Outstanding sources for books
relating to organic and sustainable farming
An annotated list

UPDATED FEBRUARY 2, 2005: Our primary goal for the New Farm online bookstore is not to sell you books—it's to help you find the information you need to farm successfully and sustainably. And although for the sake of convenience we offer links to Amazon.com for most of the books listed in our store, many rarer or more specialized titles are more easily obtained directly from the publisher or from independent bookshops. What follows is an alphabetical list of presses and booksellers we've found to be excellent sources for books (as well as videos, fact sheets and other materials) about organic and sustainable agriculture. We hope you find the same.

Know of a great source for sustainable ag books not on this list? Let us know.

Acres USA
In addition to their monthly newspaper on eco-agriculture, Acres USA publishes and sells a wide range of books on crop production, veterinary care, business management, and other topics.
Sample title: Charles Walters, A Farmer's Guide to the Bottom Line (2001)

The American Botanist
An Illinois-based bookseller, American Botanist specializes in rare and out-of-print books on agriculture and horticulture. They have also issued a few titles under their own imprint.
Sample title: Ward Sinclair, Truckpatch: A Farmer's Odyssey (2000)

An on-line bookstore of sustainable agriculture, self-sufficiency and traditional knowledge, run by an ecumenical cooperative in the Missouri Ozarks.
Sample title: Robert K. Henderson, The Neighborhood Forager: A Guide for the Wild Food Gourmet.

Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association
Based in Oregon, BDFGA has a lengthy publication list of books and pamphlets relating to biodynamic principles and practices. Many titles are difficult to find elsewhere.
Sample title: Alex Podolinsky, Biodynamic Agriculture: Introductory Lectures, Vol. 1 (1985)

CABI Publishing
British publishing group CABI specializes in technical books in the plant and animal sciences and in rural economic development. Sustainable agriculture is one of their subfields.
Sample titles: K. Lind, G. Lafer, et al, Organic Fruit Growing (2003); N. H. Lampkin and S. Padel, eds., The Economics of Organic Farming: An International Perspective (1994)

Canadian Organic Growers
Founded in 1975, non-profit COG has produced a small number of excellent handbooks for organic farm management, as well as numerous inexpensive bulletins.
Sample title: Canadian Organic Growers, Organic Livestock Handbook (2000)

Chalcombe Publications
A small publishing house based in Lincolnshire, England, Chalcombe produces practical, affordable books for farmers and agricultural educators.
Sample title: Jon Newton, Organic Grassland (1993)

Chelsea Green Publishing
A small independent publisher based in Vermont; a great source for both practical and inspirational works.
Sample titles: Robert Hart, Forest Gardening: Cultivating an Edible Landscape (1996); Joan Gussow, This Organic Life: Confessions of a Suburban Homesteader (2002).

The Countryman Press
Now a division of W.W. Norton, Countryman Press publishes attractive and useful books in gardening, country living, and regional subjects.
Sample title: Jan Greenberg, Hudson Valley Harvest: A Food Lover's Guide to Farms, Restaurants, and Open-Air Markets (2003).

Earthscan Publications
Originally founded by the International Institute for Environment and Development and WWF, Earthscan was acquired by the science publisher James & James last year. They continue to publish hard-hitting, serious titles on sustainable development and the environment.
Sample titles: Erik Millstone and Tim Lang, The Atlas of Food: Who Eats What, Where, and Why (2003); Marc Lappé and Britt Bailey, Against the Grain: The Genetic Transformation of Global Agriculture (1999).

Eco-Logic Books
An independent UK bookseller based in lovely Bath, and specializing in practical books on environmental topics.
Sample title: Nick White, ed., Sustainable Housing Schemes in the UK.

Food First
Also known as The Institute for Food and Development Policy, Food First is a non-profit think-tank and outreach organization publishing regular reports on topics such as hunger, food security, land reform, and biotechnology. They also have an on-line bookstore and issue a handful of books each year under their own imprint.
Sample title: Jennifer Willsea, ed., Alternatives to the Peace Corps: A Directory of Global Volunteer Organizations, 10th edn.

The Globe Pequot Press / The Lyons Press
Globe Pequot's Lyons Press imprint features a series of practical farming and rural life handbooks from the early years of the 20th century.
Sample title: Frank D. Gardner, Traditional American Farming Techniques (2001; first published 1916).

Growing for Market
Lynn Byczynski's monthly newsletter Growing for Market is cherished by truck farmers and market gardeners nationwide. The GFM bookstore features the indispensable titles of market farming.
Sample title: Frank and Pamela Arnosky, We're Gonna Be Rich: Growing Specialty Cut Flowers for Market: A collection of the Arnoskys' cut-flower columns for Growing for Market, 1995-1998.

Island Press / Shearwater Books
Since 1984, non-profit Island Press has been publishing a wide range of high-quality books on global environmental issues, sustainable development, and ecological design. Their Conservation Classics series includes historic sustainable ag titles like Edward Faulkner's Plowman's Folly and A Second Look.
Sample titles: Allan Nation, Holistic Management (1999); Jeffrey A. McNeely and Sara J. Scherr, Ecoagriculture: Strategies to Feed the World and Save Wild Biodiversity (2002).

Journey to Forever
An annotated bibliography of sustainable ag titles; also includes many electronic full-text editions.
Sample title: J. Russell Smith, Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture (1929).

MBI Publishing
Motorbooks.com is your source for illustrated books on tractors, farm implements, and their history.
Sample title: Ronald Stokes Barlow, Three Hundred Years of Farm Implements and Machinery, 1630-1930.

Missouri Alternatives Center
An on-line catalog of alternative ag books, booklets, videos, and more. (Because libraries will get you through times without money better than money will get you through times without libraries.)
Sample title: Nic Lampkin and Mark Measures, eds., 2001 Organic Farm Management Handbook.

Natural Resource, Agriculture, and Engineering Service (NRAES)
A joint project of cooperate extension and 14 member land-grant universities, NRAES specializes in practical titles on agriculture, horticulture, farm construction, waste management, and more.
Sample titles: Thom J. McEvoy, Introduction to Forest Ecology and Silviculture, 2nd edn (2000); Mark Dougherty, ed., The Field Guide to On-Farm Composting (1999).

Seasoned Booksellers
Vermont booksellers (with shops in Brandon and Rochester) who are also organic farmers. Through their stores and website they offer titles on sustainable agriculture and homestead/farmstead skills. New, used, antiquarian and publisher overstock books.
Sample titles: George Waterman, The Practical Stock Doctor: Stock Breeding for Farmers and Stock Owners (1926), Eric Freyfogle, ed., The New Agrarianism: Land, Culture and the Community of Life (2001).

A Canadian site offering free downloads of a small but growing number of books for individual use. Several works by the pioneering plant breeder Raoul Robinson are available here in both English and Spanish.
Sample titles: Raoul A. Robinson, Return to Resistance and El Retorno al Resistencia (1996).

Soil and Health Library
This remarkable site is the work of American vegetable grower and writer Steve Solomon, now living in Tasmania, Australia. It is a dynamic collection of electronic, full-text editions of out-of-print classics of sustainable agriculture.
Sample title: Robert Elliot, The Clifton Park System of Farming (1943).

Storey Books
New England-based Storey Publishing has been turning out appealing, down-to-earth books on gardening, homesteading, and the rural arts since 1983.
Sample titles: Dirk van Loon, The Family Cow; John J. Mettler, Jr., Basic Butchering of Livestock and Game.

Sustainable Agriculture Network
The Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN) is the Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education program's publications arm, part of the USDA's support for sustainable ag. SAN has a short but growing list of affordable, practical titles, many available in CD-ROM as well as print formats.
Sample title: Fred Magdoff and Harold van Es, Building Soils for Better Crops, 2nd edn (2000).

University of Nebraska Press
Many university presses publish regional titles relevant to agricultural history or food politics, but UNP deserves special notice for its Our Sustainable Future Series, co-edited by sustainable ag pioneer Chuck Francis.
Sample titles: John Opie, Ogallala: Water for a Dry Land (2000); M. Brett Callaway and Charles A. Francis, eds., Crop Improvement for Sustainable Agriculture (1993).