books about ‘practical self-sufficiency’ and ‘backyard farming’ in- Northwestern Europe and North America –

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books about

‘practical self-sufficiency’

and ‘backyard farming’ in

Northwestern Europe and North America

page one

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Many people who live in cities dream of ‘getting back to the land‘, growing their own fruits and vegtables, getting ‘off the grid’ by generating their own energy, and simply becoming as ‘self-sufficient’ as possible. But these dreams often don’t include the harsh realities of running an ideal ‘smallholding’, equally as simply because they have no real experience of living close to the land. There is a great deal of ‘daily’ hard work involved, and it’s not just the cat or the dog that needs to be looked after if you simply want to go on holiday – and you’re raising livestock

In fact there’s nothing simple about it at all, and to do it successfully means total commitment. Techniques for successfully becoming ‘self-sufficient’ vary from climate zone to climate zone, and what works well in one place may be entirely the wrong thing to do in another. But it wasn’t all that long ago that everyone lived in conditions that many are yearning to get back to, and luckily there are many books written over the past 50 to 150 years that are still available for would-be smallholders

The information in these old books will, without doubt, contain the ‘wisdom of the ancients’, as agricultural and animal husbandry knowledge is something that has, out of necessity for survival, been passed down throughout the generations since the first peoples who gave up the nomadic roaming of countless millennia began experiments with settled life

Below are a small selection of books about basic ‘self-sufficiency’

that contain practical, down-to-earth, information and advice from the daily lives of small farmer’s, kitchen gardners, and smallholders that has not changed much in the past 50,000 years or more. These skills are tried-and-tested techniques that are still in everyday use by peoples who live closer to the land in many non-industrialised countries. For those seeking security in a world over-dependent on imported produce, the choice is one of hard work and self-sufficient peace of mind – or the uncertainties of ‘just-in-time’-supplied supermarkets totally dependent on a global transport network and a centralised power generation grid that is becoming increasingly vulnerable to a myriad threats

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more books about ‘self-sufficiency’ on pages :

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“The New Complete Book of Self-sufficiency: The Classic Guide for Realists and Dreamers”

by John Seymour, E.E. Schumacher & Will Sutherland


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EU English Edition

“John Seymour has made self-sufficiency feasible. This book gives you al the information you need and more! From planning your 1 or 5 acre plot to crop rotation, from making beer, bread and rollmops to building a furnace! Essential accessory to self-sufficiency, whether you need to remove a tree stump, butcher livestock, harness a ploughhorse, plan your dairy, brew beer, dress stone or even distilling! The drawings are stunning, exquisitely drawn and incredibly clear. It is also a sobering caveat for those planning to dream the dream …”


“The Complete Book of Raising Livestock & Poultry”

by Katie Thear (Editor) & Alastair Fraser (Editor)

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EU English Edition

“Thanks to this book and of course the all knowing John seymour, I am a city girl who now owns Sheep, ducks and hens. Soon to move to a small holding, I am confident that I can also cope with goats and donkeys – And make a small income from the land and feed the family! It gives you the info you need to care for the animals, but also to talk to others without looking a complete novice! As soon as you have a bit of knowledge under your belt, others with heaps more experience are soon happy to give you good advice and before you know it – you really DO know what you are doing!”


“Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long”

by Eliot Coleman, Kathy Bray (Illustrator), Barbara Damrosch

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EU English Edition


“This book is the only one of it’s kind I have found. Not only does it have step-by-step instructions and tables on when and how to plant and harvest, it also has plans for building your own cold frames and a portable greenhouse (hoop house). Many books on the same subject focus on artificially heating a greenhouse to grow warm-weather vegetables. This one does not! The focus is instead on how to use what is naturally cold tolerant, and how to keep your plants harvestable throughout the winter.


“Storey’s Basic Country Skills: A Practical Guide to Self Reliance”

by M. John Storey & Deborah Burns (Editor)

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EU English Edition


“This book is well dubbed “A Practical Guide to Self-Reliance.” It is a good choice for anyone interested in someday getting their own farm and making it self-contained; or just for people who are interested in the way grandma used to do all that neat stuff back on the farm in the old days. It includes chapters both on specific techniques of country living (gardening, care of livestock, self home maintainence, etc.) as well as a chapter on the planning of the farm itself, including discussions of house designs, methods of construction (and economy thereof), layout of farm as well as overviews of particular building and design schemes such as passive solar heating and solar and wind power, ‘living off the grid’. Overall an excellent primer in rural living.”


“The Forgotten Arts & Crafts”


John Seymour

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EU English Edition

“Seymour, an expert in self-sufficiency, takes readers back to another age with this combination of the classic titles The Forgotten Arts (1984) and Forgotten Household Crafts (1987). There is something here for everyone: woodcrafts, basketry, soap making, food production, wool production, lace making, and more. As we have come to expect from DK, the illustrations are an attractive asset, featuring numerous period photographs and drawings. If the Y2K premonitions had come to pass, this book would have been worth its weight in gold (and it’s a hefty tome). For most public libraries.”


“Home Farm”

by Paul Hewey

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EU English Edition only

available worldwide


“On first glance, because I have very much ‘the Garden Farm’, I thought the book was going to be a bit ‘above my station’. Once reading though,on every page I found something relevant to what I’m looking for. Whether it’s just vegetables and a few chickens or vast amounts of arrable land – this book has sound advice and very easy to follow text. Even if you don’t read it for self sufficiency purposes, it shows the romantic and strenuous work required for the ideal life.”


“Self-Sufficiency Gardening: Financial, Physical and Emotional Security from Your Own Backyard”

by Martin P. Waterman

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US edition only

but available


“A practical guide for the novice gardener who wants to grow vegetables, fruits, nuts, herbs, and other useful plant products with the intent of becoming less dependent on outside sources. Includes a section on computer gardening resources, including free resources on the Internet.”


“Living Seasonally: The Kitchen Garden & the Table at North Hill”

by Joe Eck & Wayne Winterrrowd

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EU English Edition only

but available


“After 20-plus years of tutelage at the feet of Vermont’s climate, landscape designers and authors Joe Eck and Wayne Winterrowd have mastered the art of living seasonally. Fundamentally, this means eating what’s ripe in the garden–there’s no freezing and very little canning at North Hill–when it’s ripe. The meditative, ardent Living Seasonally: The Kitchen Garden and the Table at North Hill describes this life hitched to the wax and wane of the seasons.”


“Handy Farm Devices and How to Make Them”

by Rolfe Cobleigh

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EU English Edition

“This reprint of the 1909 classic should be on the shelf of every serious homesteader. Farming is hard work, and this book will teach you how to save both time and money to get the job done. In this little gem you’ll learn how to make your own tools for your workshop, how to build things for around the house, for the barns, and for your livestock, in addition to other devices for your garden and orchard, including a section that discusses fence-making and gate-making. Several pages are devoted to building a farmhouse (including the

floor plan for my wife’s “dream house”), barns, and other outbuildings.”


“Keeping Food Fresh: Old World Techniques & Recipes”

by Eliot Coleman & Claude Aubert (Editor)

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EU English Edition

“This enlightening book offers options to the traditional methods of preserving fruits and vegetables from the garden by freezing or canning. In a foreword written by Eliot Coleman, the well-known gardener notes how the use of more natural methods serves to enhance the flavors as well as the nutritional values of foods. Contained here are 250 recipes that feature eight different ways to preserve fresh produce. In various instances, spoilage is prevented by using salt, sugar, oil, vinegar, wine, or alcohol. Some recipes preserve foods for weeks, while others keep foods good for many months. Should the millennium bug be a problem, look to this manual for information on how to preserve food by storing it in the ground or a root cellar, by air drying, by preserving with the condiments mentioned above, and by other techniques that deserve wider recognition.”


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