Recommended Book Titles for Farming in Northern BC

When it comes to planning and developing a small farm business, books play an important role. Farming is a complex and challenging endeavour that requires a large amount of research, preparation and ongoing development. Farmers in the north are often isolated from the resources that exist in large centers, and they struggle to find concise and valuable information they need. Northern farmers have typically relied on their local producer associations and community groups for  information exchange. These networks are invaluable, but they too struggle to keep up to date on new information while also reaching out to new members. The internet is a new tool for many farmers, but the volume of information available on the internet is overwhelming, and the quantity of information does not necessarily result in quality information! Sometimes you get what you pay for.

Books are a great source of valuable and concise information and essential for new farmers who have a lot to learn. Several key publishers specialize in farming topics and consistently publish top quality titles. Our own staff have reviewed several of these titles and have found them to be incredibly valuable.

We acknowledge that few farmers would be able to afford all of these titles, so where can they turn? Their local libaries! We have sent this list of recommended titles to libraries across the BC Highway 16 corridor, as part our efforts to increase the availability of resource to new northern farmers. We encourage you to visit your local library to see which of these titles they currently have, or which they may be adding to their own collections. The more requests a library receives for a certain title, the more likely there are to add it to their collection.

In the meantime, we thought there may be others interested in viewing the list we have assembled, so we’ve decided to post our recommend titles for a northing farming online for your perusal. Our Top Ten Titles are a reflection of our focus on sustainable business development and the financial viability of farming enterprises.

Top 10 Titles for a Northern Farming Resource Library

  1. Making your Small Farm Profitable, Ron Macher
  2. Starting and Running your own Small Farm Business, Sarah Beth Aubrey
  3. Farm Business Planning: Understanding, Preparing & Using, Farm Management Canada
  4. Cultivating Agritourism: Tools & Techniques for Building Success, Farm Management Canada
  5. Value-Added Products in Agriculture, Farm Management Canada
  6. The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook: A Complete Guide to Managing Finances, Crops, and Staff—and Making a Profit, Richard Wiswall
  7. The Winter Harvest Handbook, Elliot Coleman
  8. Gardening between Frosts, Dave Havard
  9. Grass-Fed Cattle: How to Produce and Market Natural Beef, Julius Ruechel
  10. Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture, Elizabeth Henderson, Robyn Van En

Recommended Farm Periodicals


  • Western Producer
  • AgriSuccess Magazine
  • Small Farm Canada
  • BC Beef Magazine
  • Canadian Cattlemen Magazine


  • Mother Earth News
  • Hobby Farms
  • Farmers Market Today
  • Countryside and Small Stock Journal
  • The Grower Magazine
  • Small Farm Today Magazine
  • The Progressive Farmer Magazine
  • Acres USA Magazine
  • Growing for Market Magazine

 Recommended DVD’s

Chelsea Green (often available at a discount as a bundled package with the companion book)

  • Year-Round Vegetable Production with Eliot Coleman DVD
  • A Forest Garden Year DVD, Martin Crawford
  • Top-Bar Beekeeping with Les Crowder and Heather Harrell DVD
  • Natural Beekeeping with Ross Conrad DVD
  • Business Advice for Organic Farmers DVD

Recommended Titles: Apiculture

Chelsea Green

  • Natural Beekeeping: Approaches to Modern Apiculture, Ross Conrad
  • Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health, Les Crowder, Heather Harrell

Recommended Titles: Business Management

Storey Books

  • Making your Small Farm Profitable, Ron Macher,
  • Starting and Running your own Small Farm Business, Sarah Beth Aubrey

Farm Management Canada

  • Farmers Working with Farmers: The Power of Groups
  • Building Added Value through Farm Diversification
  • Cultivating Agritourism: Tools & Techniques for Building Success
  • Farm Financial Records: A Guide to Managing For Success
  • Farm Business Planning: Understanding, Preparing & Using
  • Farming With Neighbours
  • So You Want To Hold A Festival?
  • Value-Added Products in Agriculture
  • Marketing on the Edge: A Marketing Guide for Progressive Farmers

Chelsea Green

  • Farms with a Future: Creating and Growing a Sustainable Farm Business, Rebecca Thistlethwaite
  • Family Friendly Farming: A Multi-Generational Home-Based Business Testament, Joel Salatin
  • Sharing the Harvest: A Citizen’s Guide to Community Supported Agriculture, Elizabeth Henderson, Robyn Van En
  • The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook: A Complete Guide to Managing Finances, Crops, and Staff—and Making a Profit, Richard Wiswall
  • Solviva: How to Grow $500,000 on One Acre & Peace on Earth, Anna Edey
  • You Can Farm: The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Start and Succeed in a Farming Enterprise, Joel Salatin
  • Surviving and Thriving on the Land: How to Use Your Time and Energy to Run a Successful Smallholding, Rebecca Laughton

New England Small Farm Institute

  • Exploring the Small Farm Dream: Is Starting an Agricultural Business Right for You? Kathryn Hayes
  • The On-Farm Mentor’s Guide – practical approaches to teaching on the farm, Miranda Smith


  • Holistic Management: a New Framework for Decision-Making, Allan Savory
  • The New Farmers’ Market: Fresh Ideas for Producers, Managers and Communities, Vance Corum, Marcie Rozenzweig, Rric Gibson

Recommended Titles: Grains

Chelsea Green

  • Small-Scale Grain Raising, Second Edition: An Organic Guide to Growing, Processing, and Using Nutritious Whole Grains for Home Gardeners and Local Farmers, Gene Logsdon
  • The Organic Grain Grower: Small-Scale, Holistic Grain Production for the Home and Market Producer, Jack Lazor

Recommended Titles: Livestock

Storey Books

  • Storey’s Guide to Raising Poultry, Glenn Drowns
  • Storey’s Guide to Raising Ducks, Dave Holderread
  • Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats, Jerry Belanger, Sara Thomson Bredesen
  • Storey’s Guide to Raising Meat Goats, Maggie Sayer
  • Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, Gail Damerow
  • Storey’s Guide to Raising Sheep, Paula Simmons, Carol Ekarius
  • Storey’s Guide to Raising Miniature Livestock, Sue Weaver
  • Storey’s Guide to Raising Beef Cattle, Heather Smith Thomas
  • Storey’s Guide to Raising Rabbits, Bob Bennett
  • Storey’s Guide to Raising Llamas, Gale Birutta
  • Storey’s Illustrated Breed Guide to Sheep, Goats, Cattle and Pigs, Carol Ekarius
  • Storey’s Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds, Carol Ekarius
  • Storey’s Barn Guide to Sheep
  • Grass-Fed Cattle: How to Produce and Market Natural Beef, Julius Ruechel
  • Getting Started with Beef & Dairy Cattle, Heather Smith Thomas
  • Raising a Calf for Beef, Phyllis Hobson
  • The Family Cow, Dirk Van Loon
  • The Cattle Health Handbook, Heather Smith Thomas
  • Essential Guide to Calving, Heather Smith Thomas
  • Humane Livestock Handling, Temple Grandin
  • Keeping Livestock Healthy, Dr. N. Bruce Haynes
  • Small-Scale Livestock Farming, Carol Ekarius
  • The Chicken Health Handbook, Gail Damerow

Chelsea Green

  • Pastured Poultry Profit$, Joel Salatin
  • Salad Bar Beef, Joel Salatin
  • The Small-Scale Poultry Flock: An All-Natural Approach to Raising Chickens and Other Fowl for Home and Market Growers, Harvey Ussery

Green Park Press

  • Comeback Farms: Rejuvenating Soils, Pastures and Profits with Livestock Grazing Management, Greg Judy
  • Grassfed to Finish: A Production Guide to Gourmet Grass-Finished Beef, Allan Nation
  • No Risk Ranching: Custom Grazing on Leased Land, Greg Judy

Recommended Titles: Orchards

Chelsea Green

  • The Apple Grower and Holistic Orcharding with Michael Phillips (Book & DVD Bundle), Michael Phillips
  • The Grafter’s Handbook, R. J. Garner

Recommended Titles: Organics

Farm Management Canada

  • Organic Field Crop Handbook – Second Edition
  • Introduction to Certified Organic Farming

Chelsea Green

  • The New Organic Grower: A Master’s Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener, Eliot Coleman
  • NOFA Guides Set
    • Crop Rotation and Cover Cropping
    • Soil Resiliency and Health on the Organic Farm
    • Compost, Vermicompost, and Compost Tea
    • Feeding the Soil on the Organic Farm
    • Growing Healthy Vegetable Crops
    • Working with Nature to Control Diseases and Pests Organically
    • Humane and Healthy Poultry Production
    • Whole-Farm Planning
    • Organic Dairy Production
    • Organic Seed Production and Saving
    • Organic Soil Fertility and Weed Management

 Recommended Titles: Permaculture

  • Sepp Holzer’s Permaculture: A Practical Guide to Small-Scale, Integrative Farming and Gardening, Sepp Holzer
  • Gaia’s Garden: an Introduction to Home Scale Permaculture, Toby Hemenway
  • Introduction to Permaculture, Bill Mollison

Recommended Titles: Root Cellars

  • Root Cellaring: The Simple No-Processing Way to Store Fruits and Vegetables, Mike Bubel
  • The Complete Root Cellar Book: Building Plans, Uses and 100 Recipes, Steve Maxwell, Jennifer MacKenzie
  • The Joy of Keeping a Root Cellar: Canning, Freezing, Drying, Smoking and Preserving the Harvest, Jennifer Megyesi

Recommended Titles: Season Extension

Chelsea Green

  • Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables From Your Home Garden All Year Long, Eliot Coleman
  • How to Grow Food in Your Polytunnel, Andy McKee, Mark Gatter
  • The Polytunnel Handbook, Andy McKee, Mark Gatter
  • How to Grow Winter Vegetables, Charles Dowding
  • Hot Beds: How to Grow Early Crops Using an Age-Old Technique, Jack First
  • Solar Gardening: Growing Vegetables Year-Round the American Intensive Way, Leandre Poisson, Gretchen Vogel Poisson
  • The Winter Harvest Handbook, Eliot Coleman

Recommended Titles: Seed & Variety Production

Chelsea Green

  • The Gardener’s and Farmer’s Guide to Plant Breeding and Seed Saving, Carol Deppe
  • Breed Your Own Vegetable Varieties
  • The Organic Seed Grower: A Farmer’s Guide to Vegetable Seed Production, John Navazio

Recommended Titles: Specialty Products

Chelsea Green

  • The Chinese Medicinal Herb Farm: A Cultivator’s Guide to Small-Scale Organic Herb Production
  • The Farmstead Creamery Advisor: The Complete Guide to Building and Running a Small, Farm-Based Cheese Business, Gianaclis Caldwell
  • The Flower Farmer, Revised and Expanded: An Organic Grower’s Guide to Raising and Selling Cut Flowers, Lynn Byczynski
  • Growing Great Garlic: The Definitive Guide for Organic Gardeners and Small Farmers, Ron L. Engeland
  • Creating a Forest Garden, Martin Crawford
  • The Fleece & Fiber Sourcebook, Carol Ekarius, Deborah Robson
  • Aroma Borealis
  • The Boreal Herbal: Wild Food and Medicine Plants of the North, Beverly Grey

Recommended Titles: Various

Chelsea Green

  • Holy Shit: Managing Manure to Save Mankind, Gene Logsdon
  • The Soul of Soil: A Soil-Building Guide for Master Gardeners and Farmers, 4th Edition
  • How to Grow Perennial Vegetables: Low-Maintenance, Low-Impact Vegetable Gardening, Martin Crawford
  • The New Horse-Powered Farm: Tools and Systems for the Small-Scale, Sustainable Market Grower, Stephen Leslie
  • Lasagna Gardening: A New Layering System for Bountiful Gardens: No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding! Patricia Lanza
  • The New Seed-Starters Handbook, Nancy Bubel
  • Roots Demystified: Change Your Gardening Habits to Help Roots Thrive, Robert Kourik


The New Farm Development Initiative is coordinated by Community Futures Fraser Fort George and made possible by funding from the Regional District of Fraser-Fort George, the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako, the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine, the Omineca Beetle Action Coalition, the Real Estate Foundation of BC, and the Investment Agriculture Foundation of BC through the programs it delivers on behalf of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and the BC Ministry of Agriculture.