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Restoration Agriculture Paperback – January 1, 2013

ISBN-13: 978-1601730350 ISBN-10: 1601730357 Edition: 1st

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Restoration Agriculture + The Resilient Farm and Homestead: An Innovative Permaculture and Whole Systems Design Approach + Sepp Holzer's Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale, Integrative Farming and Gardening
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: Acres U.S.A.; 1 edition (January 1, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601730357
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601730350
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #25,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Well written, excellent read!
jim harding
Restoration Agriculture is exactly the book I needed to envision a perennial edible homestead.
Harmonious Homestead
If someone you know seems to think permaculture is a joke, lend them this book.
GregD

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

127 of 139 people found the following review helpful By Christopher M. Dejoe on January 31, 2013
I was very excited to get this book and rip through it. I was hoping to learn how to utilize what the author spoke about in an interview with Acres USA. Sadly I was disappointed.

Look most of the people who will buy this book do NOT need to be preached to for the majority of the book why permaculture and this method is better for the environment, food and ourselves. If he wanted to write a treatise he should have titled the book in that manner instead of leading on that it was a guide to learning how to implement this kind of farming. He could have easily shrank his arguments and his unscientific instances of his theories. His arguments wouldn;t be a problem if he did not attempt to often frame them in a scientific manner but besides nutrition information in animal meat and a few plants there isn't much science at all and no data to truly work from(even though he attempted to do so).

My biggest problem with this book, which isn't horrible, is that it is not what it pretends to be. He glosses over the information about implementing this on your farm except for generalized large brush strokes. I wanted to learn the nitty gritty of the hows, whys, advice and instructions. Epic fail on that account. It is nothing like the Vegetable Gardener's Bible where it talks about methods and how to implement them and goes through each crop and tells how to plant and things to you need to know.

It gets three stars because he came up with some great points and had some interesting ideas. This book is far to expensive for what it contains.
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47 of 49 people found the following review helpful By N. Anderson on February 6, 2013
This work attempts to be an introduction to sustainable farming. The author's assertion (well supported by the evidence he cites) is that our current agricultural model is failing, and that we need to move away from a system built on annual plants, and towards a system built on perennial growth. This is permanent agriculture, or "permaculture". His model for this is an idealized, carefully structured combination of plants, or "polyculture" for food, fuel, and animal forage. In his words: "[w]hat we are doing is designing an agricultural system that closely mimics the savanna in its structure, the species mix, and in ecological function."

This model has been outlined in pieces in other books. Much of his ideas about livestock forage are similar to what Joel Salatin writes, though Shepard is less strident, and more open to the idea of a vegetarian diet. He spends a great deal of time demonstrating with chart and figures how, exactly, a more perennial agricultural model can generate more nutritious calories per acre than the current single crop. But the graphs do not overwhelm.

I was pleased by the concrete examples in the book. Shepard demonstrates, in color pictures and with facts and figures, the viability of a farm based on permaculture principles. He gives tree spacings, plant yields, and grazing techniques. He explains the proper ratio of cows to sheep, for instance. However I was expecting a lot more details regarding plant choices, harvesting techniques, etc. What can be said for Shepard is that he stays on point better than, and is more accessible than, Bill Mollison, who has a tendency to wax philosophical. That said,
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Ben on January 29, 2013
This is the kind of case study the permaculture world has needed for far too long. Mark Shepard explains how he is able to produce more food, reliably and regeneratively on his 100+ acres using trees and grazing as the foundation of his farming system. He is truly working with the way nature wants to work and not "trying to kill what wants to live and keep alive what wants to die" as he cites in this book and his talks. Until now the idea of "farming like the forest" - without needing any off-site fertilizers, pesticides, without spraying, pruning, tilling and over-managing a system which simply needs too much - has been just that, mostly an idea. This book shows how these systems can work in practice by a guy who's been at it for decades. He raises his pigs on chestnuts falling from the forest canopy that he planted. When it rains many inches and the midwest floods, his farm absorbs the storm and no fertility and water run off the farm. Read it and be inspired!
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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By GregD on May 1, 2013
I have read several permaculture books (Holmgren, Holzer, Hemenway, Jacke, Bane, etc.), and Mark Shepard's 'Restoration Agriculture' is worthy of its subtitle 'Real-World Permaculture for Farmers'. He has combined his hard-nosed practicality from his engineering background with a hefty dose of permacultural idealism to successfully realize his dream of 'New Forest Farm'. Shepard has been doing broad-scale permaculture/agroforestry since the mid 1990's, and has turned an old eroding cornfield into a productive property with fruit trees, nut trees, fruit shrubs, berries, vines, mushrooms, animals, bees, and annual (squash) and perennial (asparagus) vegetables as cash crops to help pay bills until the perennials start bearing more heavily.

Of special interest to me were chapters 11 and 12, in which he deals with questions about the capacity of a perennial agriculture to provide enough calories to feed people. Can 'permaculture' really feed people or must we subsidize the permaculture fantasy with destructive annual tillage and a diet based on annual crops? Shepard admits his figures are a bit rough (yields for polycultures will change as trees mature), but corn produces about 13 million calories per acre annually, and Mr. Shepard suggests that a perennial system with perhaps a few annuals alley-cropped, can produce 6 million calories per acre. He says nutritionally there is simply no comparison between a monocrop of corn and the variety of a perennial system - the nutrition of the perennial system is vastly superior to a corn-based diet.
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