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Books about Food, Waste Cycling, & Water

Essential Media for your Research  / Design Library

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NEW! Eat Your Greens: The Surprising Power of Home Grown Leaf Crops
by David Kennedy
2014, 276pp., $30

Our industrialized food system is failing us, and as individuals we must take more responsibility for our own health and food security. Leaf crops produce more nutrients per square foot of growing space and per day of growing season than any other crops and are especially high in vitamins and minerals commonly lacking in the North American diet. As hardy as they are versatile, these beautiful leafy vegetables range from the familiar to the exotic. Some part of this largely untapped food resource can thrive in almost any situation.

Eat Your Greens provides complete instructions for incorporating these nutritional powerhouses into any kitchen garden. This innovative guide:

Shows how familiar garden plants such as sweet potato, okra, beans, peas, and pumpkin can be grown to provide both nourishing leaves and other calorie- and protein-rich foods. Introduces a variety of non-traditional, readily adaptable alternatives such as chaya, moringa, toon, and wolfberry

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Explains how to improve your soil while getting plenty of vegetables by growing edible cover crops. Beginning with a comprehensive overview of modern commercial agriculture and rounded out by a selection of advanced techniques to maximize, preserve, and prepare your harvest, Eat Your Greens is an invaluable addition to the library of any gardening enthusiast.

Grow A Sustainable Diet: Planning and Growing to Feed Ourselves and the Earth
by Cindy Conner
240pp, 2014, $25

Everyone loves to prepare a meal with ingredients fresh from their own garden. But for most of us, no matter how plentiful our harvest, homegrown produce comprises only a fraction of what we eat. And while many gardening guides will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about individual crops, few tackle the more involved task of helping you maximize the percentage of your diet you grow yourself.

Grow a Sustainable Diet will help you develop a comprehensive, customized garden plan to produce the maximum number of calories and nutrients from any available space. Avoid arriving in August buried under a mountain of kale or zucchini (and not much else) by making thoughtful choices at the planning stage, focusing on dietary staples and key nutrients. Learn how to calculate:

Which food and cover crops are best for your specific requirements
How many seeds and plants of each variety you should sow
What and when to plant, harvest and replant for maximum yield.

  Focusing on permaculture principles, biointensive gardening methods, getting food to the table with minimum fossil fuel input, and growing crops that sustain both you and your soil, this complete guide is a must-read for anyone working toward food self-sufficiency for themselves or their family.
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Cider: Making, Using and Enjoying Sweet and Hard Cider, 3rd Edition
by Annie Proulx and Lew Nichols

224pp, 2003, $15

How do you make great cider? All you need is an apple.
This handbook shows you how simple it is to turn fruit into nature's most refreshing drink.Plus interesting bits of history and lore shed light on cider's colorful past.

* Make fresh and delicious sweet and hard ciders -- including blended and sparkling ciders
* Build your own working apple press
* Enhance your cooking with cider as an ingredient
* Choose the right apple cultivar for the flavor you want
* Plan and plant your very own home orchard for the freshest batch of cider ever!

“…one of the most comprehensive and enduring books on the topic. [Cider] is a valuable resource not only for those attempting home bottling, but also for apple enthusiasts.” -- Gastronomica

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“If you’re a cider fan – hard or sweet – or just like to experiment with beverage-making, this is a guide you’ll want to have.” — The Baltimore Sun
“It’s all there, from grafting to distilling, from applejack to vinegar.” — Washington State Grange News
“ … a straightforward, ‘user-friendly,’ step-by-step handbook … ” — Library Bookwatch


Basic Butchering of Livestock & Game
by John J. Mettler

208pp, 1986, $17

Have you ever been at a loss as to how to butcher your prize game? This is the book for anyone who hunts, farms, or buys large quantities of meat. Mettler takes the mystery out of slaughtering and butchering everything from beef and veal, to venison, pork, and lamb.

Basic Butchering of Livestock & Game tell you everything you need to know: at what age to butcher an animal, how to kill, skin, slaughter, butcher and how to dress out game in the field, salting, smoking, and preserving as well as tools, equipment and set up are reviewed. This book doesn't stop there. Also included are more than thirty recipes using all kinds of meat. The U.S. Department of Agriculture calls Mettler's book "a must-have book for anyone who is slaughtering."

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Renewing America's Food Traditions:
Saving and Savoring the Continent's Most Endangered Foods
Edited by Gary Nabhan 2008, 350pp., $35

Renewing America’s Food Traditions is a beautifully illustrated dramatic call to recognize, celebrate, and conserve the great diversity of foods that gives North America its distinctive culinary identity that reflects our multicultural heritage. It offers us rich natural and cultural histories as well as recipes and folk traditions associated with the rarest food plants and animals in North America. In doing so, it reminds us that what we choose to eat can either conserve or deplete the cornucopia of our continent.

While offering a eulogy to a once-common game food that has gone extinct—the passenger pigeon—the book doesn’t dwell on tragic losses. Instead, it highlights the success stories of food recovery, habitat restoration, and market revitalization that chefs, farmers, ranchers, fishermen, and foresters have recently achieved. Through such “food parables,” editor Gary Paul Nabhan and his colleagues build a persuasive argument for eater-based conservation.

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In addition, this book offers the first-ever list of foods at risk in America (more than a thousand), shows how all of us can personally support and participate in such recoveries, and lists food festivals held across the continent to honor and enjoy some of the country’s most iconic foods, from crab cakes to maple syrup and filé gumbo. Organized by “food nations” named for the ecological and cultural keystone foods of each region—Salmon Nation, Bison Nation, Chile Pepper Nation, among others—this book offers an altogether fresh perspective on the culinary traditions of North America.

Nourishing Traditions

Nourishing Traditions:
The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition & Diet Dictocrats by Sally Fallon
(1999 2nd Edition) 672pp. $27

Recalling the culinary customs of our ancestors and looking ahead to a future of robust good health for young and old, this book offers modern families a fascinating guide to wise food choices and preparation techniques. Unites the wisdom of the ancients with the latest independent and accurate scientific research.

With her insistence that human food should have a much higher nutrient content than corporate industrialized farms are able to provide, Sally Fallon has awakened families all over North America to the fact that if they want to live full and happy lives, they won't find the nutrition they need in packages at the grocery store and are going to have to put some effort into acquiring the quality of food that only small, owner-operated farms can provide. With the large network of "Weston A. Price groups" she has established in the U.S. and in Canada, she has undoubtedly saved more family farms in the last 10 years than any other person or organization. The well documented knowledge she shares makes both farms and families more healthy.

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New! The Art of Fermentation
by Sandor Ellix Katz, $40, 2012, 528pp.

The Art of Fermentation is the most comprehensive guide to do-it-yourself home fermentation ever published. Sandor Katz presents the concepts and processes behind fermentation in ways that are simple enough to guide a reader through their first experience making sauerkraut or yogurt, and in-depth enough to provide greater understanding and insight for experienced practitioners.

While Katz expertly contextualizes fermentation in terms of biological and cultural evolution, health and nutrition, and even economics, this is primarily a compendium of practical information-how the processes work; parameters for safety; techniques for effective preservation; troubleshooting; and more.

With illustrations and extended resources, this book provides essential wisdom for cooks, homesteaders, farmers, gleaners, foragers, and food lovers of any kind who want to develop a deeper understanding and appreciation for arguably the oldest form of food preservation, and part of the roots of culture itself.

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Readers will find detailed information on fermenting vegetables; sugars into alcohol (meads, wines, and ciders); sour tonic beverages; milk; grains and starchy tubers; beers (and other grain-based alcoholic beverages); beans; seeds; nuts; fish; meat; and eggs, as well as growing mold cultures, using fermentation in agriculture, art, and energy production, and considerations for commercial enterprises. Sandor Katz has introduced what will undoubtedly remain a classic in food literature, and is the first-and only-of its kind.

Wild Fermentation



Wild Fermentation:
A Do-It-Yourself Guide To Cultural Manipulation
by Sandor Ellix Katz,
2001, 187pp, $25

Elegantly written and tested introduction to basic ferments of food and drink, drawing on world culinary traditions. Eat live food! Use friendly microbes to preserve food, enrich diet, and enhance nutrition. With 99 recipes.

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Wild Fermentation Booklet:
A Do-It-Yourself Guide To Cultural Manipulation
by Sandor Ellix Katz,
2002, 33pp, $7

This is a much abbreviated version of the above book featuring 16 recipes for sauerkraut, miso, amazake, sourdough, injira, honey wine, vinegar, yogurt, kefir, and more.

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Solar Food Dryer

Solar Food Dryer:
How to Make and Use Your Own Low-Cost, High Performance, Sun-Powered Food Dehydrator
by Eben V. Fodor
2006, 144pp, $16

The Solar Food Dryer describes how to efficiently harness solar energy to preserve food quickly and easily. With your own solar-powered food dehydrator, you can conveniently make all the high-quality dried foods you want - with free sunshine! Eat local and eat healthier by preserving the goodness of your favorite seasonal foods, garden veggies, fruits and herbs to enjoy all year long.

A good solar food dryer will perform amazingly well under a wide range of conditions, working effectively in almost any climate where you can grow fruits and vegetables. This is not "sun drying," its solar drying - a major step forward in applying solar technology to food preservation.

The solar dryer has distinct advantages over conventional electric food dryers and doesn't require the energy or storage space needed for canning or freezing. And solar food drying is a great way to learn about solar energy and to experience the incredible power of the sun - as well as being a great deal of fun!

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Keeping Food Fresh Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning:
Traditional Techniques Using Salt, Oil, Sugar, Alcohol, Vinegar, Drying, Cold Storage, and Lactic Fermentation by Authors: Claude Aubert , Centre Terre Vivante
1999, 160pp, $22

Typical books about preserving garden produce nearly always assume that modern kitchen gardeners will boil or freeze their vegetables and fruits. Yet here is a book that goes back to the future—celebrating traditional but little-known French techniques for storing and preserving edibles in ways that maximize flavor and nutrition.

Translated into English, and with a new foreword by Deborah Madison, this book deliberately ignores freezing and high-temperature canning in favor of methods that are superior because they are more nutritious and energy efficient. As Eliot Coleman says, "Food preservation techniques can be divided into two categories: the modern scientific methods that remove the life from food, and the natural 'poetic' methods that maintain or enhance the life in food. The poetic techniques produce . . . foods that have been celebrated for centuries and are considered gourmet delights today."

Preserving Food Without Freezing or Canning (originally published as Keeping Food Fresh) offers more than 250 easy and enjoyable recipes featuring locally grown and minimally refined ingredients. It is an essential guide for those who seek healthy food for a healthy world.

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Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands, Vol 1: Guiding Principles, 2nd edition
by Brad Lancaster

 2013, $30, 282pp., 150 illustrations

The award-winning Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 2nd Edition: Guiding Principles to Welcome Rain into Your Life and Landscape is the first volume on how to conceptualize, design, and implement sustainable water-harvesting systems for your home, landscape, and community. This book enables you to assess your on-site resources, gives you a diverse array of strategies to maximize their potential, and empowers you with guiding principles to create an integrated, multi-functional water-harvesting plan specific to your site and needs.

This revised and expanded second edition increases potential on-site harvests with more integrated tools and strategies for solar design, understanding your water/energy/carbon connections, water/erosion flow patterns and their water-harvesting response, and updated illustrations to show you how to do it all.

Volume 1 helps bring your site to life, reduce your cost of living, endow you with skills of self-reliance, and create living air conditioners of vegetation growing beauty, food, and wildlife habitat. Stories of people who are successfully welcoming rain into their life and landscape will invite you to do the same!

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Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands, Vol 2: Water Harvesting Earthworks
by Brad Lancaster
2007, 336pp, $40

Earthworks are one of the easiest, least expensive, and most effective ways of passively harvesting and conserving multiple sources of water in the soil. Associated vegetation then pumps the harvested water back out in the form of beauty, food, shelter, wildlife habitat, and passive heating and cooling strategies, while controlling erosion, increasing soil fertility, reducing downstream flooding, and improving water and air quality.

Building on the information presented in Volume 1, this book shows you how to select, place, size, construct, and plant your chosen water-harvesting earthworks. It presents detailed how-to information and variations of a diverse array of earthworks, including chapters on mulch, vegetation, and greywater recycling so you can customize the techniques to the unique requirements of your site.

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Rain Gardens: Managing Water Sustainably in the Garden and Designed Landscape
by Nigel Dunnett and Andy Clayden
2007, 188pp, $35
(Read Review - PDF)

Rain gardens encompass all possible elements that can be used to capture, channel, divert and make the most of the rain and snow that fall on a property. Using the innovative and attractive approaches described here, it is possible to enhance outdoor spaces and minimize the damaging effects of drought, stormwater runoff, and other environmental challenges.

Nigel Dunnett & Andy Clayden have created a comprehensive guide to water management techniques for the garden and built environment. Filled with practical, manageable solutions for small and large-scale implementations and utilizing authoritative research with state-of-the-art case studies from all over the world, Rain Gardens is the first book on sustainable water management schemes suitable for students and professionals.

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Water Storage: Tanks, Cisterns, Aquifers, and Ponds




Water Storage: Tanks, Cisterns, Aquifers, and Ponds
by Art Ludwig   
2005, $20, 125 pp.

Covers water system design and construction of storage both in and above ground. Comprehensive, concise information about water quality, potential difficulties, and how to avoid them while creating your own supply for domestic use or fire control. With instructions for making ferrocement tanks.


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Dam Nation

Dam Nation:
Dispatches from the Water Underground

by Cleo Woelfle-Erskine (Editor), July Oskar Cole (Editor), Laura Allen (Editor), Annie Danger (Illustrator) 2007, 321pp., $20 $12

This essay anthology looks at water issues worldwide and throughout history, including science, history and investigative reporting, as well as personal stories and profiles. Among other concerns, writers collected here-mostly activists, but also sociologists, educators and reporters-address untreated sewage dumping and the disease outbreaks it causes; the destructive power of upstream dams; and the sediment-starved Mississippi Delta, its attendant erosion, and the horrific storm damage that's resulted.

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A short, frank multi-millennial history of urban sewage disposal illustrates well the dangers of water supplies contaminated by sewage-cholera, typhus, typhoid, etc.-and is equally forthright about the problems with current municipal sewage treatment practices. The authors maintain a tongue-in-cheek style that, for the most part, keeps tedium at bay; if readers find Part One too polemical, Parts Two and Three offer principles and proper construction techniques for practical, at-home solutions, including home watergardens, home-scale greywater systems and composting toilets.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Edited by the coauthors of the notorious zine The Guerrilla Graywater Girls Guide to Water, this collection of original essays, drawings, and photographs is part radical history of water and part DIY guide to disengaging one's home, school, or workplace from the wasteful water grid. The pieces are arranged in three sections: "Water Wars" focuses on the history and politics of dams and water infrastructure; "The Water Grid" chronicles the rise of energy-intensive, polluting sewage treatment plants, and points out alternative systems; and "Watershed" examines the often destructive relationship between human settlements and nature, but finds hope in the experiences of those involved in watershed restoration.

Creating an Oasis with Greywater



Creating an Oasis with Greywater:
Choosing, Building &
Using Greywater Systems (5th edition)
by Art Ludwig    
2006, $21, 144 pp.

Thoroughly revised primer detailing 20 systems that work and how they might fail; parts, design diagrams, operating and maintenance tips. Clear, logical, easy-to-read. The definitive guide.

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Builder's Greywater Guide




Builder's Greywater Guide
by Art Ludwig   
1995, $15, 48pp.

How to fit greywater systems into the code with tried and tested methods. Thorough, precise, well-documented, with explicit building code references and diagrams.


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Water in the Home Landscape Water in the Home Landscape

Learn simple, low-tech, quick-start solutions in this 32 page booklet from Permaculture Activist, 2005, $7

Basic approaches to Tanks, Rainwater Catchment, Ram Pumps, Ground Recharge, Urban Stormwater, Ponds, Dowsing

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Worms Eat My Garbage



Worms Eat My Garbage:
How to Set Up and Maintain a Worm Composting System, 2nd Ed.
by Mary Appelhof 
1997, 162 pp, $13

A new edition of the definitive guide to vermicomposting--a process using redworms to recycle human food waste into nutrient-rich fertilizer for plants. Author Mary Appelhof provides complete illustrated instructions on setting up and maintaining small-scale worm composting systems. Internationally recognized as an authority on vermicomposting, Appelhof has worked with worms for over three decades. Topics include: bin types, worm species, reproduction, care and feeding of worms, harvesting, and how to make the finished product of potting soil.

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The Humanure Handbook


The Humanure Handbook:
A Guide to Composting Human Manure
by Joseph C. Jenkins,
1994, 198pp. $25

Learn how to deal with your own shit.
"Stop trying to change the world. Toilet-train the world and you won't have to keep
changing it."(Swami Beyondananda)
Here's all you need to know to make sewage treatment systems obsolete. Answers all the questions you never dared ask!

The 10th Anniversary Edition of the most comprehensive, up-to-date and thoroughly researched book on the topic of composting human manure available anywhere. It includes a review of the historical, cultural and environmental issues pertaining to "human waste," as well as an in depth look at the potential health risks related to humanure recycling, with clear instructions on how to eliminate those dangers in order to safely convert humanure into garden soil. Written by a humanure composter with over thirty years experience, this classic work now includes illustrated, step-by-step instructions on how to build a "$25 humanure toilet," a chapter on alternative graywater systems, photos of owner-built humanure toilets from around the world, and an overview of commercial composting toilets and systems.

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Liquid Gold



Liquid Gold: The Lore and Logic of Using Urine to Grow Plants
by Carol Steinfeld
2004, 88pp, $13

Pee=fertilizer. Witty, practical, liberating! Grow with the flow! Urine charge. A golden opportunity. Pee here now. Every day, we urinate nutrients that can fertilize plants that could be used for beautiful landscapes, food, fuel, and fiber. Instead, these nutrients are flushed away, either to be treated at high cost or discharged to waters where they overfertilize and choke off aquatic life. Liquid Gold details three ways to use urine hygienically and productively for plant growth, with studies that show the science behind this practice. Several advocates of urine diversion and their gardens are profiled, demonstrating that using urine for fertilizer is a feasible, safe, and cost-saving way to prevent pollution and save on fertilizer costs.

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