UCSC Farm and Garden Apprenticeship. Edited by Albie Miles and Martha Brown (Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems, 1156 High Street, UC Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz CA 95064; 2003; $45). Can also be downloaded in PDF format for free at
  • Landowner Resource Guide from the Institute for Sustainable Forestry, Landowners Association Forest Stewardship Program
  • Cover Cropping in Vineyards: A Grower's Handbook (University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources Communication Services, 6701 San Pablo Avenue, 2nd Floor, Oakland CA 94608-1239; 1998)
  • Jack Hill's Country Chair Making (David and Charles Books; $19.95; 1997)
  • Hardy Bamboos: Taming the Dragon by Paul Whittaker (Timber Press, The Haseltine Building, 133 SW Second Ave, Suite 450, Portland OR 97204-3527; 2005; $39.95) is written from the experience of a person whose garden is wet in the winter and experiences summer drought and hard winds.
  • Resource-Efficient Farming Methods for Tanzania: Proceedings of a Workshop, 1983, Faculty of Agriculture, Forestry and Veterinary Science, University of Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Tanzania (Rodale Press, 1983)
  • The Owner-Built Home by Ken Kern (1972)
  • Resource Guide to Sustainable Wildcrafting and Medicinal Herbs in the Pacific Northwest by Michael Pilarski (Friends of the Trees Society; 2000; $8 plus shipping)
  • La Participacion Comunitaria en Salud (Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social, Paseo de la Reforma 476, Mexico DF; 1997)
  • Warm Season Grasses: Balancing forage programs in the Northeast and Southern Corn Belt (Soil Conservation Society of America, 7515 NE Ankeny Road, Ankeny IA 50021-9764; 1986)
  • Resourceful Farming: A Primer for Family Farmers (Small Farm Resource Project, Center for Rural Affairs, PO Box 736, Hartington NE 68739; 1987).
  • Agroforestry in Minnesota: A Guide to Resources and Demonstration Sites by Scott Josiah, Lara Jo Gordon, Erik Streed and Jan Joannides (University of Minnesota Extension Service Distribution Center, 20 Coffey Hall, 1420 Eckles Avenue, St. Paul MN 55108-6069; 1999).
  • We have received a whole library of booklets published by the E.F. Schumacher Society, most of them taken from the Society's lecture series. We list them here for your interest:
    • An Economics of Peace, Essays by E.F. Schumacher, Wendell Berry and Susan Witt; 2001
    • Land: Challenge and Opportunity by Susan Witt and Robert Swan; 1995
    • Robert Swann: Tributes (A memorial); 2003
    • Voices from White Earth by Winona La Duke; 1993
    • The Right Livelihood Award by Jakob von Uexkull; 1992
    • The Community's Role in Appropriate Technology by George McRobie; 1982
    • Becoming Native to this Place by Wes Jackson; 1993
    • Call for a Revolution in Agriculture by Wes Jackson; 1981
    • Cold Evil: Technology and Modern Ethics by Andrew Kimbrell; 2000
    • Creating a Post Corporate World by David C. Korten; 2000
    • Every Being Has Rights by Thomas Berry; 2003
    • The Family as a Small Society by Elise Boulding; 1982
    • It's Healing Time on Earth by David Brower; 1992
    • Flopping Butterfly Wings: A Retrospect of TRANET's First 20 Years
    • A Map (From the Old Connecticut Path to the Rio Grande Valley and all the Meaning In Between) by Chellis Glendinning; 1999
    • Wagner and the Fate of the Earth: A Contemporary Reading of "The Ring" by Hunter G. Hannun; 1993
    • Buddhist Technology by Arthur Zajone; 1997
    • A New Lease on Farmland, E.F. Schumacher Society; 1990
    • Distributing Our Technological Inheritance by Gar Alperootz; 1994
    • Women and the Challenge of the Ecological Era by Dana Lee Jackson; 1990
    • Ecological Design: Reinventing the Future by John Todd; 2001
    • Inflation and the Coming Keynesian Catastrophe by Ralph Borsodi; 1989
    • Mother of All: Introduction to Bioregionalism by Kirkpatrick Sale; 1983
    • Environmental Literacy: Education as if the Earth Mattered by David W. Orr; 1992
    • The Friendship Club and the Wellspring of Civil Society by William Schambra; 1999
    • The Economy of Regions by Jane Jacobs; 1983
    • Capitalism, the Commons and Divine Rights by Peter Baines; 2003
    • The Ecozoic Era by Thomas Berry; 1991
    • The Assembly by Donald L. Andersen; 1996
    • How the Conquest of Indigenous Peoples Parallels the Conquest of Nature by John
    • Mohawk; 1997
    • Reclaiming Community by David Morris; 1996
    • Making Amends to the Myriad Creatures by Stephanie Mills; 1991
    • Bob Swann's Positively Dazzling Realism by Stephanie Mills; 2004
    • Bringing Power Back Home: Recreating Democracy on a Human Scale by John
    • McClaughery; 1989
    • Economic Globalization: The Era of Corporate Rule by Jerry Mander; 1999
    • The Company We Keep: A Case for Small Schools by Deborah Meier; 1998
    • Moving Toward Community: From Global Dependence to Local Interdependence by Helena Norberg-Hodge; 1996
    • Green Politics: The Spiritual Dimension by Charlene Spretnak; 1984
    • The Garden Project: Growing Urban Communities by Cathrine Sneed; 1995
    • An Ecological Economic Order by John Todd; 1985
    • The Wisdom That Builds Community by Greg Watson; 1997
    • The Wisdom of Leopold Kohr by Ivan Illich; 1994
    • Democracy, Earth Rights and the Next Economy by Alanna Hartzok; 2001
    • Greening the Campus from a Procurement Perspective by Kevin Lyons; 2002
    • Natural Capitalism: The Next Industrial Revolution by Amory Lovins; 2001
    • Toward a Politics of Hope: Lessons from a Hungry World by Frances Moore Lappe;1985



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