Tree Crops: A permanent agriculture!!! It’s the second edition hard cover printed in 1950. The original is from 1929 I think. That’s right 1929!!! I look at it as the first book ever on permaculture ideas. The edition that I got is in great shape and looks to be quite a bit thicker than the original.
I read the original about a year ago and was blown away by Smith’s concept. He lays out the argument for tree crops being the basis for agriculture so well that by the time you get around a quarter of the way through the book you will be shaking your head at modern agriculture and asking your self why the “Tree Crops” way did not catch on.
The book amazes me in so many ways it is hard to pick a spot to talk about first. Smith lays out the story of how destructive agriculture is and has been. A very good example of this is a picture before the first chapter even begins. The page shows a picture of earth with freight trains wrapping around the earth many times. Below it says “the U.S. Soil Conservation Service reports that soil washed out and blown out of fields in the US each year would load a modern freight train long enough to reach around the world eighteen times. If it ran twenty mph continuously, it would take it nearly 3 years to pass your station”. It’s that just crazy? With ag today it can only be worse. I’m sure everyone here knows that it takes 500 years for nature to create just a few inches in top soil. Totalitarian agriculture needs to change or there is no hope.
There is so much covered in the book. Tree crops for all climates and soils are here; Carob, Mesquite, Honey Locust, Persimmon, Mulberry, Chestnut, Acorn, Walnut, Pecan, and more. He explains the nutritional value of each and how they compare with wheat or corn. He explains the use, either animal forage crop or human and why. He shows that they can out yield traditional crops, protect the soil from erosion, and even build soil. He even talks about varieties to choose.
One of the cool things in the book is all the excerpts from his interviews while researching the book. Cool little things such as a person reminiscing about when she was a child, she used to love eating the sweet pods from the honey locust.
I could go on more but the post is getting too long. I highly recommend this book. Buy it, borrow it, or download the first edition for free.