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February 2009: Publications

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  • The New Book of Whole Grains by Marlene Anne Bumgarner (St. Martin’s Press, 175 Fifth Avenue, New York NY 10010; 1997; $17.95) has as the rest of its title “More than 200 recipes featuring whole grains, including amaranth, quinoa, wheat, spelt, oats, rye, barley and millet.” This is a basic book that covers a lot of territory. There are separate chapters for each grain with its history, availability, some growing and harvesting information and special qualities. There are also basic recipes for each grain: bread, cereals, pancakes, crackers, some casseroles and a few desserts. This reviewer, being gluten intolerant, was delighted to discover hard-to-find recipes for the lesser-known gluten-free grains—buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa and millet (and rice, of course). Other chapters include helpful hints on bread making and kitchen equipment, including grinders and mills. Appendices give added reading and resources. This is a fine book full of useful information.
  • The Perennial Gardener's Design Primer by Stephanie Cohen and Nancy J. Ondra (Storey Publishing, 210 Mass MoCA Way, North Adams MA 01247; 2005; $24.95). The beginning of a perennial garden can be a daunting task. Authors Cohen and Ondra set a casual tone with their writing and simplify the world of perennial garden design into easy-to-explore concepts that will make any green thumb start to itch. The book includes 20 original complete plans, as well as full instructions on how to create your own visions of dream beds and borders. One very useful section deals with reworking old garden areas and introducing new vitality and vibrancy into tired spaces. Beautiful photographs grace nearly every page; some of the most satisfying are the before-and-after pictures of redesigned landscapes. The useful appendixes include a USDA hardiness map, and an easy-to-use plant-by-plant planning chart highlighting the zones where each plant thrives best, requirements for light and soil, bloom season, height and foliage color.
  • Gardening With Children by Monika Hanneman, Patricia Hulse, Brian Johnson, Barbara Kurland, and Tracey Patterson (Handbook #187, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 1000 Washington Ave., Brooklyn NY 11225; 2007; $9.95) is an excellent introduction to the science of gardening and recognizing the community of life supported by the natural world. The activities in this book are interactive science at its best, encouraging readers to get out and get dirty, and just have fun while observing and creating their own nature journal. Many of the experiments do not require a garden space and can therefore be done inside homes and classrooms. This book could easily be adapted to fit into any elementary school curriculum, especially with the increasing trend of school gardens and farms. There is a definite theme highlighting the interdependence of living things, and the authors do a wonderful job of illustrating how gardens can be designed as much for critter habitat as they are for feeding people through the seasons.
  • Eating Fossil Fuels: Oil, Food and the Coming Crisis in Agriculture by Dale Allen Pfeiffer (New Society Publishers, P.O. Box 189, Gabriola Island BC VOR 1XO; 2006;  $11.95). It is all too evident that fossil fuels are finite resources, and as fuel and food prices climb many ask, “How did we get here?” and “What's next?” Eating Fossil Fuels provides clear answers and possible solutions to these global conundrums. The link between the energy crisis and industrialized agriculture becomes glaring in the light of  Pfeiffer's well researched facts. He outlines the rise of the “Green Revolution” and how the new abundance of inexpensive food triggered a global population explosion.  Large-scale, cheap-oil-aided agricultural practices have caused intense degradation of soils and fresh water supplies. The modern world has provided examples of what happens to industrialized nations once fossil fuels become unavailable, two interesting chapters compare the experiences of North Korea and Cuba, after the collapse of the Soviet Union. While each county suffered unique situations, much can be learned from their experiences with the fall of industrial agriculture. Pfeiffer believes true hope lies in major grassroots movements toward sustainable, localized agriculture and a natural decline in global population. The final chapter is a call to action with “Twelve Fun Activities for Activists”, a light ending note for a book about serious matters.


Books we received but had no time to review

  • Uncommon Fruits for Every Garden by Lee Reich (Timber Press; 2004; $24.95)
  • Cancer: 101 Solutions to a Preventable Epidemic by Liz Armstrong, Guy Dauncey and Anne Wordsworth (New Society Publishers; 2007; $22.95)
  • Sustainability: Radical Solutions Inspiring Hope, edited by Bob Banner is essays from the first 10 years of HopeDance magazine (HopeDance, PO Box 15609, San Luis Obispo CA 93406; 2008; $25.00)
  • Organic Olive Production Manual, Publication 3505 (University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Communication Services, 6701 San Pablo Avenue, 2nd floor, Oakland CA 94608-8849; 2007)
  • Organic, Biodynamic and Conventional Cropping Systems: A Long Term Comparison by B.D. Pettersson and E.v. Wistinghausen (Woods End Agricultural Institute; 1979)
  • A Straw Bale Primer by S.O. MacDonald and Orien MacDonald (S.O. MacDonald, P.O. Box 56, Gila NM 88038; 1992)
  • Bamboo: A Material for Landscape and Garden Design by Jan Oprins and Harry van Trier (Birkhauser Publishers)
  • Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands, Vol. 1: Guiding Principles to Welcome Rain into your Life and Landscape by Brad Lancaster (Rainsource Press, 813 N. 9th Ave., Tucson AZ 85705; $24.95)
  • Rain Gardens: Managing water sustainably in the garden and designed landscape by Nigel Dunnett and Andy Clayden (Timber Press; 2007; $34.95)
  • The Complete Compost Gardening Guide by Barbara Pleasant and Deborah L. Martin (Storey Publishing; 2008; $19.95)
  • The Magic of Fire: Hearth Cooking; One Hundred Recipes for the Fireplace or Campfire by William Rubel (Ten Speed Press; 2002; $40)
  • Les plantes bio-indicatrices: Guide de diagnostic des sols (Editions Promonature;;; 2003) This book, written in French, traces the relationship between plants and the soil they are growing in. It is well illustrated with color photos.
  • Foundations of Natural Farming: Understanding Core Concepts of Ecological Agriculture by Harold Willis (Acres U.S.A.; 2008; $30)
  • The On-Farm Mentor's Guide: Practical Approaches to Teaching on the Farm by Miranda Smith, Eric Toensmeier, & Judith Gillian (New England Small Farm Institute, P.O. Box 937, Belchertown MA 01007; 2006)
  • Cultivating a New Crop of Farmers: Is On-Farm Mentoring for You and Your Farm, A Decision Making Workbook by Kathryn Hayes, Eric Toensmeier, Judith Gillian & Miranda Smith (New England Small Farm Institute, P.O. Box 937, Belchertown MA 01007; 2005)
  • Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens: for Kama'aina and Malihini by Barbara Fahs (AuthorHouse, 1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington IN 47403; 2006)
  • Food, Energy, and Society, 3rd ed., by David Pimentel and Marcia H. Pimentel (CRC Press; 2008)
  • Fundamental Processes in Ecology; an Earth Systems Approach by David M. Wilkinson (Oxford University Press; 2006)

There are six booklets in the Third World Network Biotechnology & Biosafety Series: Fatal Flaws in Food Safety Assessment: Critique of the Joint FAO/WHO Biotechnology & Food Safety Report by Mae-Wan Ho and Ricarda A. Steinbrecher (2002); Gene Technology in the Etiology of Drug-Resistant Diseases by Mae-Wan Ho et al (2002); Survival, Persistence, Transfer: An update on current knowledge on GMOs and the fate of their recombinant DNA by Beatrix Tappeser, Manuela Jager and Claudia Eckelkamp (2004); Horizontal Gene Transfer: The Hidden Hazards of Genetic Engineering by Mae-Wan Ho (2001); Slipping Through the Regulatory Net: ‘Naked’ and ‘free’ nucleic acids by Mae-Wan Ho, Angela Ryan, Joe Cummins and Terje Traavik (2001); and ‘Golden Rice’: An Exercise in How Not to Do Science by Mae-Wan Ho (2002) (Third World Network, 228 Macalister Road, 10400 Penang, Malaysia).






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