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Thousands of years of poor farming and ranching practices—and, especially, modern industrial agriculture—have led to the loss of up to 80 percent of carbon from the world's soils. That carbon is now floating in the atmosphere, and even if we stopped using fossil fuels today, it would continue warming the planet. In The Soil Will Save Us, journalist and bestselling author Kristin Ohlson makes an elegantly argued, passionate case for "our great green hope"—a way in which we can not only heal the land but also turn atmospheric carbon into beneficial soil carbon—and potentially reverse global warming. As the granddaughter of farmers and the daughter of avid gardeners, Ohlson has long had an appreciation for the soil. A chance conversation with a local chef led her to the crossroads of science, farming, food, and environmentalism and the discovery of the only significant way to remove carbon dioxide from the air—an ecological approach that tends not only to plants and animals but also to the vast population of underground microorganisms that fix carbon in the soil. Ohlson introduces the visionaries—scientists, farmers, ranchers, and landscapers—who are figuring out in the lab and on the ground how to build healthy soil, which solves myriad problems: drought, erosion, air and water pollution, and food quality, as well as climate change. Her discoveries and vivid storytelling will revolutionize the way we think about our food, our landscapes, our plants, and our relationship to Earth.
Our most compelling resource just might be the ground beneath our feet. Finalist for the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award When a teaspoon of soil contains millions of species, and when we pave over the earth on a daily basis, what does that mean for our future? What is the risk to our food supply, the planet's wildlife, the soil on which every life-form depends? How much undeveloped, untrodden ground do we even have left? Paul Bogard set out to answer these questions in The Ground Beneath Us, and what he discovered is astounding. From New York (where more than 118,000,000 tons of human development rest on top of Manhattan Island) to Mexico City (which sinks inches each year into the Aztec ruins beneath it), Bogard shows us the weight of our cities' footprints. And as we see hallowed ground coughing up bullets at a Civil War battlefield; long-hidden remains emerging from below the sites of concentration camps; the dangerous, alluring power of fracking; the fragility of the giant redwoods, our planet's oldest living things; the surprises hidden under a Major League ballpark's grass; and the sublime beauty of our few remaining wildest places, one truth becomes blazingly clear: The ground is the easiest resource to forget, and the last we should. Bogard's The Ground Beneath Us is deeply transporting reading that introduces farmers, geologists, ecologists, cartographers, and others in a quest to understand the importance of something too many of us take for granted: dirt. From growth and life to death and loss, and from the subsurface technologies that run our cities to the dwindling number of idyllic Edens that remain, this is the fascinating story of the ground beneath our feet.
Demonstrating that humanity faces an imminent and prolonged global food crisis, Michael Brownlee issues a clarion call and manifesto for a revolutionary movement to localize the global food supply. He lays out a practical guide for those who hope to navigate the challenging process of shaping the local or regional food system, providing a roadmap for embarking on the process of righting the profoundly unsustainable and already-failing global industrialized food system. Written to inform, inspire, and empower anyone—farmers or ranchers, community gardeners, aspiring food entrepreneurs, supply chain venturers, commercial food buyers, restaurateurs, investors, community food activists, non-profit agencies, policy makers, or local government leaders—who hopes to be a catalyst for change, this book provides a blueprint for economic action, with specific suggestions that make the process more conscious and deliberate. Brownlee, cofounder of the nonprofit Local Food Shift Group, maps out the underlying process of food localization and outlines the route that communities, regions, and foodsheds often follow in their efforts to take control of food production and distribution. By sharing the strategies that have proven successful, he charts a practical path forward while indicating approaches that otherwise might be invisible and unexplored. Stories and interviews illustrate how food localization is happening on the ground and in the field. Essays and thought-pieces explore some of the challenging ethical, moral, economic, and social dilemmas and thresholds that might arise as the local food shift develops. For anyone who wants to understand, in concrete terms, the unique challenges and extraordinary opportunities that present themselves as we address one of the most urgent issues of our time, The Local Food Revolution is an indispensable resource. From the Trade Paperback edition.
'A passionately personal, robustly argued and uplifting book . . . One of the landmark ecological books of the decade.' Sunday Times 'Books of the Year' In Wilding, Isabella Tree tells the story of the ‘Knepp experiment’, a pioneering rewilding project in West Sussex, using free-roaming grazing animals to create new habitats for wildlife. Part gripping memoir, part fascinating account of the ecology of our countryside, Wilding is, above all, an inspiring story of hope. Forced to accept that intensive farming on the heavy clay of their land at Knepp was economically unsustainable, Isabella Tree and her husband Charlie Burrell made a spectacular leap of faith: they decided to step back and let nature take over. Thanks to the introduction of free-roaming cattle, ponies, pigs and deer – proxies of the large animals that once roamed Britain – the 3,500 acre project has seen extraordinary increases in wildlife numbers and diversity in little over a decade. Extremely rare species, including turtle doves, nightingales, peregrine falcons, lesser spotted woodpeckers and purple emperor butterflies, are now breeding at Knepp, and populations of other species are rocketing. The Burrells’ degraded agricultural land has become a functioning ecosystem again, heaving with life – all by itself. Personal and inspirational, Wilding is an astonishing account of the beauty and strength of nature, when it is given as much freedom as possible.

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