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Book Reviews

Permaculture Pioneers Stories From the New Frontier

Edited by Kerry Dawborn & Caroline Smith
Review by Diane Reynolds.

A treasure trove of permaculture lore, this book is brought to you in an extremely engaging format … lots of baby memoirs — memoirettes — of permaculture practitioners.

Permaculture is the comprehensive term for living sustainability on the planet with principles rooted in ecology and social justice. It’s a pretty snappy phrase: care of earth, care of people, share the surplus. Or, in popular form, Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share.

The dedication says it all. “We dedicate this book to those with spirit and courage, past, present and future, who show us that a sustainable and just world is within our power. We simply have to choose it and make it happen.”

Royalties from book sales are donated to the Permaculture Pioneers Fund, supporting permaculture-related environmental and social justice projects and initiatives around the world.

A “child of Australia”, permaculture was conceived and developed in the small state of Tasmania in the early 1970’s by co-originators Bill Mollison and David Holmgren. Since then it has spread to 160 countries.

“Thru their deep understanding of natural ecosystems, traditional small-scale mixed agriculture, low-impact technology and social justice into an interconnected dynamic system of design principles for creating self-sustaining human settlements” writes Smith.

Mollison moved it horizontal and Holmgren did the vertical work. It was the ”larger-than-life personality” of Mollison that made permaculture known the world over. It was Holmgren and others who have tested and practiced it in many ways, shapes and forms.

Adherents, “permies”, come in all stripes: some rigidly dogmatic and others more loosely flexible. The movement has been most successful on the local, small level – but what’s needed, say the editors, is larger systemic change. One contributor, Geoff Lawton, wrote “Think Big” about his experiences working for systemic changes around the world.

This collection of 25 stories of those involved, in different ways, in the “extraordinary design system for sustainability known as permaculture” covers a range of perspectives – old/young, male/female, from very different backgrounds and locations.

Each story is a motherlode of riches … a packed blend of memoir, technical specifics from their experience with permaculture applications with accompanying successes and mistakes as well as some history of the movement.

The reader is pulled into Max’s or Rosemary’s life or the lives of the Bookmans. Not only do they tell you something about themselves — who they are, how they became connected to the earth, and then connected to permaculture (always interesting how people wake up to a new paradigm). And then they describe their first tentative steps or, in some cases, being so disgusted with the status quo, their whopping huge plunges, into creating sustainable living environments for themselves and others.

It’s a wonderful, readable book. Perfect for a gift. And buying it supports permaculture initiatives around the world.

The Small-Scale Poultry Flock

by Harvey Ussery
Review by N. R. Mallery, 7 March, 2012

An all natural approach to raising chickens and other fowl for home and market growers.

There may be books out there on using poultry to build soil fertility and how to create home grown poultry feedstock, but this guide for raising poultry tops them all.
People raise poultry for many reasons including for meat, eggs, fertilizer, market or composting. As we transition into a more sustainable society, raising chickens or turkeys is a perfect addition to the small, local food niche. Food security in a time when we face rising transportation costs and an uncertain future, again take us home to the benefits of raising poultry.

The advice and practicality of this comprehensive book incorporates the wisdom from years of experience.  An expert in raising poultry as an interconnected whole system, Ussery communicates all of his points in a lively, practical way. This extremely thorough book not only includes details on how to make your own homegrown or foraged feed and how to breed and use poultry for soil fertilizing, but also how to control crop-damaging insects and make compost. It even includes systems for the pasturing and tillage of cover crops.

The book is definitely a valuable resource guide for farmers, homesteaders and sustainable living in the country or even in a more-populated community. As Carol Deppe, author of The Resilient Gardener put it so well, “The Small-Scale Poultry Flock is about establishing a free-range poultry flock that is fully integrated into a healthy homestead ecosystem.”

RECOMMENDED READING

Visit www.chelseagreen.com to order these books or other sustainable books from Chelsea Green Publishing:

Buildings of Earth and Straw by Bruce King, P.E.
Confronting Collapse by Michael C. Ruppert
Energy Free – Homes for a Small Planet by Ann V. Edminster.
Fresh Food from Small Spaces by R. J. Ruppenthal
Future Scenarios – How Communities Can Adapt to Peak Oil and Climate Change
by David Holmgren
Gaia’s Garden A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway
Living Above the Store -Building a Business That Creates Value, Inspires Change,
Restores Land & Community by Martin Melaver
Navigating the Coming Chaos – A Handbook for Inner Transition by Carolyn Baker
Simple Food for the Good Life – Random Acts of Cooking and Pithy Quotations
by Helen Nearing
Small-Scale Grain Raising, 2nd Edition by Gene Logsdon
Time’s Up! An Uncivilized Solution to a Global Crisis by Keith Farnish
The Biochar Debate by James Bruges.
The Carbon-Free Home by Rebekah Hren, Stephen Hren.
The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook by Richard Wiswall
The Passive Solar House by James Kachadorian.
The Transition Timeline- For a Local, Resilient Future by Shaun Chamberlin
Wind Energy Basics, 2nd Edition by Paul Gipe.
A Solar Buyer’s Guide for the Home and Office by Stephen & Rebekah Hren.
Passive Solar Architecture – Heating, Cooling, Ventilation, Daylighting, and more, Using Natural Flows  by David A. Bainbridge and Ken Haggard
Perennial Vegetables – From Artichokes to Zuiki Taro, a Gardener’s Guide to Over 100 Delicious, Easy-to-Grow Edibles  by Eric Toensmeier

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