Book Reviews

Healthy Crops: A New Agricultural Revolution

By: 
Francis Chaboussou

Healthy Crops - a New Agricultural RevolutionFrancis Chaboussou was an agronomist at the French National Institute of Agricultural Research.  He introduced the term trophobiosis to describe the symbiotic association between organisms where food is to be obtained or provided.  The provider of the food is referred to as a trophobiont.  The term is also used for a theory of pest resurgence on crops to which pesticides have been applied causing an increasing dependence upon pesticides.  This book is a translation from the French edition of 1985.

Although it is difficult to find any information about Francis Chaboussou, he left a legacy that can transform the way we think about insects and agriculture.  In the commentary with which the book begins, Dr. Ulrich E. Loening says that Charboussou's thesis is quite simple: "most pest and disease organisms depend for their growth on free amino acids and reducing sugars in solution in the plant's cell sap."  Charoussou's studies range over fifty years, and his conclusions as to the how and why the free amino acids and reducing sugars are produced in the sap are the subject of this book.

Mainline Farming for Century 21

By: 
Dan Skow & Charles Walters

Mainline Farming for Century 21Charles Walters is the founder and head of Acres USA, which is a forum for organic farming.  Acres publishes many books on all aspects of farming, and holds an annual conference in the heartland of the US.  This organization is on the cutting edge of agronomy in this country.  Dan Skow is a veterinarian and a student of the late Carey Reams.  Many of Dr. Skow's lectures can be found on the Acres website as DVDs and audio tapes.  Charles Walters has written numerous articles and books, and his works can be found on that site as well.

Mainline Farming for Century 21 explores in more depth many of the topics taught in the Real Food Campaign nutrient density growing courses, and would be a valuable resource for anyone wanting to go deeper into Reams method.  There is much in this book for those who are interested in balancing the minerals in their soil.  Like many other books of this kind, it is better to own a copy to dip into.

Biological Transmutations

By: 
Louis Kervran

Biological TransmutationsBREAKING NEWS!!!  LEAD INTO GOLD!  Scientists Report Lab Success in Transmuting Lead into Gold. Exclusive Report to the Bionutrient Food Association. READ IT HERE!! That would get everyone's attention, yes? But really, these days, who cares? I would rather have bought Intel at $6. Now, there's a gold mine.  The fact is, we haven't had much success transmuting lead into gold, and what we have transmuted usually turns out to be radio-active.  But what if everything around us, including us, was transmuting elements all the time without giving it a moment's thought? You would think that would be big news---and you would be wrong.  I have been reading in the fields of nutrition and agriculture for years and this is the first I have heard of it even if the ideas have been around since 1799.  Vauquelin, a French chemist found that hens excreted in feces and egg more lime than existed in the oats he fed them. In 1822, another French man, Choubard, germinated same watercress seeds in an inert dish (glass) and found that the young plants contained minerals that did not exist in the seeds. In 1844, Vogel found that watercress plants contained more sulfur than was in the seeds when none was added. In 1875, Von Herzeele concluded that there was a transmutation of elements occurring when he grew plants in a well-studied medium (sic), and found discrepancies in the weights of magnesium.  In 1960 these studies were published by Baranger, but he was scooped by Louis Kervan, who in 1959 published the results of his years of experiments and announced to the world that not only molecules but atoms themselves can be transformed. Naturally, Kervran was ridiculed but he also received some strong support.  Ultimately, scientists from around the world and the governments of Russia and China invited him to come and train their scientists.

The Non-Toxic Farming Handbook

By: 
Philip A. Wheeler & Ronald B. Ward

Non-Toxic Farming HandbookThe foreward to The Non-Toxic Farming Handbook was written by Charles Walters, the executive editor of Acres USA and by now it will come as no surprise that he quotes Professor Philip Callahan who said, "No method of insect control will ever work as long as poisoned crops outgas ethanol and ammonia in small parts per million. Those two powerful fermentation chemicals are the mark of a dying, decaying plant and serve as attractants to all plant-eating insects."  Walters also says that for years amateur agronomists taught others to be good amateurs, but with the knowledge in this Handbook, that has been rectified.  Wheeler and Ward credit Philip Callahan, T. Galen Hieronymus and most especially, Carey Reams, with work that allowed this book to be written.

Not only is the work of Carey Reams monumental, but the man himself is extraordinary. While serving in the Philippines in WWII an auto accident left his pelvis crushed, his eye gone, jaw broken and teeth destroyed, his neck broken and his back broken in two places. After 40 surgeries he was told to go to the VA hospital to die. Instead he attended a service by Kathryn Khulman, a faith healer. Reams threw away his crutches, walked out unaided, and did not die. What he did was go on to revolutionize agriculture introducing the world to his unique urine and saliva tests, the concept of animal and plant growth resulting from energy, not just food/fertilizer, the importance of calcium in feed and in soil, the use of the refractometer and brix levels to determine plant health, and new understanding of growth and fruiting in plants. 

The Secret Life of Plants

By: 
Peter Tompkins & Christopher Bird

reviews-secret-life-of-plants.jpgWhen The Secret Life of Plants was published in 1973 it was very popular. It made the best sellers list and was picked up by six major book clubs.  In the ensuing decades none of the studies cited in this book have been disproved which could lead to much speculation as to what has caused such discoveries to be largely ignored. This is a book about pioneers, the people who had a stray thought, or an unexpected result, or the chance to spend enough time in the natural world to begin to hear and see. It is a densely packed book full of names and short descriptions of experiments, hard going at times.  Taken all together these experiments present a picture of the natural world that we normally do not encounter, a world of plants that seem to behave more like people than we ever imagined. It is a world filled with radiant energy, sound waves, light and a good dash of mystery. We still do not understand the world of plants but we are invited to go along, experiment with our own plants, to make a beginning.

Life in the Soil

By: 
James B. Nardi

Life in the SoilSoil is that dark stuff beneath our feet.  Or it is dirt. Or it is the digestive system of plants.  The more knowledgeable we become about the soil the more amazing it becomes.  We can understand cation and anion exchange, or how clay works to humidify a soil, or how to read a soil report and successfully amend  our soil but that tells us nothing about the teeming multi-trillions of denizens that dwell in our gardens and fields.

James Nardi starts with the bacteria and fungi in the soil, the nitrogen fixers, the digesters of plant and mineral matter and the largest populations in the soil. In a square meter of soil one could find 1010 bacteria, 109 protozoa, 5 million nematodes, 100K mites, 50K springtails, 10K rotifiers and tardigrades, 5K insects, myriapods, spiders and diplurans, 100 slugs and snails and one, just one vertebrate—possibly the farmer or the dog.

Real Medicine, Real Health

By: 
Dr. Arden Andersen

Arden Anderson is both a doctor and a farmer. As a doctor he helps his patients take dynamic control of their health using proven therapies and diet; as a farmer he has long made the connection between healthy and nutritious foods grown in rich soils and the health and vitality they offer to us.  In his introduction he mentions several doctors and researchers whose work has been suppressed because it contradicts methods promoted conventional medicine, industrial agriculture, most land grant colleges and even the Department of Defense.  Dr. Arden's book is filled with solid advice about diseases modern medicine often cannot alleviate, much less cure. He advocates learning about our bodies using tests that expose our allergies, eliminating toxins and heavy metal contamination from our bodies, emphasizing nutrient dense foods and supplements and, in many cases, obtaining nutrients blended specifically for an individual to target a specific illness.

Science in Agriculture, Advanced Methods for Sustainable Farming

By: 
Dr. Arden Andersen

Science in AgricultureDr. Andersen has written a comprehensive manual on creating and maintaining  non-linear, harmonic and dynamically biologically diverse, mineral rich soil, free of pesticides, harmful fertilizers, deficient or excessive nutrients and able to sustain the growth of plants from seed to fruit while maintaining high brix readings and energy in both plant and soil. In the author's note dated August 2006, Dr. Andersen says: "Always be conscious of the fact that the purpose of agriculture is to produce food for people, and, thus, food must have comprehensive nutrition suitable for people..."