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Source: Chelsea Green

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing

Summary

In this book, Steve Gabriel and Ken Mudge share the multitudes of information from their research on forest farming. They explain how to grow and harvest mushrooms, sugar, ginseng, fruit and nut trees all while forest farming in a changing climate.

Where to get it?

Amazon.com
Amazon.ca
Amazon.co.uk
Chelsea Green Publishing

Related Videos



Related Podcasts

Podcast 012 - Helen Atthowe, Soil, Conifers, Fukuoka
Agroforestry with Steve Gabriel on Permaculture Podcast

Related Threads

Feeding Mushrooms Logs
Walnut and Birch Syrup
Ginseng

Related Website

Farming the Woods Website
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steward
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I'm waiting for the book to arrive it's my next one on the list with Earth Care Manual by Patrick Whitefield!
 
steward
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There is a book promotion for this book next week! You could get it for free! But if you have already ordered it that probably means you have already paid, huh?
 
Lorenzo Costa
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yes I pre ordered it but nevermind it leaves the book for others and that's nice
 
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This book looks super exciting! Ive got 5 to 6 acres of my 20 commented to woodland, this looks like a great to to get some more productivity from it... as a young and not well fundded permaculturalist I and all of our farm animals would greatly appreciate book!
 
Cassie Langstraat
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Corina Graves wrote:This book looks super exciting! Ive got 5 to 6 acres of my 20 commented to woodland, this looks like a great to to get some more productivity from it... as a young and not well fundded permaculturalist I and all of our farm animals would greatly appreciate book!



Corina,

If you ask steve a question in the woodland forum you could maybe win a free copy!
 
Cassie Langstraat
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Looks like these guys will be putting out a movie soon! Fabulous! Here is a little sneak peak:

 
Lorenzo Costa
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I give this book 8 out of 10 acorns

When this book came out I was already struck by the title. We are all very familiar with forest gardening, and we think a lot of how to garden like the forest, imitating, recreating the natural succession and evolution a forest undergoes.
Well there is something more to this, what do we do with forested land that maybe on our properties and we may use only for wood fuel?
This book comes in aid, it sets a path that any person on a temeprate forest can follow. Deciding what actually suits our desires, needs and those of our comunity. Farming the woods is about seeing a woodland or a forest as an opportunity to not just fit in one or two possible yileds, like fungi, but actually get into creating a complex polysystem that ranges from fungi to plants, a lot of medicinals, and animals.
A lot of berries fruit really well in shady spots. We are used to strawberries that go in the sun but there are heirloom species that grow well in the shade create a very nice green cover and give edible leafs and fruits. It's jsut about looking at what we have around our houses in a different way, it's about changing perspective. There is so much we can learn from a forested space and this will give us a head start to dive into this new possible abundance we never thought about.
The authors speak of the importance of wood products and different uses getting out of that monothematic wood as fuel vision that I had. The end of it all is to share the opportunity that can come to those that own a forested space on their farm and don't have to see it only as useless, but can get a yield from it, and grow its diversity.
The last section is on design and it is very useful. We have seen forested land as zone 4 or 5 of our designs, well the nice thing is in the book we get a whole new vision of it all. In designing a forested space it gets its zone 0 to 4 or 5, taking the view to a level many of us had not thought about.
I think the reader that is curious will like the book because it gives a lot of information, it shares ideas, and speaks of real life. The reader that already practices agroforestry in an opened minded way will find inspiration to evolve and diversify. You may start reading the book from a section that captures your interest, but you'll end up for sure reading the book up and down more the once.
The book is very nice, and as I always stress in my reviews here on permies, they have a blog were the discussion continues, and this is always a must for me.
"The forest is a place where time slows down and surprises emerge" pure truth, so lets get into it.


 
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For Those New to the Concepts
9 / 10 Acorns

Farming the Woods provides a good overall introduction for those looking for creative inspiration and real world examples of how to manage and transform already wooded areas in humid-temperate climates into systems which are productive both directly and economically.

Beautifully illustrated and engaging, it is an easy read, it is far more approachable than many other (more academic oriented) texts on the subject. It is what you would expect from a Chelsea Green book.

I have had two apprentices read the book, and both of them found it very useful to get a grounding in what agroforestry is and the diverse forms it can take.

For Experienced Practitioners
7 / 10 Acorns

Farming the Woods seems geared toward practices and perspectives for moist/humid temperate deciduous forests. If you are in this kind of climate, then the book is highly relevant. I believe the case studies provide useful pictures and analysis of what others have accomplished in these conditions.

FTW also provides useful frameworks for teaching newcomers the core concepts to other people.

Down sides:
Despite the good case studies and useful frameworks, it is still an elementary text in many ways. Providing rough paths forward, but without a substantial analysis of the factors needed for success in any of the given types of systems it describes. Hence why it is marked low for experienced practitioners,

The book provides no examples or conversation from dry mixed deciduous/conifer forests or boreal/conifer forests of the north. In this way, it is more narrowly relevant than the title may suggest.

There is also little discussion about tree and forest establishment in marginal areas. The book appears to presume that -for it's readers- it is already easy to grow and establish trees, or that you already have productive trees/forests.

I believe more case studies on establishment would have facilitated those in marginal (but still forested) areas to get a start, or more fully utilize dryland forest ecosystems.


 
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I give this book 8 out of 10 acorns.

“This book is about many things, but fundamentally it is about a new way to relate to the forest. It offers not only new ways of seeing and valuing forests for both preserving and enhancing forest health but also the potential to make an income.” –Farming the Woods, p. xiv



It’s the same size, shape, and layout as Ben Falk’s “The Resilient Farm and Homestead” and “Will Bonsall's Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening ” but this book is particularly about many ways to develop Permaculture systems for profitable agriculture in (temperate) forests.

At first I thought a “forest farm” was a contradiction in terms, but as Permaculture ideas have turned so much of my previous thinking on its head, I bought this book for ideas on what to possibly do on my parents' 20 wooded acres someday. Turns out, forests can be stewarded for even more than nourishing mushrooms and delicious syrup. (By the way, the mushrooms chapter is lavishly illustrated with photographs, and complemented with insets of charts, graphs, and case studies. Very nice!)

Two separate chapters cover non-fungal forest edibles: one has information about fruits, berries, nuts, etc., as food, and another covers forest medicinals.

There is a short chapter on domesticated animals in the forest farm, which the authors caution should only be placed in newly recovering rather than mature forest areas, because they are particularly good at consuming and removing unwanted plants there. Goats, poultry, and pigs are the particular animals covered.  
No book on “farming the woods” would be complete without a section on wood products—for providing fuel, of course, but also boards for building projects and ingredients for biochar!

One author was once a college student of the other, so they have a nice way of writing the book together as fellow researchers, forest enthusiasts, and good friends. Many case studies in the book show aspects of working forest farms including one of the authors’ farms. The last chapter is devoted to guidelines and processes for designing a forest farm system, including information and advice for goal-setting, as well as principles and techniques not covered elsewhere in the book.

All this good stuff is way more than I need to know now at my current stage of my homesteading journey, but the book is another one that  really gives me hope and happiness to see what can be done (and what is being done!) to make ecosystems and economic systems work together for the good of everything and everyone!
 
But how did the elephant get like that? What did you do? I think all we can do now is read this tiny ad:
Tour of Wheaton Labs, the Movie! - now available!
https://permies.com/w/tour
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