Here’s a list of the gardening, sustainability, and earth spirituality books I come back to time and time again:
Worms Eat My Garbage by Mary Applehof
Learn how to make stink-free compost in your apartment or small house. For realz!
Four-Season Harvest by Eliot Coleman.
The ultimate guide to season extension, this one is for the seasoned gardener that wants to take their space to the next level.
The Garden Primer by Barbara Damrosch.
This fine lady happens to be the wife of the guy who wrote the book before this one. She’s also an excellent gardener in her own right, and if you’ve never gardened much before, this is an excellent book to have.
The Long Descent by John Michael Greer.
This is a serious book about a serious topic, talking about peak oil and other modern issues.
Food Not Lawns by H. C. Flores.
A great garden book for beginners and experienced gardeners it has wonderful ideas about how to think outside the box, build community, and make life better through food.
Keeping Rabbits and Poultry on Scraps by Claude Goodchild and Alan Thompson.
This was written for Depression Era America. Cool both for the information and the cultural differences.
Gaia’s Garden: a Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture by Toby Hemenway.
A beginner’s guide to permaculture, be careful. You might just get sucked in to a totally new and wonderful way of thinking.
How To Grow More Vegetables by John Jeavons.
A radical activist who wanted to put his money where his mouth is. His work is excellent for those who want to grow a lot of vegetables in a small space.
Designing and Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally by Robert Kourik.
A dense tome of gardening and permaculture knowledge. You will feel like a gardening wizard reading this one.
Lasagna Gardening by Patricia Lanza.
A great book for the beginner trying to turn a lawn into a garden.
The Illustrated Guide to Chickens by Celia Lewis.
Beautiful pictures, a forward by the Prince of Wales (for real! He’s a total sustainability nut) and lots of good info.
The Naturally Clean Home by Karyn Siegel-Maier.
Lots of recipes, good ideas, and gentle advice.
The Foxfire Books 1-12 by Eliot Wigginton.
These are a series of books of the collected knowledge of rural Appalachia. Some of it is fascinating, some of it is useful, and some of it is just plain weird. You can pick them up in kindle these days so you don’t have to comb the used bookstores to get the complete set like I did.
Vegetables Every Day by Jack Bishop.
This is a great book when you want to know how to cook that weird veg you found at the farmers market or got in your CSA share.
The Revolution Will Not be Microwaved by Sandor Ellix Katz.
A manifesto of radical cooking, it will show you the edge of what is possible in sustainable cooking.
Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz.
My bible of fermentation, where I learned to make sauerkraut and kimchee. I’ve tried most of the weird things in this book and his advice is sound. It doesn’t hurt that he’s queer and HIV positive and using lacto-fermented foods to help himself stay healthy while he lives in a queer commune. This dude is cool.
Charcuterie by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn.
Worth it just to learn how to make a brine for a chicken or your own breakfast sausage. Seriously, home-made breakfast sausage is an amazing thing.
For Cod and Country: Simple Delicious Sustainable Cooking by Barton Seaver.This is a book about how to eat fish and not feel like you’re destroying the oceans doing it. Organized according to season with simple wonderful recipes, I loveses it.
Melissa’s Great Book of Produce by Cathy Thomas.
With a name like that, how could I not love this book? Plus it’s organized by type of produce so you can just look up that crazy weird lumpy thing in the store and find out what a bitter melon or a malanga is for.
Beyond Bacon by Stacy Toth and Matthew McCurry.
The bible of how to eat the glorious animal known as a pig. I won’t go into why the pig is such an awesome sustainable animal, when raised locally in woods eating acorns and allowed to assist in plowing and insect removal simply by rooting in garden fields, and providing high quality fats that are good for your brain and… wait. I wasn’t going to tell you all that. Oh well.
The Joy of Pickling by Linda Ziedrich.
Another bible of pickling, this time with quick pickles and vinegar pickles included too.
Books on nature and spirituality:
Pagan Visions for a Sustainable Future Ed. By Ly de Angeles, Emma restall Orr and Thom van Dooren
This one has got a bunch of contributors. I don’t agree with everything they say, but it’s good to think about.
Collected Poems 1957-1982 by Wendell Berry
This guy was a poet in New York who went back home to his family farm in Applachia. He is the poet of the farmer. Check out his poem The Farmer’s Manifesto.
Connecting with the Land: Nature Relationships in Multiple Dimensions By Adam Davis.
Adam is a pagan and ADF member of long standing who studies ecology as his life’s work. Buy this book.
Mystery Teachings from the Living Earth: an Introduction to Spiritual Ecology by John Michael Greer.
This is a lovely small primer on thinking about the intersection of ecological principles and spiritual development. The meditations are well worth it.
Listening to the Land by Derrick Jensen.
This is a compilation of a series of interviews the author conducted with a number of men and women who are doing great work to preserve and renew our earth. It’s incredibly inspirational.
A Sand County Almanac by Aldo Lopold.
This is a classic in the field of ecology and environmental awareness. Written in a time when ecological degradation was just beginning to be recognized he has a unique awareness. Nor is he just some crazy hippy, the dude loved the wilderness but wasn’t blinded by that love.
Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit by Daniel Quinn.
A thoughtful novel about a talking gorilla. No really. Go read it anyway.
Ecopsychology: Restoring the Earth, Healing the Mind Ed. By Theodore Roszak, Mary E. Gomes, and Allen D. Kanner.
Another compilation of essays, this time on the intersection of ecology and psychology. The essay by Roszak is worth it by itself.
Get reading and trying things out because you know you love your Mother!
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