Tag Archives: Earth Day

ReadUP for Earth Day Weekend!

Earth Day is this weekend, and today we’re highlighting our best new reads to celebrate conservation, biodiversity, and sustainable living.


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Kentucky Heirloom Seeds: Growing, Eating, Saving

Saving seeds to plant for next year’s crop has been key to survival around the globe for millennia. However, the twentieth century witnessed a grand takeover of seed producers by multinational companies aiming to select varieties ideal for mechanical harvest, long-distance transportation, and long shelf life. With the rise of the Slow Food and farm-to-table movements in recent years, the farmers and home gardeners who have been quietly persisting in the age-old habit of conserving heirloom plants are finally receiving credit for their vital role in preserving both good taste and the world’s rich food heritage.

Kentucky Heirloom Seeds is an evocative exploration of the seed saver’s art and the practice of sustainable agriculture. Bill Best and Dobree Adams begin by tracing the roots of the tradition in the state to a 700-year-old Native American farming village in north central Kentucky. Best shares tips for planting and growing beans and describes his family’s favorite varieties for the table. Featuring interviews with many people who have worked to preserve heirloom varieties, this book vividly documents the social relevance of the rituals of sowing, cultivating, eating, saving, and sharing.

Purchase Here.


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Living Sustainably: What Intentional Communities Can Teach Us about Democracy, Simplicity, and Nonviolence

In light of concerns about food and human health, fraying social ties, economic uncertainty, and rampant consumerism, some people are foregoing a hurried, distracted existence and embracing a mindful way of living. Over the course of four years, A. Whitney Sanford visited ecovillages, cohousing communities, and Catholic worker houses and farms where individuals are striving to “be the change they wish to see in the world.” In this book, she reveals the solutions that these communities have devised for sustainable living while highlighting the specific choices and adaptations that they have made to accommodate local context and geography. She examines their methods of reviving and adapting traditional agrarian skills, testing alternate building materials for their homes, and developing local governments that balance group needs and individual autonomy.

Living Sustainably is a teachable testament to the idea that new cultures based on justice and sustainability are attainable in many ways and in countless homes and communities. Sanford’s engaging and insightful work demonstrates that citizens can make a conscious effort to subsist in a more balanced, harmonious world.

Purchase Here.


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Water in Kentucky: Natural History, Communities, and Conservation

Home to sprawling Appalachian forests, rolling prairies, and the longest cave system in the world, Kentucky is among the most ecologically diverse states in the nation. Lakes, rivers, and springs have shaped and nourished life in the Commonwealth for centuries, and water has played a pivotal role in determining Kentucky’s physical, cultural, and economic landscapes. The management and preservation of this precious natural resource remain a priority for the state’s government and citizens.

In this generously illustrated book, experts from a variety of fields explain how water has defined regions across the Commonwealth. Together, they illuminate the ways in which this resource has affected the lives of Kentuckians since the state’s settlement, exploring the complex relationship among humans, landscapes, and waterways. They examine topics such as water quality, erosion and sediment control, and emerging water management approaches. Through detailed analysis and case studies, the contributors offer scholars, practitioners, policy makers, and general readers a wide perspective on the state’s valuable water resources.

Purchase Here.


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Mammoth Cave Curiosities: A Guide to Rockphobia, Dating, Saber-toothed Cats, and Other Subterranean Marvels

Sir Elton John, blind fish, the original Twinkie, President Ronald Reagan’s Secret Service detail, and mummies don’t usually come up in the same conversation—unless you’re at Mammoth Cave National Park! Home to the earth’s longest known cave system, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the oldest tourist attractions in North America.

In this charming book, author and cave guide Colleen O’Connor Olson takes readers on a tour through a labyrinth of topics. She discusses scientific subjects such as the fossils of prehistoric animals and the secret lives of subterranean critters, and she provides essential information on dating in the cave (the age of rocks and artifacts, not courtship). Olson also explores Mammoth Cave’s rich history, covering its use as the world’s first tuberculosis sanatorium as well as its operation as a saltpeter mine during the War of 1812, and shares the inspirational story of the park’s first female ranger. Whether you’re visiting the national park, thinking about visiting, or just curious about a place recognized as one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, don’t miss this delightful guide to the wild and wonderful subterranean world of Mammoth Cave.

Purchase Here.


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Kentucky’s Natural Heritage: An Illustrated Guide to Biodiversity

Kentucky’s ecosystems teem with diverse native species, some of which are found nowhere else in the world. Kentucky’s Natural Heritage brings these sometimes elusive creatures into close view, from black-throated green warblers to lizard skin liverworts. The aquatic systems of the state are home to rainbow darters, ghost crayfish, salamander mussels, and an impressive array of other species that constitute some of the greatest levels of freshwater diversity on the planet.

Kentucky’s Natural Heritage presents a persuasive argument for conservation of the state’s biodiversity. Organized by a team from the Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission, the book is an outgrowth of the agency’s focus on biodiversity protection. Richly detailed and lavishly illustrated with more than 250 color photos, maps, and charts, Kentucky’s Natural Heritage is the definitive compendium of the commonwealth’s amazing diversity. It celebrates the natural beauty of some of the most important ecosystems in the nation and presents a compelling case for the necessity of conservation.

Purchase Here.


Visit our website to explore all of our titles in Nature and Environmental Studies

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April Tips for Planting and Growing

It’s Earth Week, and late April is the perfect time to start planning your garden!

This year, consider planting heirloom bean and tomato varieties which, according to author and farmer Bill Best, are a more sustainable gardening option and are also an important element of Kentucky’s history and agricultural tradition.

seedsIn his new book, Kentucky Heirloom Seeds: Growing, Eating, Saving Bill Best provides an evocative exploration of the seed saver’s art and the practice of sustainable agriculture. Writing with Dobree Adams, Best shares tips for planting and growing beans and describes his family’s favorite varieties for the table. Featuring interviews with many people who have worked to preserve heirloom varieties, this book vividly documents the social relevance of the rituals of sowing, cultivating, eating, saving, and sharing.

In this excerpt from Kentucky Heirloom SeedsBill Best gives his top tips for planting, growing, and saving heirloom beans and tomatoes:


Practical Tips for Growing and Saving

We gardeners and farmers love to sit around and tell tales about our successes and sometimes our failures. We are always talking about something we tried this year that worked well, or maybe it didn’t. This is what makes gardening and farming so fascinating and challenging. Every piece of land is different, with different soil and a different orientation to the sun. So what works just great for me may not work so well for someone else. Then, of course, there is always old-man weather. No two years are ever the same. And once gardening has skipped a generation, it is unfortunately necessary to start from scratch: knowledge passed on for hundreds of years has to be relearned, accompanied by trial and error.

The best thing to do is make good notes every year: what you planted, when you planted it, how it grew, what the harvest was, and of course, how it tasted! Here, I offer a few practical tips from my perspective.

Cornfield Beans

BILL BEST AND LEATHER BRITCHES

Author Bill Best with “Leather Britches” (Dried Beans)

With beans, it is good to know that a few things have happened in the last few decades that have forced traditional practices to change. Traditionally, cornfield beans have been planted with corn so the cornstalks could provide the “poles” for the bean to climb. But with the advent of modern hybrid varieties, the cornstalks are too weak to support the bean vines. At best, hybrid cornstalks, both sweet and field, can support only one or two ears of corn and will collapse under the weight of bean vines. Therefore, most people who are serious about growing climbing heirloom beans use poles or a trellis to support the bean vines, or they grow them on heirloom varieties of corn such as Hickory Cane. Trellises should be only as high as you can reach without using a ladder to pick the beans.

Another way to support bean vines is to construct a bean tower made from a stout pole with a bicycle tire rim on top. Strings are attached around the perimeter of the wheel and then attached to the bean vines on the ground. These bean towers need to be at least ten feet tall. You can use a stepladder to reach the beans growing higher than your head. Bean towers are an excellent way to save seeds and “get a start” if you have only half a dozen or so seeds. The tower, allowing for ample vine growth, makes it possible for the maximum number of pods to form and to produce the most seeds from the smallest number of plants.

Cornfield beans need to be planted at a rate of two seeds per eighteen inches. The two seeds help each other break through the soil at germination and then “spread their wings” as side branches quickly develop on the main stem. Virtually all modern seed companies give bad advice when they promote the sowing of bean seeds at a rate of every two inches or so. Mechanical planting devices also space them far too close together. Of course, commercial seed companies are in the business of selling seeds, not promoting good vine growth or growing quality beans.

Once the beans mature on the vines, it is important to save the seeds at the appropriate time; otherwise, the seeds can be damaged by weather conditions. If the weather is clear and dry at the time of maturity, the bean pods can be left on the vines for several days until the pods become dry, at which point they must be removed from the vines. If it is rainy when the bean pods mature, it is best to remove the pods and spread them out in a dry area to complete the drying process. A greenhouse or high tunnel works well, assuming the pods are spread out on plastic on the ground or placed on greenhouse benches covered with bedsheets or some other cloth.

Beans and Tomatoes

Beans and Tomatoes growing in the field (Dobree Adams)

Drying can also be accomplished by spreading the pods over the floor of any dry room in the house or barn. The most important thing is to prevent the pods from getting wet during the drying process, as the seeds will sprout or mold within the hull. If this happens, the seeds will never sprout in the ground and won’t be good to eat either, even as dry beans.

After the seeds have become dry, shelled out, and hard to the touch, it is important to remove the disfigured or insect-damaged seeds from the batch. If some seeds are a different color than the others, these seeds can be planted separately the following year to see if they breed true. If they do, then you might have discovered your own bean variety. This is the process by which we have developed thousands of varieties of heirloom beans.

Heirloom Tomatoes

To achieve good production with a minimum of rot and sunscalding, tomatoes need to be staked or trellised. It is also possible to use cages made from concrete reinforcing wire, fencing wire, or any other wire that can withstand considerable weight. This gets the tomatoes off the ground and provides plenty of shade to pre- vent sunscald of the ripening fruit.

Tomato seeds can be saved in several ways. One of the traditional methods is to let the tomato ripen completely, even to the point of beginning to rot, and then remove the seeds with a spoon and spread them on a piece of cloth or paper to dry. Some people spread them out on a paper towel, let them dry, and then plant the paper towel and seeds together in potting or germinating soil.

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Heirloom red tomatoes are high in acid and are pleasing to a lot of people. Best’s favorite red tomato is the Zeke Dishman, a very large and tasty tomato that often weighs over two pounds. It was developed by Zeke Dishman of Windy in Wayne County over several decades.

A far better way to save tomato seeds is to use the fermentation process. The tomatoes are allowed to overripen to the point of beginning to rot and then quartered or cut up so that the seed cavities can be scooped out and put in a bucket or some other container. You can do this with one tomato or with many, depending on the number of seeds you want to save. The tomatoes are then stirred one or more times per day for three or more days until the mixture is soupy. Fungal growth will appear on top of the mixture as fermentation takes place, but that is no problem. During stirring, the seeds dislodge from the gel and sink to the bottom of the container. Water is then poured into the mixture, allowing the pulp and the bad seeds to rise to the top and ow over the side of the container. The good seeds sink to the bottom. Once the water becomes clear, pour what’s left in the bucket into a finely meshed strainer. Only the seeds will remain in the strainer. Then spread the seeds out on a at surface, such as a slick paper plate, to let them dry. My own preference is to spread the seeds on wax paper and put it under a slow-moving fan until the seeds are dry, which usually takes no more than twenty-four hours. Once the seeds are dry, you can scrape them o the paper with your finger and separate any that might be stuck together. I then put the seeds in a tightly sealed plastic bag, dated and labeled, and store the bag at room temperature, making sure it is not in direct sunlight or in a hot part of the room. Using this method, I have had good luck germinating tomato seeds saved for up to ten years.

When sowing tomato seeds, it is important not to plant them too deep—half an inch is adequate. Keep the soil mixture warm and moist but not wet. Most tomato seeds germinate within four to seven days. They need a lot of sunlight at this early stage to prevent the plants from becoming elongated and weak. Commercial full-spectrum grow lights placed close to the germinating plants work best for producing early transplants. The plants should be ready to transplant within six to eight weeks. As soon as suckers appear on the plants, break them to below the first bloom clusters, which will now mature much earlier. Suckering also keeps most of the foliage off the ground, helping to prevent disease.


Bill Best, professor emeritus from Berea College, is a Madison County, Kentucky, farmer and one of the charter members of the Lexington Farmers’ Market. Widely known as a saver, collector, and grower of heirloom beans and tomatoes, he is the author of Saving Seeds, Preserving Taste: Heirloom Seed Savers in Appalachia.

Dobree Adams is primarily known in the region as a fiber artist and photographer. She gardens and farms on a river bottom of the Kentucky north of Frankfort.

For more on growing, eating, and saving heirloom varieties, you can purchase Kentucky Heirloom Seeds HERE.

It’s Earth Day Eve!

In a world filled with technology and innovation, it is so easy to get swept up in the motion of life. Fortunately for the world, Earth Day comes around every April to remind us where we came from and the primitive nature that this world once began with. One woman has kept her roots (pun intended) in tact over the years, becoming one of the most successful and influential activists in the field of agriculture. Of course I’m talking about Vandana Shiva, whose groundbreaking research has exposed the destructive effects of monocultures and commercial agriculture and revealed the interrelationships among ecology, gender, and poverty.

To celebrate Earth Day this year and the importance of agriculture in our lives, we have prepared an excerpt from The Vandana Shiva Reader, which how Shiva’s profound understanding of both the perils and potential of our interconnected world calls upon citizens of all nations to renew their commitment to love and care for soil, seeds, and people:

In 1984, a number of tragic events took place in India. In June, the Golden Temple was attacked because it was harboring extremists. In October, Indira Gandhi was assassinated. And in December, a terrible industrial disaster took place in Bhopal when Union Carbine’s pesticide plant leaked a toxic gas. Thirty thousand people died in the terrorism in Punjab, and thirty thousand people have died in the “industrial terrorism” of Bhopal. This is equivalent to twelve 9/11s. I was forced to sit up and ask why agriculture had become like war. Why did the “Green Revolution,” which had received the Nobel Peace Prize, breed extremism and terrorism in Punjab? This questioning led to my books The Violence of the Green Revolution and Monocultures of the Mind. Blindness to diversity and self-organization in nature and society was clearly a basic problem in the mechanistic, Cartesian industrial paradigm. And this blindness led to false claims that industrial monocultures in forestry, farming, fisheries, and animal husbandry produced more food and were necessary to alleviate hunger and poverty. On the contrary, monocultures produce less and use more inputs, thus destroying the environment and impoverishing people.

In 1987, the Dag Hammarjold Foundation organized a meeting on biotechnology in Geneva called Laws of Life. I was invited because of my book on the Green Revolution. At the conference, the biotech industry laid out its plans—to patent life; to genetically engineer seeds, crops, and life-forms; and to get full freedom to trade through the GATT negotiations, which finally led to the WTO. This led to my focus on intellectual property rights, free trade, globalization—and to a life dedicated to saving seeds and promoting organic farming as an alternative to a world dictated and controlled by corporations.

Having dedicated my life to the defense of the intrinsic worth of all species, the idea of life-forms, seeds, and biodiversity being reduced to corporate inventions and hence corporate property was abhorrent to me. Further, if seeds become “intellectual property,” saving and sharing seeds become intellectual property theft. Our highest duty, to save seeds, becomes a criminal act. The legalizing of the criminal act of owning and monopolizing life through patents on seeds and plants was morally and ethically unacceptable to me. So I started Navdanya, a movement that promotes biodiversity conservation and seed saving and seed sharing among farmers. Navdanya has created more than twenty community “seed banks” through which seeds are saved and freely exchanged among our three hundred thousand members.

Through our saving of heritage seeds, we have brought back “forgotten foods” like jhangora (barnyard millet), ragi (finger millet), marsha (amaranth), naurangi dal, and gahat dal. Not only are these crops more nutritious than the globally traded commodities, but they are also more resource prudent, requiring only two hundred to three hundred millimeters of rain compared to the twenty-five hundred millimeters needed for chemical rice farming. Millets could increase food production four hundred fold using the same amount of limited water. These forgotten foods are the foods of the future. Farmers’ seeds are the seeds of the future.
In addition to The Vandana Shiva Reader, Shiva has just recently published two new books:

Stolen Harvest: The Hijacking of Global Food Supply – In this book, Shiva explores the devastating effects of commercial agriculture and genetic engineering on the food we eat, the farmers who grow it, and the soil that sustains it. This prescient critique and call to action covers some of the most pressing topics of this ongoing dialogue, from the destruction of local food cultures and the privatization of plant life, to unsustainable industrial fish farming and safety concerns about corporately engineered foods.

 

The Violence of the Green Revolution: Third World Agriculture, Ecology, and Politics – The Green Revolution has been heralded as a political and technological achievement—unprecedented in human history. Yet in the decades that have followed it, this supposedly nonviolent revolution has left lands ravaged by violence and ecological scarcity. A dedicated empiricist, Shiva takes a magnifying glass to the effects of the Green Revolution in India, examining the devastating effects of monoculture and commercial agriculture and revealing the nuanced relationship between ecological destruction and poverty. In this classic work, the influential activist and scholar also looks to the future as she examines new developments in gene technology.

For more information on The Vandana Shiva Reader, click here!

 

Venerable Trees of the Bluegrass

With spring well underway and Earth Day steadily approaching, today seemed like a great day to share some beautiful and green places to visit in Lexington as the nature of the bluegrass slowly returns back to life. The trees on this list are called venerable trees. UPK author Tom Kimmerer describes a venerable tree as one of “great age and value.” Despite the mass amount of urban development that has taken off in the past century, some of these ancient beauties are still close to home. Check out these venerable trees that could be in your neighborhood:

The Kissing Tree at Transylvania University

KissingTree

The Kissing Tree at Transylvania University is a huge white ash with a wooden bench around its trunk. It is not a presettlement tree but probably became established either naturally or by planting some time in the 1800s. In the years before 1960, when public displays of affection were not tolerated on college campuses, the Kissing Tree was the one place where holding hands and discreet kissing were not met with a rebuke. Although its role as a facilitator of romance is not as critical today, the Kissing Tree is revered as part of the rich history of the college.

Bur Oak at Commonwealth Stadium

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Many tailgate parties have taken place under this tree. Unfortunately, it has sustained extensive mower damage and decay. The fungus is Laetiporus cincinnatus, sometimes called chicken of the woods. The fungus causes decay of heartwood. By itself, the fungus would not be fatal, but ongoing, repeated mower injury has severely wounded the tree. Note the hole caused by boring beetles. Other wood decay fungi are present as well.

Hamburg Giant Grove OldSchoolhouse

The Hamburg development, a large horse farm developed into housing and shopping areas in Lexington, has preserved many venerable trees in or near floodplains, where they will be undisturbed. The Hamburg area is only partly developed, and there are many trees remaining in the existing farmland that could be preserved and become landmarks for their neighborhoods. Tom Kimmerer refers to this area as the Hamburg Giant Grove because it includes dozens of exceptionally large trees, some of the largest remaining trees in Fayette County.

The Old Schoolhouse Oak

SchoolHouse

 

Not many trees make it onto the front page of their local paper, but the Old Schoolhouse Oak has done it many times. One of the largest bur oaks in the Bluegrass, and probably one of the oldest, is along the same road as the Ingleside Oak, the old buffalo trace. It is a more discreet tree, less apparent to passersby as it sits on a hill above the road. Until recently, few people were aware of the tree, but today the whole city knows it well.

 

 

For more information on where to find venerable trees in the bluegrass, be sure to check out Venerable Trees: History, Biology, and Conservation in the Bluegrass by Tom Kimmerer.

 

Earth Day 2015!

Today is officially Earth Day! Whether you ride your bicycle to work today or plant a tree in your backyard, take time out of the day to give back to this beautiful place we call home. However, Earth Day is not one day out of the year where we turn the water off while brushing our teeth or turn the thermostat off to conserve energy. Its purpose is to make us, as citizens of this Earth, more aware of the planet that we live on and more engaged in the environmental movement. There is only one Earth, so we must take care of it.

In honor of Earth Day and all that it stands for, here is a list of published UPK books that are sure to excite those interested in environmental action, but beware these books may end up giving you a green thumb!

Motivated by agricultural devastation in her home country of India, Vandana Shiva became one of the world’s most influential and highly acclaimed environmental and antiglobalization activists. Her groundbreaking research has exposed the destructive effects of monocultures and commercial agriculture and revealed the links between ecology, gender, and poverty.

In The Vandana Shiva Reader, Shiva assembles her most influential writings, combining trenchant critiques of the corporate monopolization of agriculture with a powerful defense of biodiversity and food democracy. Containing up-to-date data and a foreword by Wendell Berry, this essential collection demonstrates the full range of Shiva’s research and activism, from her condemnation of commercial seed technology, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and the international agriculture industry’s dependence on fossil fuels, to her tireless documentation of the extensive human costs of ecological deterioration.

This important volume illuminates Shiva’s profound understanding of both the perils and potential of our interconnected world and calls on citizens of all nations to renew their commitment to love and care for soil, seeds, and people.

The core dilemma in environmental advocacy may be illustrated by the question, “When we communicate about the world, should we stress what we know or what we feel?” The contributors to The Symbolic Earth argue that it is more important to decide how we should talk about what we know and feel. In their view, the environment is larely a product of how we talk about the world.

Because the environment is a social construction, the only hope we have of preserving it is to understand and alter the fundamental ways we discuss it. This collection first examines the ways in which discourse creates environment perceptions. Subjects discussed range from the description of natural scenery to the advocacy of political interest groups, from the everyday interactions of citizens facing environmental crises to the greenwashing of corporate imagemakers, and from the psychology of the mass public to the social constructions of the mass media. The authors include nationally known scholars of environmental history, rhetorical theory, ethnography, communication and journalism studies, public policy, and media criticism.

Frederick Law Olmsted, popularly known as the “Father of American Landscape Architecture,” is famous for designing New York City’s Central Park, the U.S. Capitol grounds, and the campuses of institutions such as Stanford University and the University of Chicago. His celebrated projects in Boston, Buffalo, Detroit, Milwaukee, and other cities led to a commission from the city of Louisville, Kentucky, in 1891. There, he partnered with community leaders to design a network of scenic parks, tree-lined parkways, elegant neighborhoods, and beautifully landscaped estate gardens that thousands of visitors still enjoy today.

The Olmsted Parks of Louisville is the first authoritative manual on the 380 species of trees, herbaceous plants, shrubs, and vines populating the nearly 1,900 acres that comprise Cherokee, Seneca, Iroquois, Shawnee, and Chickasaw Parks. Designed for easy reference, this handy field guide includes detailed photos and maps as well as ecological and historical information about each park. Author Patricia Dalton Haragan also includes sections detailing the many species of invasive plants in the parks and discusses the native flora that they displaced.

This guide provides readers with a key to Olmsted’s vision, revealing how various plant species were arranged to emphasize the beauty and grandeur of nature. It will serve as an essential resource for students, nature enthusiasts, and the more than ten thousand visitors who use the parks.

Now that you’ve finished reading, go out and plant a tree. I know you want to!

Celebrate Earth Day and the Culture of the Land

Springtime is here, and that brings Earth Day- one of our favorite holidays around the office! Whether you celebrate by planting a tree or garden, taking a walk, turning out the lights for an hour or two, or just recommitting yourself to doing all the little things you can to help preserve our planet’s ecosystems, The University Press of Kentucky has some great books that can inspire your Earth-love.

The following books come from our Culture of the Land series, edited by Norman Wirzba, and is devoted to the exploration and articulation of a new agrarianism that considers the health of habitats and human communities together. Far from being a naive call to return to the land, the books show how agrarian insights and responsibilities can be worked out in diverse fields of learning and living: history, politics, economics, literature, philosophy, urban planning, education, and public policy. Agrarianism is a comprehensive worldview that, unlike other forms of environmentalism that often presuppose an antagonistic relationship between wilderness and civilization, appreciates the intimate and practical connections that exist between humans and the earth.

A full listing of the titles in the Culture of the Land series can be found here.

Cultivating an Ecological Conscience: Essays from a Farmer Philosopher documents Kirschenmann’s evolution and his lifelong contributions to the new agrarianism in a collection of his greatest writings on farming, philosophy, and sustainability.

“Fred Kirschenmann may not be as well known as Wendell Berry or Wes Jackson, America’s other indispensable farmer-philosophers, but the publication of this superb collection of essays should fix that. These essays make clear to all what some of us have long known: that Fred is one of the wisest, sanest, most practical, and most trusted voices in the movement to reform the American food system.”–Michael Pollan, author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto

In From the Farm to the Table, over forty farm families from America’s heartland detail the practices and values that relate to their land, work, and communities. Their stories reveal that those who make their living in agriculture–despite stereotypes of provincialism perpetuated by the media–are savvy to the influence of world politics on local issues.

“Rural America is not somehow ‘behind us,’ a part of a past that is no longer central to our lives. For all of us, Holthaus shows, the thinking of rural people is relevant to the well-being of the nation and far more complex than we have realized. This book provides fresh insight into what is going on in the rural countryside and what farmers themselves have thought about those changes.” –Donald Worster, author of Nature’s Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas

Coming in Fall 2011:

The costs of industrial agriculture are astonishing in terms of damage to the environment, human health, animal suffering, and social equity, and the situation demands that we expand our ecological imagination to meet this crisis. In response to growing dissatisfaction with the existing food system, farmers and consumers are creating alternate models of production and consumption that are both sustainable and equitable. Growing Stories from India demonstrates that conventional agribusiness is only one of many options and engages the work of modern agrarian luminaries to explore how alternative agricultural methods can be implemented.

“This book is highly significant for its stunning cross-cultural leaps that work. Sanford’s call to environmentalists to turn their minds from wilderness to agriculture is of enduring significance.”—Ann Grodzins Gold, author of In the Time of Trees and Sorrows: Nature, Power, and Memory in Rajasthan

Happy Earth Day!

On this 40th anniversary of Earth Day celebrations, UPK wants to help you embrace a “green” state of mind. Recycling, Energy Conservation, and educating yourself on community and environmental issues are easy things we can do in our everyday lives to make a big impact. The following titles have been written by, reviewed by, and embraced by some of the leading “green” thinkers of our world–EARTH.

New in Paper! Bill Vitek and Wes Jackson, eds., $30.00

“This is a bid to make ignorance an explicit and powerful underpinning of a new epistemology. It will attract widespread attention as a result, and potentially be one of those books that show up in citations for decades to come.” –Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy: The Wealth of Communities and the Durable Future

“As peak oil, climate change, and other imminent events impose themselves on our industrial economies and begin to undermine the fundamental premises of our culture, I believe that The Virtues of Ignorance will rapidly become a crucial part of the literature of our changing paradigm and will likely be a cornerstone of our new way of being in the world for several decades.” –Frederick Kirschenmann, Distinguished Fellow, Leopold Center, Iowa State University

Frederick Kirschenmann, edited by Constance L. Falk, $40.00

“Kirschenmann is right up there with the other agronomic philosophers- Wendell Berry and Wes Jackson. His book is an unfailingly interesting reflection on his own farming experience. It should inspire everyone to start planting and to think deeply about the food we eat.” -Marion Nestle, author of Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health and What to Eat

“Fred Kirschenmann is a first-team All-Agrarian. His message in this fine collection is both unique and essential for solving what Wes Jackson rightly calls the ten-thousand-year problem of agriculture.” -Bill Vitek, coeditor of The Virtues of Ignorance: Complexity, Sustainability, and the Limits of Knowledge

Paul B. Thompson, $40.00

As industry and technology proliferate in modern society, sustainability has jumped to the forefront of contemporary political and environmental discussions. The balance between progress and the earth’s ability to provide for its inhabitants grows increasingly precarious as we attempt to achieve sustainable development. In The Agrarian Vision: Sustainability and Environmental Ethics, Paul B. Thompson articulates a new agrarian philosophy, emphasizing the vital role of agrarianism in modern agricultural practices. Thompson, a highly regarded voice in environmental philosophy, unites concepts of agrarian philosophy, political theory, and environmental ethics to illustrate the importance of creating and maintaining environmentally conscious communities. Thompson describes the evolution of agrarian values in America, following the path blazed by Thomas Jefferson, John Steinbeck, and Wendell Berry.

Providing a pragmatic approach to ecological responsibility and commitment, The Agrarian Vision is a significant, compelling argument for the practice of a reconfigured and expanded agrarianism in our efforts to support modern industrialized culture while also preserving the natural world.

Paul B. Thompson, the W. K. Kellogg Chair in Agricultural, Food, and Community Ethics at Michigan State University, is the author of numerous books including The Spirit of the Soil: Agriculture and Environmental Ethics.

Silas House and Jason Howard, $27.95

Something’s Rising collects oral histories from a diverse group of individuals from Kentucky, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Virginia who are fighting mountaintop removal, an ecologically devastating form of coal mining. Taken together, these voices stand as a testament of what it means to be an Appalachian and the value of preserving a culture’s history and spirit through the stories of its people.

The authors have chosen twelve unique voices including Jean Ritchie, the “mother of folk” who doesn’t let her eighty-six years slow down her fighting spirit; Judy Bonds, a tough talking coal-miner’s daughter; Kathy Mattea, the beloved country singer who believes that cooperation is the key to the battle; Larry Bush, who doesn’t back down even when speeding coal trucks are used to intimidate him; and Denise Giardina, the West Virginia writer who ran for governor to bring attention to the mountaintop removal issue. Written and edited by native sons of the mountains, these riveting, personal stories are captured here in this original and highly readable book.

Silas House is the author of the novels Clay’s Quilt, A Parchment of Leaves, The Coal Tattoo, and the play The Hunting Part. His writing has been featured in such publications as Newsday and The Oxford American.

Jason Howard is a writer whose works have appeared in Equal Justice Magazine, Paste, Kentucky Living, The Louisville Review¸ and many other publications.

Explore our entire Culture of the Land Series!