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Restoration Agriculture: Real-World Permaculture for Farmers [Anglais] [Broché]

Mark Shepard

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Amazon.com: 4.3 étoiles sur 5  28 commentaires
126 internautes sur 138 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Not as Advertised!!! 31 janvier 2013
Par Christopher M. Dejoe - Publié sur Amazon.com
I was very excited to get this book and rip through it. I was hoping to learn how to utilize what the author spoke about in an interview with Acres USA. Sadly I was disappointed.

Look most of the people who will buy this book do NOT need to be preached to for the majority of the book why permaculture and this method is better for the environment, food and ourselves. If he wanted to write a treatise he should have titled the book in that manner instead of leading on that it was a guide to learning how to implement this kind of farming. He could have easily shrank his arguments and his unscientific instances of his theories. His arguments wouldn;t be a problem if he did not attempt to often frame them in a scientific manner but besides nutrition information in animal meat and a few plants there isn't much science at all and no data to truly work from(even though he attempted to do so).

My biggest problem with this book, which isn't horrible, is that it is not what it pretends to be. He glosses over the information about implementing this on your farm except for generalized large brush strokes. I wanted to learn the nitty gritty of the hows, whys, advice and instructions. Epic fail on that account. It is nothing like the Vegetable Gardener's Bible where it talks about methods and how to implement them and goes through each crop and tells how to plant and things to you need to know.

It gets three stars because he came up with some great points and had some interesting ideas. This book is far to expensive for what it contains.
47 internautes sur 49 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Broad strokes, big ideas 7 février 2013
Par N. Anderson - Publié sur Amazon.com
This work attempts to be an introduction to sustainable farming. The author's assertion (well supported by the evidence he cites) is that our current agricultural model is failing, and that we need to move away from a system built on annual plants, and towards a system built on perennial growth. This is permanent agriculture, or "permaculture". His model for this is an idealized, carefully structured combination of plants, or "polyculture" for food, fuel, and animal forage. In his words: "[w]hat we are doing is designing an agricultural system that closely mimics the savanna in its structure, the species mix, and in ecological function."

This model has been outlined in pieces in other books. Much of his ideas about livestock forage are similar to what Joel Salatin writes, though Shepard is less strident, and more open to the idea of a vegetarian diet. He spends a great deal of time demonstrating with chart and figures how, exactly, a more perennial agricultural model can generate more nutritious calories per acre than the current single crop. But the graphs do not overwhelm.

I was pleased by the concrete examples in the book. Shepard demonstrates, in color pictures and with facts and figures, the viability of a farm based on permaculture principles. He gives tree spacings, plant yields, and grazing techniques. He explains the proper ratio of cows to sheep, for instance. However I was expecting a lot more details regarding plant choices, harvesting techniques, etc. What can be said for Shepard is that he stays on point better than, and is more accessible than, Bill Mollison, who has a tendency to wax philosophical. That said, Permaculture: A Designers' Manual remains a better resource than Restoration Agriculture.

Occasionally his hypotheses are supported only by assertion. For example, he states outright "every culture built on annual crops has failed". This is either false, if you take into account current civilization, or unverifiable, if you assert, as the author does, that our culture is doomed to fail. Additionally, while he describes growing vegetables in places, he also seems to state that this will be phased out as the forest matures. I don't think any system of agriculture that phases out vegetables can be entirely nutritious. But this aspect of the book is not entirely clear, and I may be misreading the author's intention.

My one concern about permaculture is that the staple crops derived from trees are not as easily palatable. Certainly anyone who has eaten "bread" from acorn flour will be unlikely to prefer it to bread from whole-wheat flour. So a place will likely remain in society for grain crops. But we could all do well to read this book and encourage farmers and landowners to start implementing these principles. If you consider that the nutrition in, say, an ear of corn has to come from somewhere, and that "somewhere" is largely out of the ground, and out of fertilizers derived from petroleum, you can easily see that our current agricultural model is essentially mining the topsoil. Since current practices do not build topsoil, and at some point, maybe in 10 years, maybe in 100 years, we are going to see petroleum reserves stable off and eventually decline, we are not in a sustainable cycle of production. Whatever your political conviction, you should think about the issues addressed here.

Overall, however, a very well written distillation of the classics of permaculture, plus examples of how well it works, and a plan to implement it on a large scale across North America. I think the target audience here is not the well read, inspired permaculture enthusiast, but instead the average person who has not heard of this concept. For that purpose, he succeeds well at introducing concepts, and demonstrating how well they work. Go to other sources to get the details though.
27 internautes sur 27 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Groundbreaking Work for Regeneration 30 janvier 2013
Par Ben - Publié sur Amazon.com
This is the kind of case study the permaculture world has needed for far too long. Mark Shepard explains how he is able to produce more food, reliably and regeneratively on his 100+ acres using trees and grazing as the foundation of his farming system. He is truly working with the way nature wants to work and not "trying to kill what wants to live and keep alive what wants to die" as he cites in this book and his talks. Until now the idea of "farming like the forest" - without needing any off-site fertilizers, pesticides, without spraying, pruning, tilling and over-managing a system which simply needs too much - has been just that, mostly an idea. This book shows how these systems can work in practice by a guy who's been at it for decades. He raises his pigs on chestnuts falling from the forest canopy that he planted. When it rains many inches and the midwest floods, his farm absorbs the storm and no fertility and water run off the farm. Read it and be inspired!
22 internautes sur 22 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 The real deal 2 mai 2013
Par GregD - Publié sur Amazon.com
I have read several permaculture books (Holmgren, Holzer, Hemenway, Jacke, Bane, etc.), and Mark Shepard's 'Restoration Agriculture' is worthy of its subtitle 'Real-World Permaculture for Farmers'. He has combined his hard-nosed practicality from his engineering background with a hefty dose of permacultural idealism to successfully realize his dream of 'New Forest Farm'. Shepard has been doing broad-scale permaculture/agroforestry since the mid 1990's, and has turned an old eroding cornfield into a productive property with fruit trees, nut trees, fruit shrubs, berries, vines, mushrooms, animals, bees, and annual (squash) and perennial (asparagus) vegetables as cash crops to help pay bills until the perennials start bearing more heavily.

Of special interest to me were chapters 11 and 12, in which he deals with questions about the capacity of a perennial agriculture to provide enough calories to feed people. Can 'permaculture' really feed people or must we subsidize the permaculture fantasy with destructive annual tillage and a diet based on annual crops? Shepard admits his figures are a bit rough (yields for polycultures will change as trees mature), but corn produces about 13 million calories per acre annually, and Mr. Shepard suggests that a perennial system with perhaps a few annuals alley-cropped, can produce 6 million calories per acre. He says nutritionally there is simply no comparison between a monocrop of corn and the variety of a perennial system - the nutrition of the perennial system is vastly superior to a corn-based diet. The benefits of a perennial system are reduced cost in seed, gasoline or diesel fuel, and tractor maintenance, along with drastically improved soil, minimal tillage, greater capacity for photosynthesis, and an astonishing diversity of yields over a greater period of time. His findings give me hope that there truly is a different way to feed large numbers of people in a way that builds rather than destroys soil, is comparable to annual agriculture in caloric yields, is superior nutritionally, requires FAR fewer fossil-fuel based inputs, and is better for people. The type of thing he is doing seems to be the foundation of a relocalized economy that empowers the everyman rather than enriching elites. To top it all off, the 'New Forest Farm' is a giant informal research station for new varieties of fruits, nuts, and for appropriate-scale nut processing equipment.

This book comes highly recommended if you have already been introduced to some of the ideas of permaculture and are interested to see how it really does work on a large scale. Even if you're unfamiliar with permaculture it could serve as a decent introduction to some key concepts as long as you have a bit of farming experience already. If someone you know seems to think permaculture is a joke, lend them this book. The icing on the cake is the book itself is well bound, has a beautiful cover, has the right margins so you don't have to break the spine to read it, and the book just 'feels right' when you hold it. Mark Shepard seems to be the real deal. I really enjoyed this book.

P.S. - He is based in Wisconsin, so obviously the species one might incorporate into something like he is doing will vary from climate to climate.
8 internautes sur 8 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Just what I needed 12 mars 2013
Par Denise Domning - Publié sur Amazon.com
I totally enjoyed this book. Although other reviewers complained that he didn't give specifics about what plants to grow and how to put them in the ground (I mean, seriously guys--you each have a planting zone; he gave you the plant families and how to intermingle them--do your own research), that's not really what I wanted from the book. I wanted to better understand the overarching principles and how I can apply them to my own measly few acres. He more than gave me that information, as well as how it can work with my cows and chickens and, if I can talk my husband into it, pigs. Not only that he gave me ideas and glimmers of ideas on what is possible with what I have. I can run with it from there.

And best of all I now practice the STUN (Sheer, Total, Utter, Neglect) planting method. I love it!
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