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Food Gardens for a Changing World


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Table of Contents

PART I: Starting at the beginning: gardens and the big picture Chapter 1: What can Food Gardens Contribute? Gardens and Wellbeing Chapter 2: Changes coming to your garden Chapter 3: Responding to change as a food gardening strategy. Appendix - Worked formal garden experiments PART II: Starting the garden Chapter 4: Garden placement Chapter 5: How plants live and grow Chapter 6: Starting and caring for garden plants PART III: Garden management Chapter 7: Soil, nutrients, and organic matter Chapter 8: Water, soils, and plants Chapter 9: Managing pests, pathogens, and beneficial organisms Chapter 10: Saving seeds for planting and sharing

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Suitable for researchers and students in food systems, environmental studies, agroecology, horticulture, urban geography, sociology, climate change, and urban planning.

About the Author

Daniela Soleri is an ethnoecologist whose research is on local and scientific knowledge systems in small scale agriculture and gardens, and collaboration between formal scientists and gardeners and farmers. This includes research with communities around the world in quantifying farmer practices, documenting risk assessment and cultural identity related to seeds, and investigating new semi-formal seed systems. She teaches a class at UCSB on "citizen" and community science, and is currently working with seed and garden activists and scientists to investigate crop diversity and adaptation in California food gardens. David A. Cleveland is a human ecologist who has done research and development project work on sustainable agrifood systems with farmers and gardeners around the world. His research and teaching have focused on sustainable, small-scale agrifood systems, including plant breeding and conservation of crop genetic diversity, and local and scientific knowledge and collaboration between farmers and scientists. His current research and teaching focus is on food system localization and diet change to improve health, mitigate anthropogenic climate change and environmental degradation, and promote food and climate justice, including at the University of California, in California, and globally. Steven E. Smith is a plant breeder, botanist and statistician whose research, training of students, and teaching cover those areas of expertise. His research interests reflect both his training in application-oriented plant breeding and his fascination with plant survival in natural plant communities in arid environments. For example, he has conducted research on conservation and evaluation of genetic diversity in alfalfa, and on plant physiological responses to drought and their significance in revegetation work in the arid southwestern US. Smith also provides consulting and support to other academic researchers on experimental design and analysis. He has won a number of awards in the University of Arizona's College of Agriculture in recognition of his teaching excellence.


"Food Gardens for a Changing World compiles a large volume of information about how gardens can serve as a system for understanding people's connection with productive landscapes and how these settings are so much more than just a piece of land to grow food. Through scores of examples, the authors stitch together a compelling case for how and why these parcels of land serve as a microcosm for healthy, active, and sustainable lifestyles and social and emotional wellbeing, and that these nodes are part of broader food networks and thus have the potential to ignite system level changes. Importantly, Food Gardens for a Changing World nicely balances the presentation of scientific evidence supporting gardens as a social, health, and ecological resource, with practical information about the art and science of gardening under rapidly changing environmental and social conditions."--Jill S. Litt, Associate Professor "University of Colorado, Boulder, Associated Researcher, ISGlobal, Barcelona, Spain "
"Food Gardens for a Changing World is a gardening book for gardeners who seek to interrogate their efforts in the larger global context while still attending to the intimate considerations of what makes the garden grow. It is a book for home and community gardeners who have moved beyond the seductive images of strawberries and kale that embellish the typical garden book and instead seek to study their gardens, reflect on their significance amid global and local change, and improve their garden's productivity while enriching their personal experience. Food Gardens for a Changing World is encyclopedic in its breadth of information and provides rich references and bibliographic information to encourage further research. Community gardeners and their supporting institutions will find this book a must-have for guidance in environmentally friendly, socially equitable production and documentation of community gardens' benefits. This book will undoubtedly be the 'go to' book on any inquisitive gardener's bookshelf."--Laura J. Lawson, Dean of Academic Programs, Professor of Landscape Architecture School of Environmental and Biological Sciences "Rutgers University "
"Food Gardens for a Changing World will be of broad interest to academics, students, and gardeners who want to know more about how gardens function both ecologically and socially. The authors provide support for gardeners to go out and run their own experiments to better understand the processes happening above and belowground in their garden plots. Readers will enjoy the beautiful drawings that help elucidate all the wonderful ways people use and explore their gardens."--Brenda Lin, Research Scientist "CSIRO Australia "

"After perusing Food Gardens for a Changing World, I decided to use it as one of the required readings for my non-majors "California Cornucopia" course. The typical student is a last-quarter Senior who has put off their science class until the end of their career. This is a last chance to detoxify science for non-scientists about to enter their career path. Therefore, the course is broad, but necessarily spotty--using California crops and their products to teach the basics of cell biology, ecosystem science, evolution, genetics, and the interaction of science and all aspects of sustainability. Using this book will give me the opportunity to make sure that every aspect of the science of growing plants - including their connection to health and sustainability - is covered in a straightforward way. I especially like how the science is interwoven with practicality. The price of the paperback brings it within the budget of most undergraduates. Students will find the accessible prose and lively artwork a surprising comfort for a science book."

--Norman C. Ellstrand, Distinguished Professor of Genetics, Jane S. Johnson Endowed Chair in Food and Agriculture, Founder & Director, CAFE (California Agriculture + Food Enterprise) "University of California, Riverside "

"As someone who has a thoroughly dog-eared printout of Cleveland and Soleri's Food from Dryland Gardens on my shelf, I was thrilled to get a chance to read their newest book, Food Gardens for a Changing World, written with Steven Smith. I was not disappointed. The authors have distilled their academic knowledge and the wealth of experience they've gained from years working in the hot fields of Mexico and the Southwest into a comprehensive, practical guide to all aspects of growing food on our increasingly erratic planet. The brilliantly illustrated miniguides to topics ranging from disease diagnosis to transplanting to calculating the effects of shade are worth the price alone. As a seed system advocate, I found their chapter on seed to be very comprehensive, covering not just the practical aspects of seed saving, but touching on plant breeding and the larger issues of genetic conservation and seed privatization as well. Buy this book if you want to understand how food will be grown 10, 20, 50 years in the future."

--Jared Zystro, Research and Education Assistant Director "Organic Seed Alliance "

"There is so much I like about this book. It's organized like a text book and reference book, but reads like a conversation with a wise and trusted friend. It is full of useful, practical tips and resources--especially for people who are interested in adapting their gardening to changing conditions. It connects the dots between local gardens and global issues like climate change, social and environmental justice, public health and nutrition. It helped me see how gardens could be expressions of the things I value--science, nature, cooperation, traditional knowledge, ingenuity, compassion--and how gardens can be part of systemic change. Most of all, it made me want to get outside, dig in the dirt, and collect and analyze data."

--Raj Pandya, Director, Thriving Earth Exchange "American Geophysical Union "

"This book is a great defense of the garden. It helps us understand why gardens are important and how they fit in the world, and how we as gardeners, researchers and citizen scientists can have impact and give direction in an uncertain future. It combines all and more of the research I have ever done about gardens and their connections. Nice to have it all in one place. I applaud the authors' work."

--Hillie Salo, UCCE Master Gardener, Founder "Silicon Valley Grows and One Seed One Community "

"This engaging book is a must-have resource for anyone involved or interested in small-scale food production, from gardeners to instructors to entrepreneurs to community empowerment programs. Based on the latest research in multiple academic fields, the authors provide up-to-date and thoughtful guidance on how to think about, create, maintain and benefit from gardens in different environments and changing climates. Look here for answers to all your questions: How can gardens combat greenhouse gas emissions? How do plants take up soil nutrients? Should I consume organic or non-organic fruit? What vital social and cultural resources are provided by community gardens? How does eating a cookie compare nutritionally with an apricot? How do gardens improve mental and physical health? Why and how do bees and other insects pollinate crops? How much of my family's budget can I save if I grow my own? Food Gardens for a Changing World provides comprehensive, detailed yet contextual information across the biophysical, ecological, agronomic, social, economic, and political aspects of locally-grown produce."

--Deborah K. Letourneau, Professor Emerita, Department of Environmental Studies "University of California, Santa Cruz "

"What can one do to live more pleasurably and sustainably in this period of rapidly changing social and ecological circumstances? This stimulating and inspiring--yet practical--book suggests that you put some seeds in the ground and learn to nourish your plants, your place, your body, and your mind. Beginners will find the book an effective guide to taking the first steps into establishing and maintaining a rewarding garden. Experienced gardeners will discover a wealth of information about the scientific underpinnings of their practice and how they can adjust to a changing environment."

--Jack R. Kloppenburg, Jr., Professor Emeritus "University of Wisconsin-Madison "
"Food Gardens for a Changing World is a rich and comprehensive resource written by thoughtful, creative scientists in service to gardeners and small-scale farmers. It weaves prosocial culture, scientific documentation, best garden practices, botanical basics for seed savers, and a big picture look at challenges for food production that have already arrived with increasing global temperatures of climate change. Reference lists encompassing the breadth of ideas presented are extensive for every chapter."--Elizabeth Johnson "San Luis Obispo Seed Exchange "
"The confluent imperatives of public and planetary health call for pragmatic solutions. Food Gardens for a Changing World offers up just the kind of guidance we all need now--an approach that engages and empowers us to be part of the solution to multiple problems. Thorough, thoughtful, and actionable--this book is as encouraging as it is informative."--David L. Katz, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P.M., F.A.C.P., F.A.C.L.M. "Prevention Research Center Yale University "
"The unique contribution of Food Gardens for a Changing World is to combine findings from the natural and the social sciences to allow us to understand better the new challenges food gardening faces. For growing food is not just a matter of maintaining healthy soils and cultivating the plant: it is also about strengthening links with others, co-finding solutions for scientists, and ultimately, by reconnecting with nature, healing communities."--Olivier De Schutter, LL.M., Ph.D., Professor, "Catholic University of Louvain and at Sciences Po Paris "

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