Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Profitable Hobby Farm

The Profitable Hobby Farm
How to Build a Sustainable Local Foods Business
by Sarah Beth Aubrey
Howell Book House, 2010

Here's a new guide to launching a hobby farm business, composed by a self-proclaimed farm-girl-turned-entrepreneur who explains how to profit from the local foods movement and new opportunities in niche agriculture.

What is it that you enjoy raising or growing or crafting by hand? Whether it is pastured cattle, organic vegetables or goat cheese, this book details the steps involved in turning your avocation into a profitable hobby or even a professional career.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Resilient Gardener

The Resilient Gardener
Food Production and Self-Reliance in Uncertain Times
by Carol Deppe
Chelsea Green, 2010

Not since the self-sufficiency movement in the 1970s has an American published a book that so adequately explains what it takes to live off the land, even in the midst of climate change and natural disasters.

Author Carol Deppe, a biologist as well as an avid gardener, emphasizes taking control of your own food supply. Her book uses recent discoveries in science to point out ways of making home gardening more efficient and practical. It also suggests ways to prepare for the worst - natural disasters, financial collapse, climate changes, and more.

The Resilient Gardener
Review: The Resilient Gardener
Farm and Garden Books
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M Hofferber Books

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Now in Review: Eat Right for Life

Eat Right for Life
How Healthy Foods Can Keep You Living Longer, Stronger and Disease-Free
by Dr. Raymond A. Schep and Nicole Kellar-Munoz
Betterway Home, 2010

Eat Right for Life is full of healthy, natural alternatives to today’s manufactured, chemically-charged and processed food.

Improve your health and waistline with an organic lifestyle. It’s easy with more than 100 food options, dozens of recipes and other life-changing natural solutions that help provide a balanced life.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Now in Review: Rare Coin Investing

Rare Coin Investing: An Affordable Way to Build Your Portfolio by David L. Ganz
Krause Publications, 2010

Want to broaden your retirement portfolio beyond stocks and bonds?

Studies show that the same amount of money invested in the stock market and in rare coins can result in a better return with the rare coins approach.

This book is for the coin collector who wants to purchase coins as an investment. Author David L. Ganz shows how to take $10,000 and buy 100 coins, none costing more than $100, to create a retirement portfolio certain to gain in value.

Monday, October 11, 2010


The Epic History of the Italians and Their Food
by John Dickie
Free Press, 2010

This moreish history of the pleasures and failings of La Cucina Italiana follows a millenia of political, social and religious events that led Italian edibles to international fame.

British historian John Dickie effectively debunks the myth that Italian cuisine originated among peasants in rural villages during the Middle Ages.

"Saint Bernard's sauce - hunger - was the most important ingredient in the peasant diet for most of the last millennium. Happily the recipe has now faded from memory," he writes.

It was in the urban areas of Italy, with their wealth and extensive food markets, that Italian cusine came into fruition.

"Italian food is city food. Italy has the richest tradition of urban living on the planet."

Italian food is closely related to its place of origin, according to Dickie, and Italians derive much of their identity from the foods they eat. The act of eating secures the bond of person to place.

Each chapter of Delizia! is a self contained story situated in a single city at a specific time: Palermo, 1154; Venice, 1300s; Ferrara, 1529; Bologna, 1600s; Florence, 1891; Genoa, 1884-1918; Rome, 1954; Turin, 2006. Arranged chronologically, the chapters relate the history of Italy through its foods from the Middle Ages to the present day.

"What urban Italians have done again and again over the past thousand years is use food to create identities for themselves," Dickie points out.

While the larger story of Italy's culinary history is at the heart of this book, it is the little stories about specific foods like pesto and mortadella and pasta and spaghetti and pizza that are the most revealing, and the comparisons of Italy's palate to the eating habits of other countries are deliciously entertaining.

From the Italian point of view, the American diet is "a cornucopia of horrors," according to Dickie. "The gastronomic clash begins over breakfast. In the morning, the Italians gently coax their metabolism into activity with coffee and a delicate pastry. The very notion of frying anything so early in the day is enough to make stomachs turn. So the classic American breakfast is an outrage; among its most nauseating features are sausage patties and those mattresslike omelets into which the entire content of a refrigerator have been emptied. Grits defy belief. And anyone in Italy who tried serving a steak before the early afternoon would be disowned by their family."

Complex, well-cooked and appropriately spiced, this is a satisfying read for anyone interested in food history, Italians or gourmet cuisine.

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Italy has become the model to imitate when it comes to making ingredients, cooking them, and eating them together. Some people believe that our health, environment, and quality of life may depend on whether we can learn some of the food lessons that Italy has to offer.

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Sunday, October 3, 2010

Mountains and Rivers

Yoga is one of the most famous and globally widespread of India’s traditions. It has existed as a system of exercise, breathing, and meditation for over 5,000 years. The word “Yoga” means “to join or yoke together” – bringing the body and mind together into a harmonious experience. The exercises are designed to apply gentle pressure to the glandular system thereby toning the glands and improving total health. The breathing techniques are based on the principle that the “breath” is the source of life in the body. Meditation calms the mind and body and prepares one to handle stress.

from chapter 7
"a harmonious experience: the practice of yoga"

Now in Review: Sea Sick

Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis
by Alanna Mitchell
McClelland & Stewart, 2010

This is the first book to examine the current state of the world’s oceans — the great unexamined ecological crisis of the planet — and the fact that we are altering everything about them; temperature, salinity, acidity, ice cover, volume, circulation, and, of course, the life within them.

Sea Sick: The Global Ocean in Crisis
Nature Writing and Natural Histories
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Friday, October 1, 2010

Feeding the Market

Feeding the Market
South American Farmers, Trade and Globalization
by Jon Hellin and Sophie Higman
Kumarian Press, 2003

Authors Jon Hellin and Sophie Higman traveled the backroads of South America for 12 months visiting smallholder farms and researching the access they have to national and global markets. Their journey, made primarly by bicycle, provided the grist for this detailed report on the effects of economic globalization on the average South American farmer.

As this book demonstrates, small-scale producers in Latin and South America want to participate in the global marketplace, but they face serious impediments: production and transportation costs, quality and quantity demands, cultural and economic restrictions.

To date, economic globalization has benefitted a few individuals and corporations in the world's most developed countries with little obvious return to the developing world. Finding ways to bring some of the benefits of globalization to rural South America and to help smallholder farmers derive a sustainable livelihood from their new-found access to world markets is the primary intent of this study.

"Only by working together with other farmers can smallholder farmers accumulate enough supply-power to fulfill the market demands for quantitiy and continuity of production," the authors point out.

In their survey of eight smallholder commodity areas -- bananas, coffee, potatoes, quinoa, coca, wine, sheep, forestry -- the most promising ventures discovered are cooperative efforts by groups of farmers. Fair trade programs, introduced by concerned consumer groups in the developed world, have had the biggest impact by offering farmers a just price for their produce in exchange for organic or sustainable practices.

Review: Feeding the Market
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M Hofferber Books