PJC’s Recommended Reading
Fred Newcombe

With the holidays upon us, PJC’s recommended reading can be added to that last-minute wish list. The following five books have been fundamental in PJC’s mission, staff training, and trajectory. If you’re interested in organic turf care, soil health, or regenerative agriculture, this list is for you!

1. “Whitewash: The Story of a Weed Killer, Cancer, and the Corruption of Science” by Carey Gillam.

Monsanto’s Roundup —aka glyphosate — is used across the world. Glyphosate is sprayed on turf grass, gardens, and the food we eat. It’s been marketed as “safe” but research now indicates glyphosate’s threat to our health. In this book, Gillam exposes the truth behind the effects of this chemical exposure, as well as the corruption within the science industry. “Whitewash is more than an exposé about the hazards of one chemical or even the influence of one company. It’s a story of power, politics, and the deadly consequences of putting corporate interests ahead of public safety” (Acres U.S.A.). 

This book has provided even more motivation in PJC’s mission to provide safe, all-natural ingredients in our organic fertilizers and soil amendment products

Read more & purchase from Acres U.S.A.

2. “Secrets of Fertile Soils: Humus as the Guardian of the Fundamentals of Natural Life” by Erhard Hennig.

This book highlights the importance of healthy soils. Hennig breaks down the complexity of soil science in a way most people can understand. In addition, it emphasizes how interdependent soil, plants, animals, and people really are. Unfortunately, farming practices have widely depleted soil biology, but there is hope. While the book is geared towards farmers, everyone can learn from Hennig’s knowledge on healthy soils.

PJC always bases our product recommendations on soil test results. Reading this book affirmed how important and practical our roots-up approach to organic turf care really is.

Read more & purchase from Acres U.S.A.


3. “The Monsanto Papers: Deadly Secrets, Corporate Corruption, and One Man’s Search for Justice” by Carey Gillam.

In this book, Carey Gillam clearly explains Dewayne “Lee” Johnson’s lawsuit against Monsanto. Lee is a former groundskeeper who was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. He sued Monsanto on the basis that the company’s herbicide product caused his cancer.  Gillam highlights corporate wrongdoing and the importance that they be held accountable. The corruption uncovered is shocking, and Monsanto’s reach extends to all. 

We love Gillam’s passion, subject matter, and style of investigative journalism. Many PJC staff members have also had the pleasure of viewing various presentations of Gillam’s as well. 

Read more & purchase from Acres U.S.A.


4. “Kiss the Ground: How the Food You Eat Can Reverse Climate Change, Heal Your Body & Ultimately Save Our World” by Josh Tickell.

The subtitle says it all…what we eat matters. Does this seem like an odd recommendation from an organic fertilizer business? Well, as this book highlights: everything is connected.

Kiss The Ground is relevant, accessible, and optimistic. It provides practical, everyday action we can take to support the earth and our own health. Tickell also includes helpful diagrams to reinforce information. “The ‘regenerative’ farming that Josh describes in this book is the only way to take enough greenhouse gasses out of the atmosphere—not just reduce the continuing levels of pollution we add with every trip to the grocery store or flip of the light switch—before it’s too late” (Terry Tamminen, foreword). 

PJC also recommends you take time to watch the incredibly well done Kiss The Ground documentary and check out all the amazing resources at kisstheground.com. 

Read more & purchase from Book Depository


5. “The Soil Will Save Us: How Scientists, Farmers, and Foodies are Healing the Soil to Save the Planet” by Kristin Ohlson.

There’s science, there’s history, there’s conviction, there’s hope! Soil is vital and this book is vital to encouraging practices that will help save our planet.Ohlson introduces the visionaries—scientists, farmers, ranchers, and landscapers—who are figuring out in the lab and on the ground how to build healthy soil, which solves myriad problems: drought, erosion, air and water pollution, and food quality, as well as climate change” (Acres U.S.A). 

Read more & purchase from Barnes & Noble




6. “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” by Greg McKeown.

Book cover of The Disciplined Pursuit of Less showing scribbled lines changing to a circleA book that may drastically help you in both professional and personal life. McKeown offers the concepts and methods of achieving more in less time by prioritizing things that are ‘actually’ important. By becoming selective in where you focus time and energy, you are empowering yourself to contribute more to your success and potential. A quick and easy read that can reframe how you’re spending time.

Read more & purchase from Barnes & Noble

7. “Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek.

Book cover of Leaders Eat Last, showing aerial view of plate setting graphicA business book focused on employee employer relationships and the ideas of what it takes to be a ‘leader’. Sinek uses historical examples on how we have been shaped culturally and how you best use these examples to inspire your team. The nuts and bolts are how managers can inspire the best of their employees, how to improve loyalty, and how to guide your team toward a long-term vision. A great winter time read to help guide your business’ culture for the upcoming season!

Read more & purchase from Barnes & Noble

Have you caught onto just how much PJC’s recommended reading involves healthy soil? If not, our final book recommendation may be for you…

 8. “Building Soils for Better Crops Ecological Management for Healthy Soils” by Fred Magdoff and Harold van Es.

Book cover of Building Soils For Better Crops, showing farmers working in a fieldFred’s most recent read, introduced through his enrollment in Cornell’s Advanced International Soil Health Certificate Course. This is a unique, practical guide to ecological soil management. It includes step-by-step info on improving soil, and includes an in-depth background. Covering A to Z – from what soil is to the importance of organic matter. This book will explain to you different facets of the soil interconnect, and how cultural practices impact them to make your soil healthy and resilient, or conversely, make them unstable. Lastly, case studies of farmers countrywide show how entire farm have been renewed through these techniques. A must-read for farmers, landcare professionals, educators, and students!

Read more & purchase from Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education.

If you’re looking for more of PJC’s recommended reading, check out my list on our Resource Page!