Books For Consumers about Food & Environment Issues
Books For Alternative Farmers

Books For Consumers about Food & Environment Issues

yearofcow The Year of the Cow by Jared Stone (Featuring Chaffin Family Orchards!) After realizing he knew more about the television on his wall than the food on his plate, award-winning TV producer and amateur chef Jared Stone buys 420 pounds of beef directly from a rancher and embarks on a hilarious and inspiring culinary adventure. With the help of an incredibly supportive wife and a cadre of highly amused friends, Jared offers a glimpse at one man’s family as they try to learn about their food and ask themselves what’s really for dinner.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael PollanBy far one of the greatest food books written for current times. Take an aerial look at the modern food industry, consumer choice, and why any of it matters.  Michael explores the value of a food culture and how we as people have humanity has lost ours. Take the time to read it, it really has changed the landscape of how food is produced in this country.
Folks This Ain’t Normal by Joel Salatin The godfather of alternative farming, grassfarmer Joel in his typical humorous and blunt way delivers a whopper here. It dives into the abnormalities that have evolved over the last 100 years. Everything from genetic engineering, food regulation and policing, globalization, alternative medicine, primal nutrition, and consumer freedom of choice. Joel doesn’t pull in punches and his works are always enjoyable reads.  Watch Video Trailer
Animal Vegetable Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver You’ll be hard pressed to find a more visually descriptive and charming book than this.  Barbara, a well known fiction writer, writes an autobiographical year long journey of her and her family’s journey through eating local seasonal food for a year.  It’s even better on audio book because Barbara and her family actually read each of their respective sections.
The Dirty Life: on farming, food, and love by Kristin Kimball Fall in love with food and farming as Kristin paints breathtaking images of pastoral lifestyle and simpler living.  A first generation farmer, Kristin and her husband produce an “all inclusive” style organic CSA. A former vegetarian, she speaks of going back to meat, learning to butcher, cook, an adopting rural living.  Listen to an interview with Kimball from NPR’s All Things Considered
Beyond the Rangeland Conflict and Towards a West That Works By Dan DaggetDagget, a radical environmentalist, discovers that ranching is a way of life that celebrates nature and is deeply integrated with it’s rhythms. He learns of mimicking nature and intensive grazing and seeing how livestock when worked like wild herds can restore landscapes not destroy them. See a video of Dan presenting a slideshow
Against The Grain by Richard Manning Manning catalogs the cultural choice between hunter-gatherer societies and our modern sedentary row crop lifestyle. His description of the atrocities that have occurred in food in farming over the last hundred or so years are particularly brilliant.  He speaks of how going back to grass based food production could restore most of environmental damage done. Read this Article Manning wrote for Mother Earth News
The Vegetarian Myth By Lierre Keith This book dispels the rationale that one should be vegetarian for moral, political, nutritional, or environmental reasons. The level of research presented is astonishing intermingled with personal stories from Lierre and her life. Lierre has been physically attacked and harassed beyond belief by radical groups, but this only validates the power of her book.  Watch this incredible video clip of Lierre Keith on Peak Moment
Gardeners of Eden, Rediscovering Our Importance to Nature By Dan Dagget After Beyond the Rangeland Conflict, Dan wrote this book to further highlight the success that is being had around the world of restoring ecosystems using grazing ungulates, in most cases cattle.  Everything from restoring riparian areas, mining sites, building organic matter, reseeding native rangelands, and restoring wildlife and predator populations.  Check out Dan’s Website EcoResults
Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller This expose piece delves into the underbelly of the import olive oil industry and how many if not most European oils have been adulterated by the time they get to U.S. consumers.  This is a well-written fascinating story that you won’t want to put down.
Holy Cows and Hog Heaven by Joel Salatin An earlier book by Joel, this is a consumer guide to wholesome farm fresh shopping.  For a better look at his message, his farm, watch this video of Joel speaking to our Chico Weston Price chapter and community at large
Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price Dr. Price’s treasured research findings as he sought out to find out why children in America in the 1920’s were suddenly developing so many dental problems such as deformities, crooked teeth, and decay.  His findings, demonstrating nutrient dense diets are superior, have become the heart of the Weston Price Foundation.
See You in 100 Years by Logan Ward A lovely story about a family who chooses to live without modern conveniences for an entire year.  The struggle and emotion as they learn how to survive coupled with the fleetingness of it all is heart-wrenchingly beautiful.
Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms After heading up Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s environmental organization’s “hog campaign,” Nicolette Hahn Niman embarked upon a fascinating odyssey through the inner workings of the “factory farm” industry. What she discovered transformed her into an intrepid environmental lawyer determined to lock horns with the big business farming establishment. She even, unexpectedly, found love along the way. A searing account of an industry gone awry and one woman’s passionate fight to remedy it, Righteous Porkchop chronicles Niman’s investigation and her determination to organize a national reform movement to fight the shocking practices of industrial animal operations. She offers necessary alternatives, showing how livestock farming can be done in a better way—and she details both why and how to choose meat, poultry, dairy, eggs, and fish from traditionally farmed sources.
Steak: One Man’s Search for the World’s Tastiest Piece of Beef “Of all the meats, only one merits its own structure. There is no such place as a lamb house or a pork house, but even a small town can have a steak house.” So begins Mark Schatzker’s ultimate carnivorous quest. Fed up with one too many mediocre steaks, the intrepid journalist set out to track down, define, and eat the perfect specimen. His journey takes him to all the legendary sites of steak excellence-Texas, France, Scotland, Italy, Japan, Argentina, and Idaho’s Pahsimeroi Valley-where he discovers the lunatic lengths steak lovers will go to consume the perfect cut. After contemplating the merits of Black Angus, Kobe, Chianina, and the prehistoric aurochs-a breed revived by the Nazis after four hundred years of extinction-Schatzker adopts his own heifer, fattens her on fruit, acorns, and Persian walnuts, and then grapples with ambivalence when this near-pet appears on his plate.
The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid How the tradition and culture of dairying changed in an industrial world and how milk for the first time in history started to make the masses sick. Learn how unclean fresh raw milk can still be produced in local communities all over the world.
Cadillac Desert by Marc Reisner The story of how rivers and wild waters were tamed in the West.  Explore what it means to live in a desert and how fragile these ecosytems can be.
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Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon One of the finest most liberating collection of recipes you’ll ever find. Learn how to make nutrient dense, nourishing meals in our modern world.
Grassfed Gourmet
The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook by Shannon Hayes Learn how to prepare delicious complete meals featuring grassfed beef, bison, venison, veal, lamb, goat, pork, pastured poultry, and rabbit.
Good Meat: The Complete Guide to Sourcing and Cooking Sustainable Meat Some of the most beautiful photos I’ve ever seen grace the pages of this truly fantastic cookbook.  With more than 200 recipes for pork, beef, lamb, poultry, and game, you can’t go wrong.
Goat: Meat, Milk, Cheese by Bruce Weinstein & Mark Scarbrough Take a cultural look at the world of goat products, why it’s not more widely consumed in America, and what you’re missing. The recipes here are simply mouth-watering. And our farm is actually mentioned by name in this one.
The Complete Book of Butchering, Smoking, Curing, and Sausage Making Want to learn how to butcher your own game or livestock, make delicious sausages, and cure and preserve meats? Than this book is for you.
Hunt, Gather, Cook: Finding the Forgotten Feast This book goes beyond terms like local, sustainable, and organic and delves into new levels of self sufficiency. Plant it, catch it, grow it, prepare it, and eat it yourself.  Author Hank Shaw is amazing this book is a must-have!
The Passionate Olive: 101 Things to Do with Olive Oil Use olive oil for everything from nourishing your skin, dust furniture, curbing your cat’s hair-ball problems , preserve leather, remove candle wax, as a safe natural personal lubricant, silence squeaky doors hinges , soothe your sore throat and dry lips, and more.
Full Moon Feast by Jessica Prentice Co-owner of Three Stone Hearth in Berkeley, Prentice pioneered a new world of community food preparation. Her book teaches to eat in season and enjoy the rhythms of nature in a deeper way.
Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods For millennia humans have fermented their foods to preserve them, but so much of that wisdom has been lost in our modern world. Author Sandor Katz brings these techniques to life so that you can produce nutritionally dense, enzyme rich, probiotic foods in your home.
Tender Grassfed Meat: Traditional Ways to Cook Healthy Meals by Stanley Fishman Discover the health benefits and flavor of meat prepared in traditional cooking styles. Learn to maximize each cuts potential for the ultimate tenderness and overall eating experience. We’re also mentioned in Stanley’s new fantastic book Tender Grassfed Barbecue: Traditional, Primal and Paleo
Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning: Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation Preserve foods with traditional techniques that maintain a full nutrient profile and leave the foods raw.
Fat: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient Learn how to get this precious ingredient back into your diet. So many vitamins crucial to health are fat soluble and on a low fat diet you may be nutritionally starved.
Bones: Recipes, History, and Lore Nearly all old world cultures cooked bones down to make nourishing stocks.  Bring back a wealth of flavor and nutrition back into your kitchen by learning the cultural knowledge about cooking with bones that’s long been forgotten.
The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating It’s important to recognize and honor the whole animal by using it completely. Too often it’s easy to get used to favoring one specific cut of meat and forgetting the rest of the animal and the sacrifice made to produce it.
The Lost Art of Real Cooking: Rediscovering the Pleasures of Traditional Food Simple old fashioned recipes that encourages readers to be bold and get back to the pure culinary beauty of food preparation
Eat Fat, Lose Fat: The Healthy Alternative to Trans Fats Mary Enig and Sally Fallon wrote this book together about the misconceptions regarding fat consumption, how important it is to maintaining health, and how you can actually lose weight while eating more of it.
The Primal Blueprint Cookbook: Primal, Low Carb, Paleo, Grain-Free, Dairy-Free and Gluten-Free If you’re eating gluten free, paleo, or low carb you’ll want to take advantage of these simple but delicious recipes for healthy tasty meals.
Joy of Cooking Comprehensive guide to everything you ever wanted to know about culinary arts
The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters Rustic simple recipes designed to be used fresh in-season ingredients that will be sure to impress your family or guests
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Books For Alternative Farmers

You Can Farm by Joel Salatin Joel first started writing books about farming for other farmers, now he’s become a superstar among growers and eaters alike.  His books have had great impact on our integrated growing methods. Also check out Pastured Poultry Profits, Salad Bar Beef, Family Friendly Farming, and Everything I Want To Do is Illegal.
Holistic Management by Allan Savory This is touted as the ultimate study of alternative grazing models. Savory has been studying the use of livestock as regenerative restorers that will actually build up soil faster than anything else if used correctly.  Savory studies and creates systems that mimic the behavior of wild herds.  Watch his video Cattle Cure for Climate Crisis.
Chicken Tractor: The Permaculture Guide to Happy Hens and Healthy Soil, Homestead Edition Quite possibly the best book for keeping chickens for the backyard or for a larger scale.  Includes models for deep bedding to build garden plots and rotational grazing with plans on how to build appropriate houses for each system, in addition to a wide variety of information on nutrition
Raising Small Livestock by Jerome Belanger A guide for basic animal care for all small livestock including rabbits, sheep, goats, ducks, chickens, etc.  Designed for the homesteader and small type systems with information on nutrition, feed rations, health, and housing designs.
The Small Scale Poultry Flock by Harvey Ussery Everything you wanted to know about a pasture based design for keeping all forms of poultry including information on feed mixes, sprouting grains, breed selection, growing/feeding bugs, egg production, meat birds, etc.  Ussery writes regularly for Backyard Poultry Magazine and Mother Earth News.
All Flesh Is Grass by Gene Logsdon A true agricultural philosopher, Logsdon and his wife have been farming on small scale for decades.  With a myriad of books on life skills, nature’s wonder, and the beauty of a rural agricultural lifestyle, Gene leaves nearly no topic untouched.  This book includes information on setting up rotational grazing systems, fencing, cutting hay, fencing, stocking rates, etc. You may also enjoy his newest book Holy Shit for a humorous look at modern’s society irrational fear of feces and it’s inherent value in keeping the nutrient cycle flowing.
The Lasater Philosophy of Cattle Raising The Lasater Philosophy of Cattle Raising One of the prominent grass-based herds the country, the Lasater’s have packed nearly 100 years of cattle wisdom into this book. Learn how to attune your herds genetics be self reliant, fitting to your land and resources.
Grass-Fed Cattle by Julius Ruechel covers every aspect of raising grassfed cattle, including breed selection, building healthy pastures and rangeland, breeding, fencing and pasture rotation, pests and diseases, getting the cattle finished, record keeping, slaughter planning, selling, building in appropriate profit margin, and how to turn your ranch into a viable grass based business.
The Family Cow by Dirk Van Loon Your guide to keeping a family milk cow.  Covering such topics as grass management, breeding, calving, milking, sanitation, and preventative care.
Practical Skills by Gene Logsdon Another great title by Logsdon, learn everything you need to know about rural living and necessary repairs you might encounter.  With step by step guides one everything from how to chop firewood, forage wild foods, stock and maintain woodstoves, keeping a dairy cow, making butter, building fences and walls, septic installation and repair, and more. You can also read Logsdon’s blog here
Back to Basics Handbook Similar to Practical Skills, this book is an illustrated guide to all the things you might encounter living in the country.
Small Scale Livestock Farming A comprehensive look at grassbased organic livestock production, care, and business management.
The Merck Veterinary Manual A must have for all livestock keepers, Merck is standby for ranchers and veterinarians with all the diagnosis and treatment information you’ll ever need.
Chicken Coop Designs Looking to build a chicken coop or retrofit an old one  This book has 45 designs for every imaginable scenario.  With a strong focus on re-purposing available materials you can’t go wrong.
How to Build Animal Housing Go beyond poultry and learn how to build efficient, stable, spacious housing for cows, sheep, goats, pigs, llamas, donkeys and fowl in this great illustrated guide.
Country Wisdom & Know-How This fantastic old fashioned style printing is an incredible resource for learning how to live sustainably off the land in a rural environment.  Teaching skills such as making cheese and yogurt, building furniture, fermenting homemade wine, soap making, raising livestock, building cellars and cool storage, braiding rugs, and more.  This is a really cool book!
Encyclopedia of Country Living Another must have for living outside of town, this book covers everything from selecting a property, building a home, managing livestock, milling your own flour, beekeeping, tractor driving, pickling, and utilizing natural health remedies.
The Holistic Orchard Anyone who wants to have a small homestead or farm should look at keeping an orchard. Trees are a fantastic perennial crop that can produce copious amounts of delicious fruit. Look at preventative healthcare, soil fertility, medicinal companions, pest and disease control, and yearlong calendar planning.
Organic Olive Production Olives are specialized crop that really only thrive in climates that don’t get summer rain.  Using this manual you’ll learn about orchard site selection considerations, irrigation needs, temperature, soil type, damage from the olive fruit fly, and how these may vary for table fruit versus fruit for oil production.This manual provides detailed information for growers on production issues, plant nutrition, economics, pest and weed control, management of olive wastes, the conversion process, and organic certification and registration. You’ll also learn how to evaluate harvest methods an important consideration as harvest costs typically amount to half the total production cost for olives.
Attracting Native Pollinators As farmers and beekeepers continue to struggle with Colony Collapse Disorder it’s so important to be farming in a manner than promotes and supports native pollinators.  It’s crucial to nurture a habitat that has plants flowering all year round.
Gardening When It Couts by Steve Solomon Low input, self reliant, affordable gardening designed to produce as nutritious food as possible when endless sums of money and resources aren’t available. As input costs continue to rise it makes sense to look at systems that require fewer resources to be thrive.
How to Grow More Vegetables by John Jeavons Following more of an intensive production model, this book has fantastic charts and diagrams to help you layout your garden for successive planting all year long.
Carrots Love Tomatoes: Secrets of Companion Planting for Successful Gardening This classic has now taught generations of gardeners how to use the natural benefits of plants to protect and support each other. Here is a reader’s complete reference to which plants nourish the soil, which keep away bugs and pests, and which plants just don’t get along. Here is a complete guide to using companion planting to grow a better garden. 555,000 copies in print.
Acres Magazine books Acres Books carries just about the best alternative farming titles anywhere.  For a conclusive list on alternative agricultural production be sure to check out their site and subscribe to their magazine.
FTCLDF Guides to farming and raw milk Farm To Consumer Legal Defense Fund Farming Guides pertaining to consumer education, raw milk production, and other pertinent issues
Making Your Small Farm Profitable A business guide geared specifically towards small scale producers looking to make income off their property and rural lifestyle.
Sell What You Sow Learn strategies for selling the goods that you’ve harvested with information on labeling, packaging, marketing etc.  Learn about the pro’s and con’s of various opportunities including roadside or on-farm stands, CSA’s, farmers markets, wholesale, etc.
Backyard Market Gardening Want to make money off what you grow in your backyard?  This book will help you figure out the planning, marketing, legalities, and get you on the path towards success.
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