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May 2008: Publications

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Solar Cooking for Home and Camp by Linda Fredrick Yaffe (Stackpole Books; 2007; $12.95) makes a very useful contribution to the field of solar cooking. The first chapter on “Making and Using Your Own Solar Cooker” includes instructions for making a box cooker and a folding panel cooker. Box cooker instructions include several intriguing ideas: using a Reynolds Oven Bag instead of glass, making your own flour paste, cutting empty toilet paper rolls in short pieces to support the bottom of the inner box. Regular-weight aluminum foil is recommended; I prefer heavy-weight. Lots of good recipes are included as well from side dishes and snacks to baked good, both savory and sweet.
–Reviewed by Carol Cox –

Vanishing Rice Fields: Protecting the World’s #1 Food Crop from Global Warming by Alex Jack (Planetary Health/Amberwaves, POB 487, Becket MA 01223; 2007; $10.95) is a fine little booklet, full of statistics and important information. Although mainly about rice, the book has much about climate change and its effects on rice-producing areas, other grain crops, and the world in general. Methane, ethanol and genetically modified organisms are also discussed, as well as examples of crop plants that are being developed through natural approaches to withstand some of the challenges of climate change. The author then looks briefly at upcoming trends and forecasts.

Organic Field Crop Handbook, second edition, edited by Janet Wallace (Canadian Organic Growers, Box 6408, Station J, Ottawa Ontario K2A 3Y6 Canada; 2001) is written for those growing grain and other crops on a large scale. As such it assumes the use of machinery and composted animal manure. But this is an excellent book in its treatment of soil and environmental sustainability. Four chapters are devoted to soil, explaining processes in depth but in an understandable way. It is recognized that healthy soil, with continual replenishment of organic matter, is essential to the successful working of an organic system. Life inside the soil is viewed with respect. The ability of soil organisms to cycle nutrients is connected to types of farming practices. The book presents other organic principles in depth, including green manuring, managing weeds, pests and disease, crop rotation, intercropping, etc. Biodiversity is presented as the best way to avoid pest problems. Sample crop rotations are taken from actual farms. There is a long section on individual crops and their needs. The book contains many charts with basic information. This book deals with growing situations in Canada. However, because of its wealth of information and reverential attitude towards natural processes, we believe it would also be useful for US farmers and those growing on a smaller scale.





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