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February 2006: Publications

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The Humanure Handbook: a guide to composting human manure, 3rd edition, by Joseph Jenkins (Chelsea Green; 2005; $25), the author sums up by saying: "1) one organism’s excretions are another organism’s food and 2) there is no waste in nature." The purpose of his book is to show how our human manure can become an important part of the food nutrient cycle—safely. He bases this concept on his own 26 years of experience in doing just that. The answer, he believes, is composting the manure thermophilically to destroy all pathogens. Jenkins covers many bases: the folly of disposing of our bodily wastes into purified water; alternative disposal systems, including types of composting toilets and greywater systems; a thorough discussion of composting, and many other subjects. He includes tables, charts and drawings of interest, with a few photos thrown in. Though the author takes his subject very seriously, he presents it with welcome humor.

The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia: A Comprehensive Resource for Healthy Eating, updated and revised edition by Rebecca Wood (Penguin Putnam, 375 Hudson Street, New York, NY 10014; 1999; $18.95) lists over 1,000 known and less familiar foods with descriptions, varieties, how to buy for best quality, and storage suggestions. The author also includes the health benefits of each food, based on her knowledge of Western herbology, ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine. There are also ideas on how to maintain a healthy diet, even for busy people. The book includes extensive appendices with a bibliography, nutritional resources, ayurvedic guidelines, a glossary of terms, and mail-order resources.

Edible Forest Gardens: Ecological Vision and Theory for Temperate Climate Permaculture, Vol. 1, by Dave Jacke with Eric Toensmeier (Chelsea Green Publishing; 2005; $75) might be called a textbook with heart and vision. The book is written with great detail, expertise and love for the subject, the environment and the Earth. It is a guide for those serious about creating a forest garden and wanting to do it well. The processes that contribute to this success are thoroughly explained in each chapter. The authors have included a vast array of photos, drawings, tables, boxes expanding on specific subjects, and case studies. Appendices include the top 100 plants, zone maps and publications and organizations. This is a fine book which we highly recommend.

Compost, Vermicompost and Compost Tea: Feeding the Soil on the Organic Farm by Grace Gershuny and The Wisdom of Plant Heritage: Organic Seed Production and Saving by Bryan Connolly are two books from the Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA Interstate Council, 411 Sheldon Road, Barre MA 01055; each published in 2004 and each $7.95 plus $2.00 shipping and handling). Both of these books, though small, are easy to read and full of practical information "geared to serious farmers, gardeners and homesteaders and those looking to make the organic transition." Both books had a scientific review as well as input from organic practitioners.

A small catalog of sun protective hats and clothing is put out by Sun-Day Afternoons (716 South Pacific Highway, Talent OR 97540; (888) 874-2642; "Our testing is done by the Textile Research and Testing Laboratory at California Polytechnic State University. All results were a unanimous ‘Excellent’ rating of 40-50 UPF [ultraviolet protection factor], the highest possible."

Additional Readings

The Millennium Whole Earth Catalog: Access to Tools and Ideas for the Twenty-First Century, edited by Howard Rheingold (HarperCollins Publishers, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, NY 10022; 1994).

Semences de Kokopelli, 5th edition, by Dominique Guillet, founder of the Kokopelli Seed Foundation (PO Box 563, Mount Shasta CA 96067;; which is comparable to the Seed Savers Exchange. This is a beautiful big book, written in French, with a comprehensive listing of seeds, color photos and descriptions of Kokopelli projects around the world, and a French translation of a presentation John Jeavons made to the Seed Savers Exchange in 1998.

Recetas Nutritivas Que Curan, 2nd edition, by Phyllis A. Balch, is the Spanish translation of Balch’s Prescription for Nutritional Healing (Penguin Group, 375 Hudson St. New York, NY 10014; 1997; $24.95).

Cultivating Havana: Urban Agriculture and Food Security in the Years of Crisis by Catherine Murphy (Food First’s Development Report #12, Institute for Food and Development Policy, 398-60th Street, Oakland CA 94618; 1999; copies $6 plus $3 shipping). Murphy spent 10 years working in Cuba’s urban community gardens and attended Ecology Action’s Three-Day Workshop in November 2005.

Three books on health care come from the Hesperian Foundation (1919 Addison Street #304, Berkeley CA 94704; (888) 729-1796;;; Where There is No Dentist by Murray Dickson in English (Tenth Printing, 2000) and Spanish (2005) and HIV/AIDS and Care of the Teeth and Gums by Murray Dickson.

Two books on building a houes:
Will’s Guide to Building the $9,000 House by William Cruz; 1978. Written almost 30 years ago, this book can probably only be found in a used book store or large library. Though prices have changed drastically since that time, the book offers easy-to-follow instructions and drawings for a conventional owner-built home. The Cobber’s Companion: How to Build Your Own Earthen Home by Michael G.Smith (The Cob Cottage; P.O. Box 123, Cottage Grove OR 97424;; 1998; $22) also offers easy instructions and drawings for creating a different type of home.

The Apple Grower: A Guide for the Organic Orchardist, revised and expanded edition, by Michael Phillips (Chelsea Green; 2005; $40).

America’s Vanishing Nutrients: Decline in Fruit and Vegetable Quality Poses Serious Health and Environmental Risks by Alex Jack (Amberwaves, P.O. Box 487, Becket MA 01223; 2005; $8.95) is a booklet with charts that also briefly traces USDA research on the subject and public reaction.



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