Source: chelsea green
"Society does not generally expect its farmers to be visionaries." Perhaps not, but longtime Maine farmer and homesteader Will Bonsall does possess a unique clarity of vision that extends all the way from the finer points of soil fertility and seed
saving to exploring how we can transform civilization and make our world a better, more resilient
In Will Bonsall%27s Essential Guide to Radical, Self-Reliant Gardening
, Bonsall maintains that to achieve real wealth we first need to understand the economy of the land
, to realize that things that might make sense economically don%27t always make sense ecologically, and vice versa. The marketplace distorts our values, and our modern dependence on petroleum
in particular presents a serious barrier to creating a truly sustainable
For him the solution is, first and foremost, greater self-reliance, especially in the areas of food and energy
. By avoiding any off-farm inputs (fertilizers, minerals, and animal manures), Bonsall has learned how to practice a purely veganic, or plant-based, agriculture—not from a strictly moralistic or philosophical perspective, but because it makes good business sense: spend less instead of making more.
What this means in practical terms is that Bonsall draws upon the fertility of on-farm plant materials: compost
, green manures, perennial
grasses, and forest products like leaves and ramial wood
chips. And he grows and harvests a diversity of crops from both cultivated and perennial plants: vegetables, grains, pulses, oilseeds, fruits and nuts—even uncommon but useful permaculture
plants like groundnut (Apios).
In a friendly, almost conversational way, Bonsall imparts a wealth of knowledge drawn from his more than forty years of farming experience
"My goal," he writes, "is not to feed the world, but to feed myself and let others feed themselves. If we all did that, it might be a good beginning."
From: Chelsea Green
Where to get it?
Podcast 032 Helen Atthowe on Sustainability and Efficiency
composting toilet forum
Will Bonsall%27s authors page at Chelsea green