Resources for Becoming More Self-Sustainable

With the way things have been going it’s difficult to know whether we will be forced into becoming more self-sustainable or if we will form regional groups on our own and just instinctively begin taking matters into our own hands. In either event I still think it’s a good idea to start making the shift our of consumer driven ways and getting more into functioning as small communities. I was watching PBS Explorer channel the other night and was quite impressed with the work many had done to make spaces in urban and suburban places more community oriented. You can buy the DVD of the four-part series, “Designing Healthy Communities”, and get some good ideas.

Here is a list of resources to help you get started on thinking, living and working towards making your life more rich and remarkable:




Mother Earth News

Gardening Books

Four Season Harvest and The Winter Harvest Handbook by Eliot Coleman

Year-Round Vegetable Gardener by Niki Jabour

Gaia’s Garden: a guide to home-scale permaculture by Toby Hemenway

Introduction to Permaculture by Bill Mollison

Seed to Seed: seed saving and growing techniques for vegetable gardeners by Suzanne Ashworth

Homegrown Whole Grains: grow, harvest, and cook wheat, barley, oats, rice, corn and more by Sara Pitzer

The Earth Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book by Mike Oehler

Chicken and Goat Raising Books

Free-Range Chicken Gardens: how to create a beautiful, chicken-friendly yard by Jessi Bloom

Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow

Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats: breed, care, dairying, marketing by Jerry Belanger

Food Storage Books

Root Cellaring: natural cold storage of fruits & vegetables by Mike Bubel

A Guide to Canning, Freezing, Curing & Smoking Meat, Fish & Game by Wilbur F. Eastman

Food Drying Techniques by Carol W. Costenbader

Water Conservation Books

The Toilet Papers: recycling waste and conserving water by Sim Van der Ryn

Water Storage: tanks, cisterns, aquifers and ponds for domestic supply, fire and emergency use by Art Ludwig

Builder’s Greywater Guide: Installation of Greywater Systems in New Construction & Remodeling by Art Ludwig

Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands (vol.1): guiding principles to welcome rain into your life and landscape by Brad Lancaster

Alternative House Building Books & DVD

The Fifty Dollar and Up Underground House Book by Mike Oehler

Earthbag Building: the tools, tricks and techniques (natural building series) by Kaki Hunter

Basic Earthbag Building DVD by Owen Geiger

Building with Cob: a step-by-step guide by Adam Weismann

The Cob Builders Handbook: you can hand-sculpt your own home by Becky Bee

Rocket Mass Heaters: super-efficient woodstoves YOU can build by Ianto Evans

The Hand-sculpted House: a practical and philosophical guide to building a cob cottage by Ianto Evans

Earthship: how to build your own (vol.1) by Michael Reynolds

Homesteading for Beginner’s DVD

Earth Oven Books

Build Your Own Earth Oven: a low-cost wood-fired mud oven by Kiko Denzer

The Bread Builders: hearth loaves and masonry ovens by Daniel Wing

Creating Community Books and DVD

Designing Healthy Communities DVD

Creating Cohousing: building sustainable communities by Kathryn McCamant

Pocket Neighborhoods: creating small-scale community in a large-scale world by Ross Chapin

Finding Community: how to join an ecovillage or intentional community by Diana Leafe Christian

Creating a Life Together: practical tools to grow ecovillages and intentional communities by Diana Leafe Christian

EcoVillage at Ithaca: pioneering a sustainable culture by Liz Walker

Herbal Remedy Books

Homegrown Herbs: a complete guide to growing, using, and enjoying more than 100 herbs by Tammi Hartung

Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs: a beginner’s guide of 33 healing herbs to know, grow and use by Rosemary Gladstar

Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health: 175 teas, oils, salves, tinctures, and other natural remedies for the entire family by Rosemary Gladstar

The Herbal Medicine-Maker’s Handbook: a home manual by James Green

Herbal Antibiotcs: natural alternatives for treating drug-resistant bacteria by Stephen Harrod Buhner

Medicinal Herbalism: the science principles and practices of herbal medicine by David Hoffmann

Edible and Medicinal Plants Field Guides

A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs: of Eastern and Central North America by Steven Foster

The Forager’s Harvest: a guide to identifying, harvesting, and preparing edible wild plants by Samuel Thayer

The Forager’s Harvest DVD set includes all of the plants discussed in The Forager’s Harvest book (above)

Nature’s Garden: a guide to identifying, harvesting, and preparing edible wild plants by Samuel Thayer

Edible Wild Plants: wild foods from dirt to plate by John Kallas

Botany in a Day: the patterns and method of plant identification by Thomas J. Elpel

Identifying and Harvesting Edible and Medicinal Plants in the Wild by Steve Brill

Wilderness and Survival Books

When All Hell Breaks Loose: stuff you need to survive when disaster strikes by Cody Lundin

Field Guide to Living with the Earth by Tom Brown Jr.

Field Guide to Wilderness Survival by Tom Brown Jr.

Field Guide to the Forgotten Wilderness by Tom Brown Jr.

Field Guide to Nature Observation and Tracking by Tom Brown Jr.

Green Beret Survival Manuel: essential strategies for shelter, water, food and fire, told and medicine, navigation and signa by Mykel Hawke

Special Forces Survival Handbook: the portable guide to getting out alive by Mykel Hawke

Survive! Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere by Les Stroud

Deerskin into Buckskins: how to tan with natural materials a field guide for hunters and gathers by Matt Richards

Some Online Resources

CoGenra Solar – they sell solar panels that combine hot water. This is brilliant because solar panels lose efficiency when the temperature of them gets too hot in the sun. By having water flowing through them helps to keep them cooler and much more efficient! This is brilliant!!!

Cornell University Online Courses – for Aspiring, New, & Experienced Farmers {Northeast Beginning Farmers Project}

Peak Moment TV – Janaia has some wonderful interviews and video’s from which to glean a lot of great ideas on living more lightly.

Episode 301: Winter Gardening with Joe Gardener interviewing Eliot Coleman – wonderful video and be sure to explore their website Growing a greener World for many useful ideas and tips.

Eliot Coleman Keynote at VABF 2011 – an excellent 90 minute video of Eliot Coleman discussing winter gardening and harvesting, followed with a Q&A. The first 10 minutes is difficult to hear but afterwards they’ve gotten the mic fixed and the sound is fine.

Landscape and Human Health Laboratory University of Illinois – terrific site discusses how landscape 9or lack thereof) impacts human health physically and emotionally.

New Earth Living – a blog about the Aurora Pocket Neighborhood in Ithaca, NY, an EPA Climate Showcase Community.

“I AM” via – I AM is an engaging documentary about Tom Shadyac, a Hollywood director with fame and fortune, and a serious bike accident that turned his world upside down. Seeking answers, Shadyac talks with some of today’s most revolutionary minds, asking them two essential questions: What’s wrong with the world? And what can we do to fix it? Start a 10-day Free Trial and watch this excellent documentary!

Green Bronx Machine: Growing Our Way Into A New Economy – this is the best video out there! So moving and inspirational!!! Watch South Bronx teacher Stephen Ritz give his standing ovation talk at TEDxManhattan. His students have gone from 40% attendance to over 90% – all from his edible food walls.

Sustainable Gardening Ideas for A Better Community – an excellent video by Shawna Coronado of – she and a panel of organic gardeners speaking at Google Chicago on her dramatic and life-changing experience in the natural environment and the sustainable personal health and economically viable community benefits of gardening. Watch to learn some great ideas and get tips on how a garden can change lives.

America’s First Public Food Forest – an article of what I believe we need more of.

Desert Harvesters – is a non-profit, volunteer-run, grassroots effort based in Tucson, Arizona striving to promote, celebrate, and enhance local food security and production by encouraging the planting of indigenous, food-bearing shade trees (such as the Velvet mesquite or Prosopis velutina) in water-harvesting earthworks, and then educating the public on how to harvest and process the bounty.

Maine Primitive Skills School – another school that teaches the things we should already know.

Cody Lundin’s YouTube Channel – a variety of video’s on topics relating to survival and simplifying. Cody Lundin’s website has courses and more information.

Alderleaf Wilderness College: a center for traditional ecological knowledge – their site has a lot of information on a variety of topics as well as classes.

Survival Topics – some interesting information on various topics involving survival techniques many of which could and would be used if the grid goes down.

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