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1. A Revolution Down on the Farm:
2. Civic Agriculture: Reconnecting
3. Sea Energy Agriculture
4. Crisis and Opportunity: Sustainability
5. Dry-Farming : a System of Agriculture
6. Public Produce: The New Urban
7. Field Guide to California Agriculture
8. Natures Matrix: Linking Agriculture,
9. Financial Management in Agriculture
10. Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture
11. Ancient Agriculture: Roots and
12. A History of World Agriculture:
13. Above the Pavement - the Farm!
14. Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen's
15. World Agriculture and the Environment:
16. Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture:
17. Buying at the Point of Maximum
18. The Birth of Development: How
19. Against the Grain: How Agriculture
20. Emergence of Agriculture ("Scientific

1. A Revolution Down on the Farm: The Transformation of American Agriculture since 1929
by Paul K. Conkin
Paperback: 240 Pages (2009-06-17)
list price: US$22.50 -- used & new: US$14.25
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0813192420
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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At a time when food is becoming increasingly scarce in many parts of the world and food prices are skyrocketing, no industry is more important than agriculture. Humans have been farming for thousands of years, and yet agriculture has undergone more fundamental changes in the past 80 years than in the previous several centuries. In 1900, 30 million American farmers tilled the soil or tended livestock; today there are fewer than 4.5 million farmers who feed a population four times larger than it was at the beginning of the century. Fifty years ago, the planet could not have sustained a population of 6.5 billion; now, commercial and industrial agriculture ensure that millions will not die from starvation. Farmers are able to feed an exponentially growing planet because the greatest industrial revolution in history has occurred in agriculture since 1929, with U.S. farmers leading the way. Productivity on American farms has increased tenfold, even as most small farmers and tenants have been forced to find other work. Today, only 300,000 farms produce approximately ninety percent of the total output, and overproduction, largely subsidized by government programs and policies, has become the hallmark of modern agriculture. A Revolution Down on the Farm: The Transformation of American Agriculture since 1929 charts the profound changes in farming that have occurred during author Paul K. Conkin's lifetime. His personal experiences growing up on a small Tennessee farm complement compelling statistical data as he explores America's vast agricultural transformation and considers its social, political, and economic consequences. He examines the history of American agriculture, showing how New Deal innovations evolved into convoluted commodity programs following World War II. Conkin assesses the skills, new technologies, and government policies that helped transform farming in America and suggests how new legislation might affect farming in decades to come. Although the increased production and mechanization of farming has been an economic success story for Americans, the costs are becoming increasingly apparent. Small farmers are put out of business when they cannot compete with giant, non-diversified corporate farms. Caged chickens and hogs in factory-like facilities or confined dairy cattle require massive amounts of chemicals and hormones ultimately ingested by consumers. Fertilizers, new organic chemicals, manure disposal, and genetically modified seeds have introduced environmental problems that are still being discovered. A Revolution Down on the Farm concludes with an evaluation of farming in the twenty-first century and a distinctive meditation on alternatives to our present large scale, mechanized, subsidized, and fossil fuel and chemically dependent system.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
A deep and inviting look into why the American agriculture system looks the way it does. While much more prosaic in approach and not as revolutionary as the writings of Wendell Berry, by looking at the facts Conkin draws the same conclusions, problems, and solutions that we as Americans face in both our Agriculture and Culture.

5-0 out of 5 stars Well organized and very interesting
I found this book to be a complete view of farming and offered information on the history of farming and the laws which affect it, as well as the current application of federal regulations. Highly recommended for anyone in agriculture or farming.

5-0 out of 5 stars Critical of American agriculture?This is how we got here. . .
As Americans grow more concerned about where their food comes from, it is important to understand how our current agricultural system developed.Paul Conkin's "A Revolution Down on the Farm," a history of American agriculture since the Great Depression, provides an excellent account.

According to Conkin, new technologies allowed American agriculture to experience tremendous productivity increases after World War II.While population has grown since World War II, agricultural productivity has grown even more.The upshot of this is less hunger in the world; on the other hand, the supply of agricultural products usually far exceeds demand, as farmers (for some reason) are exceedingly bad at responding to price signals.

Conkin then explores policymakers' efforts to address this supply-demand imbalance and assure farmers a decent income.Remarkably, he provides a readily comprehensible account of America's various farm bills and the measures they have employed to reduce crop acreage and keep farm incomes up.Ultimately, however, technological advances outweighed the acreage reductions, pushing profit margins down and requiring many farmers to "get big" to stay in business.

Conkin's clear history is augmented by personal recollections of his childhood on a small farm in eastern Tennessee.He also provides his own assessment of American agriculture at the end of the book.While Conkin clearly admires the productivity of modern agriculture, he also laments its human and environmental effects.

"A Revolution Down on the Farm" is a compelling read; I highly recommend it.

4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting
Very interesting to read how the farm and rural areas have changed throughout the years.

5-0 out of 5 stars A comparison with today's financial crisis.
The book is clearly written.Readers should compare the crises in agriculture and the actions of government in the 1930's with today's financial crisis and especially how today's government is trying to deal with the financial crisis. ... Read more

2. Civic Agriculture: Reconnecting Farm, Food, and Community (Civil Society: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives)
by Thomas A. Lyson
Paperback: 160 Pages (2004-06-01)
list price: US$21.95 -- used & new: US$19.66
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1584654147
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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While the American agricultural and food systems follow a decades-old path of industrialization and globalization, a counter trend has appeared toward localizing some agricultural and food production. Thomas A. Lyson, a scholar-practitioner in the field of community-based food systems, calls this rebirth of locally based agriculture and food production civic agriculture because these activities are tightly linked to a community's social and economic development. Civic agriculture embraces innovative ways to produce, process, and distribute food, and it represents a sustainable alternative to the socially, economically, and environmentally destructive practices associated with conventional large-scale agriculture. Farmers' markets, community gardens, and community-supported agriculture are all forms of civic agriculture.

Lyson describes how, in the course of a hundred years, a small-scale, diversified system of farming became an industrialized system of production and also how this industrialized system has gone global. He argues that farming in the United States was modernized by employing the same techniques and strategies that transformed the manufacturing sector from a system of craft production to one of mass production. Viewing agriculture as just another industrial sector led to transformations in both the production and the processing of food. As small farmers and food processors were forced to expand, merge with larger operations, or go out of business, they became increasingly disconnected from the surrounding communities. Lyson enumerates the shortcomings of the current agriculture and food systems as they relate to social, economic, and environmental sustainability. He then introduces the concept of community problem solving and offers empirical evidence and concrete examples to show that a re-localization of the food production system is underway. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Important and too often ignored
The issues that are addressed by Thomas Lyson in this small volume are important and becoming more so. He describes in adequate detail the progression from subsistance farming of our great grand parents to the industrial farms of today. He goes on to discuss how feeding and clothing the world's growing population in that manner is becoming more and more problematic and shows how the development of community based agriculture provides a path out of that morass.

One need not be an agronomist or agricultural economist to appreciate Professor Lyson's statement of the problem and its possible solution. In fact, the non-technical reader could well perceive this book as a good starting point for participation in this most important discussion. ... Read more

3. Sea Energy Agriculture
by Maynard Murray
Paperback: 109 Pages (2003-01-01)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$144.46
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 091131170X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Maynard Murray was a medical doctor who researched the crucial importance of minerals - especially trace elements - to plants and animals. Beginning in 1938 and continuing through the 1950s, Dr. Murray used sea solids - mineral salts remaining after water is evaporated from ocean water - as fertilizer on a variety of vegetables, fruits and grains. His extensive experiments demonstrated repeatedly and conclusively that plants fertilized with sea solids and animals fed sea-solid-fertilized feeds grow stronger and more resistant to disease.

Sea Energy Agriculture recounts Murray's experiments and presents his astounding conclusions. The work of this eco-pioneer was largely ignored during his lifetime, and his book became a lost classic - out-of-print for more than 25 years. Now this rare volume is once again available, with a new foreward and afterword by the founder of Acres U.S.A., Charles Walters. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Keys to a hidden treasure
This book should be in the library of every farmer that desires to produce healthy, nutritious crops and livestock.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sea Energy Agriculture (Paperback) by Maynard Murray
This is some thing which never came to my mind because I thought it was impossible.

After reading the book I realised the value of Sea water and Sea solids. I tried it on my house plants first. I saw unbelievable results. Many farmers can save billions of dollars if they try this. I guarantee it.

5-0 out of 5 stars EVERYONE should read this book!
The information in this book will save you & your family's lives. Grow your own produce without poisons and with all the nutrients the human body needs to be healthy and stay out of the doctor's office for good. I'm serious, take your life back from commercial GMO's and depleted nutrition. Go to [...] and get started, we did!!

5-0 out of 5 stars Best book ever! Eat vegan living foods!
This book will open your mind to a new level of thinking. A must for anybody who eats food. Pick up a copy for all the farmers in your area! ... Read more

4. Crisis and Opportunity: Sustainability in American Agriculture (Our Sustainable Future)
by John E. Ikerd
Paperback: 342 Pages (2008-05-01)
list price: US$18.95 -- used & new: US$11.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0803211422
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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With the decline of family farms and rural communities and the rise of corporate farming and the resulting environmental degradation, American agriculture is in crisis. But this crisis offers the opportunity to rethink agriculture in sustainable terms. Here one of the most eloquent and influential proponents of sustainable agriculture explains what this means. These engaging essays describe what sustainable agriculture is, why it began, and how it can succeed. Together they constitute a clear and compelling vision for rebalancing the ecological, economic, and social dimensions of agriculture to meet the needs of the present without compromising the future.
In Crisis and Opportunity, John E. Ikerd outlines the consequences of agricultural industrialization, then details the methods that can restore economic viability, ecological soundness, and social responsibility to our agricultural system and thus ensure sustainable agriculture as the foundation of a sustainable food system and a sustainable society.
(20081101) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Establishes that the current factory farm,petroleum based agricultural system is not sustainable
Ikerd has done an excellent job of demonstrating that the current factory farm approach to farming is simply not economically sustainable or environmentally sound in the long run.It has TWO Achilles heels .The first is that it relies completely on petroleum based chemicals,fertilizers,pesticides,fungicides,and herbicides that, cumulatively, are contributing to significant soil erosion and top soil loss in order to produce and harvest various grain crops throughout the world.Increases in the price of a barrel of oil automatically translates into higher and higher food prices inall countries.Third world countries are especially impacted negatively .The second involves the factory farm extension to meat production.This approach requires the use of massive amounts of antibiotics to deal with/prevent the periodic outbreaks of contagious diseases that can spread through animal populations' crammed together like sardines in a can.These antibiotics also make the animals fatter,thus generating a higher profit per animal sold.Unfortunately,the social costs of such animal factory farms are passed down to the consumer.The consumerdevelops a resistance to the antibiotics contained in the meat products as he consumes more amd more meat over time.More and more germs are developing such resistance to a wide range of antibiotics. The doctors of sick patients discover all too often that the antibiotics do not work . ... Read more

5. Dry-Farming : a System of Agriculture for Countries under a Low Rainfall
by John Andreas Widtsoe
Paperback: 164 Pages (2006-11-03)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$13.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1406930520
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This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery. ... Read more

6. Public Produce: The New Urban Agriculture
by Darrin Nordahl
Paperback: 200 Pages (2009-09-23)
list price: US$30.00 -- used & new: US$23.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1597265888
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Public Produce makes a uniquely contemporary case not for central government intervention, but for local government involvement in shaping food policy. In what Darrin Nordahl calls “municipal agriculture,” elected officials, municipal planners, local policymakers, and public space designers are turning to the abundance of land under public control (parks, plazas, streets, city squares, parking lots, as well as the grounds around libraries, schools, government offices, and even jails) to grow food.
Public agencies at one time were at best indifferent about, or at worst dismissive of, food production in the city. Today, public officials recognize that food insecurity is affecting everyone, not just the inner-city poor, and that policies seeking to restructure the production and distribution of food to the tens of millions of people living in cities have immediate benefits to community-wide health and prosperity.
This book profiles urban food growing efforts, illustrating that there is both a need and a desire to supplement our existing food production methods outside the city with  opportunities inside the city. Each of these efforts works in concert to make fresh produce more available to the public. But each does more too: reinforcing a sense of place and building community; nourishing the needy and providing economic assistance to entrepreneurs; promoting food literacy and good health; and allowing for “serendipitous sustenance.” There is much to be gained, Nordahl writes, in adding a bit of agrarianism into our urbanism.
(20090718) ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Public land for public produce
Public Produce: The New Urban Agriculture may be ahead of its time.It poses an interesting question to city and town planners - and we, the residents: should local food production rank right up there with planning for local housing, roads and education?

Darrin Nordahl who has taught at the University of California Extension in Berkeley and now works for the Community and Economic Development Department in Davenport, Iowa, considers municipally sponsored agricultural projects a natural extension of the "post organic/buy local" movement. He presents some stunning projects to prove his point. Local governments can become a change agent in the area of local food production.

Mayor Richard Daley of Chicago, who reasons that "importing some food is different from importing most of it," houses a 200,000-member apiary on the green roof of City Hall.Sale of its honey supports local cultural events.Kaiser Permanente, the largest health organization in the country, opens Farmers Markets in thirty of its facilities from Georgia to Hawaii.The first, in Oakland, California, was started because a Kaiser doctor is convinced that "nothing is more important to people's health that what they eat everyday."

In Detroit, Michigan, 30 percent of the city's land is vacant.Community groups have converted these underused locations into local opportunities to produce food. Detroit's urban farming recently sparked stories in the New York Times.Seattle adopted a city-wide goal: create a dedicated garden site for each 2,500 households.Providence, Rhode Island intends to double the amount of food grown in and around the city in the next ten years. Des Moines, Iowa, has already moved beyond public food gardens to establish public orchards, grape arbors and a nuttery.

The author argues that "the sheer abundance of land within public control necessitates a hard look at how it can best serve the needs of the shareholders" and points to an "increasing number of public officials across the country who believe growing food is not only an acceptable land use, but necessary for the health and well-being of the community.

The future will hopefully be, as Nordahl suggests, a time when growing food constitutes "the highest and best use for land."The publication of this book certainly forwards that view of the future.
... Read more

7. Field Guide to California Agriculture (California Natural History Guides)
by Paul Starrs, Peter Goin
Paperback: 504 Pages (2010-07-06)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$15.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0520265432
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Anyone who travels California's byways sees the many faces of agriculture. A huge entwined business, farming and ranching are the state's dominant land use. Yet few Californians understand what animals and crops are raised or how agriculture reflects our relationship with nature. This fascinating and gorgeously illustrated field guide gathers essential information about agriculture and its environmental context, and answers the perennial question posed by California travelers: "What is that, and why is it growing here?" Paul F. Starrs's lively text explores the full range of the state's agriculture, deftly balancing agribusiness triumphalism with the pride of boutique producers, sketching meanwhile the darker shadows that can envelop California farming. Documented with diverse maps and Peter Goin's insightful photographs, A Field Guide to California Agriculture captures the industry's energy and ingenuity and its wildly diverse iconography, from the mysteries of forbidden crops (like marijuana) to the majesties of scale in food production. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Geographical Masterpiece
In their Field Guide to California Agriculture, geographer Paul F. Starrs and photographer Peter Goin have devised a new genre of writing. The book's title hardly does it justice, as the "field guide" that it encompasses is embedded in a comprehensive, erudite, and eloquent disquisition on the history, economics, sociology and - above all - geography of agricultural production in what is arguably the world's top farming location. It is, in a word, a masterpiece - one that should appeal equally to a broad public audience and to academic experts. The authors have an uncanny ability to hone in on topics of interest and significance, conveying their importance with precision and wit. Their book is both immensely informative and unfailingly entertaining.

Thanks in good part to the University of California Press, field guides have been evolving in recent years. Starrs and Goin, however, have taken the genre to a new completely new level, in both a scholarly and literary sense. To be sure, the book fulfills all of the necessary functions of the traditional field guide, aiding readers in crop and animal identification. Distinguishing features are listed for each entry, and an eight-page "agricultural product identification" guide provides a useful overview. If one is wondering, for example, whether an orchard contains walnut trees, guidelines are provided. As the walnut entry on page 216 puts it: "The utterly distinctive graft line where the English walnut slip was grafted onto a native black walnut rootstock ... shows 6 to 24 inches above the ground: an instantaneous sign that this is a walnut..." But as is typical for the book, the key to walnut identification does not conclude so prosaically. Instead, the paragraph ends with an evocative tag: "The cicatrice is signature." One does not generally turn to field guides for stylistic grace, but Starrs' writing is at once eloquent and playful. One gets the impression that he had a great deal of fun writing the book, and his enthusiasm can be infectious.

The Field Guide to California Agriculture covers a staggering array of crops and livestock, from bok choi to oysters to cannabis. Each entry covers economic significance, spatial distribution, historical background, and issues of labor demand and farm management. The photos are plentiful and the maps are sharp. California's share of the national harvest is duly noted for each entry, as is the market value. Obtaining the relevant numbers required considerable sleuthing for some crops. The marijuana entry is one of the most detailed in the book, as befits a crop that may well be worth more than all other California agricultural products combined. It is to Starrs and Goin's credit that they tackle the issue head-on, writing about it with knowledge and verve.

The Field Guide to California Agriculture is divided into four main sections. The largest is an encyclopedia of crops and livestock, forming the field guide proper. The volume begins with a 70-page historical overview, and concludes with a similarly comprehensive essay on agricultural regions. These book-ends could together form a book on their own. The second section is a luscious photographical gallery aptly titled, "The Paradox and Poetics of Agriculture." With enlargements and additions, it too could stand alone. Packaged together with the individual crop entries, they add up to a tour de force. ... Read more

8. Natures Matrix: Linking Agriculture, Conservation and Food Sovereignty
by Ivette Perfecto, John Vandermeer, Angus Wright
Paperback: 242 Pages (2009-10)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$28.64
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1844077829
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The subject of Nature’s Matrix is conservation of biodiversity, but it differs from other books by proposing a radically new approach based on recent advances in the science of ecology plus certain political realities.

The analysis in Nature's Matrix is based on the linking of three key political issues that are intimately related, yet often treated in isolation. The first is the crisis of biodiversity loss, universally acknowledged as a major contemporary problem. The second has to do with food and agriculture, a crisis issue for the past two decades. The third is the political unrest in rural areas, engendered most recently by a collapse in rural product markets, resulting in massive rural-urban and international migration. This book shows how these three issues are interrelated in complex ways, focusing on the need to understand that interrelationship for the generation of effective conservation programs.

These ideas challenge some in the conservation community since they are at odds with the major trends of some of the large conservation organizations that emphasize targeted land purchases of protected areas. They argue that recent advances in ecological research make such a general approach anachronistic and call, rather, for solidarity with the small farmers around the world who are currently struggling to attain food sovereignty. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Small Farmers are the Future
The park system is the prevailing model for biodiversity protection in the world - think Teddy R. and the US National Park Service; think Tanzania's Selous National Park, the biggest in the world.Armed guards, strict rules, "nature here, humans there". Biologists have long recognized that local extinctions were common, even in these big, dynamic parks, so "corridors" were the rage a few years ago, little pathways that would connect two "natural" areas to each other to allow migration (the solution to local extinction) - bridges over busy highways, for example.Most ecologists have found this approach hasn't worked.

Using a dazzling array of different disciplinary perspectives (biology, history, politics, anthropology), Perfecto et al. propose a "matrix" model of biodiversity protection that recognizes humans as potential stewards of the environment right where they live and work.Conservationists, they argue, have been blind to the political realities that drive extinction in the most sensitive regions, regions that happen to be in the poorest areas of the world.They focus their attention on agriculture, which has been such a destructive force in places like Brazilian Amazon.But they draw an important distinction between the Green Revolution-style industrial system usually encouraged by the global economic powers and the farming practiced by smallholders around the world.The latter, they argue, actually contribute to this matrix of biodiversity by showing more care for the land and thus conservationists should support and work closely with rural social movements that advocate for them.

The book cites two large case studies from Latin America from coffee farms in Central America and cocoa farms in Brazil.In both cases, the authors found a rich diversity of species living in and migrating through the farms.These farms practiced traditional and/or sustainable methods that involved the use of naturally occurring shade trees. Examples of maize farming in Mexico and wetland protection via rice fields in Southeast Asia are also provided. The authors make a well-developed argument that supporting such farms should be central to any conservation plan, especially in the developing world.

One minor criticism I have is the authors' somewhat incongruous choice of cash crop farms as a case study in arguing for food sovereignty. The methods practiced by these farmers is admirable, but they're still at the whim of global markets to a large extent. Farms provisioning food for local markets should play a bigger role in any discussion of food sovereignty.Nevertheless, the findings are hopeful and paradigm-rattling and will likely make conservationists and rural development practitioners rethink their methods.

5-0 out of 5 stars A strong addition to environmental history collections
People go where there is food. "Nature's Matrix: Linking Agriculture, Conservation, and Food Sovereignty", the collaborative work of Ivette Perfecto, John Vandermeer, and Angus Wright, is an intriguing history that discusses humanity, and how agriculture drives development through ecological effects on earth. Calling upon modern research on the subject, Ivette Perfecto and his associates, professors on the subject, enlighten and intrigue readers about nature's invisible mathematical hand and its impact on human society. "Nature's Matrix" is a strong addition to environmental history collections. ... Read more

9. Financial Management in Agriculture (6th Edition)
by Peter J. Barry, Paul N. Ellinger, John A. Hopkin, C. B. Baker
Paperback: 682 Pages (1999-09-25)
list price: US$71.60 -- used & new: US$56.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 081343176X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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PLEASE PROVIDE COURSE INFORMATIONThis book develops and applies concepts, analytical methods, and descriptive information about agricultural finance. It focuses on planning, analyzing, and controlling business performance in agriculture and related financial markets. This edition includes new chapters on the management environment for financial institutions, financial intermediaries in agriculture, and legal aspects of finance. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Financial Management in Agriculture (6th Edition)
This a comprehensive rewiev financial Management of a farm. ... Read more

10. Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture (Conservation Classics)
by John Smith
Paperback: 422 Pages (1987-12-01)
list price: US$60.00 -- used & new: US$53.97
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0933280440
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars a visionary book
This is an amazing book!Published in 1950, it is the second, enlarged edition of a book originally written in, I think, 1939.It reflects a lifetime of research around the world and personal trials on the author's farm in Virginia on the uses of tree crops for animal and human food.It anticipates the permaculture literature in advocating a "two-storey" agriculture, with tree crops (primarily nuts) as the primary source of animal fodder on sloping and hilly land.It documents the incredible productivity of tree crops and their traditional uses as fodder for pigs, goats, cattle, and poultry.I was particularly struck by the evidence from southern Europe, where extensive chestnut forests produce(d) some of the finest pork in the region.But there is evidence from around the globe, attesting to not only the uses of tree crops but their potential for breeding to build on that potential.

Following up on Smith's advice, I went to my local garden shop recently to inquire about honey locusts.Oh yes, I was told, we sold quite a few to the city as shade trees.No, no, I said, I want a messy variety, one that drops bushels of pods.She looked it up.Apparently the breeders have indeed been at work since Smith wrote -- eliminating the seeds from a tree that could provide nutritious feed to replace the corn and soy beans whose production has been ravishing the planet for decades!The book should be in every permaculturalist's library but in every rural public library, as well, and regularly taught in our terrible agricultural colleges.

5-0 out of 5 stars A solution for the future
A wonderful book. Required reading for those interested in the future of farming and food-systems. A great deal of our food comes from trees, which do not need to be replanted constantly, so soil and ecosystem destruction from plowing is greatly reduced. Very close to the ideas of Bill Mollison's permaculture. You can do this right in our own backyard garden.

4-0 out of 5 stars Dilligent but Grand
Tree Crops is a real gem of a book for anyone interested in sustainable agriculture.In 1953, J. Russell Smith proposed shifting to an no-till agriculture based on trees as a way to avoid soil erosion, nutrient depletion, and weeds.His proposal is well thought out, researched, and presented.A delightful set of small black and white photographs illustrates applications of his idea.One shows pigs collecting the mulberries from the grassy field of a mulberry grove...other pictures illustrate carob and persimmons cultivation.J. Russell Smith taught economic geography at Columbia University, but he was interested in concrete details. The writing style is calm and diligent, but the proposal is a grand one, is it not?

5-0 out of 5 stars A Visionary; A Vision and a Timeless Prescription
J. Russel Smith's book changed my life.It set me on a course to become an authority on solving world hunger on a local level and I have traveled to the third world with Smith's advice clearly in mind.This is not an easy read, and the photographs are black and white, not very clear and dated.But.This man writes in the 1950's (this is a reprint) that we need to stop the destruction of the rain forests of the world (! - now THAT was thinking ahead!).Agricultural planners in all countries need to give this book a look:Smith is right on and shows a way in the darkness towards universal food without shortages.This book should be on the shelf of any serious world agriculturalist and anyone who deems that world hunger can be overcome.

4-0 out of 5 stars Tree crops offer potential solutions for a sustainable ag.
I don't have too much to say about Tree Crops---A Permanent Agriculture wrote by J. Russell Smith and the introduction by Wendell Berry.Its is a summary of tree choices for US lands and there potential roles as a foodsource for humans and livestock.I was most intriuged by the informationon utilizing mulberry trees as an early season feed supply for pigs andchickens.I would recommend the book for any sustainable ag fans who arevery willing to think outside the box. ... Read more

11. 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$7.56
(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.

... Read more

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

12. A History of World Agriculture: From the Neolithic Age to the Current Crisis
by Marcel Mazoyer, Laurence Roudart
Paperback: 469 Pages (2006-06-01)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$29.92
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1583671218
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Only once we understand the long history of human efforts to draw sustenance from the land can we grasp the nature of the crisis that faces humankind today, as hundreds of millions of people are faced with famine or flight from the land.From Neolithic times through the earliest civilizations of the ancient Near East, in savannahs, river valleys and the terraces created by the Incas in the Andean mountains, an increasing range of agricultural techniques have developed in response to very different conditions. These developments are recounted in this book, with detailed attention to the ways in which plants, animals, soil, climate, and society have interacted.

Mazoyer and Roudart's A History of World Agriculture is a path-breaking and panoramic work, beginning with the emergence of agriculture after thousands of years in which human societies had depended on hunting and gathering, showing how agricultural techniques developed in the different regions of the world, and how this extraordinary wealth of knowledge, tradition and natural variety is endangered today by global capitialism, as it forces the unequal agrarian heritages of the world to conform to the norms of profit.

During the twentieth century, mechanization, motorization and specialization have brought to a halt the pattern of cultural and environmental responses that characterized the global history of agriculture until then.Today a small number of corporations have the capacity to impose the farming methods on the planet that they find most profitable.Mazoyer and Roudart propose an alternative global strategy that can safegaurd the economies of the poor countries, reinvigorate the global economy, and create a livable future for mankind.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

4-0 out of 5 stars Systematic Review of Agricultural Systems
I must say in brief that I disagree with the comment that denigrates the book because it does not cover the history of world agriculture in a complete matter.Though I am only a student of the subject, I would say this book is a systematic overview of the development of agriculture.To quote from the book (p. 21) "...one is not able to analyze a given agricultural system, formulate a diagnostic, and propose projects and policies of development without being grounded in a systematic knowledge of the organization, functioning, and dynamics of different sorts of agricultural systems.
This book attempts to build this type of knowledge, under the synthesized form of a theory of historical transformations and geographical differentiations of agrarian systems. ..."

The book covers agriculture as agricultural systems and not necessarily as specific manifestations.The chapters are roughly (and not completely) described as follows (p. 25):the second chapter recounts the origins of agriculture in the Neolithic epoch , third systems of slash and burn, fourth hydraulic agrarian systems in arid regions, fifth Inca (terraced) agrarian system, sixth animal drawn systems based on the ard, fallowing & accompanying animal herding in temperate regions of Europe, seventh animal drawn cultivation based on plow, fallowing, and accompanying animal herding in the cold temperate regions, eighth animal drawn cultivation using plow and without fallowing, ninth mechanization of animal traction and transport and ten being the motorized, mechanized specialized systems using mineral fertilizers.
Not being an expert in the subject, there may be other systems of agriculture not included that I don't know about.But it is a well-written book and is systematic.If one likes that approach, it is well worth to at least look it through if you can get access to it.

Also of note, there is a recommendation on the back of the book by Samir Amin, and, if you are appreciative of Amin's writings, then I think that you would like this book.

2-0 out of 5 stars misleading title
This book is not a history of "world" agriculture.It is rather an idiosyncratic history of agriculture in Western Europe, with a few peripheral discussions of some odd non-European topics.

It has a chapter on Inca agriculture and political structure, but extremely minimal discussion of any other precolumbian American systems (Aztecs, North American, etc.)It has a chapter on Egypt - which strictly speaking in antiquity is part of the West - but this chapter goes all the way up to the late 20th century!Yet he does not have any discussion of the Arab agricultural revolution, which has been well documented by American and other scholars.

Most problematic is that the book does not have any significant discussion of the history of the main agrarian societies in world history -- China and India.China at least needed a chapter, all it gets is a few passages or mentions, and India even less.

In general, the few sources he cites are almost all French.While there are certainly good scholars in France, this author's source base is clearly too narrow to allow him to be aware of recent developments in scholarship outside his own country and language and the new directions and priorities in research.

The way the book was written is also problematic.The author issues judgments about particular periods as though his evaluations of them are final and obvious, when in fact scholarly views about the conditions and social relations he describes are by no means definite and remain matters of dispute.In such a large book he should have been able to find some space to acknowledge uncertainties and alternative viewpoints.

The book is long and does have some valuable information on many points.But it is definitely not the book that its title claims it to be. ... Read more

13. Above the Pavement - the Farm! : Architecture & Agriculture at Public Farm 1 (Inventory Books)
by Amale Andraos, Dan Wood
Paperback: 208 Pages (2010-06-02)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$11.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1568989350
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Forty years after French protestors took to the streets with the rallying cry Sous les pavs, la plage! (Beneath the pavement, the beach!), a new form of radical expression took shape at MoMA's P.S.1 courtyard in Queens, New York. Above the Pavement--the Farm! reveals the groundbreaking efforts of architecture firm WORKac and their team of more than 150 collaborators--farmers, politicians, horticulturists, technicians, soil scientists, engineers, architecture students, and artists--to create a working urban farm, hoisted 30 feet high, using industrial cardboard tubes filled with more than 50 varieties of locally grown fruits and vegetables. Called Public Farm 1 (P.F.1), this new breed of sustainable infrastructure, capable of generating its own power, recycling rainwater, cultivating crops, and encouraging leisure, demonstrated that even the most impossibly utopian visions of green city living are within our reach.

Above the Pavement--the Farm! presents a delectable range of ideas and issues situated at the intersection of architecture, urbanism, and food. Featuring a lively mlange of voices depicting the making of P.F.1--with contributions by artist and agricultural activist Fritz Haeg, architectural historian Meredith TenHoor, architect Winy Maas, and head chef Michael Anthony of New York City's Gramercy Tavern--this book introduces a new era of ecological thinking and urban sustenance.

Amale Andraos and Dan Wood are the founders of New York City-based WORK Architecture Company. 
... Read more

14. Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen's Guide to Community Supported Agriculture, Revised and Expanded
by Elizabeth Henderson, Robyn Van En
Paperback: 320 Pages (2007-11-01)
list price: US$35.00 -- used & new: US$16.88
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 193339210X
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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To an increasing number of American families the CSA (community supported agriculture) is the answer to the globalization of our food supply. The premise is simple: create a partnership between local farmers and nearby consumers, who become members or subscribers in support of the farm. In exchange for paying in advance—at the beginning of the growing season, when the farm needs financing—CSA members receive the freshest, healthiest produce throughout the season and keep money, jobs, and farms in their own community.
In this thoroughly revised and expanded edition of a Chelsea Green classic, authors Henderson and Van En provide new insight into making CSA not only a viable economic model, but the right choice for food lovers and farmers alike. Thinking and buying local is quickly moving from a novel idea to a mainstream activity. The groundbreaking first edition helped spark a movement and, with this revised edition, Sharing the Harvest is poised to lead the way toward a revitalized agriculture. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

3-0 out of 5 stars csa info
Had lots of information if you are a group trying to start a CSA.We are farmers and need more of the nuts and bolts of organization.Not quite as helpful on this topic, but I did get a few bits of valuable information.

5-0 out of 5 stars A MUST-have for CSA farmer wannabes
Comprehensive look at the ins and outs of CSA farming, including pitfalls to avoid.Really, a must have resource for those interested in CSA farming.

4-0 out of 5 stars Keeping a conscious connection to the land and your food
I've been a member of a CSA for the past several years and read this book because I wanted to become a more active participant in the movement. No, this book is not an operations manual on how to run a farm and distribute shares. I'd classify it more as an inspiration manual with examples and case studies of how other CSA formed (and failed), obtained financing and land, found shareholders and labor, all for the purposes of giving people an alternative to being dependent on big agribusiness and live a more sustainable lifestyle.

In the true spirit of a co-op, this book provides an introductory education to CSA newbies on the history of food co-ops, community-building and food systems. For those looking for more hands-on or operations-oriented guides to CSA farming, I'd encourage you to review the rather exhaustive reference section in this book and contact someone near you. For me, I found this book perfect for gaining a comprehensive understanding of CSAs overall, which is helping me increase me evolve from passive shareholder into a more active, participatory role.

1-0 out of 5 stars Heavy on philosophy, light on practicality
If you're new to market gardening and looking for solid info on how to run a CSA, this is *not* the book for you. For example, the chapter on harvesting and processing is only 2 1/2 pages long and boils down to "it can't be explained in a book, you need hands on experience". The majority of the book is self-congratulatory prose about how CSAs are saving the world. I support the CSA concept, but found this book a big disappointment. There are a few useful charts for determining share size and how much to grow, they are the only thing that prevents me from giving this book zero stars.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Solution to a Problem!!! - This book made me optimistic.
This book describes many problems of the current food production & distribution system.More importantly, it provides a solution using Community Supported Agriculture. The book outlines the steps necessary toset up a CSA, discusses options and issues for each step, and includesexamples from CSAs all over the country.Many references and a resourcelist guide readers to other sources of information in a variety of media.I am a CSA consumer, not a farmer or an organizer;I enjoyed the book andam much more optimistic about the power groups of individuals have tochange the system ... Read more

15. 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.
... Read more

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

16. Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture: An Agrarian Reading of the Bible
by Ellen F. Davis
Paperback: 252 Pages (2008-10-13)
list price: US$24.99 -- used & new: US$22.77
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0521732239
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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This book examines the theology and ethics of land use, especially the practices of modern industrialized agriculture, in light of critical biblical exegesis. Nine interrelated essays explore the biblical writers' pervasive concern for the care of arable land against the background of the geography, social structures, and religious thought of ancient Israel. This approach consistently brings out neglected aspects of texts, both poetry and prose, that are central to Jewish and Christian traditions. Rather than seeking solutions from the past, Davis creates a conversation between ancient texts and contemporary agrarian writers; thus she provides a fresh perspective from which to view the destructive practices and assumptions that now dominate the global food economy. The biblical exegesis is wide-ranging and sophisticated; the language is literate and accessible to a broad audience. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Fascinating read
I'm not aware that this approach has been taken before--and it's so obvious and sensible. I also appreciate the frequent references to Wendell Berry who has so much of great iportance to say about caring for the land.

5-0 out of 5 stars Ancient Roots and Modern Flowers
Ellen Davis has done with scripture what Barbara Kingsolver and Michael Pollan have done with our current food supply-- she has exposed the ancient roots that support small farms and intimacy with the land as the most secure foundation for a stable society and sustainable earth.
The book, though somewhat technical in its Biblical scholarship, is interspersed with excerpts from modern writers and researchers (primarily Wendell Berry) in ways that illustrate the rich Biblical work, making it accessible for most any reader with a good foundation in Bible study. It would be excellent as a group study, and could be paired with one of the writers above or other currentbooks on the subjects of food security and land use ethics.
Anyone who values religious roots and/or spiritual wisdom related to the use and care of the earth, and the role of the human species in it, will find rich ground to plow here. Davis shows not only that the Bible has a concern for the earth and the well-being of its creatures, but that this concern is central to the Israelites. She even finds this at the heart of the holiness codes in Deuteronomy, which readers often skip over to avoid boredom.
In short, "Scripture, Culture, and Agriculture" makes it clear that the Bible's most ancient wisdom, in terms of food production and land use, was local, sustainable, and organic when local, sustainable, and organic wasn't cool! ... Read more

17. 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$14.00
(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

18. The Birth of Development: How the World Bank, Food And Agriculture Organization, And World Health Organization Have Changed the World 1945-1965 (New Studies in U.S. Foreign Relations)
by Amy L. S. Staples
Hardcover: 349 Pages (2006-04-30)
list price: US$55.00 -- used & new: US$49.16
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0873388496
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19. 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$4.05
(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.
... Read more

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

20. Emergence of Agriculture ("Scientific American" Library)
by Bruce D. Smith
Paperback: 232 Pages (1999-02)
list price: US$19.95
Isbn: 0716760304
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
In this text, the archaeologist, Bruce Smith, explores the initial emergence and early expansion of agriculture and the transformations in human society that made it possible. He charts the course of the agricultural revolution as it occurred in the Middle East, Europe, China, Africa and the Americas, showing how basic archaeological methods and modern technologies, such as plant analysis, radiocarbon dating and DNA sampling are used to investigate this event. Although in the agricultural mind, the agricultural revolution is often seen as a one-step transition from hunter-gatherer societies to farming ones, Smith shows how truly varied the patterns of animal and plant domestication were in different parts of the world. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

5-0 out of 5 stars Good Illustrations
"The Emergence of Agriculture" tells the story of the transition of mankind from a hunter-gatherer existence to agriculture.This transition took place about 10,000 years ago in the Middle East and more recently in the other six areas in which farming and herding are believed to have developed independently.Chapters cover early agriculture in the Middle East, Europe and Africa, East Asia, Middle and South America, and North America.The domestication of wheat, rice, corn, livestock and other crops are discussed.

This is a well-produced, well-illustrated book with good color maps, photos, charts, and graphs.Those familiar with "Scientific American" magazine will recognize the reader-friendly style and format. However, I would have to agree with other readers that the prose is somewhat flat.That being said there's enough good information here to deserve a top rating.

What I found most interesting about the book was the discussion of the development of crops no longer significant for agriculture such as Chenopodium (pigweed) in the Americas.Unrecognized by archaelogists as a crop for many decades, the cultivation of Chenopodium pushes the earliest date of agriculture and urbanization in the United States back to about 5,000 years ago.The author's description of the discovery of early agriculture in North America is vivid and personal because he was a participant in the investigation. Likewise, his description of the development of corn (maize) as a crop is very good.

The agricultural revolution was one of the most -- if not the most --important step forward in the development of civilization.This book does an excellent job examining how agriculture became a reality in several different civilizations around the world.


4-0 out of 5 stars Interesting account of the origins
The book was a little slow going.The topic is probably not noted for its exciting appeal.I did enjoy the new information that it provided.The concept of an almost natural change from wild harvested to domesticatedcultigen by virtue of an interface of plant and human needs rather than byconscious efforts on the part of the harvester was interesting.It almostmade the process seem inevitable.The information regarding wild plantancestors of modern domestics, the likely site of origin for and the pathof spread of these plants were also interesting.For some reason I foundthe domestication process of animals somewhat less so.Overall I think thebook would be best used as a resource for information rather than anafternoon read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Dry but very interesting.
This colorful book uses a lot of information and statistical facts to bring the development of agriculture ot light in many regions of the world, even often forgot Africa.Plenty of pictures of the changes in plants andplenty of graphs and charts to help simplify all the information.A goodover view of agriculture without getting into individuals findings on thisday or that.A good read.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent survey of the beginnings of farming
The beginnings of farming c. 10,000 years ago fundamentally changed human societies. Collaboration between archjaeologists and natural scientists has done a remarkable job in unravelling the where, when and whys of this story, but previous publications have concentrated on just or a few oneregions. This is the first truly global survey of the domestication ofplants and animals. It is up-to-date and well written and illustrated, andwould be an excellent starting point for anyone interested in this topic.Readers should note that the paperback edition issubstantially revisedand is therefore preferable to the hardback, which still contains theoriginal text.

Anyone who enjoys this book will also like JaredDiamond's Guns, germs and steel. ... Read more

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