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Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life

Cover: 'Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life'

Staff Review: "Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life" by David R. Montgomery


Many people choose sides between conventional and organic methods of farming, assuming that you will have to settle for lower harvests and smaller produce if you don’t want your food to be poisoned by carcinogenic pesticides. Montgomery brings the reader’s attention to a third option: conservative agriculture. This means not tilling fields with a plow, planting cover crops year-round, and rotating crops regularly. The author repeatedly points out that all three factors are required to truly practice conservative agriculture—a sustainable method of farming (that can certainly be practiced organically, which re-establishes the natural relationship between plants and mycorrhizal fungi and eliminates the need for imported fertilizers. These manufactured fertilizers, used copiously across the country since after World War II, have merely propped up yields in the short term and ultimately depleted the soil.

Conservative agriculture is not just a theory. The author spends the bulk of his book providing case studies of how this method actually functions around the world from Kansas and North Dakota to Africa and Central America. In his real life examples, Montgomery exposes the expense of conventional agriculture that proves it is neither the most cost effective nor the most efficient method of farming.

This book changed the way I think about farming and the meaning of sustainable agriculture. Conservative agriculture, Montgomery states, is “a combination of good stewardship and economic gain.” His book left me with a positive attitude about the future of agriculture worldwide.

Audience: adults | Genre: nonfiction

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