For Christmas I treated myself to Gene Logsdon’s All Flesh is Grass: The Pleasures and Promises of Pasture Farming. I think more people are coming to accept that modern agriculture is broken, and needs to be de-centralized if we have any hope of surviving. Although this book does have a marvelous introduction to the up-and-coming grazing movement – his general chapters were quite useful in honing my economic arguments – I appreciate this book more because it offers details of the author’s own experience of “pasture gardening”, as he calls it. While his seminal The Contrary Farmer does deal a bit with these same topics at an overview level, it is much more a book of essays – I will prefer this one for actual use as it goes into much more detail. Chapters on fencing, layout, animals that do well with this setup (i.e. pretty much everything, even pigs!), specific plant types and even interweaving your pasture with your orchard make this book a very valuable tool that I will be referring to again and again as I come closer to achieving my 5 acres.
Plus, he’s funny. It is good to know that sheep like to die, so one should not worry too much when they do. 🙂
As it’s Gene Logsdon, though, it’s not just an instruction book – it does have some intriguing philosophical bits wrapped in:
The mindset that leads to consolidation in agriculture, so evident in the chicken business, has also taken place to an alarming degree in human culture, especially in consolidated schooling. Just as we herd more animals into confinement buildings, we herd more children into classrooms. Then we have little choice but to follow the rule of the chicken factory – one size fits all. And we justify both kinds of concentration camps with that all-American article of faith: It’s cheaper per unit; we can’t afford to do otherwise. Then we wonder why we must de-beak chickens and frisk schoolchildren for firearms.
We humans often forget we’re still animals.