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Grow a Sustainable Diet (PDF)
Planning and Growing to Feed Ourselves and the Earth
Everyone loves to prepare a meal with ingredients fresh from their own garden. But for most of us, no matter how plentiful our harvest, homegrown produce comprises only a fraction of what we eat. And while many gardening guides will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about individual crops, few tackle the more involved task of helping you maximize the percentage of your diet you grow yourself.
Grow a Sustainable Diet will help you develop a comprehensive, customized garden plan to produce the maximum number of calories and nutrients from any available space. Avoid arriving in August buried under a mountain of kale or zucchini (and not much else) by making thoughtful choices at the planning stage, focusing on dietary staples and key nutrients. Learn how to calculate:
- Which food and cover crops are best for your specific requirements
- How many seeds and plants of each variety you should sow
- What and when to plant, harvest and replant for maximum yield.
Focusing on permaculture principles, biointensive gardening methods, getting food to the table with minimum fossil fuel input, and growing crops that sustain both you and your soil, this complete guide is a must-read for anyone working toward food self-sufficiency for themselves or their family.
Cindy Conner, is a permaculture educator and founder of Homeplace Earth. She is the producer of two popular instructional DVDs entitled Develop a Sustainable Vegetable Garden Plan and Cover Crops and Compost Crops IN Your Garden. A former market gardener, Cindy was instrumental in establishing a sustainable agriculture program at her local community college which she taught for over a decade. She is also the author of Grow a Sustainable Diet.
"Grow A Sustainable Diet is just the book you have been looking for."
John Jeavons, author, How To Grow More Vegetables (and Fruits, Nuts Berries, Grains and Other Crops) Than You Ever Thought Possible On Less Land Than You Can Imagine
"Amid the plethora of how-to garden books, this book stands out as the comprehensive resource written from the lifetime of rich experience of a successful gardener. Cindy not only gives us experienced guidelines for the management of a healthy organic garden, but clearly explains the practical details of every aspect of managing a successful garden-homestead from planning, tending, harvest and storage to preserving the harvest. If you are seeking one book to to carry you through the full cycle of gardening, seek no further."
Eli Rogosa, Heritage Grain Conservancy, growseed.org
"Grow a Sustainable Diet is both timely and timeless. Cindy Conner's book is a valuable addition to current locavore lexicon. The practical down home advice she provides will be of use for generations of gardeners to come. Cindy speaks with authority, drawing on her real life experience, her teaching skills and her love of the earth, providing practical guidance to help readers to design the garden and to grow, store and use the fruits of their labor. A combination of bio-intensive gardening, permaculture planning, and straight forward down home wisdom Grow a Sustainable Diet shows us that good nutrition is a close as our own back yard."
Darrell E. Frey, Three Sisters Farm, author, The Bioshelter Market Garden
"Are you looking for ways to better nourish your family, care for your garden, and walk more lightly on the planet? Come spend a day, a season or the cycle of seasons with one of the nation's leaders in ecological home food production in the pages of Grow a Sustainable Diet. Ms. Conner's practical innovations will guide your homesteading endeavors, and her commitment to living in harmony with all life will inspire you."
Mark Schonbeck, consultant in sustainable agriculture
"Too many of us see gardening as an analog in miniature to Big Ag — an essentially extractive process powered by machines and fossil fuel, requiring purchased inputs to replace depleted soil fertility and protect crops from insects. Imagine gardening instead as a process which improves the soil even as we grow our crops, helps balance and enrich the ecology, relies on free services of nature rather than purchased inputs — and is powered with energy from the nearest star. That is the way of gardening Cindy Conner offers in Growing a Sustainable Diet."
Harvey Ussery, author, The Small-Scale Poultry Flock
"Grow a Sustainable Diet provides a can-do, critical step towards a health and independence on every level—from the soil, to yourself, your communities and our planet. The most powerful action you can take to navigate these transition times is to plant gardens and participate in local foods. Once you do, fear fades and hope sprouts. This book helps show the way."
Patricia Foreman, author, City Chicks: Keeping Chickens as Garden Helpers, Compost Creators, Biomass Recyclers and Local Food Suppliers
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Planning and Growing to Feed Ourselves and the Earth