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21. Against the Grain: How Agriculture
22. Successes in African Agriculture:
23. Climate Change and Food Security:
24. Agriculture
25. The elements of agriculture: a
26. World Agriculture and the Environment:
27. The World's Greatest Fix: A History
28. Ancient Agriculture: Roots and
29. Plowshares & Pork Barrels:
30. The Origins of Agriculture: An
31. Sustainable Agriculture and Resistance
32. Consulting the Genius of the Place:
33. Governing Risk in GM Agriculture
34. Agriculture: An Introductory Reader:
35. The Earthscan Reader in Sustainable
36. The Fertile Earth: Nature's Energies
37. American Agriculture in the Twentieth
38. Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes:
39. Buying at the Point of Maximum
40. Farmers of Forty Centuries; Or,

21. Against the Grain: How Agriculture Has Hijacked Civilization
by Richard Manning
Paperback: 240 Pages (2005-02-01)
list price: US$15.00 -- used & new: US$3.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0865477132
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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In this provocative, wide-ranging book, Richard Manning offers a dramatically revisionist view of recent human evolution, beginning with the vast increase in brain size that set us apart from our primate relatives and brought an accompanying increase in our need for nourishment. For 290,000 years, we managed to meet that need as hunter-gatherers, a state in which Manning believes we were at our most human: at our smartest, strongest, most sensually alive. But our reliance on food made a secure supply deeply attractive, and eventually we embarked upon the agricultural experiment that has been the history of our past 10,000 years.

The evolutionary road is littered with failed experiments, however, and Manning suggests that agriculture as we have practiced it runs against both our grain and nature's. Drawing on the work of anthropologists, biologists, archaeologists, and philosophers, along with his own travels, he argues that not only our ecological ills-overpopulation, erosion, pollution-but our social and emotional malaise are rooted in the devil's bargain we made in our not-so-distant past. And he offers personal, achievable ways we might re-contour the path we have taken to resurrect what is most sustainable and sustaining in our own nature and the planet's.
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Customer Reviews (20)

3-0 out of 5 stars A polemic against agriculture
This book consists of two halves: a history of the world and a political polemic. For almost all of our existence as a species, humans have been hunters, fishers and gatherers. People have been eating parts of hundreds of plant species; if some were deficient in some nutrients, others compensated for this. Agriculture meant switching to the cultivation of a small number of annual grasses (wheat, barley, rice in Eurasia, maize in the Americas) for which the grain constitutes a large part of their biomass; they are weeds, grasses that thrive in disrupted environments, rapidly reproducing before grasses adapted for more stable environments squeeze them out. Cultivating them meant periodically disrupting the environment - hard agricultural labor. Relying on a few productive crops instead of hundreds available to the hunters-gatherers meant famine when the crops failed due to a disease (as in Ireland in the 1840s) or a pest. Cereals are not very nutritious food, and gruel is a much worse baby food than mother's milk; skeletons of farmers show that they were much sicker than hunters-gatherers (but there were many more of the former). Agriculture spread slowly through Europe in the Neolithic and Bronze Age; agricultural productivity increased in the Middle Ages through introduction of such technologies as the horse collar. Yet before mid-twentieth century, agricultural expansion was extensive: colonizing the Americas and Australasia (pushing away the natives) through Khrushchev's Virgin Lands campaign. By 1960, the world has almost run out of arable land, yet there were 3 billion people in it, and tens of millions more were born each year; Paul Ehrlich and other environmental alarmists were predicting famine. This did not happen because of the Green Revolution. Dwarf varieties of wheat and rice have a higher percentage of biomass stored in the grains than non-dwarf ones. Also, if you grow non-dwarf varieties of cereals with too much fertilizer, the plant would "lodge": the seeds would be too heavy for the stem to support, and the plant would topple; with dwarf varieties the maximum amount of fertilizer is much greater. Dwarf wheat, which took over 70% of all the planted area by the turn of the century (as well as dwarf rice and hybrid maize), allowed the 6 billions to be fed, but it required far more fertilizer than manure and crop rotation could provide. Artificial fertilizer production skyrocketed to the point where half of all nitrogen fixed on planet Earth comes from human-made artificial fertilizers and half from the rest of the biosphere. The new agriculture also relies heavily on irrigation and pesticides and therefore on outside energy and fossil fuels.

The second half of the book attacks many targets in modern agriculture and the food business, concentrating on the United States. Agribusiness companies such as Archer Daniel Midlands enjoy oligopsony when dealing with farmers (but do not take over the fields, since farmers exploit themselves much harder than the company would be allowed to exploit them). Government subsidies of farmers translate into profits for ADM, a dollar in profit for each $11 in subsidies; the ADM executive interviewed by Manning calls this situation socialism. The USDA is more concerned with getting rid of surplus commodities than with better nutrition of the populace; it periodically republishes its food pyramid depending on which commodities have a surplus. Sugar from Central America-grown sugar cane costs less than maize-derived high-fructose syrup, which in turn costs less than sugar from U.S.-grown sugar cane; thus a sugar tariff benefits not only domestic sugar growers, but also ADM. Most maize grown in the United States is not eaten directly by humans; it is either fed to domestic animals or processed; the fertilizer runs off into the Mississippi river and into the Gulf of Mexico, where it kills fish and shrimp; thus, high-quality protein is sacrificed for the sake of low-quality protein and fat (though Manning gives no numbers). As in Victorian England, the poor eat too much nutritionally poor fast food and sugar; unlike Victorian England, they are increasingly obese and diabetic. Manning argues for "counteragriculture": variety of crops, variety of food, locally grown food, minimizing ecological damage; he also praises hunting. He writes admiringly about some organic farmer who is getting high yields, and about Chez Panisse, an organic restaurant in Berkeley (the student co-op where I lived in 1995 had a cookbook from it, I think; some members of the co-op also grew another agricultural commodity, one of America's biggest cash crops, though they did it in an industrialized way).

4-0 out of 5 stars What to do with all this grain?
What did we lose when we went from roaming the earth in social bands searching for food to settling down in one place to cultivate crops and raise animals? We went from a community partaking of a varied diet that supported one another when the hunt was good to one where wealth and power belonged to those with the biggest grain storage bins, animals are treated abominably, and the majority of our calories come from grains. Grains become the ultimate commodity: easily stockpiled and providing dense carbohydrate energy but poor nutrition.

Manning: "This is not to say that hunter-gatherers did not experience need, hard times, even starvation just as all other animals do. We would be hard-pressed, however, to find communities of any social animal except modern humans in which an individual in a community has access to fifty, a hundred, a thousands times, or even twice as many resources as another. Yet such communities are the rule among post-agricultural humans."

I don't believe this book sets out to offer solutions to the problem of agriculture, but it does a fine job in journalist style of putting forth the various elements that led to the adoption of agriculture and the problems it is causing both humans and the planet. Manning covers such diverse subjects as the development of the human brain, famine, cannibalism, diseases of agriculture, food taboos and fads, and how grains came to dominate the American landscape.

When we look at agriculture today, we see a small number of industrial giants growing rich from the production of a few grains-wheat, corn, and rice-along with hay and the starchy potato. Science and industry concentrate their efforts on maximizing the potential of these commodities through genetic modification, fertilization, and improvements in cultivation and harvesting. Small farms are no longer self-determined producers benefiting their communities, but are serfs at the whim and mercy of commodity buyers-and they're disappearing.

Manning: "This is a book not just about agriculture but about the fundamental dehumanization that occurred with agriculture. It will argue that most of humanity struck a bitter bargain over the past ten thousand years, trading in a large measure of our sensual lives for the bit of security that comes with agriculture."

These tax-supported commodities aren't foods that feed people but grains that are grown in excess, traded, fed to livestock, put in every conceivable packaged product, and then dumped on underdeveloped nations putting local farmers out of business and causing malnourishment and obesity. The concentration of farm land into grain production led to such policies as adding ethanol to fuel and the development of USDA food pyramid. The food pyramid doesn't reflect nutritional need but the interests of food producers benefiting from the glut.

Manning writes: "I have come to think of agriculture not as farming, but as a dangerous and consuming beast of a social system." I have to agree. Farming to me is the practice of working with the land to produce food that nourishes people, food that can be directly eaten and not processed into something else. Farming is community. Agriculture is exploitation. Perhaps after reading this book you'll believe that also.

3-0 out of 5 stars The wrong subtitle - AGRICULTURE didn't hijack civilization
The sins of agriculture.

Let's see, according to this publication we can enumerate a number of sins heaped upon
us by agriculture. A few of the main ones that are forcefully argued in this book are:

* it creates poverty
* it destroys the soil
* it causes poor governance
* it depletes water supplies
* it pollutes water supplies
* it malnourishes the population
* it promotes over-population

I've no major argument with any of these accusations. However, I'd like to point out that
publication and distribution of the book itself causes:

* depletion of forests
* depletion of water supplies
* degradation of soils
* global warming via burning of fossil fuels to support the infrastructure required to
produce & distribute the book.
* Ocean acidification for the same reasons.

Perhaps you get the point. Although I can't disagree with the general findings of the
author - and his basic hypothesis is largely proven - the problem is HE'S ATTACKING THE

People reproduce. If we reproduce at a rate faster than we die, our population grows. If
our population grows too fast relative to the resources we have, we seem to invariably
harm ourselves with the solutions we craft to accommodate the growth.

The more accurate subtitle whould be "How Agriculture to Support Population Growth Hijacked

5-0 out of 5 stars Against the Grain
A great book.It takes the reader to places and perspectives related to food and agriculture that are relevant and personal.Placed in a historical context, Manning exposes grains in ways rarely brought
to light.He addresses whether grains chose us or we chose them, the significance of agriculture to society and civilization, the dietary aspects of eating grains, and political/economic impacts on global grain use. He shares personal lifestyle information - but not too much - so that the reader feels a deeper connection to the world through his or her grain use..

5-0 out of 5 stars Everyone should read this!
Against the Grain discusses the connections between agriculture and poverty in our species.

"The assumption is that nomads and hunter-gatherers, who usually traded with civilized folk, knew a good thing when they saw it and so simply adopted the farming technology. In other words, a bunch of guys who spent their time running around the woods, hunting and fishing and trading meat for sex, one day saw someone hoeing weeds and said to themselves, 'What a fine idea! Let's go do that instead.' Is it possible that the technology did not spread entirely by adoption, that hunter-gatherers were wiped out or displaced by an advancing agricultural imperialism? The record suggests that although some adoption did occur, by and large farming spread by genocide." p45

His description of the modern world is not any sunnier.

Against the Grain is much easier to read than Manning's Grassland which was thick with Pirsig-esque tangents. (I am very impressed with both works.) ... Read more

22. Successes in African Agriculture: Lessons for the Future (International Food Policy Research Institute)
Paperback: 464 Pages (2010-05-12)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$29.56
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0801895030
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Sub-Saharan Africa is one of the poorest regions of the world. Because most Africans work in agriculture, escaping such dire poverty depends on increased agricultural productivity to raise rural incomes, lower food prices, and stimulate growth in other economic sectors. Per capita agricultural production in sub-Saharan Africa has fallen, however, for much of the past half-century.

Successes in African Agriculture investigates how to reverse this decline. Instead of cataloging failures, as many past studies have done, this book identifies episodes of successful agricultural growth in Africa and identifies processes, practices, and policies for accelerated growth in the future. The individual studies follow developments in, among other areas, the farming of maize in East and Southern Africa, cassava across the middle belt of Africa, cotton in West Africa, horticulture in Kenya, and dairying in East Africa.

Drawing on these case studies and on consultations with agricultural specialists and politicians from across sub-Saharan Africa -- undertaken in collaboration with the African Union's New Partnership for Africa's Development -- the contributors identify two key determinants of positive agricultural performance: agricultural research to provide more productive and sustainable technologies to farmers and a policy framework that fosters market incentives for increasing production. The contributors discuss how the public and private sectors can best coordinate the convergence of both factors.

Given current concerns about global food security, this book provides timely and important resources to policymakers and development specialists concerned with reversing the negative trends in food insecurity and poverty in Africa.

... Read more

23. Climate Change and Food Security: Adapting Agriculture to a Warmer World (Advances in Global Change Research)
Paperback: 199 Pages (2009-12-18)
list price: US$49.95 -- used & new: US$40.39
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Asin: 9048129524
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Roughly a billion people around the world continue to live in state of chronic hunger and food insecurity. Unfortunately, efforts to improve their livelihoods must now unfold in the context of a rapidly changing climate, in which warming temperatures and changing rainfall regimes could threaten the basic productivity of the agricultural systems on which most of the world’s poor directly depend. But whether climate change represents a minor impediment or an existential threat to development is an area of substantial controversy, with different conclusions wrought from different methodologies and based on different data.

This book aims to resolve some of the controversy by exploring and comparing the different methodologies and data that scientists use to understand climate’s effects on food security. In explains the nature of the climate threat, the ways in which crops and farmers might respond, and the potential role for public and private investment to help agriculture adapt to a warmer world. This broader understanding should prove useful to both scientists charged with quantifying climate threats, and policy-makers responsible for crucial decisions about how to respond. The book is especially suitable as a companion to an interdisciplinary undergraduate or graduate level class.

... Read more

24. Agriculture
by Rudolf Steiner
Paperback: 328 Pages (1996-10)
list price: US$22.50 -- used & new: US$19.50
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Asin: 093725035X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars This is the seminal source for Biodynamic farming.
Before Organic farming and gardening, a product of the 1960's revival ofawareness of the importance of healthy food and environmental awarenessthere were already healthy roots in Western Mysticism. (Read alsoBlavatsky, Besant and Leadbeater) In 1926 Rudolph Steiner delivered aseries of lectures to a loyal group of Anthroposophists in Koberwitz,Austria.Reading the text of the lectures is a rare, deep draught of theriver of arcane knowledge.In order to absorb it, you must float yourselfin it and sink down into it, perhaps to drown.This is not a how-to book. There are some very successful applications of the principles and processesdescribed in the lectures in Australia and North America, which includesthe Biodynamic Association in Kimberton, Pennsylvania.Organic gardeningis only the first step in reclaiming sustainable and healthy agriculture,and the application of the principles outlined in this book may be animportant next step. ... Read more

25. The elements of agriculture: a book for young farmers, with questions prepared for the use of schools
by George E. 1833-1898 Waring
Paperback: 306 Pages (2010-09-04)
list price: US$29.75 -- used & new: US$21.40
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1178310205
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This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923.This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process.We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book. ... Read more

26. World Agriculture and the Environment: A Commodity-By-Commodity Guide To Impacts And Practices
by Jason Clay
Paperback: 570 Pages (2004-03-01)
list price: US$49.50 -- used & new: US$44.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1559633700
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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World Agriculture and the Environment presents a unique assessment of agricultural commodity production and the environmental problems it causes, along with prescriptions for increasing efficiency and reducing damage to natural systems. Drawing on his extensive travel and research in agricultural regions around the world, and employing statistics from a range of authoritative sources including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization,the author examines twenty of the world?s major crops, including beef, coffee, corn, rice, rubber, shrimp, sorghum, tea, and tobacco. For each crop, he offers comparative information including:

    ? a ?fast facts? overview section that summarizes key data for the crop
    ? main producing and consuming countries
    ? main types of production
    ? market trend information and market chain analyses
    ? major environmental impacts
    ? management strategies and best practices
    ? key contacts and references
With maps of major commodity production areas worldwide, the book represents the first truly global portrait of agricultural production patterns and environmental impacts.
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Customer Reviews (3)

1-0 out of 5 stars Qualification
How is someone who works for the World Wildlife Fund qualified to write a book and explain the global agriculture industry?

3-0 out of 5 stars Quick review
World Agriculture and Environment in my opinion is a very interestig book, in which you can find, besides the basic information of agricultural production, techniques that help to reduce damage to natural systems, and also this book gives important evaluations of modern agriculture and its failure.

5-0 out of 5 stars Superb reference
This is a superb and unique reference.It provides an incredible amount of detail on crops that enter world trade, and their impact on the environment.
The very best thing about this book is that it is not strident and does not blatantly advocate a particular political agenda.It is written in a scientific, objective tone that makes it far more convincing than the rhetorical works.Only when he comes to tobacco (a crop that ruins the environment AND then ruins the consumers) does he use a few value-laden words!
The reader is struck by what a mess the world is in, and how easily we could fix a lot of that.The book provides enormous detail on soil erosion, chemical use, biodiversity reduction, and the rest of our woes, but it presents equal detail on how to prevent those problems.Only a few crops (notably cotton, salmon, chocolate) would be hard to manage well.
Two social themes stand out:first, the very rapid concentration of commodity trade in the hands of a very few firms; second, the degree to which governments subsidize production-at-any-cost as opposed to production-with-environmental-protection.(Subsidizing includes nonlegal subsidies, such as letting the rich get away with breaking environmental laws and dumping huge costs on poorer neighbors.)One cannot escape the conclusion that changing this subsidy structure would fix most of the damage, worldwide.
Environmentalists should think more about subsidies!
Meanwhile, what can a concerned reader do?The book tells how to seek out shade-grown coffee, responsibly raised beef and paper, and so on.It is much harder, at least in the US, to find decently-produced soybeans or corn or wheat, but you can do it.Cotton is a special problem, and the alternatives to it are mostly worse.The hemp advocates will be vocal!
We are in such a mess, and it would be so easy to do so much....This is not a time to lose hope or give up.By providing the big picture, this book should make every concerned citizen stop and think. The few errors I could spot in the book are trivial ones.
This is an absolute must-read and must-have for anyone who works on problems of production and environment or on problems of world food supply and health. ... Read more

27. The World's Greatest Fix: A History of Nitrogen and Agriculture
by G. J. Leigh
Hardcover: 256 Pages (2004-08-19)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$6.18
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0195165829
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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In the tradition of Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel, this gives the very early history of how human ingenuity overcame the risk of famine through productive agriculture.Starting with a layman's guide to the chemistry of nitrogen fixation, the book goes on to show how humans emerged from nomadic lifestyles and began developing towns and settlements.When they for the first time began planting the same fields year after year, they noticed quickly the need to ensure soil fertility.But how?The method they came up with is stillin use to this day. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

3-0 out of 5 stars An important subject
This is an iconoclastic telling of the story of what we knew about nitrogen and when we knew it. The author tells the story of the development of the undrestanding of plant nutrition in farming, starting as far back as possible and traveling up to the modern industry of making fertilizer and explosives.
The information is entertainingly presented, but the authors quirks of presentation sometime overcome the information. Important for anyone who wants to understand the development of agriculture in history. ... Read more

28. Ancient Agriculture: Roots and Application of Sustainable Farming
by Gabriel Alonso De Herrera
Hardcover: 168 Pages (2006-09-06)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$7.42
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1423601203
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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The Art of Agriculture is the first English edition of Obra de Agricultura by Gabriel Alonso de Herrera, an agriculture instruction manual originally written in Granada, Spain, in 1513 and published there in 1539. Herrera, widely considered the Father of Modern Spanish Agriculture, wrote this treatise nearly five centuries ago, thoughtfully recounting traditional farming techniques of the Moors before their expulsion from Spain, the Spanish colonizers in the early 1600s, and the rural Indo-Hispano bioregion spanning northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.

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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Insights into traditional farming techniques of the Moors
It'd be tempting to place this survey under 'Home and Garden' for this review - but really, ANCIENT AGRICULTURE: ROOTS AND APPLICATION OF SUSTAINABLE FARMING deserves so much more. It'll reach an audience of farmers, gardeners, and history buffs with the first English translation of Obra de Agricultura, offering an early agricultural instruction manual originally written in Spain in 1513 - and holding importance for modern times. Here are insights into traditional farming techniques of the Moors before their expulsion from Spain: techniques which hold surprising relevance to modern farmers facing global warming and water shortages.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch ... Read more

29. Plowshares & Pork Barrels: The Political Economy of Agriculture (Independent Studies in Political Economy)
by E.C. PasourJr., Randall R. Rucker
Paperback: 368 Pages (2005-09-01)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$13.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0945999038
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Agricultural subsidies in grains, cotton, milk, sugar, tobacco, honey, wool, and peanuts are analyzed in this examination of U.S. farm policy. Looking at such programs as food stamps, crop insurance, subsidized credit, trade credit, trade subsidies and import restrictions, conservation, agricultural research, and taxation, this historical perspective argues that these subsidies ultimately redistribute wealth to powerful agricultural interests who use their political clout to advance their economic interests at the expense of the general public. This analysis of government farm programs will appeal to professors and students who study agriculture; people affected by government farm policies; public officials, and businesses affected by agricultural policy such as those in food service, retail, and distribution.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Ag policy would be funny if it were not so tragic
This book defines the terms "perverse incentives" and "unintended consequences."At virtually every turn, from subsidies and set-asides to tariffs and quotas, the authors show that U.S. agricultural policy is not only expensive and unproductive, but also economically damaging to farmers everywhere - domestic and foreign.

"Plowshares and Porkbarrels" is a must read for all who are concerned with the continued competitiveness of American industry, services, AND FARMING.

... Read more

30. The Origins of Agriculture: An International Perspective
 Paperback: 240 Pages (2006-01-28)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$26.95
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Asin: 0817353496
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31. Sustainable Agriculture and Resistance
by Peter Rosset
Paperback: 320 Pages (2002-01-15)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$10.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0935028870
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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This is a story of resistance against all odds, of Cuba's remarkable recovery from a food crisis brought on by the collapse of trade relations with the former socialist bloc and the tightening of the U.S. embargo. Unable to import either food or the farm chemicals and machines needed to grow it via conventional agriculture, Cuba turned inward toward self-reliance. Sustainable agriculture, organic farming, urban gardens, smaller farms, animal traction and biological pest control are part of the successful paradigm shift underway in the Cuban countryside. In this book Cuban authors offer details-for the first time in English-of these remarkable achievements, which may serve as guideposts toward healthier, more environmentally friendly and self-reliant farming in countries both North and South. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars An amazing story that inpsires hope for the world
As a practitioner of sustainable agriculture and organic farming (I am a farmer, teacher and researcher) I found this story of how Cuba used organic farming to beat all odds and overcome a food crisis to be awe inspiring.Every professor, teacher, researcher, analyst, student, thinking farmer and advocate of sustainable agriculture MUST read this book.It will restore your hope.So should everyone interested in Cuba, Latin America, and Third World development.I loved to read it in the cuban's own, well-translated words.

2-0 out of 5 stars You can skip this one
Cuba has done an amazing job of switching over to organic, local food production. They did so to survive the assinine embargo of thier island, but in doing so they have shown the way for all of us to move to a sane mode of food production.You would want this book to be a delightful description of that process.You would be wrong.It is a leaden, tedious exercise in socialist writing with all the wit and charm of a phone book.Skip the book and just go to Cuba and see the results for yourself.Then come home and plant a garden. ... Read more

32. Consulting the Genius of the Place: An Ecological Approach to a New Agriculture
by Wes Jackson
Hardcover: 224 Pages (2010-10-01)
list price: US$26.00 -- used & new: US$12.99
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Asin: 1582435138
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Locavore leaders such as Alice Waters, Michael Pollan, and Barbara Kingsolver all speak of the need for sweeping changes in how we get our food. Also a longtime leader of this movement is Wes Jackson, who, for decades, has taken it upon himself to speak for the grasses and the land of the prairie, to speak for the soil itself. Here, heoffers a manifesto toward a conceptual revolution: Jackson asks us to look to natural ecosystems — or, if one prefers, nature in general — as the measure against which we judge all of our agricultural practices.

Wes Jackson believes the time is right to do away with monocultures, which are vulnerable to national security threats and are partly responsible for the explosion in our healthcare costs. Soil erosion, overgrazing, and the poisons polluting our water and air — all associated with our contemporary form of American agriculture — foretell a population with its physical health and land destroyed.

In this eloquent and timely call to arms, Jackson asks us to look to nature itself to lead us out of the mess we’ve made. We do this by consulting with the natural ecosystems that will tell us, if we listen, what should happen to the future of food.
... Read more

33. Governing Risk in GM Agriculture
Hardcover: 256 Pages (2010-11-30)
list price: US$85.00 -- used & new: US$80.08
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Asin: 1107001471
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This book addresses the issues and methods involved in governing risks posed by genetically modified (GM) agriculture. It examines the evolution of policies intended to ensure the safety of GM crops and food products in the United States and Europe and the regulatory approaches and other social controls employed to protect human health, the environment, conventional farming and foods, and the interests and rights of consumers. Discussion encompasses the cultural, political, and economic forces that shape the design and application of the methods of risk governance, as well as other contextual features such as the influence of multinational companies seeking acceptance of their GM ventures. This discussion also examines the influence of the dynamic public discourse fostered by progressive concepts of risk governance and the approaches taken to meet its demands for transparency, public participation, and appropriate consideration of public perceptions and values despite conflicting views of experts. ... Read more

34. Agriculture: An Introductory Reader: A Collection (Pocket Library of Spiritual Wisdom)
by Rudolf Steiner
Paperback: 236 Pages (2004-03)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$9.49
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Asin: 1855841134
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Rudolf Steiner, the often undervalued, multifaceted genius of modern times, contributed much to the regeneration of culture. In addition to his philosophical teachings, he provided ideas for the development of many practical activities including education—both general and special—agriculture, medicine, economics, architecture, science, religion, and the arts. Today there are thousands of schools, clinics, farms, and many other organizations based on his ideas.

Steiner's original contribution to human knowledge was based on his ability to conduct spiritual research, the investigation of metaphysical dimensions of existence. With his scientific and philosophical training, he brought a new systematic discipline to the field, allowing for conscious methods and comprehensive results. A natural seer from childhood, he cultivated his spiritual vision to a high degree, enabling him to speak with authority on previously veiled mysteries of life.

Topics include: the evolving human being; cosmos as the source of life; plants and the living earth; farms and the realms of nature; bringing the chemical elements to life; soil and the world of spirit; supporting and regulating life processes; spirits of the elements; nutrition and vitality; responsibility for the future. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars mind opening
When I first read this book several years ago, I couldn't stop laughing it seemed so absurd. For example, the passage on gnomes as living beings that are imprisoned in the earth but in love with the cosmos. I still do not know what to think. One of my skeptical psychiatrist friends,who nonetheless appreciates the depth of his insight,accuses Steiner of "overspiritualizing".
However, if you accept another more gnostic oriented view of reality, it no longer seems absurd at all. That the material world we look at can also be seen as more of a surface structure underlying "more real" reality. Does Steiner's ability to see the various spiritual entities at work in nature mean that he can see through the matrix and you can't? The thought is worth considering.

From a practical point of view, the book itself was of limited use for me as a gardener. For the actual practical application of bio-dynamics, I would recommend other books such as Thun's , biodynamic calendar or just about anyone who has built on the foundations Steiner laid. It is not a "how to" book. But I value this book for the understaning imparted of the principles behind bio-dynamics.

Steiner has influenced the manner in which I look at my garden,which seems much more a place full of mystery and poetry. I was also intrigued enough to do further research and apply their astrological calendar and utilize their various sprays and treatments which I purchased from a place called the Josephine Porter Institute.

And my garden the past few years has indeed been much more productive and this year more than ever. Was it just luck or weather? Or can I thank the spiritual and cosmic forces that were brought down from the heavens in concentrated form into the vortex which formed whileI was mixing the various sprays?

I have read some critics who refer to Steiner as a crackpot due to some of his apparently whackier ideas. However, I personally plan to do more bio-dynamically inspired zodiac planting next year, and I intend to use the horned silica and their various sprays.I will also be scattering the ashes of Japanese beetles and other pests when the stars and planets indicate thaat it is an auspicious time astrologically for the proper alchemical interactions with the group souls of these beings so that their intrusion into my gardening space can be deterred.

Yes, go ahead and laugh. But personally,I am also pleased to see that more and more stores such as Whole Foods and many farmer's markets are selling more bio-dynamic products.

Can we thank the gnomes, sylphs and undines for this success?

4-0 out of 5 stars Agriculture and Nutrition
This book contains a wide range of topics relevant to the subject of agriculture and nutrition.
What interests me greatly includes the chapters on nutrition and vitality. In response to a question concerning people's lack of will and progress in spiritual activites despite Rudolf Steiner's guidance, Rudolf's answer pointed to the problem of nutrition at that time which did not supply the strength necessary for those spiritual activities. I have also came across other articles which said that highly processed food, most of them grown chemically (using chemical fertilizers and pesticides) have a negative impact on the mind's will power and can lead to conflicts among human beings.
Another point I like to highlight is the topic on the nutrition of animals as discussed in this book. In 1923, Rudolf had already warned that if the ox would to consume meat, it's body would produce all kinds of harmful substances such as uric acid and urates. The urates would enter the brain and the ox would go crazy. These remarks had great relevance to the modern history of mad cow disease.

4-0 out of 5 stars organic farmer POV
The only reason I haven't given 5 stars is because Steiner's writing is not the easiest to read and most translations are somewhat clumsy.

As to Christian values from an earlier review, I suggest that dogma and doctrine which disallow plants and animals from God's kingdom are not what the Bible says. We are all part of God's creation (Genesis books 1 and 2) and all beings are worthy of respect and sympathetic care.

To be able to grow food and raise animals without depleting the earth's resources has been my family's work for generations. Biodynamic agriculture is the equivalent of homeopathy for the soil. It not only doesn't damage the soil but replenishes it. It stops pests without chemicals.

Conventional agriculture methods compress the soil, lock up nutrients and destroy friability. It' chemical add salts and residues that continue to damage for years.

We will be paying the price for their use in lower nutrition and higher health costs.

5-0 out of 5 stars The future standard of feeding the world
I very much disagree with the previous reviewer. Saying that Steiner's methodology is incompatible with Christian values makes me think that the reviewer has absolutely no idea about how Christianity relates to agriculture.

Plants and animals are living creates and are aware of their surroundings and likely to be influenced by them as much as humans are. You can ask any pet owner if this is true.

Biodynamic farming maybe the only way out of a sick system of conventional (read: chemical) farming that is slowly poisoning the soil and it's crops and inevitably: ourselves. Much agricultural land (and there is not much of it. Think about it: Most of our earth is not suitable for agriculture) is absolutely depleted of any fertility and most of that is due to chemical farming. It is one reason for the global price insurge of basic foods (wheat, dairy, vegetables) this year.

In the future, knowing how to grow food maybe the most valuable commodity. This method is an introduction to growing food the most sustainable way and may save many lives in the days to come.

1-0 out of 5 stars I burned this book
Before reading this book, I had been intrigued at the idea of Biodynamic Agriculture.My thought was to learn about Biodynamics from the source- Rudolph Steiner.
I couldn't even stomach reading this book.It is so New Age.It talks about plants and animals having spirits, and other things that are too dangerous to one's soul to read or mention.This book is incompatible with Christian values.I burned it. ... Read more

35. The Earthscan Reader in Sustainable Agriculture (Earthscan Readers Series)
Paperback: 304 Pages (2005-11)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$33.66
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1844072363
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* Only reader of its kind in this field, edited by the world’s leading expert on sustainable agriculture
* Maps out the complex subject area of sustainable agriculture; introduces and explains key hard-to-find literature
* Highly accessible--the essential student reference text

Our agricultural and food systems are not meeting everyone’s needs, and despite great progress in increasing productivity over the past century, hundreds of millions of people remain hungry and malnourished. This book describes a different form of agriculture: one founded more on ecological principles and which is also more harmonious with people, their societies, and cultures. The latest in the Earthscan Reader Series, this volume brings together the most influential scholarship in the field, containing both theoretical developments and critical appraisals of evidence addressing what is not sustainable about current or past agricultural and food systems, as well as studies of transitions towards agricultural and rural sustainability at farm, community, regional, national, and international levels, and through food supply chains.
Related titles: Agri-Culture * The Living Land * Regenerating Agriculture (all by Jules Pretty) * The Pesticide Detox (edited by Jules Pretty) ... Read more

36. The Fertile Earth: Nature's Energies in Agriculture, Soil Fertilisation and Forestry (The Eco-Technology Series, Volume 3)
by Viktor Schauberger
Paperback: 192 Pages (2001-03)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$28.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 185860060X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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How does Nature work? When one looks closely at the enormously complex web of life, it is impossible not to be caught by the wonder of how all living things - yes including rocks and crystals - are interconnected. Just as there is thought behind action, so there is energy behind matter. Schauberger is able to demonstrate how Nature works because he has been able to observe and describe how its energies manifest and produce the material world. This, the third volume in the eco-technology series, contains Schauberger's writings on trees, biodynamic agriculture and subtle energies in nautre. It answers questions like why are so many species of plant and animal disappearing? 'Industrial civilisation lurches towards ecological meltdown, Schauberger's prescient ideas and discoveries will be closely examined by all who seek to find a way for humanity to live in harmony, rather than conflict, with Nature.' - Ralph Metzner Other books by Viktor Schauberger Energy Evolution Nature as Teacher The Water Wizard. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars interesting but very scientific
A bit hard to read if you are not into reading a lot scientific information... but its a good book if you can get past that... slow read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Viktor Schauberger was a Genius!
Viktor not only knew about water, unlike most people today, but he was a genius in regards to farming as well.When you live close to Nature, like Viktor did, you uncover a lot of truths about the world around you.This book is well written and was a pleasure reading.Without the forests we have no water and with poorly treated soil we end-up with poor quality food and more illnesses.If you care about the earth buy this book and spread the word. Cheers to Viktor Schauberger and all his insights, and to Callum Coats for translating it into English

5-0 out of 5 stars Are you trying to save Mother Earth?
If you are in any way interested in the environement, then this book will appeal to you. This is the third book in the highly acclaimed "Eco-Technology" series by Callum Coats. Not only does the book delve into what man is doing to harm the environement, it also offers "fresh" ideas on what we can and should DO about it. I can't believe "Green Peace" or some other pro-environmental group doesn't have this book as part of their by-laws! Fascinating. Of coarse, the entire book is based on the revolutionary work of Viktor Schauberger. This one, if you are into farming, just have a back-yard garden, or are a hard core pro-earth person, will keep you reading till the end...and want to read the entire series. A very well written and inspiring book. A differnent view of natural phenomena, the influence of temperature and water movement, forestry, agriculture, the energy industry, the dying forest, timber and water in the building industry, soil fertilisation, increased productivity...wow! Again, whether you are just into learning what's happening to the earth, and why, or you are serious about trying to DO something to stop the damage already done, this book will open your eyes. ... Read more

37. American Agriculture in the Twentieth Century: How It Flourished and What It Cost
by Bruce L. Gardner
Paperback: 400 Pages (2006-03-31)
list price: US$32.00 -- used & new: US$31.24
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Asin: 067401989X
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American agriculture in the twentieth century has given the world one of its great success stories, a paradigm of productivity and plenty. Yet the story has its dark side, from the plight of the Okies in the 1930s to the farm crisis of the 1980s to today's concerns about low crop prices and the impact of biotechnology. Looking at U.S. farming over the past century, Bruce Gardner searches out explanations for both the remarkable progress and the persistent social problems that have marked the history of American agriculture.

Gardner documents both the economic difficulties that have confronted farmers and the technological and economic transformations that have lifted them from relative poverty to economic parity with the nonfarm population. He provides a detailed analysis of the causes of these trends, with emphasis on the role of government action. He reviews how commodity support programs, driven by interest-group politics, have spent hundreds of billions of dollars to little purpose. Nonetheless, Gardner concludes that by reconciling competing economic interests while fostering productivity growth and economic integration of the farm and nonfarm economies, the overall twentieth-century role of government in American agriculture is fairly viewed as a triumph of democracy.

(20030101) ... Read more

38. Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes: Designing Urban Agriculture for Sustainable Cities
Paperback: 304 Pages (2005-04-27)
list price: US$61.95 -- used & new: US$48.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0750655437
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This book on urban design extends and develops the widely accepted 'compact city' solution. It provides a design proposal for a new kind of sustainable urban landscape: Urban Agriculture. By growing food within an urban rather than exclusively rural environment, urban agriculture would reduce the need for industrialized production, packaging and transportation of foodstuffs to the city dwelling consumers. The revolutionary and innovative concepts put forth in this book have potential to shape the future of our cities quality of life within them.

Urban design is shown in practice through international case studies and the arguments presented are supported by quantified economic, environmental and social justifications.

* Is THE first book on urban agriculture for architects, landscape architects and urban designers
* Presents concepts with the potential to have an immense impact on the future shape of cities
* Includes over 200 images providing readers a clear visual idea of this pioneering subject ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Somewhat specific to geography but filled with good information
I bought this to help understand and choose a site for my thesis in NYC, it came in handy. The price hurt a bit, esp for a grad student ... Read more

39. Buying at the Point of Maximum Pessimism: Six Value Investing Trends from China to Oil to Agriculture
by Scott Phillips, Lauren Templeton
Hardcover: 288 Pages (2010-05-15)
list price: US$26.99 -- used & new: US$13.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0137038496
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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“Sir John’s ability to comprehend complex concepts and distill these into money-making ideas for his investors was legendary. With this book, Scott Phillips extends Sir John Templeton’s crystal clear vision to some of tomorrow’s most interesting and powerful money-making opportunities. All readers should be prepared to learn–and profit!”

Jeffrey Everett, Founding Partner, Everkey Global Partners


“The brilliant global investing strategy of Sir John Templeton finds new life in Scott Phillips’ Buying at the Point of Maximum Pessimism. With the U.S. in trouble, savvy international investing is a must, and this book shows you the best places to put your money for serious profits ahead.”

Christopher Ruddy, CEO, Newsmax Media, Inc.


“In Buying at the Point of Maximum Pessimism, Scott Phillips delivers a road map to investment success traveled by the very few but guaranteed to lead you to enormous profits. The book offers a delightful, common sense approach to investing that unfortunately is not so common.”

Robert P. Miles, author, The Warren Buffett CEO


"If you want to mitigate your risks while leveraging your long-term sources for growth, read every page of this book and invest accordingly. In ten or twenty years you will look back and be thankful you did.”  

Theodore Roosevelt Malloch, Ph.D., Research Professor, Yale University and CEO, The Roosevelt Group


Value Investing for the 2010s! Earn Consistent Long-Term Profits in a Radically New Market Environment


Legendary value investor Sir John Templeton knew the secret of earning consistent profits: In times of maximum pessimism, recognize what your long-term opportunities are–and be ready to pounce. This book shows you where today’s long-term opportunities are, so you can earn outsized profits when the “herd” is running away in terror.


Lauren Templeton Capital Management’s Scott Phillips identifies six powerful value investing themes for the 2010s: areas of long-term growth that become even more compelling in volatile or bear markets. This is value investing for the 2010s: a set of emerging opportunities you can profit from, while other investors are selling in fear!

... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Read
Wow, what a great book!The detailed yet concise explanation and summation of the subprime crisis and how we have gotten to where we are now is exceptional.Very educational and witty leading up to the sound and prudent investing ideas in the second half of the book.Forget the latest "stock of the week" TV craze and read this book to guide you toward the solid value investments of the future.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well written and contains trends and ideas that investors can profit from now.
In his latest work, Scott Phillips offers the reader opportunities by bringing up unique ideas that any investor can utilize.The new value investing trends he brings up are very relevant to the current financial layout and should be consumed to add to the investors' arsenal of ideas.In addition to being forward looking, Phillips also explains thoroughly the cause and effect of the current financial crisis that started in the last quarter of 2008.One of the best aspects of the book is that it is easy to digest and a pleasure to read.While presenting the investing themes, Phillips incorporates his experience, the wisdom of Sir John Templeton, and the idea of buying at "Maximum Pessimism". As an avid value investor, it has contributed to my philosophy and especially in generating ideas that I can use immediately in this environment.I definitely recommend adding this book to your collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars International Ideas
Expecting a book on valuation based market timing, I was pleasantly surprised to find current, specific, international investment ideas.I have worked with Scott for years and enjoyed seeing his current ideas.I plan to put some of them to work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perspectives on International Investing
Buying at the Point of Maximum Pessimism is a perceptive book capturing Sir John Templeton's disciplined investment process. For a long term investor this book makes sense, buy high value stocks for cheap prices. Phillips emphasizes the importance of discipline and timing with this strategy.

I was particularly interested in the growth opportunities presented in countries such as China and other emerging markets as well as numerous industries including alternative energy sources and aquaculture. I have spent most of my life reading books on value investing and working with US equities;therefore, the book spiked my curiosity for the emerging markets.

5-0 out of 5 stars Pessimist about markets?Great advice on how to find opportunities
Who invests at the point of maximum pessimism?Only someone with some degree of optimism and some knowledge of overreaction and longer term positive trends.For the knowledge needed to exercise optimism at the point of maximum pessimism, I recommend you read Phillips analysis of six long-term investment themes.
At the most recent point of maximum pessimism in March of 2009, I was attending a meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society (MPS), a society which gathers the largest amount of renowned market-oriented economists in the world, including several Nobel Laureates. Except a few economists trained in the school of Mises and F.A. Hayek, founder of the MPS, most recognized that they failed to predict the crisis.The evening when the stock market hit the bottom, an ally who had been up to that point THE star investor and had gone short, gathered a group of peers, other savvy investors, and led an off-program session. Prediction: the market was going to fall further, getting close to a Dow 2,000. Eight years before, at the height of the technology bubble I heard James Glassman present a paper at the same society.He wrote a book arguing that "fundamentals had changed" and the Dow would hit 36,000.For the sake of our investments I did not pay attention to either forecast, but I am paying attention to the balanced analysis presented by Scott Phillips.He does not fall into any radical forecast, uses sound research, understands economics, and implements the successful methods of John Templeton for investing.
I greatly enjoyed this work. It not only helps expand the knowledge and horizons of most investors, but it also has an underlying and subtle educational message about how an economy really works.Even if it is not its main purpose, those who read it end up with a much better grasp of the essential aspects of a free enterprise system, and the necessary fiscal and juridical framework needed for its success.
Division of Labor over a wide area with some respect for property rights has been the driver of the wealth of nations.Phillips' optimistic analysis of Brazil and China is based on these countries move to bigger respect of market principles.Neither is scrutinized with the same thoroughness as the US economy but the author is correct in describing these two markets as full of opportunities.There is much more transparency in the media and in dissemination of economic data in the US than in China.Nevertheless, only a very small minority of economists predicted the US banking crisis: understanding the real situation of the banking sector in China, and all the areas which might be affected in case of a collapse, is a much more daunting task. Opportunities abound, but buyers beware (caveat emptor).
The growth of the for profit educational market, as well as the growth in the demand for energy and food, follows from the opportunities brought up by development in China, and other economies.Phillips analyzes agriculture and focuses on aquaculture, describing the challenges and opportunities of a market where for many decades supply suffered from the problem of the commons, due to the lack of property rights in most oceanic waters.
As I have good access to the best economic, business and political analysis in Chile, I tried to corroborate Phillips analysis of the crisis in their salmon industry. While many (or should I say most) free enterprise advocates try to hide the sins of private businesses, the author does not follow into the trap.It is true that the crisis needed the collaboration of lax regulatory and control bodies, and that anti-business NGO's like those financed by Doug Tompkins, help exacerbate the problem.Reluctance to adjudicate additional fishing areas created incentives for overproducing. But this does not absolve the blind greed of many producers which ended up turning a growth industry into an example of social irresponsibility.It will take many years for this Chilean business to recover its dynamism.Phillips is correct in pointing out that this crisis should not blind us to the many profitable opportunities in aquaculture.
The huge role of the state sector in the energy business, aptly described by Phillips, creates extra homework for those who wish to apply Sir John Templeton's investment principles in this area.The educational market is also one that suffers from government intervention, but Phillips focuses on companies providing less regulated services, such as those which prepare students for college entrance examinations in China.
It required discipline and courage to enter the US market during the point of maximum pessimism. Similar traits are required to pick the right stocks and profit from the six investment trends described by Phillips.By providing an extended analysis of the weakness of the US economy and the policies implemented today and a less thorough but extensive analysis of investment opportunities around the globe, this book opens horizons for those who wish to pursue profitable investments with an open mind an adequate risk threshold. Hope the author is preparing a sequel, "selling at the point of highest optimism."
... Read more

40. Farmers of Forty Centuries; Or, Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan
by F. H. (Franklin Hiram) King
Paperback: 188 Pages (2010-01-14)
list price: US$12.49 -- used & new: US$12.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1444425439
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Farmers of Forty Centuries; Or, Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan. please visit www.valdebooks.com for a full list of titles ... Read more

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