Farming the Woods

New Book for Enthusiasts of Agroforestry, Forest Gardening, and Specialty Crops

In 2009, co-authors Ken Mudge and Steve Gabriel met in the MacDaniels Nut Grove, Steve a student in Ken’s Practicum in Forest Farming class at Cornell University. As they began to work together, the two found that at the intersection of forest farming and permaculture was a new way to see the forest as more than just trees. Ken and Steve began researching and writing together, and in the fall of 2014, finished a new book for Chelsea Green Publishing called Farming the Woods.
The book combines Ken’s decades of research and international agroforestry experience with Steve’s permaculture and farming knowledge to offer readers a plethora of concepts and ideas for growing a range of non-timber crops in their woods.
Farming the Woods covers in detail how to cultivate, harvest, and market high-value non-timber forest crops such as American ginseng, shiitake mushrooms, ramps (wild leeks), maple syrup, fruit and nut trees, ornamentals, and more. Readers are provided comprehensive information on:

  • Historical perspectives of forest farming
  • Mimicking the forest in a changing climate
  • Cultivation of medicinal, food, and mushroom crops
  • Creating a forest nursery
  • Harvesting and utilizing wood products
  • The role of animals in the forest farm
  • How to design a forest farm and manage it once it’s established

In addition to a wide breadth of content, the book offers case studies of real-world forest farmers engaged in mushroom cultivation, nursery operations, animal systems, and nut breeding. The book has been called “a must-read for anyone interested in agroforestry, forest gardening, or utilizing forests for specialty crops” by Martin Grawford, author of Creating a Forest Garden.
For more information and to order, visit

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Sarah Diana Nechamen

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