The Top 11 Regenerative Agriculture Books [Reviewed]

Want to learn more about regenerative agriculture (RA)? Looking to dive deep into it and learn just how to do it exactly? In this article we’ll cover the top regenerative agriculture books.

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Dirt to Soil: One Family’s Journey into Regenerative Agriculture

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Dirt to Soil: One Family’s Journey into Regenerative Agriculture
  • Brown, Gabe (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages - 10/11/2018 (Publication Date) - Chelsea Green Publishing (Publisher)

What We Like

  • Learn more of Gabe Brown’s backstory in regenerative agriculture
  • More detail into Gabe’s 5 tenets of soil health
  • Enjoyable to read
  • Good for consumers wanting to eat healthier
  • Profit not yield – Great for farmers wanting to use regenerative agriculture and still make a good profit
  • Great first book on RA – Mentions a lot of the main players in the regenerative agriculture field

What We Don’t Like

  • A little technical and sometimes hard to read

Restoration Agriculture

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Restoration Agriculture
  • Acres U S A
  • Mark Shepard (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 344 Pages - 01/01/2013 (Publication Date) - Acres U.S.A. (Publisher)

What We Like

  • Great overview on no till sustainable agriculture
  • Excellent for farmers – Will give you ideas to improve your own farm
  • Good blend of RA philosophy with practical advice

What We Don’t Like

  • Argues that permaculture and sustainable ag is more profitable than conventional ag – math is tweaked to make this point. Overall we agree with Gabe’s view on profit in previous book but not on the idea that permaculture is better than conventional or it would become the conventional method.

Regenerative Agriculture – A Practical Whole Systems Guide to Making Small Farms Work

Regenerative Agriculture - A Practical Whole Systems Guide to Making Small Farms Work
  • Over 33 farming topics including: HOLISTIC DECISION-MAKING PROPERTY SELECTION WHOLE-FARM DESIGN ECOSYSTEM PROCESSES KEYLINE DESIGN WATER SYSTEMS PERENNIAL CROPS SILVOPASTURE FINANCIALS TREE NURSERY FINANCIALS FOREST-RAISED PIGS
  • A large part of the data in the book comes from Ridgedale Farm, which Richard co-owns and co-manages with his wife Yohanna and an ever-changing constellation of core team members, interns and volunteers. The farm is only 10,6 hectares and located at 59N in rural Sweden, yet grosses a quarter of a million Euros in a short 6 month season
  • Regenerative Agriculture offers a clear and pragmatic approach to designing, installing and managing profitable small farms, and is built around Richard Perkins’s tireless work to restore the dignity to rural stewardship through intelligent human-scale farming.
  • Richard Perkins (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

The Carbon Farming Solution: A Global Toolkit of Perennial Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices for Climate Change Mitigation and Food Security

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The Carbon Farming Solution: A Global Toolkit of Perennial Crops and Regenerative Agriculture Practices for Climate Change Mitigation and Food Security
  • Ships from Vermont
  • Hardcover Book
  • Toensmeier, Eric (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 512 Pages - 02/22/2016 (Publication Date) - Chelsea Green Publishing (Publisher)

What We Like

  • Comprehensive look at RA strategies like cover crops, green manure, and grazing management
  • Good for carbon farmers – Includes detailed accounts on using RA to capture carbon from atmosphere while farming profitably
  • Shows methods for tropical zone agriculture
  • Well researched – good source book for Regenerative Agriculture school reports!

What We Don’t Like

  • Temperate zone methods are less proven – check Joel Salatin and other temperate zone farmers for this

The Regenerative Grower’s Guide to Garden Amendments: Using Locally Sourced Materials to Make Mineral and Biological Extracts and Ferments

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The Regenerative Grower's Guide to Garden Amendments: Using Locally Sourced Materials to Make Mineral and Biological Extracts and Ferments
  • Palmer, Nigel (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 08/07/2020 (Publication Date) - Chelsea Green Publishing (Publisher)

What We Like

  • Focus on the home gardener not the large farmer – applies to more users
  • Continues the talk about soil health and increased nutrition in garden vegetables – something often overlooked

What We Don’t Like

  • Too much text – would be nice if there were more charts and easy step-by-step instructions. More pictures as well!

Farming on the Wild Side: The Evolution of a Regenerative Organic Farm and Nursery

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Farming on the Wild Side: The Evolution of a Regenerative Organic Farm and Nursery
  • Hayden, Nancy J. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 09/19/2019 (Publication Date) - Chelsea Green Publishing (Publisher)

What We Like

  • Easy to read – doesn’t read like a textbook or contain too much technical info
  • Great detail and practical tips on using RA to make more honey
  • This book is honesty – the authors run a farm and have had to change as the market changed. They take you through this process rather than just spouting sustainability philosophy. The chicken coop rat story is especially enjoyable.
  • Most ideal for fruit farmers in the northeast like the authors of the book
  • Grounded in science (yet still easy to read!)

What We Don’t Like

  • We’d love to hear this same story of learning and discovery in RA from other parts of the country like the south, the midwest, the arid west, and desert southwest, and the pacific northwest. Not really a true criticism of the book. Just a wish list for the future of RA!

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming

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Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming
  • PENGUIN
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 04/18/2017 (Publication Date) - Penguin Books (Publisher)

What We Like

  • Great writing – easy to read
  • Well researched
  • Thorough

What We Don’t Like

  • More philosophy than detailed plan – it’s on overview of strategies not a step-by-step plan
  • Not as focused on regenerative agriculture – covers 100 ideas

One Size Fits None: A Farm Girl’s Search for the Promise of Regenerative Agriculture

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One Size Fits None: A Farm Girl’s Search for the Promise of Regenerative Agriculture
  • Anderson, Stephanie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 312 Pages - 01/01/2019 (Publication Date) - University of Nebraska Press (Publisher)

What We Like

  • Midwest perspective
  • Makes a compelling case for smaller farms
  • Great stories and great read – wonderful intro and in depth look at regenerative agriculture and why it’s important

What We Don’t Like

  • Heavy on history and philosophy of regenerative agriculture
  • Not a step-by-step book for farmers or gardeners

Kiss the Ground: How the Food You Eat Can Reverse Climate Change, Heal Your Body & Ultimately Save Our World

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Kiss the Ground: How the Food You Eat Can Reverse Climate Change, Heal Your Body & Ultimately Save Our World
  • Tickell, Josh (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 352 Pages - 09/18/2018 (Publication Date) - Atria/Enliven Books (Publisher)

What We Like

  • Great overview of regenerative agriculture
  • Explains the history
  • Focus on the consumer – gives tips and strategies for ways consumers can buy food that supports RA
  • Will get you pumped with practical advice on foods you can buy to make things better

What We Don’t Like

  • This would make a great documentary – when does production begin, ha!

Grass, Soil, Hope: A Journey Through Carbon Country

Grass, Soil, Hope: A Journey Through Carbon Country
  • Ships from Vermont
  • White, Courtney (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 05/23/2014 (Publication Date) - Chelsea Green Publishing (Publisher)

What We Like

  • Great overview and philosophy book
  • If you like Michael Pollen’s writings, you’ll love this book
  • Thoroughly covers how to use grazing management as a theory to improve soil health, increase food production with less water use, improve food nutrition, and reduce greenhouse gases through farming
  • Gives you the data that there’s still hope for sustainable agriculture to become profitable and save us

What We Don’t Like

  • Not enough step-by-step – philosophy books that include history and reasons why are great – Books that show you as a consumer how to buy RA, as a gardener how to garden RA, and as a farmer how to farm RA profitably are somewhat missing from the literature on regenerative agriculture.

Building Soil: A Down-to-Earth Approach: Natural Solutions for Better Gardens & Yards

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Building Soil: A Down-to-Earth Approach: Natural Solutions for Better Gardens & Yards
  • Murphy, Elizabeth (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 200 Pages - 03/27/2015 (Publication Date) - Cool Springs Press (Publisher)

What We Like

  • Another great soil building book for gardeners! Note that gardeners frequently can bring in cattle to improve their soil so they do this through mulches and amendments similar to the other RA gardening book described above.
  • Lots of pictures
  • Informative and tons of practical step-by-step information

What We Don’t Like

  • Now if only we can figure out how to share neighborhood cows to improve our backyard gardens…