Farming the Woods: An Integrated Permaculture Approach to Growing Food and Medicinals in Temperate Forests

Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel. Chelsea Green, $39.95 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-1-60358-507-1
In this latest of the publisher’s serious, readable, and eminently useful books on cutting-edge permaculture practices, Cornell University professor Mudge and Fingerlakes forest farmer and horticulturalist Gabriel take a step outside the permaculture trend toward forest gardening—gardening that emulates forest patterns—and focus on farming in the woods by maintaining a healthy forest “while growing a wide range of food, medicinal, and other non-timber products.” Beginning with a nuanced cultural history of forest farming, Mudge and Gabriel share their expertise on an abundance of woodland products: pollination techniques for paw-paws; the comparative economics of shiitakes and ginseng; maple, birch, and walnut sugaring methods; hazelnut breeding; and the safe use of a chain saw, to name but a few. A thoughtfully speculative but practical section on the possible effects of climate change reflects the authors’ humble and hopeful perspective that “much of the trouble in the world today is due to disconnection from... larger cycles. Forest farming invites us to change these cycles and to offer a gift for generations to come.” (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/04/2014
Release date: 09/01/2014
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