The Farm As Ecosystem

Tapping Nature's Reservoir-Biology, Geology, Diversity

Author: Jerry Brunetti

Publisher: Acres USA

ISBN: 9781601730411

Category: Science

Page: 352

View: 2627


The Farm as Natural Habitat

Reconnecting Food Systems With Ecosystems

Author: Dana L. Jackson

Publisher: Island Press

ISBN: 9781597262699

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 312

View: 9590

The Farm as Natural Habitat is a vital new contribution to the debate about agriculture and its impacts on the land. Arising from the conviction that the agricultural landscape as a whole could be restored to a healthy diversity, the book challenges the notion that the dominant agricultural landscape -- bereft of its original vegetation and wildlife and despoiled by chemical runoff -- is inevitable if we are to feed ourselves. Contributors bring together insights and practices from the fields of conservation biology, sustainable agriculture, and environmental restoration to link agriculture and biodiversity, farming and nature, in celebrating a unique alternative to conventional agriculture.Rejecting the idea that "ecological sacrifice zones" are a necessary part of feeding a hungry world, the book offers compelling examples of an alternative agriculture that can produce not only healthful food, but fully functioning ecosystems and abundant populations of native species. Contributors include Collin Bode, George Boody, Brian DeVore, Arthur (Tex) Hawkins, Buddy Huffaker, Rhonda Janke, Richard Jefferson, Nick Jordan, Cheryl Miller, Heather Robertson, Carol Shennan, Judith Soule, Beth Waterhouse, and others.The Farm as Natural Habitat is both hopeful and visionary, grounded in real examples, and guided by a commitment to healthy land and thriving communities. It is the first book to offer a viable approach to addressing the challenges of protecting and restoring biodiversity on private agricultural land and is essential reading for anyone concerned with issues of land or biodiversity conservation, farming and agriculture, ecological restoration, or the health of rural communities and landscapes.

Healthy Crops

A New Agricultural Revolution

Author: Francis Chaboussou

Publisher: Jon Carpenter Publishing

ISBN: N.A

Category: Science

Page: 244

View: 8944

This work powerfully asserts the idea that rather than using pesticides, the key to helping crops resist attacks from pests is to improve their strength through natural processes. Many of industrial agriculture's fundamental principles for fighting disease, in particular the reliance on pesticides and fertilizers, are explained and convincingly challenged and a new set of guiding principles for an ecological agricultural system are presented as a genuine alternative to the widespread use of chemicals.

Terra

Our 100-Million-Year-Old Ecosystem--and the Threats That Now Put It at Risk

Author: Michael Novacek

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

ISBN: 1466821604

Category: Science

Page: 480

View: 7047

A paleontologist awakens us to the "extinction event" that human activity is bringing about today The natural world as humans have always known it evolved close to 100 million years ago, with the appearance of flowering plants and pollinating insects during the age of the dinosaurs. Its tremendous history is now in danger of profound, catastrophic disruption. In Terra, a brilliant synthesis of evolutionary biology, paleontology, and modern environmental science, Michael Novacek shows how all three can help us understand and prevent what he (and others) call today's "mass extinction event." Humanity's use of land, our consumption, the pollution we create, and our contributions to global warming are causing this crisis. True, the fossil record of hundreds of millions of years reveals that wild and bounteous nature has always evolved not quietly but thunderously, as species arise, flourish, die off, and are replaced by new species. We learn from paleontology and archaeology that for 50,000 years, human hunting, mining, and agriculture have changed many localities, sometimes irrevocably. But today, Novacek insists, our behavior endangers the entire global ecosystem. And if we disregard—through ignorance, antipathy, or apathy—the theory of evolution that developed with our modern understanding of the Earth's past, we not only impede enlightenment but threaten any practical strategy for our own survival. The evolutionary future of the entire living planet depends on our understanding this.

Woman-Powered Farm: Manual for a Self-Sufficient Lifestyle from Homestead to Field

Author: Audrey Levatino

Publisher: The Countryman Press

ISBN: 1581576544

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 256

View: 7949

To go-to guide for women who want to be part of the farming revolution. Women are leading the new farming revolution in America. Much of the impetus to move back to the land, raise our own food, and connect with our agricultural past is being driven by women. They raise sheep for wool, harvest honey from their beehives, grow food for their families and sell their goods at farmers' markets. What does a woman who wants to work the land need to do to follow her dream? First, she needs this book. It may seem strange to suggest that women farmers need a different guide than male farmers, but women often have different strengths and goals, and different ways of achieving those goals. Audrey Levatino shares her experiences of running a farm and offers invaluable advice on how to get started, whether you have hundreds of acres or a simple lot for an urban community garden. Filled with personal anecdotes and stories from other women farmers, from old hands to brand new ones, from agricultural icons like Temple Grandin, to her own sister, this book is a reassuring and inspirational guide that discusses: Should you do an internship or jump right in? How to find a farm or how to handle one that you’ve inherited Best practices for selling at the farmer’s market and how to sell your goods locally Farmhouse chores and how to get them done right How to handle large power tools, including a chainsaw Planning and growing an organic farm garden Incorporating animals as part of a farm ecosystem Where to get started if you want to farm-school your kids Tips for keeping your mind, body and spirit healthy while undertaking the demanding nature of farm work It's all here, in the same warm and friendly voice that readers embraced in The Joy of Hobby Farming. Full-color photography throughout provides step-by-step instructions for anything you’ll need to do on your farm.

Organic Farming

The Ecological System

Author: Charles A. Francis

Publisher: ASA-CSSA-SSSA

ISBN: 9780891181736

Category: Science

Page: 353

View: 1100

this book represents a current look at what we know about organic farming practices and systems, primarily from the U.S. and Canadian perspectives. the discussion begins with history and certification, ecological knowledge as the foundation for sustaining food systems, and biodiversity. The next chapters address crop-animal systems; forages, grain, oil seed, and specialty crops; organic cropping and soil nutrient needs; and vegetation and pest management. Readers will next learn about marketing organics, organic foods and food security, and education and research. The book concludes with a survey of the future of organic farming and a perspective on the agricultural industry and the future of the rural sector.--COVER.

Dirt to Soil

One Family’s Journey into Regenerative Agriculture

Author: Gabe Brown

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing

ISBN: 1603587632

Category: Integrated agricultural systems

Page: 240

View: 1324

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 our most pressing and complex contemporary agricultural challenge--restoring the soil. 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."

The Farmer's Office

Tools, Tips and Templates to Successfully Manage a Growing Farm Business

Author: Julia Shanks

Publisher: New Society Publishers

ISBN: 1550926101

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 272

View: 4736

Starting and running a farm makes one into both a farmer and an entrepreneur, and to be ecologically and financially sustainable, farmers must understand basic accounting and bookkeeping in order to manage their growing business. The Farmer’s Office gives farmers the tools they need to think like an entrepreneur and thoughtfully manage their business for success.

Agroecosystem Diversity

Reconciling Contemporary Agriculture and Environmental Quality

Author: Gilles Lemaire,Paulo César de Faccio Carvalho,Scott Kronberg,Sylvie Recous

Publisher: Academic Press

ISBN: 0128110511

Category: Science

Page: 478

View: 9081

Agro-Ecosystem Diversity: Impact on Food Security and Environmental Quality presents cutting-edge exploration of developing novel farming systems and introduces landscape ecology to agronomy. It encompasses the broad range of links between agricultural development and ecological impact and how to limit the potential negative results. Presented in seven sections, each focusing on a specific challenge to sustaining diversity, the book provides insights toward the argument that by re-introducing diversity, it should be possible to maintain a high level of productivity of agro-ecosystems while also maintaining and/or restoring a satisfactory level of environment quality and biodiversity. Demonstrates that diversified agro-ecosystems can be intensified with environmental quality preserved, restored and enhanced Includes analysis of economic constraints leading to specialization of farms and regions and the social locking forces resisting to diversification of agro-ecosystems Presents a global vision of world agriculture and the tradeoff between a necessary increase in food production and restoring environment quality

Son of a Farmer, Child of the Earth

A Path to Agriculture's Higher Consciousness

Author: Eric Herm

Publisher: Dreamriver Press

ISBN: 9780979790898

Category: Gardening

Page: 247

View: 6400

This book examines commercial agriculture's strain on our natural resources, ecosystems, and the farmer. As a fourth-generation farmer, Eric Herm deals with the harsh economic realities and complicated legislation facing farmers, as well as the undeniable health impact of GMO crops and excessive chemicals. The book provides resources of natural, healthy alternatives that will inspire the farmers' transformation from corporate-motivated producers back to the flesh and bone guardian angels of the Earth.

Silvopasture

A Guide to Managing Grazing Animals, Forage Crops, and Trees in a Temperate Farm Ecosystem

Author: Steve Gabriel

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing

ISBN: 1603587314

Category: Silvopastoral systems

Page: 320

View: 5757

A system for regenerating land, storing carbon, and creating climate resilience The concept of silvopasture challenges our notions of both modern agriculture and land use. For centuries, European settlers of North America have engaged in practices that separate the field from the forest, and even the food from the animal. Silvopasture systems integrate trees, animals, and forages in a whole-system approach that offers a number of benefits to the farmer and the environment. Such a system not only offers the promise of ecological regeneration of the land, but also an economical livelihood and even the ability to farm extensively while buffering the effects of a changing climate: increased rainfall, longer droughts, and more intense storm events. Silvopasture, however, involves more than just allowing animals into the woodlot. It is intentional, steeped in careful observation skills and flexible to the dynamics of such a complex ecology. It requires a farmer who understands grassland ecology, forestry, and animal husbandry. The farmer needn't be an expert in all of these disciplines, but familiar enough with them to make decisions on a wide variety of time scales. A silvopasture system will inevitably look different from year to year, and careful design coupled with creativity and visioning for the future are all part of the equation. In this book, farmer Steve Gabriel offers examples of diverse current systems that include: A black locust plantation for fence posts coupled with summer grazing pastures for cattle in central New York; Oxen and pigs used to clear forested land in New Hampshire to create space for new market gardens and orchards; Turkeys used for controlling pests and fertilization on a cider orchard and asparagus farm in New York; and Sheep that graze the understory of hybrid chestnut and hickory trees at a nut nursery in Minnesota. All of these examples share common goals, components, and philosophies. The systems may take several years to establish, but the long-term benefits include healthier animals and soils, greater yields, and the capacity to sequester atmospheric carbon better than forests or grasslands alone. For all these reasons and more, Silvopasture offers farmers an innovative and ecological alternative to conventional grazing practice.

Nature and Farming

Sustaining Native Biodiversity in Agricultural Landscapes

Author: David Norton,Nick Reid

Publisher: CSIRO PUBLISHING

ISBN: 0643103252

Category: Business & Economics

Page: 294

View: 3666

Explains why it is important to sustain native plants&animals in agricultural landscapes, outlines issues in developing &implementing practical approaches to safeguardnative biodiversity in rural areas. Considers ecological &agricultural issues that determine what native biodiversity occurs in farmland. Norton at Uni of Canterbury, Reid at UNE.

Call of the Reed Warbler

A New Agriculture, A New Earth

Author: Charles Massy

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing

ISBN: 1603588132

Category: Food supply

Page: 528

View: 1951

In Call of the Reed Warbler, Charles Massy explores regenerative agriculture and the vital connection between our soil and our health. It is the story of how a grassroots revolution--a true underground insurgency--can save the planet, help reduce and reverse climate change, and build healthy people and healthy communities, pivoting significantly on our relationship with growing and consuming food. Using his personal experience as a touchstone--from an unknowing, chemical-using farmer with dead soils to a radical ecologist farmer carefully regenerating a 2000-hectare property to a state of natural health--Massy tells the real story behind industrial agriculture and the global profit-obsessed corporations driving it. With evocative stories, he shows how other innovative and courageous farmers are finding a new way. At stake is not only a revolution in human health and in our communities, but the very survival of the planet. For farmers, backyard gardeners, food buyers, health workers, policy makers, and public leaders alike, Call of the Reed Warbler offers a tangible path forward and a powerful and moving paean of hope. It's not too late to regenerate the earth. Call of the Reed Warbler shows the way forward for the future of our food supply, our planet, and our health.

Perspectives for Agroecosystem Management:

Balancing Environmental and Socio-economic Demands

Author: Peter Schroder,J. Pfadenhauer,J. Munch

Publisher: Elsevier

ISBN: 9780080556390

Category: Technology & Engineering

Page: 456

View: 682

Sustainable agriculture is a key concept for scientists, researchers, and agricultural engineers alike. This book focuses on the FAM- project (FAM Munich Research Network on Agroecosystems) of the 1990s as a means to assessing, forecasting, and evaluating changes in the agroecosystems that are necessary for agricultural sustainability. The management of two separate management systems: an organic and an integrated farming system are described to provide an interdisciplinary approach Changes of matter fluxes in soils, changes of trace gas fluxes from soils, precision farming in a small scale heterogen landscape, influence of management changes on flora and fauna, as well as the development of agroecosystem models, the assessment of soil variability and the changes in nutrient status are important aspects of this book. * Contains detailed results and insight of a long-time project on agricultural sustainability * Provides an interdisciplinary approach for comprehensive understanding by scientists and researchers of soil, plants, agriculture, and environment * Includes an international perspective

Farmacology

Total Health from the Ground Up

Author: Daphne Miller, M.D.

Publisher: Harper Collins

ISBN: 0062103164

Category: Health & Fitness

Page: 304

View: 3020

In Farmacology, practicing family physician and renowned nutrition explorer Daphne Miller brings us beyond the simple concept of "food as medicine" and introduces us to the critical idea that it's the farm where that food is grown that offers us the real medicine. By venturing out of her clinic and spending time on seven family farms, Miller uncovers all the aspects of farming—from seed choice to soil management—that have a direct and powerful impact on our health. Bridging the traditional divide between agriculture and medicine, Miller shares lessons learned from inspiring farmers and biomedical researchers and artfully weaves their insights and discoveries, along with stories from her patients, into the narrative. The result is a compelling new vision for sustainable healing and a treasure trove of farm-to-body lessons that have immense value in our daily lives. In Farmacology you will meet: a vegetable farmer in Washington State who shows us how the principles he uses to rejuvenate his soil apply just as well to our own bodies. Here we also discover the direct links between healthy soil and healthy humans. a beef farmer in Missouri who shows how a holistic cattle-grazing method can grow resilient calves and resilient children. an egg farmer in Arkansas who introduces us to the counterintuitive idea that stress can keep us productive and healthy. We discover why the stressors associated with a pasture-based farming system are beneficial to animals and humans while the duress of factory farming can make us ill. a vintner in Sonoma, California, who reveals the principles of Integrated Pest Management and helps us understand how this gentler approach to controlling unwanted bugs and weeds might be used to treat invasive cancers in humans. a farmer in the Bronx who shows us how a network of gardens offers health benefits that extend far beyond the nutrient value of the fruits and vegetables grown in the raised beds. For example, did you know that urban farming can lower the incidence of alcoholism and crime? finally, an aromatic herb farmer in Washington State who teaches us about the secret chemical messages we exchange with plants—messages that can affect our mood and even keep us looking youthful. In each chapter, Farmacology reveals the surprising ways that the ecology of our body and the ecology of our farms are intimately linked. This is a paradigm-changing adventure that has huge implications for our personal health and the health of the planet.

The Art and Science of Grazing

How Grass Farmers Can Create Sustainable Systems for Healthy Animals and Farm Ecosystems

Author: Sarah Flack

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing

ISBN: 1603586113

Category: Grazing

Page: 240

View: 2402

Grazing management might seem simple: just put livestock in a pasture and let them eat their fill. However, as Sarah Flack explains in The Art and Science of Grazing, the pasture/livestock relationship is incredibly complex. If a farmer doesn’t pay close attention to how the animals are grazing, the resulting poorly managed grazing system can be harmful to the health of the livestock, pasture plants, and soils. Well-managed pastures can instead create healthier animals, a diverse and resilient pasture ecosystem, and other benefits. Flack delves deeply below the surface of “let the cows eat grass,” demonstrating that grazing management is a sophisticated science that requires mastery of plant and animal physiology, animal behavior, and ecology. She also shows readers that applying grazing management science on a working farm is an art form that calls on grass farmers to be careful observers, excellent planners and record-keepers, skillful interpreters of their observations, and creative troubleshooters. The Art and Science of Grazing will allow farmers to gain a solid understanding of the key principles of grazing management so they can both design and manage successful grazing systems. The book’s unique approach presents information first from the perspective of pasture plants, and then from the livestock perspective—helping farmers understand both plant and animal needs before setting up a grazing system. This book is an essential guide for ruminant farmers who want to be able to create grazing systems that meet the needs of their livestock, pasture plants, soils, and the larger ecosystem. The book discusses all the practical details that are critical for sustained success: how to set up a new system or improve existing systems; acreage calculations; paddock layout; fence and drinking water access; lanes and other grazing infrastructure; managing livestock movement and flow; soil fertility; seeding and reseeding pastures; and more. The author includes descriptions of real grazing systems working well on dairy, beef, goat, and sheep farms in different regions of North America. The book covers pasture requirements specific to organic farming, but will be of use to both organic and non-organic farms.

The Carbon Farming Solution

A Global Toolkit of Perennial Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices for Climate Change Mitigation and Food Security

Author: Eric Toensmeier

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing

ISBN: 1603585729

Category: Science

Page: 512

View: 693

With carbon farming, agriculture ceases to be part of the climate problem and becomes a critical part of the solution 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. Carbon farming is a suite of agricultural practices and crops that sequester carbon in the soil and in aboveground biomass. Combined with a massive reduction in fossil fuel emissions—and in concert with adaptation strategies to our changing environment— carbon farming has the potential to bring us back from the brink of disaster and return our atmosphere to the “magic number” of 350 parts per million of carbon dioxide. Toensmeier’s book is the first to bring together these powerful strategies in one place, including in-depth analysis of the available research and, where research is lacking, a discussion of what it will take to get us there. Carbon farming can take many forms. The simplest practices involve modifications to annual crop production. Although many of these modifications have relatively low sequestration potential, they are widely applicable and easily adopted, and thus have excellent potential to mitigate climate change if practiced on a global scale. Likewise, grazing systems such as silvopasture are easily replicable, don’t require significant changes to human diet, and—given the amount of agricultural land worldwide that is devoted to pasture—can be important strategies in the carbon farming arsenal. But by far, agroforestry practices and perennial crops present the best opportunities for sequestration. While many of these systems are challenging to establish and manage, and would require us to change our diets to new and largely unfamiliar perennial crops, they also offer huge potential that has been almost entirely ignored by climate crusaders. Many of these carbon farming practices are already implemented globally on a scale of millions of hectares. These are not minor or marginal efforts, but win-win solutions that provide food, fodder, and feedstocks while fostering community self-reliance, creating jobs, protecting biodiversity, and repairing degraded land—all while sequestering carbon, reducing emissions, and ultimately contributing to a climate that will remain amenable to human civilization. Just as importantly to a livable future, these crops and practices can contribute to broader social goals such as women’s empowerment, food sovereignty, and climate justice. The Carbon Farming Solution does not present a prescription for how cropland should be used and is not, first and foremost, a how-to manual, although following up on references in a given section will frequently provide such information. Instead, The Carbon Farming Solution is—at its root—a toolkit. It is the most complete collection of climate-friendly crops and practices currently available. With this toolkit, farmers, communities, and governments large and small, can successfully launch carbon farming projects with the most appropriate crops and practices to their climate, locale, and socioeconomic needs. Toensmeier’s ultimate goal is to place carbon farming firmly in the center of the climate solutions platform, alongside clean solar and wind energy. With The Carbon Farming Solution, Toensmeier wants to change the discussion, impact policy decisions, and steer mitigation funds to the research, projects, and people around the world who envision a future where agriculture becomes the protagonist in this fraught, urgent, and unprecedented drama of our time. Citizens, farmers, and funders will be inspired to use the tools presented in this important new book to transform degraded lands around the world into productive carbon-storing landscapes.

Letters to a Young Farmer

On Food, Farming, and Our Future

Author: Martha Hodgkins

Publisher: Chronicle Books

ISBN: 1616896035

Category: Social Science

Page: 176

View: 4982

An agricultural revolution is sweeping the land. Appreciation for high-quality food, often locally grown, an awareness of the fragility of our farmlands, and a new generation of young people interested in farming, animals, and respect for the earth have come together to create a new agrarian community. To this group of farmers, chefs, activists, and visionaries, Letters to a Young Farmer is addressed. Three dozen esteemed leaders of the changes that made this revolution possible speak to the highs and lows of farming life in vivid and personal letters specially written for this collaboration. Barbara Kingsolver speaks to the tribe of farmers—some born to it, many self-selected—with love, admiration, and regret. Dan Barber traces the rediscovery of lost grains and foodways. Michael Pollan bridges the chasm between agriculture and nature. Bill McKibben connects the early human quest for beer to the modern challenge of farming in a rapidly changing climate. Letters to a Young Farmer is a vital road map of how we eat and farm, and why now, more than ever before, we need farmers.