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Attracting Native Pollinators: The Xerces Society Guide Protecting North America's Bees and Butterflies
The recent decline of the European honey bee and other pollinators in North America poses a serious challenge to maintaining our food supply and ecological health. According to the National Academy of Sciences, close to 75 percent of all flowering plants rely to some degree on pollinators in order to set seed or fruit. From these plants comes one-third of the planet's food, including fruit and vegetable crops, as well as forage seed crops such as alfalfa, which are critical to dairy and meat production. "Attracting Native Pollinators" is a comprehensive guidebook for gardeners, small farmers, orchardists, beekeepers, naturalists, environmentalists, and public land managers on how to protect and encourage the activity of the native pollinators of North America. Written by staff of the Xerces Society, an international nonprofit organization that is leading the way in pollinator conservation, this book presents a thorough overview of the problem along with positive solutions for how to provide bountiful harvests on farms and gardens, maintain healthy plant communinities in wildlands, provide food for wildlife, and beautify the landscape with flowers. Full-color photographs introduce readers to more than 80 species of native pollinators -- including bees, flies, butterflies, wasps, and moths -- noting each one's range and habits. The heart of the book provides detailed garden plans and techniques showing how to create flowering habitat to attract a variety of these pollinators, help expand the pollinator population, and provide pollinators with inviting nesting sites. Readers will also find useful instructions for creating nesting structures, educational activities for involving children, and an extensive list of resources. "Attracting Native Pollinators" is an essential reference book and action guide for anyone who is involved in growing food or is concerned about the future of our food supply. The Xerces Society, a nonprofit conservation organization, is a leader in the effort to conserve North America's native pollinators. Founded in 1971, the society has its headquarters in Portland, Oregon, and sponsors advocacy, education, and applied research projects across the continent aimed at protecting and managing critical habitat for pollinators.
By the year 2050, Earth's population will double. If we continue with current farming practices, vast amounts of wilderness will be lost, millions of birds and billions of insects will die, and the public will lose billions of dollars as a consequence of environmental degradation. Clearly, there must be a better way to meet the need for increased food production. Written as part memoir, part instruction, and part contemplation, Tomorrow's Table argues that a judicious blend of two important strands of agriculture--genetic engineering and organic farming--is key to helping feed the world's growing population in an ecologically balanced manner. Pamela Ronald, a geneticist, and her husband, Raoul Adamchak, an organic farmer, take the reader inside their lives for roughly a year, allowing us to look over their shoulders so that we can see what geneticists and organic farmers actually do. The reader sees the problems that farmers face, trying to provide larger yields without resorting to expensive or environmentally hazardous chemicals, a problem that will loom larger and larger as the century progresses. They learn how organic farmers and geneticists address these problems. This book is for consumers, farmers, and policy decision makers who want to make food choices and policy that will support ecologically responsible farming practices. It is also for anyone who wants accurate information about organic farming, genetic engineering, and their potential impacts on human health and the environment.
Winning entry, General Trade Cover/Jacket Category, in the 2009 New England Book Show sponsored by Bookbuilders of Boston. We don't think much about how food gets to our tables, or what had to happen to fill our supermarket's produce section with perfectly round red tomatoes and its meat counter with slabs of beautifully marbled steak. We don't realize that the meat in one fast-food hamburger may come from many different cattle raised in several different countries. In fact, most of us have a fairly abstract understanding of what happens on a farm. In "America's Food, " Harvey Blatt gives us the specifics. He tells us, for example, that a third of the fruits and vegetables grown are discarded for purely aesthetic reasons; that the artificial fertilizers used to enrich our depleted soil contain poisonous heavy metals; that chickens who stand all day on wire in cages choose feed with pain-killing drugs over feed without them; and that the average American eats his or her body weight in food additives each year. Blatt also asks us to think about the consequences of eating food so far removed from agriculture; why unhealthy food is cheap; why there is an International Federation of Competitive Eating; what we don't want to know about how animals raised for meat live, die, and are butchered; whether people are even designed to be carnivorous; and why there is hunger when food production has increased so dramatically. "America's Food" describes the production of all types of food in the United States and the environmental and health problems associated with each. After taking us on a tour of the American food system--not only the basic food groups but soil, grain farming, organic food, genetically modified food, food processing, and diet--Blatt reminds us that we aren't powerless. Once we know the facts about food in America, we can change things by the choices we make as consumers, as voters, and as ethical human beings.