Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life” as Want to Read:
Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life

by
4.42  ·  Rating details ·  261 ratings  ·  50 reviews
For centuries, agricultural practices have eroded the soil that farming depends on, stripping it of the organic mattervital to its productivity. Now conventional agriculture is threatening disaster for the world’s growing population. In Growing a Revolution, geologist David R. Montgomery travels the world, meeting farmers at the forefront of an agricultural movement to ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 10th 2018 by W. W. Norton Company (first published May 9th 2017)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Growing a Revolution, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Growing a Revolution

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.42  · 
Rating details
 ·  261 ratings  ·  50 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life
Glen
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I won an ARC of this book in a goodreads drawing.

An important book about returning fertility back to our soils, without becoming dependent on artificial fertilizers.

Two aspects elevate this above the usual book about environmental concerns.

First it isn't written in apocalyptic overtones. It doesn't feel like somebody is yelling "WE'RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!" in your face all the time. This is a refreshing change.

Second, while I don't believe all of the author's solutions are workable, at least
...more
Cory Meeks
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Now I want to be a farmer.

I've been interested in gardening for a few years now. My dad gardened when I was young, but only recently have I owned land to garden.

I first heard of this book from an Urban Farming podcast, and I was intrigued. Soil science has been a new interest of mine, and I had never heard of most of the methods and practices in this book.

I'm not a true environmentalist, I don't fight for the whales, or boycott slaughtering animals, but anyone would want to be a good steward
...more
Stephen
Nov 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everone who cares about the living earth
Recommended to Stephen by: Gidon Eshel
Nearly everything that nourishes terrestrial biota grows in a micro-thin layer of the earth’s surface that is fast running out -- topsoil. Yet while people of good will march by the many thousands for clean air or clean water, no one marches about the ongoing loss and impending disappearance of a resource (sustainably fertile soil) as important to higher forms of life on earth as are clean air and drinkable water. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization reported in 2015 that at the current rate ...more
Grace
I heard an interview with the author on one of my favorite podcasts, You Bet Your Garden, a few months back and I was so fascinated by what he was proposing that I had to read this book.

Well, I'm convinced. The health of our soil directly impacts how we all live and how we will continue to live in the future. Without soil full of organic matter, chemical fertilizers, herbicides, and pesticides leach and run off fields, contaminating water and creating algal blooms far downstream. Soil stripped
...more
Adina
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
was inspiring Thanksgiving holiday reading. Written by MacArthur Fellowship recipient David Montgomery of the University of Washington, the book reports on global examples of farmers adopting practices of “conservation agriculture” which restore soil as a renewable resource, instead of degrading soil over time.

By avoiding plowing, using cover crops, and employing crop rotation, farmers are able to use much lower levels of fertilizers, pesticides and fuel and make higher profits, with less
...more
Tim
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thanks, David.
Riddhwaj
Mar 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There are good books and then there are books that change that way you see the world.

If you're into agriculture - Read it.


This is basically a collection of tales and tricks by successful farmers. And not just tricks this often talks about their distilled path to success in depth. The magic for me happened when everyone they talk about uses slightly different techniques and this made me understand the range within which I can work with, what I really must do and what I can plan for future.
Carl
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I received this book from the Goodreads Giveaway.

Wonderful book with a mixture of history, environmental science, agriculture, and memoir. Enjoyable narrative and facts. The author really captured no-till agriculture from various perspectives without sounding arrogant or condescending. Recommended reading for anybody interested in the sciences.
Adam  McPhee
It’s safe to say that something is wrong with our agricultural system when neighbors collectively sue those who feed them for poisoning their water.
In its own way as damning as Dark Money. The agricultural business is in trouble because so many farmers are in debt to the companies like Koch Industries and Monsanto who supply farmers, who want to keep selling farmers chemical fertilizers even though we now know chemical fertilizers are bad for soil health.

What it all comes down to is this,
...more
Marathon County Public Library

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

...more
Michelle
Feb 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Book 9 of 52: Growing a Revolution: Bringing our Soil back to Life by David R. Montgomery. This was NOT a breezy, simple read, but it WAS fascinating. Montgomery discusses, at length, the practice of regenerative agriculture. He visits farms across the world that are practicing soil building techniques to build fertility and increase crop yields. The most interesting thing about what he learned, to me, was that soil building can be accomplished on BOTH organic AND conventional farms. When all ...more
Lynne
Montgomery covers a lot of ground...boosting knowledge and support for a new/old way of farming crops...conservation agriculture, comprised the 3 legs of no-till, cover crops, and adequate crop rotation (not just alternating corn and beans). This could easily be the answer to building up our soil to produce more with less...include animal waste and one can boost production even higher.

Unfortunately, university ag research and government programs depend almost solely on "products"...what to buy,
...more
Karen Hardy
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Growing a Revolution was an amazing eye-opener about the state of our soil. Sounds boring but it was far from it. David Montgomery wrote with clarity, many examples for the sorry state of our earth and even more hopeful stories of restoration of our agriculture and farming communities. He extensively researched, traveled to Africa, Central America, South America, Europe and Russia and the US.
He sold me on the need to restore soil health and fertility without excessive use of chemicals
...more
Rae
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While I already knew most of the information in this book, Montgomery's book is the first I have read to focus on soil as the direct resource we rely so much upon and the politics behind it. It's as if the book presents itself "okay, let's get down to business". The author clearly lines out the connecting pieces of the how, what and why of the issue. I appreciate his direct approach and hope more people read this. It is a brilliant book, intelligently written, and full of information our country ...more
Andrew
Jan 01, 2019 rated it liked it
It's definitely worth reading if you're interested in the subject matter. It also went quite well since I had just finished the Omnivore's Dilemma which also addresses issues of soil degradation.
It could have benefited a little more with some graphics and charts showing some simple concepts like the monthly/yearly rotational planting cycle of some of the farms he visited, for instance.
While it clearly and concisely addresses the agricultural/biological/geological processes and the 3-fold system
...more
Adam
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book made me want to become a farmer (my wife encouraged me to keep my day job). It's a rare book that describes the failures of agriculture (tilling and/or 'mining' our soil) while pointing us towards solutions (conservation agriculture). Montomery does a great job bridging the gap between real life, in the trenches farmers, and researchers who can back up what conservation agriculture proponents claim. I'll be incorporating soil building techniques described here into my backyard ...more
Michael
May 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well researched, this book hammers home the same points through a number of different examples. But the takeway points remain the same: no-till farming, crop rotation, and cover crops. The author paints an optimistic future of agriculture and climate change, but we have to do our part by being educated and restructuring government subsidies which currently incentivize farming practices which are leading to rapid soil erosion, overuse of fertilizers and pesticides, and release of carbon from ...more
Dusty Wight
Nov 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Soil is amazing! I never knew how exciting reading about the complex ecosystem that is soil could be. After reading this book I really want to try some farming and spread conservation agriculture. It’s amazing how simple of a solution it would be to ecological, economic, and even cultural issues that we face in today’s world.
Tauna
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This great book was recommended by a friend, so i listened each morning to this edition through Hoopla (our library service) while i walked and worked out at our local YMCA. There were several take away pieces of information which will help me ranch more effectively. Might listen again to make sure i didn't miss any small bits. Highly recommend.
Maxine
Mar 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Clear-eyed discussion of the case for improving soil health. While I don't agree with all of the author's conclusions with respect to "acceptable" pesticide use, his writing is clear and well referenced. This is a very readable non-fiction book given to me by a community gardener/farmer, and I'm passing it on to an environmental economics student. Spread the word.
Esther Marie
May 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Interesting topic. Good reporting. Great writing. This book is a must-read for those who are interested in agriculture, both large and small scale. Stay tuned for a longer review or check out what other's have already said to get a more detailed sense of of the content.
Haley LeRand
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I said so many swear words when I turned onto the last page in the book and realized it was the end. I didn't want it to end. I can't believe how long I went without reading this brilliant work. I would recommend it to everyone, but especially if you are a farmer or have friends who are farmers.
A
Who knew a book like this could get me so excited about soil?
Ryan
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Carla
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This is the most hopeful non-fiction book about the natural world that I have ever read. It sort of functions as the fourth book in a loose series of books that I have been reading this year about humans and their relations to the land, earth, terra firma: volume 1 is Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs, and Steel, volume 2 is Richard Powers The Overstory, and volume 3 is Art Manuel's The Reclamation Manifesto. Diamond tragically accepts the destruction of the earth due to the triumph of the modern ...more
Virginia
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
To start, I won an advanced copy of this book from a Goodreads giveaway. I had entered the giveaway because I just moved onto a large piece of property and have begun planting various crops, and for my own application wanted to know more about farming practices and soil health. When I finished the book I not only had practices I could implement, but I also felt compelled to get more involved in advancing our farming practices! Montgomery is an excellent writer, he makes the reader become as ...more
Rachel G
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Everyone should read this book. Seriously.

My dad is an influential leader of the Regenerative Agriculture movement, and I heard about this book through him. I expected it to be interesting but a bit dry, especially on audio, and I figured I’d be pushing my way through the ten hours of listening. That was most certainly not the case! David Montgomery weaves travel, science, research, and history into a fascinating look at how vital conservation agriculture is for our future.

Carbon emissions,
...more
Ricky
Feb 19, 2020 rated it did not like it
Never has so little been said in so many pages. Tilling is evil because it leads to erosion, cover crops are good because they add organic matter. There - that's the entire book. The author just rambles on about that, saying it in three hundred different ways. Instead of actual data, there are lengthy anecdotes about people who agree with this basic philosophy. Any science mentioned is at the third-grade level. "No-till" is nothing new, so its not even like this book is introducing a ...more
Connor Caler
Jan 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
After hearing a claim that America had 60 harvests left before farmers wouldn’t be able to keep up with human consumption, I wanted to learn more about the issue and understand my contribution. Serendipity, or perhaps compulsion, brought this book to my attention while perusing the used books section at a local bookstore. I’m glad I picked it up. I haven’t been able to stop annoying everyone with my newfound conservative agricultural farming ethos. Montgomery builds a story of soil health ...more
Kelso
Feb 15, 2020 rated it liked it
Overall, a great read. As someone who prides themselves on being informed about environmental issues, I wasn't aware of my ignorance about agriculture until picking up this book. If you are worried about the environment, like being informed, are an intentional eater or consumer, I highly recommend this book. Also it's one of the few things I've read recently that is solution oriented and has a positive outlook. It's nice to read something about environmental issues that leaves me feeling hopeful ...more
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Dirt to Soil: One Family's Journey Into Regenerative Agriculture
  • The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies Are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet
  • Cows Save the Planet: And Other Improbable Ways of Restoring Soil to Heal the Earth
  • Water in Plain Sight: Hope for a Thirsty World
  • Wilding
  • Eager: The Surprising, Secret Life of Beavers and Why They Matter
  • Six Degrees
  • A Soil Owner's Manual: How to Restore and Maintain Soil Health
  • The One-Straw Revolution
  • Call of the Reed Warbler: A New Agriculture – A New Earth
  • Kiss the Ground: How the Food You Eat Can Reverse Climate Change, Heal Your Body & Ultimately Save Our World
  • Farmacology: What Innovative Family Farming Can Teach Us About Health and Healing
  • The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener
  • Folks, This Ain't Normal: A Farmer's Advice for Happier Hens, Healthier People, and a Better World
  • Grain by Grain: A Quest to Revive Ancient Wheat, Rural Jobs, and Healthy Food
  • Start Your Farm: The Authoritative Guide to Becoming a Sustainable 21st Century Farmer
  • 10% Human: How Your Body's Microbes Hold the Key to Health and Happiness
  • Defending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Meat Production
See similar books…
David R. Montgomery is a MacArthur Fellow and professor of geomorphology at the University of Washington. He is an internationally recognized geologist who studies landscape evolution and the effects of geological processes on ecological systems and human societies. An author of award-winning popular-science books, he has been featured in documentary films, network and cable news, and on a wide ...more
“People tend to assume that organic farming and sustainability go hand in hand. But that's not necessarily the case - and it hasn't been for most of history. While going organic has some big advantages, even today most organic farmers still rely on the plow - the chief culprit in the this story. Why? Because it provides cheap, reliable weed suppression." David Montgomery - Growing a Revolution” 2 likes
“In many ways, soil degradation set the long-wavelenght pattern of history, as wars, natural disasters, and climate shifts pulled the trigger on environmental guns loaded by soil loss and degradation.” 0 likes
More quotes…