1. Fat Tire: The Art of the Mountain Bike,

  2. Chronicle Books 1999

  1. The Guide to Tree-free, Recycled

  2. and Certified Papers,

  3. Simple Life Books, 1999

Building with Vision: Optimizing and Finding Alternatives to Wood,

  1. Watershed Media, 2001

  1. Paper or Plastic: Searching for Solutions to an Overpackaged World,

  2. Watershed Media/Sierra Club Books, 2005

Farming and the Fate of Wild Nature:

Essays in Conservation-Based Agriculture,

edited with Jo Ann Baumgartner,

Watershed Media, 2006

Farming with the Wild:

Enhancing Biodiversity on Farms and Ranches,

Watershed Media/Sierra Club Books, 2003

You can learn a lot about my writing and the work of Watershed Media at  

The CAFO Reader: The Tragedy of Industrial

Animal Factories,

Watershed Media, 2010

  1. CAFO: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories,

  2. Earth Aware, 2010

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The following is a list of my book publishing efforts:

My father was the most voracious reader I have ever known. Maybe that’s why the desire to write was always there for me. He advised me that if I wanted to be a writer I should live an interesting life and then write about it. I have tried my best to do that but it took decades to learn my craft moderately well and even that has been an extremely humbling journey. At some point, one of my early readers asked me, “do you want to be a writer that uses a lot of words to say very little, or one who uses a few words to say a lot? You have to choose.” Much later a famous writer advised me to avoid “ugly turns of phrase,” even when describing the most technical matters. This was all tremendously valuable.

In the early 1990s I met the Italian photographer, graphic designer and art director, Roberto Carra, and we began what has become a collaborative partnership that has spanned many decades and a wide variety of communication projects. We founded the 501c3 nonprofit communications think tank and publishing imprint Watershed Media in 2000. Since then we’ve produced and published at least 10 books along with a number of education and outreach campaigns. Along the way, we have won many independent book awards, including a 2011 Nautilus Gold Prize for Investigative Journalism for the book CAFO: The Tragedy of Industrial Animal Factories, which has since been translated into Japanese.

During our early years at Watershed Media, Roberto and I developed a unique approach to covering serious environmental issues that combined an editorial writing style with dynamic visual layouts. We were reporting about ecological issues and food and agriculture long before it became mainstream and we criss-crossed the country, interviewing people, taking thousands of photos, trying to capture solution oriented stories

We’ve written about building design, packaging, farming, conservation, public policy, confinement animal agriculture and bicycles, among other things. While my job has mainly been to struggle with words and stories and facts and concepts, Roberto has been the visual communicator that makes the written material accessible and engaging regardless of how technical or difficult. As my then teenage daughter, Willa, once said while staring at one of our concept boards, “those pictures are really disturbing but somehow they are also really beautiful.”

Our books have helped to launch nonprofit organizations like the Wild Farm Alliance, inspired legislative action like the City of San Francisco’s plastic bag fee, brought mainstream awareness to key policy levers, like US farm subsidies and nutrition programs, and co-founded a national alliance of factory farm attorneys and activists called the Animal Agriculture Reform Coalition.

I have yet to become the novelist or essayist or serious writer that I dreamed I would become as a young person. Hopefully there is still time. Instead I have gravitated toward what might be called “advocacy journalism:” the presentation of well researched and under-reported issues with little pretense of “journalistic objectivity.” When the soil is washing away and the plants and animals are routinely poisoned, when the forests are disappearing and the oceans turned into garbage dumps before our very eyes, what is the point in devoting print space that gives credence to science deniers and economic determinists? As Hemingway famously said, write simply, but don’t think simply.

Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to the Next Food and Farm Bill, 2012

(2nd Edition), Watershed Media, 2012

  1. Food Fight: The Citizen’s Guide to the Farm Bill, Watershed Media, 2007

The Farm Bill: A Citizen’s Guide, with Christina Badaracco,

Island Press 2019