Dirt to Soil

One Family’s Journey into Regenerative Agriculture
Narrated by: Gabe Brown
Length: 7 hrs and 44 mins
5 out of 5 stars (562 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Gabe Brown didn’t set out to change the world when he first started working alongside his father-in-law on the family farm in North Dakota. But as a series of weather-related crop disasters put Brown and his wife, Shelly, in desperate financial straits, they started making bold changes to their farm. 

Brown - in an effort to simply survive - began experimenting with new practices he’d learned about from reading and talking with innovative researchers and ranchers. As he and his family struggled to keep the farm viable, they found themselves on an amazing journey into a new type of farming: regenerative agriculture. Brown dropped the use of most of the herbicides, insecticides, and synthetic fertilizers that are a standard part of conventional agriculture. He switched to no-till planting, started planting diverse cover crops mixes, and changed his grazing practices. In doing so, Brown transformed a degraded farm ecosystem into one full of life - starting with the soil and working his way up, one plant and one animal at a time. 

In Dirt to Soil, Gabe Brown tells the story of that amazing journey and offers a wealth of innovative solutions to our most pressing and complex contemporary agricultural challenge - restoring the soil. The Brown’s Ranch model, developed over 20 years of experimentation and refinement, focuses on regenerating resources by continuously enhancing the living biology in the soil. 

Using regenerative agricultural principles, Brown’s 5,000-acre ranch has grown several inches of new topsoil in only 20 years! The key is how we think, Brown says. In the industrial agricultural model, all thoughts are focused on killing things. But that mind-set was also killing diversity, soil, and profit, Brown realized. Now, he channels his creative thinking toward how he can get more life on the land - more plants, animals, and beneficial insects. 

“The greatest roadblock to solving a problem,” Brown says, “is the human mind."

©2018 Gabe Brown (P)2018 Chelsea Green Publishing
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loved it.

I hope every farmer, gardener and lawmaker reads it. I think it should probably be required reading in every conservation and agricultural course.
I am almost done listening to it for the 4th time. Gabe Brown should be nominated for Person of the Year on Time Magazine!

6 people found this helpful

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Inspiring

If you’re looking for a different (better) way to do things this may be your saving grace. If someone is telling you there is only one way to do something and all the while they are profiting from you doing it that way, chances are they are either lying to you or are uninformed about alternatives. There is more than one way to skin a cat, and if you look hard enough you’ll find in most cases the “cat” didn’t need to be skinned in the first place.

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Everyone should know this information

This book can and will actually change your life if you take action with the practices described. I have been doing regenerative agriculture for 7 years and can see major changes in soil health.
I have been to the authors ranch and met him. The information is legitimate and the authenticity is real. What a great book!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Happy to hear someone is doing something

The author is the narrator, he has and accent and unusual reading style. To be honest I almost stopped listening in the first few minutes. I'm glad that I didnt. If your interested in farming with the help of nature instead of against it, you need to listen to what this man has to teach you!

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informative and to-the-point!

I enjoyed listening to this book and my version is full of bookmarks. Thanks Gabe Bown!

2 people found this helpful

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Must read if you grow food!

Dirt to Soil is a book every farmer, ranchers, grower, gardener, extension agent and NRCS employee should read. In fact if you eat food you should read this book. You will gain a better understanding of food and nutrition. Plus gain a much larger respect for agriculture and the soil microbes that you and your health is dependent upon if you eat food! I teach school and believe that the book should be getting read in middle school so all students can gain knowledge about the future of agriculture and our food production system.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book for large scale AG

Not many people are able to talk to the subject of large scale agriculture. Gave had done an excellent job of it! I like that he read it too.

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Good knowledge

I think this book gives good knowledge from his experience. It is very motivating. It does NOT give you the formula for you to do it though, you need to research afterwards. That is why I gave it 4 stars.

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A must read for anyone interested in regenerative agriculture.

Gabe it does a wonderful job telling his life story while teaching us the fundamentals of regenerative agriculture. Very engaging and entertaining while extremely educational at the same time. He uses his own as well as many others stories illustrate the importance of integrating livestock into agricultural production methods for growing food crops. Gabe’s passion comes through and his “can-do“ attitude is refreshing in today’s climate of negativity and pessimism.

1 person found this helpful

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Full of real and practical ideas.

Beyond a doubt the best book I have read/listened to. Real ideas that are of great help no matter where you live. It is not a technical scrib, it lays it all out in simple terms. Several changes I am going to make spring 2019, buy a soil temperature meter, mix a more diverse cover crop get soil tests that include carbon amounts in soil.

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  • A Pearce
  • 06-05-19

Thought provoking and unexpectedly emotional

As a farmer I found this book challenging but inspirating and emotional as I reflect how the Gabe's early story reflects my early experiences of conventional farming.

1 person found this helpful

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  • mr mark e johnson
  • 05-23-19

A survival ESSENTIAL!

Gabe with his fresh eyes, fresh insight & razor sharp intellect & observations, shows the way not simply to “food” production, but way more important, nutrition production.
In doing so Gabe gives us back our sustainable world & balance of nature. This man & his family are modern day agricultural heroes. A must read & “digest” kinda book.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-30-18

outstanding

A wonderful audio book, that could help to save the Earth and our species, truly nspirational and illuminating

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mr J Blakeman
  • 03-30-20

such a great listen

all farmers need to give it a chance. will listen again lots of information. I can't wait to start trying new ideas

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  • A Reader
  • 01-24-20

Must Read for all Farmers

This book is a MUST READ / LISTEN, not an option for any and all farmers, current and aspiring to be. It clearly explains how and why our current agricultural production model is not fit for purpose and in fact destructive to us right now and getting even more so each day we remain in this model which will ultimately destroy us all.

MOST IMPORTANTLY though is Gabe explains how a farmer can change to a regenerative farming system and the multiple benefits that come with it, not only a healthy, profitable and very resilient farming business but a healthy regenerating earth along with very healthy life including humans!!! AND IT CAN GO ON!!!

For any farmer who would choose to not do what Gabe Brown has done after becoming aware of regenerative agriculture in my mind could be considered as dereliction of duty to the earth and the life that lives on it! I know that for many it is not easy because of many internal and external forces that keep them in the rut, however IT MUST BE DONE AND DONE NOW!!

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  • harry
  • 01-07-20

Amazing Story

A fantastic and inspiring book. I’ve recently converted our dairy farm to organic but this book has answered a lot of questions and filled some blank spaces for me towards ‘WHY’ I am doing what I’m doing.

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  • Mr. Robert Garrett
  • 12-06-19

Must Read Book for ALL farmers<br />

Even if your not interested in regenerative agriculture this book will make you think about your current farming system

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-04-19

Full of useful information

I can't help feeling I will be turning to this book again over the coming years once I've read all the other books mentioned.

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  • Julian Lee
  • 06-04-20

Thank you!

Thank you for rekindling my excitement for production agriculture. By seeing differently we can now change the world!

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  • Justin Connors
  • 03-28-20

A 'how to' for regenerative agriculture

insightful. easy to follow and listen to. useful for anyone that cares about the future of Agriculture

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  • Peter Australia
  • 10-04-19

A must listen for anyone who manages land for food production

A very informative and easy listening book. A must for anyone interested in the future of food production anywhere in the world!

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  • Darren
  • 09-11-19

Insightful

learned a fair bit about this guy's approach to soil health and farming in general. it's well worth the read and gives you plenty of info to help you learn to regenerate soil no matter where you are in the world.

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  • Inge Buchanan
  • 08-23-19

An inspirational story

A great down to earth explanation on how to engage with nature to produce healthy soil, plants and food by unlearning, learning and observation. I learned so much, I can't wait to get started even though I'm just a gardener.

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  • Alex
  • 08-19-19

fantastic book!

This should be taught to everyone from childhood! It's one of my top 5 books. I can't believe this isn't standard farming practice across the developed world. So glad Gabe has share his experience and knowledge. Useful for everyone, not just large scale farmers, I'm only a backyard gardener growing herbs and vegetables for our family.

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  • Linda T
  • 07-21-19

Essential reading - farmers/gardeners

Practical, logical and real. Following on from reading Dark Emu, Black Seeds - Bruce Pascoe, this book explains in simple, practical ways, how to improve soil, create resilience, and diversify production.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 07-21-19

Brilliant book

Thoroughly enjoyed listening to Gabe and his journey from the start until now. Very informative book.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-16-19

The Light Bulb Book for ALL farmers!!!!

This is not just a book, THIS IS A long awaited BIBLE FOR ALL AGRICULTURE PRACTICES!! whether you are a large scale agriculture industry or a small hobby/ plant enthusiast... this book is GOLD. I have searched long and hard for such a COMPREHENSIVE piece of literature, that is BACKED UP BY ACTUAL STATISTICS and EASY TO UNDERSTAND. A true testiment to the Author, Thank You, from Down Under.

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  • Nick
  • 04-25-19

Regenerative landscapes - A powerful read.

Wow, not only is Gabe a pioneering regenerative farmer but a great narrator also. This book is a must for any land manager or farmer in fast ways to build soil and community.