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Book and DVD Reviews


Book Review: Farming on the Wild Side

Written by Nancy J. Hayden and John P. Hayden
Published by Chelsea Green Publishing, 2019
Reviewed by Lucy Birkett

Farming on the Wild Side chronicles, in a most delightful and humble way, the progression of a small organic farm in northern Vermont. An entomologist and an environmental engineer make nurturing biodiversity a top priority as they transform an old dairy farm into a productive, thriving, diversified farm teeming with life. The entire book is interspersed with moments of poignant philosophical wisdom, and ecology is everywhere.

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Book Cover - Designer's Mind 

Book Review: Cultivating the Designer’s Mind

Written by Walter Cudnohufsky with Mollie Babize

Reviewed by Trevor Buckley and Emily Davis

Cultivating the Designer’s Mind: Principles and Process for Coherent Landscape Design, readers will find a window into the mind of Walter Cudnohufsky, founder of the Conway School of Landscape Design and a visionary educator in design and planning. Accompanied by co-author Mollie Babize, a Conway alum and former administrator of the graduate program, Cudnohufsky presents an ably written and accessible book that demystifies the sometimes elusive design process and espouses a democratic design ethos. Through the lenses of landscape and ecology, they lay out a vision for applying a deliberative and compassionate mode of design-thinking to our complex and frenetic world.

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Book Review: Healing Earth

Healing Earth – An Ecologist’s Journey of Innovation and Environmental Stewardship Written by John Todd Published by North Atlantic Books, 2019 Reviewed by Cindy Goulder It’s easy to be overwhelmed with despair by the many degradations of our natural world and the tumultuous effects expected of the changing climate. But John Todd is not despairing….

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Book Review: Fruitful Labor

Fruitful Labor: The Ecology, Economy and Practice of a Family Farm Written by Mike Madison Published by Chelsea Green Publishing, 2018 Reviewed by Rhiannon Lewis Mike Madison is a farmer, a biologist, and an advocate for biota at all scales. From the soil fauna, to the cultivated crops and the native creatures, Madison espouses a…

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Book Review: Practical Organic Gardening

Practical Organic Gardening: The No-Nonsense Guide to Growing Naturally Written by Mark Highland Published by Cool Springs Press, 2017 Reviewed by Rie Macchiarolo Practical Organic Gardening is a great book for gardeners, farmers, and horticulturalists of all skill levels. In the first chapter author Mark Highland notes that while organic farming and organic gardening share…

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Book Review: Sowing Beauty

Sowing Beauty: Designing Flowering Meadows from Seed By James Hitchmough Published by Timber Press, 2017 This magnificent volume’s title underscores the work’s poetic reason for being: as a guide to creating beautiful meadows in urban settings. But the book goes much further than that. Within these pages, the designer will find a definitive, broad-reaching and…

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Book Review: Mycorrhizal Planet

Mycorrhizal Planet: How Symbiotic Fungi Work with Roots to Support Plant Health and Build Soil Fertility By Michael Phillips Published by Chelsea Green Publishing, 2017 Soil Biology is Nature’s healthcare system. One of man’s greatest mistakes was believing the natural world needed us to create bounty or to heal itself. Michael Phillips shows us that…

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Book Review: The Permaculture Promise

The Permaculture Promise: What Permaculture Is and How It Can Help Us By Jono Neiger Published by Storey Publishing, 2016 Anyone who has fallen short trying to explain permaculture and why it’s important can look for help in The Permaculture Promise. The book’s subtitle tells us exactly what author Jono Neiger hopes to convey: What…

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Book Review: The Carbon Farming Solution

The Carbon Farming Solution: A Global Toolkit of Perennial Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices for Climate Change Mitigation and Food Security Written by Eric Toensmeier Published by Chelsea Green Publishing, 2016 Reviewed by M.L. Altobelli First things first – Eric Toensmeier ’s new book was fun to poke around in. I do realize that sounds…

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