Growing into a Farm: Before the Walden Effect (Modern Simplicity Book 4)
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Add to Wishlist. USD 3. Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Explore Now. Buy As Gift. Overview "This is a love story in three parts about how I ended up with much more than I bargained for, and grew beyond the person I thought I'd be. The reality of farm life seemed to be summed up in one word bliss. So when her back-to-the-lander parents threw in the towel and moved the family to a nearby town, Anna resolved to save her pennies and find a farm of her own, one that she would never have to leave. A couple of decades later, Anna had bought the property, but soon realized she couldn't make her dreams come true alone.
When a friend set her up with a potential mate, Anna went along grudgingly. Overflowing with photos, this book serves as a preface to the popular homesteading blog, Walden Effect. Product Details About the Author. About the Author Anna Hess enjoys writing about her adventures, both on her blog at www. Her first paperback, The Weekend Homesteader, helped thousands of homesteaders-to-be find ways to fit their dreams into the hours leftover from a full-time job. She lives with her husband in the mountains of southwest Virginia. Average Review. Write a Review.
Growing into a Farm: Before the Walden Effect 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. Register for a free account to start saving and receiving special member only perks. Significant progress has been made in the past 5 years in the acceptance of the concept of sustainable agriculture. The U.
Overall, today's agriculture is being challenged to operate in an environmentally responsible fashion while at the same time continuing to produce abundant supplies of food and fiber both economically and profitably. The scientific community is responding positively and assertively to the challenge.
Collecting Henry David Thoreau
There is increasing interest in the development and adoption of sustainable land use systems for two very basic reasons: 1 a need to bring about fundamental improvements in the global environment, and 2 an everexpanding need to provide economically produced food and fiber for a growing world population.
Through technology, the United States has developed an efficient, highly productive food and fiber system that is the envy of the world. Of all the people in the world, consumers in the United States currently spend the lowest percentage of their incomes on food—an incredible It is now recognized, however, that current technology has had some costs that were not fully anticipated at the time of its introduction.
Scientists are. Clearly, the issues—both perceived and real—that are raised by current technology must be addressed. The term sustainable agriculture means different things to different people. The term itself is not important. It is the department's responsibility to provide farmers with a range of options that can best fit their economic and environmental situations. The choices range from the optimal use of fertilizers, pesticides, and other off-farm purchases in conjunction with the best management practices, to operations that actively seek to minimize their off-farm purchases and emphasize crop rotation, integration of livestock and crop production, and mechanical or biological weed control.
The thing that they have in common is integrated resource management—a systems management approach that looks at the farm as a whole. This is not at all the basis of sustainable agriculture, however. It does not mean a return to hoes, hard labor, and low output.
Seasons of Thoreau
Low input is not an exactly appropriate term because it carries the wrong connotation, that something can be achieved for nothing. In fact, the preferred designation is sustainable agriculture. This means the use of the very best technology in a balanced, well-managed, and environmentally responsible system. It relies on skilled management, scientific know-how, and on-farm resources. It should be stressed again that the emphasis is not to eliminate the use of important chemicals and fertilizers.
In many instances, such chemicals and fertilizers are absolutely necessary to the farmer.
The emphasis is, however, to seek ways to reduce their use and increase their effectiveness to improve and maintain environmental and economic sustainability. The appropriate measure of a system's productivity and efficiency is not how much it produces but, rather, the relative value of what it produces compared with what went into producing it. Environmental impacts must now be included in the cost-benefit equation; this has not always been considered. Contributions will be needed from all the agricultural sciences to develop sustainability models with sound management practices and techniques for food and fiber production systems.
It must be made absolutely clear that those involved in the U. It is one of USDA 's top priorities, and this is certainly evident in the proposals in the farm bill and the federal budget both of which are discussed below. Agriculture has always tried to be a careful steward of the nation 's land and water resources, but that effort is now receiving renewed emphasis. For example, an excellent summary of data, case studies, and recommendations was presented in Alternative Agriculture National Research Council, a , which has received a great deal of attention.
Since its publication, many people have commended the National Research Council for producing such a comprehensive assessment at such a critical time. Other readers, however, say that it overstates the economic feasibility and the benefits of adopting alternative agriculture practices.
The principles laid out in that report are well worth thoughtful study and can point the way to change. A recent issue of Chemical and Engineering News March 5, contains a good analysis of the issues involved, and the Board on Agriculture of the National Research Council will soon provide a response to some of the comments that Alternative Agriculture has generated. In fact, some of the reactions miss the point of that report.
It was never intended to prove that one kind of agriculture is superior to another but, rather, to help provide an understanding of the kinds of agriculture systems being used on U. The current scarcity of hard evidence on either side of the issue can only invite unfounded and unhelpful assertions.
There must be an effort to gain more hard data so that informed decisions can be made based on science rather than on emotion. It is human nature to want to know everything without having to wait for it. People want to know immediately what does and does not work and why. These kinds of questions take time to answer, and time is needed to gather the evidence that will eventually lead to conclusions. Under the President's Initiative on Water Quality, research will help to provide a better sense of real versus perceived progress on the issue of water quality.
This initiative will determine what agricultural practices. The Cooperative Extension Service and the Soil Conservation Service will extend the existing knowledge of the best management practices. On February 9, , USDA announced the establishment of eight water quality demonstration projects to show new ways to minimize the effects of agricultural nutrients and pesticides on water quality.
The Soil Conservation Service and Extension Service will provide joint leadership for the on-farm demonstration projects. In the field season, the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service will test a cost-sharing program for reducing chemical use.
The trial program is designed to encourage the adoption of integrated pest and fertilizer management practices. It will be limited to 20 farms in each of five counties per state in all 50 states. Participants must enroll at least 40 acres of small grains, forage, hay, or row crops and follow a written integrated crop management plan that seeks to reduce pesticide or fertilizer use by at least 20 percent. Research in integrated pest management will also be continued. Integrated pest management is the study of biological controls and management practices that aid in the more precise use of pesticides and in judicious reductions in the amounts that are used.
The goal is to avoid adverse effects on the environment and beneficial organisms.
Yet, at the same time, care must be taken so that, in the enthusiasm to remove toxic compounds, conditions are not created in which naturally occurring toxic substances such as aflatoxins are able to increase. In July , R. This laboratory will study the effects of a variety of agricultural practices on soil structure, organic matter, microorganisms, and movement of nutrients.
The Alternative Farming Systems Information Center at the National Agricultural Library is another way that the transfer of knowledge is being increased. As part of the team working with sustainable agriculture, this information center focuses human expertise on the specialized subject area of sustainable agriculture. This center inventories and coordinates data from many sources and plays an important role in meeting the information needs of researchers and producers.
In the endeavor to create management systems that combine knowledge from a variety of areas, universities will want to create internal mechanisms to facilitate multidisciplinary approaches to research. It takes cooperative interactions among members of many disciplines for the development of stable systems. The widespread awareness of the need for economical and environmentally sound ways of farming has not always been matched by the availability of reliable and practical information on what, in fact, can be done. Innovative farmers and researchers have generated considerable new information, but it has not always been shared with and tested by others to the extent that it should.
Extension certainly has an historic and very current role in meeting this need.