A Growing Culture


These are the handful of are favorite books that we recommend to anyone interested in the movement. These books are not all about agriculture but they have played an essential role in shaping who we are today.

Farmers of Forty CenturiesFarmers of Forty Centuries: Organic Farming in China, Korea, and Japan. F.H. King. 1911

“We had long desired to stand face to face with Chinese and Japanese farmers; to walk through their fields and to learn by seeing some of their methods, appliances and practices which centuries of stress and experience have led these oldest farmers in the world to adopt. We desired to learn how it is possible, after twenty and perhaps thirty or even forty centuries, for their soils to be made to produce sufficiently for the maintenance of such dense populations … we were instructed, surprised and amazed at the conditions and practices which confronted us whichever way we turned; instructed in the ways and extent to which these nations for centuries have been conserving and utilizing their natural resources”

One Straw RevolutionOne Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming. Masanobu Fukuoka. 1978

“When it is understood that one loses joy and happiness in the attempt to possess them, the essence of natural farming will be realized. The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”

How to Grow More VegetablesHow to Grow More Vegetables (and Fruits, Nuts, Berries, Grains, and Other Crops) Than You Ever Thought Possible on Less Land Than You Can Imagine. John Jeavons. 1974

“Start now with just one raised growing bed. Self-reliance in your own ‘foodshed’ will make all the difference in the world. Each one of us has tremendous potential to heal the earth.”

Sand County AlmanacA Sand County Almanac. Aldo Leapold. 1949

“Land, then, is not merely soil; it is a fountain of energy flowing through a circuit of soils, plants, and animals.”

“We abuse land because we regard it as a commodity belonging to us. When we see land as a community to which we belong, we may begin to use it with love and respect.”

New Roots for AgricultureNew Roots for Agriculture. Wes Jackson. 1980

“If your life’s work can be accomplished in your lifetime, you’re not thinking big enough.”

“…the ‘natural systems’ approach could be transferable worldwide, as long as adequate research is devoted to developing species and mixtures of species appropriate to specific environments. We believe that an agriculture is well within reach that is resilient, economical, ecologically responsible and socially just.”

Soil Fertility & Animal HealthSoil Fertility & Animal Health. William A. Albrecht. 1958

“The cow, then, as the symbol of all that is living in agriculture, along with all humans dependent on it, will be convincing us that not only animal health but human health too is dependent on the fertility of the soil.”

“Modern agriculture is threatening to put economics, and the mechanical mining of the soil by more plowing, so high over the cow that even the crops are not grown for her nutrition but rather for their bulk of vegetative delivery. …Machinery of all kinds to reduce the time of our contact with things living and natural, and the economic temptations to short cut natural procedures —like feeding urea in place of vegetable proteins—seem to be conniving to have us forget the cow entirely as the symbol of the living things created by the soil and of agriculture as once a noble art.”

An Agricultural TestamentAn Agricultural Testament. Sir Albert Howard. 1940

“The main characteristic of Nature’s farming can therefore be summed up in a few words. Mother earth never attempts to farm without live stock; she always raises mixed crops; great pains are taken to preserve the soil and to prevent erosion; the mixed vegetable and animal wastes are converted into humus; there is no waste; the processes of growth and the processes of decay balance one another; ample provision is made to maintain large reserves of fertility; the greatest care is taken to store the rainfall; both plants and animals are left to protect themselves against disease.”

The Unsettling of America: Culture and AgricultureThe Unsettling of America: Culture and Agriculture. Wendell Berry. 1977

“Once, the governing human metaphor was pastoral or agricultural, and it clarified, and so preserved in human care, the natural cycles of birth, growth, death, and decay. But modern humanity’s governing metaphor is that of the machine. Having placed ourselves in charge of creation, we began to mechanize both the creation itself and our conception of it. We began to see the whole creation merely as raw material, to be transformed by machines into a manufactured Paradise.”

“[All the ancient wisdom] tells us that work is necessary to us, as much a part of our condition as mortality; that good work is our salvation and our joy; that shoddy or dishonest or self-serving work is our curse and our doom. We have tried to escape the sweat and sorrow promised in Genesis – only to find that, in order to do so, we must forswear love and excellence, health and joy.”

Desert SolitaireDesert Solitaire. Edward Abbey. 1968

“Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.”

“The love of wilderness is more than a hunger for what is always beyond reach; it is also an expression of loyalty to the earth, the earth which bore us and sustains us, the only home we shall ever know, the only paradise we ever need—if we only had eyes to see. Original sin, the true original sin, is the blind destruction for the sake of greed of this natural paradise which lies all around us—if only we were worthy of it.”

Operating Manual For Spaceship EarthOperating Manual For Spaceship Earth. R. Buckminster Fuller. 1968

“Of course, our failures are a consequence of many factors, but possibly one of the most important is the fact that society operates on the theory that specialization is the key to success, not realizing that specialization precludes comprehensive thinking.”