Links & Resources
~We have been inspired by others who are exploring the topics we care about at Taproot Farm:
Vegetable Gardener’s Bible by Edward C. Smith
We swear by Ed’s WORD method of gardening; Wide Rows, Organic Methods, Raised Beds, Deep Soil. Lots of how-to photos and plant descriptions.
The Four-Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman
The leader in growing organic vegetables all year long using cold frames and hoop houses. Very doable!
The Winter Harvest Handbook by Eliot Coleman
His newest book. A guide to year-round harvest of fresh, organic produce with little or no energy inputs.
The Moosewood Restaurant Kitchen Garden by David Hirsch
Moosewood Collective member shares his expertise on growing, harvesting, and cooking with vegetables, herbs and edible flowers. Lots of recipes too.
Designing the New Kitchen Garden- An American Potager Handbook by Jennifer R. Bartley
A gorgeous book full of photos, history and design ideas to create a productive and beautiful kitchen garden.
Gaia’s Garden- A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway
Working with Nature, not against her, results in a more beautiful, abundant, and forgiving garden.
Noah’s Garden by Sara Stein
Beautifully written book exploring what we can know and do to move from our paved and turf-planted American landscape to a more ecologically balanced one… one backyard at a time. As important a book as Walden or Silent Spring before it.
Planting Noah’s Garden by Sara Stein
Sequel to Noah’s Garden exploring how people in the U.S. are working to undo the damage of traditional landscape practices and help restore their backyard ecosystems. With practical planting ideas.
Second Nature by Michael Pollan
A beautiful, first-person meditation on one man’s relationship with the Earth through gardening.
The Wild Braid- A Poet Reflects on a Century in the Garden by Stanley Kunitz
A beloved poet, Kunitz speaks about life, poetry, and the kindred spirit in all living things.
Birds and Bees:
Beekeeping 101- Handbook and Guide for Beginning Beekeepers by Dana T. Stahlman
Chickens in Your Backyard- a Beginner’s Guide by Rick and Gil Luttmann
Covers all the basics in a light and entertaining style.
The Homeowner’s Guide to Renewable Energy by Dan Chiras
A comprehensive, well-written primer to help the homeowner transition away from fossil fuel dependence.
The Hand-Sculpted House- A Practical and Philosophical Guide to Building a Cob Cottage by Ianto Evans, Michael G. Smith, and Linda Smiley
THE book on the subject! Combines technical detail with the greater philosophical and psychological significance of building directly with Earth’s elemental ingredients.
Building With Cob- a Step-by-Step Guide by Adam Weismann and Katy Bryce
A practical and beautifully illustrated book on earth building. Inspiring images.
Using Natural Finishes – Lime and Earth-Based plasters, Renders and Paints by Adam Weisman and Katy Bryce
Step-by-step guide for choosing, making and applying gorgeous natural finishes. Visually inspiring!
The Beauty of Straw Bale Homes by Athena and Bill Steen
A celebration of straw bale artisans and their gorgeous buildings. The authors are credited with popularizing and legitimizing straw bale construction- energy conserving, resource recycling and affordable natural building.
The Bigger Picture-Local Food/ Slow Food/ Sustainable Farming
The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Outstanding explanation of exactly where your food comes from and an invitation to think through the moral ramifications of our eating habits. It’s been on the N.Y.Times bestseller list forever!
In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan
Another wonderful book by Michael Pollan. He shows how we can escape the Western diet and, by doing so, most of the chronic diseases that diet causes. “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
Animal, Vegetable, Miracle- A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver
Delicious writing, wonderful nonfiction narrative of her family’s adventure away from the industrial-food pipeline to a rural life in which they grow or buy locally all their food for a year. Includes great recipes.
You Can Farm- the Entrepreneur’s Guide by Joel Salatin
Now famous for his work at Polyface Farm, Salatin instructs how to start and succeed in a farming enterprise.
Five Acres and Independence- A Handbook for Small Farm Management by M.G. Kaines
For those dreaming of getting back to the soil, this is a practical, easy to understand view of small-scale farming.
A Small Farm In Maine by Terry Silber
How one couple left an urban career and made a living off the land.
Sustainable, Conscious Living
Little House on a Small Planet by Shay Salomon
A guidebook and an invitation to discover the benefits of scaling down- how living small can free up your mind, your wallet, and your soul.
The Not-So-Big House by Sarah Susanka
Credited with turning the building design industry on its head- Sarah teaches how quality, not quantity of space is what makes a house a home.
The Not-so-Big Life by Sarah Susanka
Using the same beautiful, insightful writing… Sarah invites us to design a life based on quality, not quantity.
American’s Cheapest Family by Steve and Annette Economides
N.Y.Times bestseller by a family that illustrates how to live better, spend less and cash in on your dreams. Very inspirational and entertaining. Who knew that saving money could be so creative!
Children’s Connection to Nature
Last Child in the Woods- Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder by Richard Louv
Ground-breaking work. The author directly links the lack of nature in the lives of today’s wired generation to disturbing childhood trends- obesity, ADD and depression. Offers hope and a call to all.
Art and Spirit
The Third Chapter- Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50 by Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot
The author/sociologist explores a cultural shift- the “third chapter” as a new developmental stage. “Neither old nor young”, 50-75 year olds are healthy, passionate, skilled and full of resources to offer the world! Invites us to develop a compelling vision of later life… not the old model of retirement!
Write It Down, Make It Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser
The power of writing down your goals and dreams as the first step to realizing them.
Pilgrim At Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard
An amazingly written meditation about “seeing”. Dillard is so special- what a fearless sense of wonder!
The Artist’s Way- A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron
The seminal book on the subject of creativity. Life-changing! A guide to living a creative life.
Walking In the World, A Vein of Gold and many more books by Jullia are all wonderful.
Bird By Bird by Anne Lamott and Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg
I believe the best two books on writing- to inspire and empower each of us to write. Wonderful!!!
What We Ache For– Creativity and the Unfolding of Your Soul by Oriah Mountain Dreamer
Practical and inspiring book exploring creativity as a way of cultivating a spiritually rich life.
Peace Is Every Step- The Path of Mindfulness In Everyday Life by Thich Nhat Hanh
Sweet and profound, the world-renowned Zen master and author encourages us to work for world peace by cultivating inner peace…. by turning the “mindless” into the mindful.
Mindfulness In Plain English by Bhante Henepola Gunaratana
Popular book that makes the benefits of meditation and the practice of mindfulness simple and accessible.
100-Mile Diet In 2005, Alisa Smith and J.B. MacKinnon began a one-year experiment in local eating. Their 100-Mile Diet struck a deeper chord than anyone could have predicted…
Eat Well directory of sustainably-raised meat, poultry, dairy, and eggs.
Eat Wild lists local suppliers for grass-fed meat and dairy products.
Food Routes from field to table.
Heritage Foods USA mail-order products from small farms
Local Harvest nationwide directory of CSAs and other local food sources.
Locavores resources for eating locally.
Seafood Watch how to buy seafood from sustainable sources.
Slow Food USA a grassroots movement that links the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.
Sustainable Table an online directory of sustainable products in the U.S.
Farm Foody connecting farmers and eaters.
Eat Local Challenge the benefits of eating food grown and produced in the local foodshed.
Sustainable Gardening and Farming
American Community Gardening Association supporting community gardening across the U.S.
Ruth Stout’s No-work Gardening – Ruth Stouts Garden is a lively film journey into the life of a woman who, from a perspective of more than ninety years, shows how easy is to grow vegetables. Ruth is such an Inspiration! Part II- continuation of the sweet interview.
Seeds of Change organically grown vegetable, flower, herb and cover crop seeds.
SPIN-Farming an easy and inexpensive vegetable farming system.
Other Resources for more sustainable living and building
Cooking Up a Story -an online television show and blog about people, food, and sustainable living.
Dispunta Cob- based in Kentucky, a great group of natural builders.
Down To Earth Design- Designer Sigi Koko and Co. -designing and building eco-sensible buildings. We’re working with Sigi to design and build our cob artist’s cottage. Beautiful designs! Great teacher!
Enlightened Simplicity- a clear and thoughtful discussion of what it means to create the “Good Life” (more life) out of less fuel, less income, less land. What an inspiration!!!! Richard Heinberg discusses these things while taking us on a tour of his 1/4 acre oasis
Energy- The Solar House- Elaine Brook gives a nice talk and tour of her brilliant simple and sustainable home and garden.
House Alive- Cob building, natural building, natural design & appropriate technology
Inspiring Movies, Short Films or Trailers
FARM! Short film that captures the younger generation of food producers (many acting outside traditional farming techniques- such as managing community farm lots for housing developments)… beautiful, clearly informative and hopeful!
First Earth Evocative documentary illustrates why building with earth works well structurally, compels the eye and heart, and is healthier for builders and dwellers than most other construction methods. Filmed in countrysides, urban villages, third-world countries and reminds us that 50% of the world’s population live in earthen homes they can build themselves.
Food, Inc. Academy Nominated film exposing how our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. But we can change this- one forkful at a time. It’s hopeful.
Garbage Warrior Film about renegade architect Michael Reynold’s art of “Earthship Biotecture”- self-sufficient, off-the-grid homes and communities from garbage (plastic bottles, tires, bags…). AMAZING! Not only inspiring for shelter in the U.S. but an answer to community-led rebuilding in poor countries.
Joni Mitchell- Woman of Heart and Mind Documentary of Joni’s music and painting career. She has been guided by an artistic integrity that is an example to us all- against all odds in this ever more conformist world.
King Korn Documentary about two friends, one acre of corn and the subsidized crop that drives our fast-food nation. Informative, funny and very enlightening.
No Impact Man Book and documentary about the author’s one-year family experiment to reduce their impact on the earth. Funny. Real. Humbling. Thought-provoking. Helpful.
An Inconvenient Truth The Oscar® winning documentary that explains climate change and what we can do about it. A must.
Off The Map Exquisite movie about a family living simply and profoundly “off the map”. And their effect on a city IRS agent who abandons his work to live with them and surrender to the mystique of the landscape. About simple, sustainable living. About happiness and creativity born from connection to the land.
Super Size Me Eye-opening film about the dangerous effects of our fast-food culture. Funny, scary, important. The author puts himself on a “MacDonalds’ only” 30-day diet.
The Real Dirt On Farmer John. Film that defies the lingering misconception that creative people can only thrive in cities… True story of Farmer John and the transformation of his family farm through the decades. Wonderful.