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Ancient Agriculture: Roots and Application of Sustainable Farming Hardcover – September 6, 2006


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 168 pages
  • Publisher: Gibbs Smith; 1 Tra edition (September 6, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423601203
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423601203
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.9 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,022,027 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Ancient Agriculture is the first English translation of the book that carried traditional farming techniques from the Old

World of Europe to the New World of the Americas. The original book, Obra de Agricultura by Gabriel Alonso de Herrera, was initially published in 1513 as an instruction manual for the farmers of Talavera de la Reina in central Spain. It was revised several times as the author learned increasingly more about land use and sophisticated irrigation techniques beyond the Iberian Peninsula, which Moorish farmers of the day had blanketed in exotic fruits and vegetables.

Historically, Herrera's agricultural classic has been especially relevant in arid regions of the world, where crops are irrigated by means of ditches such as acequias, sangrîas, and arroyos, which also crisscrossed the landscape of Spain at the start of the sixteenth century. Many of Herrera's planting, harvesting, and seed-saving tips have, in fact, been successfully integrated into Indo-hispanic farming practices in the southwestern United States, where drought conditions and the need for water conservation typically prevail.

The present edition, Ancient Agriculture, has been meticulously translated, illustrated, and compiled for contemporary use. Areas of focus include working the land in harmony with nature and producing more food through soil improvement, cultivation of vineyards, and awareness of astrological influences. The interweave of ancient farming traditions and modern realities of global warming makes this treasure trove of the past a seedbed for a whole new generation of farmers and gardeners striving for agricultural sustainability.

GABRIEL ALONSO DE HERRERA, considered the father of modern-day Spanish agriculture, lived in central Spain from the time of his birth, in the 1470s, until his death, around 1540. He learned about agriculture from working in the fields of Talavera de la Reina with his father, in Granada with the Moors, studying Spanish Arabic and classical Roman texts on the subject, and traveling extensively throughout Europe.

JUAN ESTEVAN ARELLANO, a journalist and farmer native to northern New Mexico, has roots reaching back to the 1725 settlement of the Embudo Valley. A poet and novelist as well, he is the 1994 recipient of Mexico's Premio Nacional de Literatura José Fuentes Mares prize.

From the Back Cover

GABRIEL ALONSO DE HERRERA, considered the father of modern-day Spanish agriculture, lived in central Spain from the time of his birth, in the 1470s, until his death, around 1540. He learned about agriculture from working in the fields of Talavera de la Reina with his father, in Granada with the Moors, studying Spanish Arabic and classical Roman texts on the subject, and traveling extensively throughout Europe.

JUAN ESTEVAN ARELLANO, a journalist and farmer native to northern New Mexico, has roots reaching back to the 1725 settlement of the Embudo Valley. A poet and novelist as well, he is the 1994 recipient of Mexico's Premio Nacional de Literatura Jos Fuentes Mares prize.

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on November 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
It'd be tempting to place this survey under 'Home and Garden' for this review - but really, ANCIENT AGRICULTURE: ROOTS AND APPLICATION OF SUSTAINABLE FARMING deserves so much more. It'll reach an audience of farmers, gardeners, and history buffs with the first English translation of Obra de Agricultura, offering an early agricultural instruction manual originally written in Spain in 1513 - and holding importance for modern times. Here are insights into traditional farming techniques of the Moors before their expulsion from Spain: techniques which hold surprising relevance to modern farmers facing global warming and water shortages.

Diane C. Donovan

California Bookwatch
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This translation of the old Spanish work by Alonso de Herrera is impressive in its dedication, a jewel set together by Estevan Arellano and the translators in his team. Mr. Arellano would have wished to see the second part of this treaty on agriculture, but unfortunately passed away recently. Nonetheless, he left us this important legacy in a time in which we so much need to go back to a sustainable way of nurturing us, through nurturing the earth in a natural way inherited from the wisdom of ancient times. A must-read for those who still have the connection to Mother Earth, and for those who want to remember how it felt to be connected to her. Gracias Estevan por tu enorme contribución, que descanses en paz.
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