Ananda Farm No-Till, Natural Farming Resources (books and videos)

With the uncertain circumstances of this most memorable 2020 season still upon us, many millions of earth citizens have been heading back out to the garden this spring, for a kind-of Victory Garden resurgence, filled with the community spirit and self-reliance of yore.

In the last few weeks, many friends new and old have also reached out to farms like our own requesting information and resources. Much like ourselves at the inception of Ananda Farm here on Camano Island, though abundant in enthusiasm and energy, many a youthful-gardener are less equipped with practical experience and know-how, for how to garden, or even, how to get started.

In our experience, we have always found this to be one of our greatest strengths as a homestead natural farm. Because we started farming ourselves without any real experience to speak of, and therefore with very few notions as to how one should be farming, we’ve always remained open to radical resources and often incredibly simple, yet profound methods for stewarding this garden of life we all share.

The following list then, is intended for those like ourselves, seeking to learn and grow the no-till garden of spirit and nature, right now and in this extra-ordinary moment of our own human and planetary evolution. Should things go back to ‘normal’ in the coming months and years, may we not forget the newfound energy and enthusiasm of this moment.

This includes some of our own favorite videos and books, which have been particularly helpful in cultivating an understanding of how to grow food in harmony with Nature, and just as important, how to grow in simple-attunement and affection for Mother Earth. When we love Nature, we naturally aspire to take care of Her, just as she promises to do for each one of us.

Without further Ado:

  1. The One Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming. This isn’t so much a book about farming, as much as it is, Revelation, about the nature of Life itself, and Humanity’s role on this planet. The solutions to the world’s problems are never so complex as we perceive them, and this book guides us simply back to Nature, where the perceived problems of the world dissipate in the presence of the beauty of daikon and mustard flowers, the scent of the plum blossoms in the spring, or the song of the nightingale. Nature is ever here, to guide us home. And One Straw is the manifesto to take us there. Please write us if you’d like to purchase a copy:
  2. Back to Eden: Movie, available online. “The story Paul Gautschi and his lifelong journey, walking with God and learning how to get back to the simple, productive organic gardening methods of sustainable provision that were given to man in the garden of Eden.” We have visited Paul’s garden thrice, here in our home-state of Washington. All I can say is, he is the real deal, and an incredible source of inspiration. This is a must watch, for those of an open mind, and more importantly, open heart. Can it be so simple? Yes, we believe it is.
  3. The Synergistic Garden. Video online, featuring Emile Hazelip. Another garden masterpiece, only 30 minutes, from a magical French devotee inspired by Fukuoka, who developed a 2 acre, no-till, polycultured (mixed vegetable) garden farm. This has more or less been our own model for growing vegetables – as holistically and diverse as possible in every garden bed. The primary difference is that we prefer the sheet mulch method to begin new beds (after MUCH trial and error!), instead of an initial tillage; and we have added fruit trees, berries and herbs in the model, alongside the vegetable polycultures. Still, this is an awesome video, beautiful and pleasant and highly informative. If you weren’t aware of fava beans before, here you go…
  4. Gaia’s Garden, by Toby Hemenway. Our first and only real ‘permaculture’ book. Was hugely helpful in our formative seasons at the form, an extremely practical, well-assembled guide book to the permaculture garden on the home scale.
  5. Ruth Stout’s, the No Work Garden. The original no-till garden handbook. Written by a woman in her 80’s with 50 years of straw mulch gardening. Super simple, and sassy too. Ruth is a legend. 

Other Inspirations for those looking to go deeper into agriculture:

Tree Crops by J Russell Smith – a classic, global inspiration written in the 30’s, indicative of a future perennial, tree-based agriculture.

Sowing Seeds in the Desert by Fukuoka – the phenomenal follow-up to One-Straw Revolution.

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