Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life (Paperback)

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Finalist for the PEN/E. O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award



"A call to action that underscores a common goal: to change the world from the ground up." —Dan Barber, author of The Third Plate


For centuries, agricultural practices have eroded the soil that farming depends on, stripping it of the organic matter vital 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 restore soil health. From Kansas to Ghana, he sees why adopting the three tenets of conservation agriculture—ditching the plow, planting cover crops, and growing a diversity of crops—is the solution. When farmers restore fertility to the land, this helps feed the world, cool the planet, reduce pollution, and return profitability to family farms.



About the Author


David R. Montgomery is a professor of Earth and space sciences at the University of Washington. He studies the evolution of topography and the influence of geomorphological processes on ecological systems and human societies. He received a BS from Stanford University (1984, geology) and a PhD from UC Berkeley (1991, geomorphology). His field studies have included projects in the Philippines, eastern Tibet, South America, California, and the Pacific Northwest of North America. In 2008 Montgomery received a MacArthur Fellowship. His books Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, King of Fish: The Thousand-Year Run of Salmon, and The Rocks Don’t Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah’s Flood have all won the Washington State Book Award in General Nonfiction. Montgomery’s latest book, Growing a Revolution: Bringing Our Soil Back to Life, was a finalist for the PEN/E.O. Wilson award for Literary Science Writing. His books have been translated into nine languages.

Praise For…


A Sand County Almanac of agriculture, a Walden Pond of loam and tilth.

— Paul Hawken, author of Drawdown and The Ecology of Commerce

The insights gleaned add nuance to [Montgomery’s] pointed critiques of agrotechnology and organic farming, but it’s the findings on rapid soil restoration that compel.
— Nature

In his reader-friendly style, Montgomery describes the environmental crossroads at which we stand, and shows us not only the devastation, but the potential solution, that exists right beneath our feet.
— Hope Jahren, author of Lab Girl

In the past couple of years, an awful lot of smart people have started talking very seriously about the state of the planet’s soil. If you want to understand what’s at stake, and learn about the exciting possibilities, this book is a fine starting point.
— Bill McKibben, author of Falter

A wonderful read on how to make soil rich and prosperous!
— Estella B. Leopold, author of Stories from the Leopold Shack: Sand County Revisited

This is a such an important book…thanks to those who told me to read it…Everyone interested in what we should eat and how we should farm should read it.
— James Rebanks, author of The Shepherd's Life

Brilliant, well researched, eloquent, and deeply hopeful.
— Denis Hayes, founder of Earth Day

Montgomery has the rare talent of making complex scientific topics not only understandable but truly fascinating. Growing a Revolution is both exceptionally enlightening and tremendously enjoyable. Highly recommended reading.

— Nicolette Hahn Niman, author of Defending Beef and Righteous Porkchop

Being a long time ‘doom bat’ regarding the fate of the natural world, Growing a Revolution gave me hope that there is a real possibility of revolutionizing agriculture with the result of growing more food, employing people, and putting carbon back into the ground.

— Yvon Chouinard, founder of Patagonia

Montgomery has written another classic. Growing a Revolution is one of the most important books ever written—an engaging and revealing service to human society and our planet.

— Amir Kassam, professor of agriculture, policy and development, University of Reading, UK

Growing a Revolution presents a clear-eyed examination of a solution to the challenges we face in feeding the world. A joy to read with the bounce and flow of a great biography. I couldn’t recommend it more.

— Jerry Harrison, keyboardist and guitarist, Talking Heads

From Plato to FDR, from George Washington to Gabe Brown, Montgomery shows how all roads lead to the soil—and the potential it holds to redress some of our greatest challenges in the twenty-first century.
— Woody Tasch, founder of Slow Money and author of Inquiries into the Nature of Slow Money: Investing As If Food, Farms, and Fertility Mattered


Product Details
ISBN: 9780393356090
ISBN-10: 0393356094
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: July 10th, 2018
Pages: 320
Language: English