Jude Thaddean

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since May 13, 2020
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Recent posts by Jude Thaddean

I have a geeky love of Farmers of Forty Centuries, F.H. King’s agricultural classic from 1911 that inspired many of the early pioneers of Permaculture and the organic farming movement. I’m hoping you’ll help me spread a new reproduction of it because it’s better than what’s out there.

TLDR: I’ve remastered the book’s 248 degraded photos for better image quality, added annotations to explain the convoluted historical background and give context to many of King’s claims, and Joseph Jenkins, author of The Humanure Handbook, has kindly written a new Forward for the book because it was also a huge inspiration for him.  

I want to help spread the book to a new generation of readers, and to do that I need to get some purchases and positive reviews on Amazon to get the book ranked higher in search results. If you’re willing to buy a copy of the Kindle ebook version of the book and post a positive review of it to Amazon if you enjoy it, I will refund the full price of the kindle ebook via PayPal when you send me a screenshot of your Amazon receipt via instant message + your Paypal address.

Please note that the price of the ebook and print versions are lower than the most popular versions on Amazon, and I am essentially selling them at only a few cents over cost, after the deduction of Amazon’s fees. So I will actually be losing money after I refund your purchase.

You can purchase the book here: https://amzn.to/3ps1rbF

Praise for Farmers of Forty Centuries:

“The classic on eastern agricultural methods.”
— Bill Mollison and David Holmgren, founders of Permaculture

“...a book which no student of farming or social science can afford to ignore....a classic.”
— Lord Northbourne, founder of the west’s organic farming movement

“A classic...by adhering to this principle the Chinese peasant has intensively and continuously cropped his soil without loss of fertility for forty centuries”

— Lady Eve Balfour, author of The Living Soil.

Longer Version:

I first read FOFC when I was backpacking around Southeast Asia in 2010, working on various permaculture/traditional organic farms. It was fascinating to read King’s description of how poor farmers in Korea, Japan, and China had managed to find a recipe for what King calls “permanent agriculture,” or a system in which a society can feed itself indefinitely while building soil fertility and expanding farmable land. American farmers of King’s day had recently begun using the first artificial fertilizers, and had failed to find a solution to the erosion that was eating away at many American farms. After only a few hundred years they’d managed to severely degrade their cropland while the Asians were getting higher yields off lands they’d been farming for 4,000 years.

The book also discusses other interesting issues, like how both rural and urban Asians at the time recycled human and animal waste as fertilizer, preventing the waterborne disease outbreaks that were ravaging western cities as they improved soil fertility. King talks about Asian building techniques, means of keeping warm (including a progenitor to the rocket mass heaters popular in permaculture circles today), and the simple technology and tools farmers used to get things done.

But there are several problems with the modern reprintings and ebooks versions of FOFC.

King took 240-odd photos to illustrate what he was talking about during his trip. The prints of these photos are extremely degraded. Many show signs of scratching, dust, blurring, and poor lighting. I’ve remastered all of the photos to improve clarity.
King discusses Asia as it stood during his 1909 tour, including all the colonial machinations, civil wars, and rebellions. But modern readers are largely unaware of the convoluted history and sometimes it’s not clear what King is alluding to. I’ve annotated the book to give you the background and context you need to fully understand the book.

Many of the ebook version of Farmers of Forty Centuries are close to worthless. Some don’t include the images at all, and the ones that do often are hard to make out or are included in a very small format. I’ve included full-sized images in the ebook. Ebooks are not perfect for image-heavy books, but I can say without reservation that this is the best ebook version of FOFC to be released.

This is how it looks on a kindle paperwhite: https://pasteboard.co/JzUdDH0.png
This is how it looks on an Ipad: https://pasteboard.co/JzUe9tM.png

Before and after photo restoration examples:

Japanese Farm Family: https://pasteboard.co/JzUb1ug.jpg
Baby Backpack: https://pasteboard.co/JzUasQN.jpg
Old Man: https://pasteboard.co/JzUbruD.jpg
Farm Woman: https://pasteboard.co/JzUbFyl.jpg

To get a free copy of the ebook, please purchase it here: https://amzn.to/3ps1rbF, write a positive review, and send me your Amazon receipt and Paypal address via in an instant message. I will refund your purchase price via paypal

5 days ago

I'm teaching myself layout and design and intend to republish the classic, "Farmers of Forty Centuries," which inspired Bill Mollison and coined the term, "permanent agriculture."  The book is already available as a free ebook on Project Gutenberg, but without any of the photos that make the text understandable. I intend to make the photos available in the public domain if I can do so legally, and publish a print version. My intention is to add some things of value to the book.

I intend to annotate the book to explain some of the archaic phrasings, offer a map showing the route of the trip, offer some currency conversions, etc, to make it more readable to a modern audience.

But I feel like there is likely much more value that can be added via annotations/addendums. For anyone who had read the book, what sort of information do you feel would be of value to a modern reader? Many who read the book are coming from an organic farming/permaculture background. What might they want to know about the techniques being discussed? Would they want to know some of the modern applications of these old ideas?

Thanks in advance for your thoughts and suggestions!
6 months ago
A few months back I saw a recommendation (not on this forum) for a newly translated book on sustainable building / vernacular architecture by a Latin American author. It was supposed to be good. But I can't find that post anywhere. Anyone know what the book might be?

6 months ago