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Ferment and Human Nutrition by Bill Mollison  RSS feed

 
                    
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This is a lesser known book of his, and it's a pretty great read.  It's a compendium of traditional ways to preserve food (most often with very little to no energy requirements) in various cultures.  There are some things, fermented seal blubber, for instance, that none of us will be attempting to make or eat in the near future.  But it's a wonderful cornicopia of cultural dishes and methods of food storage from the world over. 

Some of the more interesting things, for me, were the various methods of grain storage.  There is a drawing of a grain-house that sits up on mushroom shaped stones to prevent insects from walking up the foundation stones.  In India, clay pots were filled with grain, placed in a wooden partition in a wall, and the top of the pot and wall divider were sealed with clay.  We take plastic buckets with air tight lids for granted, and it's wonderful to hear about very low tech ways to keep your precious grains from growing bugs, or too much humidity in the wet season. 

The final pages of the book are a history of human nutrition throughout the ages.  Bill gets very pessimistic when he gets to modern times, one of the more disappointing parts of the book, since I love his usual focus on positive solutions. 
 
jacque greenleaf
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Where did you get it - I'd love to have a copy.
 
                    
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Ex-boyfriend left it in my possession, probably because he knew I'd get more use out of it than him.

And HOLY WOW I just looked it up on amazon.  I knew it was out print but - used from $678.  And there's only two copies on abebooks (my usual used book website), both in australia, one is $300 the other is $400. 

One of the book seller's descriptions:

"The intention of this book "is to teach people to store and process their own food and to make their own ingredients. It is a basic survival handbook which is of great use to gardners and farmers trying to vary their resource base by adding value to their crops.it takes the mystery out of complex ferment processes and offers guidelines for the rich and varied diet we all need". "But it is much more than that! It's a book of science, humour and commonsense' written by Australia's great pioneer of Permaculture."

So now I know why his copy was boot legged.  He ordered it off some sketchy website for cheap (so I was told) and a photocopied book arrived a few weeks later.  Dang.  It's a great book, Tagari should republish. 
 
jacque greenleaf
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I agree, I'd love to know why they haven't. Surely, they must be aware of the high demand.

There was a significant thread a while back on a permaculture email list regarding the ethics of copying and distributing out-of-print books that the publisher is failing to re-issue. I am totally supportive of producers' rights to income from their work (I won't load my iPod with cds that I haven't purchased, or copies of the dvds I get from netflix) but I sure understand why so many people get frustrated and make their own copies of out-of-print material.

I like Sandor Katz's book very much, but the Mollison book seems to cover more info. Oh well, maybe someday...
 
                    
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Yeah, the bootlegging thing is not something I support, I don't think my ex did it on purpose, he just didn't realize, thought he was getting a good deal.  It is very well done, bound just like any paper back with a color laminated cover, I was the one that pointed out the photos weren't photos.  I looked at a "real" one an employer of mine had and was like "oh weird, color pictures?  wait a second...."  I've since heard that bootlegging books is a fairly common (and totally illegal) trade in southeast asia?  (he was living in new zealand when he bought it).  And now I know why it's not very well known.  Ten Speed Press is the other, USA, publisher.  Both in 1993.  The time is ripe for the second coming! 

At the same time, I'm quite happy to have the information in the book.  Not going to burn it!  I have Wild Fermentation too (Sandor sent me down the path of becoming a fermentation fanatic), and it's really amazing and practical, generally a more pleasant read.  But this book is waaay more diverse and comprehensive.  It reads like a recipe book, none of the friendly chattiness of WF.  Bill gets to the point.  Like I said there are few chapters (mostly the ones documenting arctic diets) that aren't going to be very useful to very many people (who would really eat a seal anyway, unless you were culturally raised that way, in which case you don't need this book to tell you how to do it), but it's still a fascinating survey of how people have survived in various climates for centuries.  Only in the last one did we have fridges or freezers or plastic containers. 
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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marina phillips wrote:bootlegging books is a fairly common (and totally illegal) trade in southeast asia 


Yet another way that 21st century Asia is like 18th century America!

All of the US copyright laws that are now used as a life-support system for the record industry were initially written to stop the publishing of bootleg books. It was apparently some time, though, before European copyrights were recognized by the US government.
 
                    
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Would it be copyright infringement to organize a public reading of a book that you own but have no rights over (ie you didn't write it)? 
 
                                  
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If you have this book, (especially in ebook format) it is your responsibility to share it!! 
 
Daniel Zimmermann
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PM, Marina.
 
tel jetson
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marina phillips wrote:
Would it be copyright infringement to organize a public reading of a book that you own but have no rights over (ie you didn't write it)? 


probably not, but does it really matter?  send Tagari a few bucks if your conscience bothers you.  Mollison borrowed the knowledge from various cultures.  seems reasonable to, in turn, borrow from him.
 
Emil Spoerri
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Intellectual property is kind of hard for me to swallow

besides, if they are so concerned about making money off of it, then they should be printing it.

what is there secret? do they really have a stash of the books that they are making a killing off of haha?
 
                    
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Wow, sorry, the weather warmed up, our livestock arrived and I'm too busy most days to really even look at this beloved board! 

I agree that it's definitely not information that Bill has any right to "own," but he did take the time to put it all into one pretty readable format, and it does cost some money to print out a bunch of books and get them to various markets.  I think that some compensation awarded for that effort is the right thing to do. 

I'm uncomfortable with re-distributing complete paper or electronic copies of mine.  I don't feel bad incorporating the information in it into educational presentations I've done in the past and hope to do again in the future. 

I really think the book needs to be reprinted.  It'd be nice if Chealsey Green picked it up. 
 
Zoran Petrov
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This is incredible that this book is not reprinted! It deserves to be ebooked and shared.
 
Brenda Groth
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i believe you could contact him for permission.
 
                                  
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I've contacted Tagari Publications about this book, here is the reply:


Thank you for your enquiry regarding Ferment and Human Nutrition.  We are, indeed, in the process of reprinting this title and it should be ready for release within the next two months.  As yet, we have not established a price but I am keeping a list of those interested and will send out a bulletin with all the details when the book is ready.  You can, of course, visit our website from time to time at www.tagari.com to check on our publications and keep up to date with our projects and ventures.
 
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