The Allamakee SWCD now has a small collection of books relating to the topic of soil health and how farming practice impact our soils and our world. See the descriptions below about the books to learn more. Books may be checked out at the Waukon office. Stop by today!
Holistic Management: A Commonsense Revolution to Restore Our Environment By Allan Savory
Fossil fuels and livestock grazing are often targeted as major culprits behind climate change and desertification. But Allan Savory, cofounder of the Savory Institute, begs to differ. The bigger problem, he warns, is our mismanagement of resources. Livestock grazing is not the problem; it’s how we graze livestock. If we don’t change the way we approach land management, irreparable harm from climate change could continue long after we replace fossil fuels with environmentally benign energy sources.
Holistic management is a systems-thinking approach for managing resources developed by Savory decades ago after observing the devastation of desertification in his native Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). Properly managed livestock are key to restoring the world’s grassland soils, the major sink for atmospheric carbon, and minimizing the most damaging impacts on humans and the natural world. This book updates Savory’s paradigm-changing vision for reversing desertification, stemming the loss of biodiversity, eliminating fundamental causes of human impoverishment throughout the world, and climate change. Reorganized chapters make it easier for readers to understand the framework for Holistic Management and the four key insights that underlie it. New color photographs showcase before-and-after examples of land restored by livestock.
The One-Straw Revolution By Masanobu Fukuoka
Call it “Zen and the Art of Farming” or a “Little Green Book,” Masanobu Fukuoka’s manifesto about farming, eating, and the limits of human knowledge presents a radical challenge to the global systems we rely on for our food. At the same time, it is a spiritual memoir of a man whose innovative system of cultivating the earth reflects a deep faith in the wholeness and balance of the natural world. As Wendell Berry writes in his preface, the book “is valuable to us because it is at once practical and philosophical. It is an inspiring, necessary book about agriculture because it is not just about agriculture.”
Trained as a scientist, Fukuoka rejected both modern agribusiness and centuries of agricultural practice, deciding instead that the best forms of cultivation mirror nature’s own laws. Over the next three decades he perfected his so-called “do-nothing” technique: commonsense, sustainable practices that all but eliminate the use of pesticides, fertilizer, tillage, and perhaps most significantly, wasteful effort.
Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed By Jared Diamond
A study of the downfall of some of history’s greatest civilizations, written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel, includes coverage of such cultures as the Anasazi, the Maya, and the Viking colony on Greenland, tracing patterns of environmental damage, climate change, poor political choices, and other factors that were pivotal to their demise.
Growing a Revolution: Bringing our Soil Back to Life By David R. Montgomery
In Growing a Revolution, geologist David R. Montgomery travels the world, meeting farmers at the forefront of an agricultural movement to restore soil health. From Kansas to Ghana, he sees why adopting the three tenets of conservation agriculture―ditching the plow, planting cover crops, and growing a diversity of crops―is the solution. When farmers restore fertility to the land, this helps feed the world, cool the planet, reduce pollution, and return profitability to family farms.
Dirt to Soil: One Family’s Journey into Regenerative Agriculture By Gabe Brown (ordered – print date October 4, 2018)
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.