Farmers’ Handbook – UPDATED

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. – Chinese Proverb

Worldwide, mainstream aid projects tend to deal with the symptoms of problems, rather than the problems themselves. In fact, often aid projects actually exacerbate the root issue, by supply free food and clothing that undermines the ability of people on the ground to make a living. In other words, we put them out of their low carbon business, forcing them off the land into cities where they must become part of the consumer treadmill, or perish.

But, sometimes, people with clear heads and unselfish hearts manage to help in much more substantial ways. The links to follow are to individual chapters of a Farmers’ Handbook created by Chris Evans (UK) and Jakob Jespersen (Denmark), who have spent considerable time in Nepal, helping to develop locally appropriate methods and technologies that can help the people of Nepal live better lives, and sustainably so.

Although the information is specifically tailored for Himalayan conditions, almost everyone will find some useful ideas and information in this comprehensive work. The whole handbook is 50 chapters in 5 volumes – a total of 792 pages, including 170 pages of colour photos and illustrations.

Aside from gleaning valuable ideas for your own region, I post this work, with permission, in the hope it will inspire others to do likewise for their own region and climate zone. This is the kind of information sharing that will move humanity onto a sustainable platform of peace and low carbon prosperity.

Please note: These files are free for personal use and circulation (please just link to this page), but can not be used for commercial purposes. They are copyright of Chris Evans and Jakob Jespersen. The Farmers’ Handbook is also still in a draft form and any suggestions of improvement are welcomed. Chris has the original editable version – if people are interested to translate this production into another language, or offer other suggestions, please contact Chris on: cevans (at)

All files to follow are PDFs.

Farmers’ Handbook
© Chris Evans and Jakob Jespersen
Not to be used for commercial purposes

Introductory Pamphlet

Volumes are organised by zone-appropriate subject.

Volume 1: Inside the House (Zone 0)

Volume 2: Near the House (Zones 1-2)

Volume 3: Near the House (Zones 1-2)


Volume 4: The Fields (Zones 3-4)

Volume 5: Zone 5 & issues across all zones or without a zone


  1. Fantastic work! We will now utilise this handbook as an extra resource to capacity build our permaculture enthusiasts in the Himalayan areas of Kashmir, Ladakh, Himachal, Uttarakhand and the North Eastern States! Thank-you so much for your selfless dedication to the Permaculture cause! We hope that you’ll find a little time to visit us in India live or online at … we will also promote your work on our website!

  2. Amazing simplicity, easy to undertand and translate.
    Spread the word by doing and sharing knowledge. Thanks for helping everyone.

  3. hi Chris!!!

    THANK YOU FOR THIS WONDERFUL RESOURCE… I am prepping up for another research and design trip to the eastern village of Nepal – this will be very helpful.. I hope I get to meet you, if you are in Nepal during that time.

    best regards,

  4. Thank you a lot from Portugal, you are inspiring hundreds in the other side of the world

    Hope to see someone from the PRIA in portugal soon,you ll be very weel received, we would like to listen to your precious advises in formalizing and linking the growing permaculturist comunity in portugal

    Best regards
    Pedro Franco

  5. Just back from Nepal where I was collecting data for my thesis on organic agriculture in Nepal. This IS a great handbook, but I sorry to say I did not find it in Nepal, just by coincidence researching “double digging”. This should be translated and distributed as it is so relevant for the development of the small scale farmers in Nepal. I will send link to my contacts in Nepal ASAP.

    1. Hi Dan this is indeed available in Nepal, in Nepali language – the original handbook was written in Nepali, it’s now been reprinted twice and is available from Sunrise Farm in the West of Kathmandu outside of the ring road at Swoyabhunath. The translated English version that you are seeing here came later!

  6. Yes, the Farmers’ Handbook was originally published in Nepali language so the one you have seen Pedro-ji is the pdf English translation of that. It is available from Nepal Permaculture Group in Babarmahal, KTM – tel (+977 1 4252597, email [email protected]

  7. Hi,

    This is indeed magnificent work! Thanks!

    – in Vol. 3, Chapter 11 (Fruit Nursery), the PDF file seems to be corrupt.
    – in Vol. 5, Chapter 3 (Soil management), the PDF file seems to be corrupt.

    Kind regards,

  8. Hi Chris,

    I downloaded them from home, and indeed the links worked just fine! I suspect the recently installed McAffee virus scanner gateways that were recently installed at my work are the culprit. I have had more problems with that these last couple of weeks!

    Anyway, I started reading on my commute (by train) yesterday, and am very much impressed! Thanks again for this magnificent work!


  9. Hi..
    This is a great collection for any one who wants to get into farming. Thanks very much.
    Raghu Menon
    Pondicherry, INDIA

  10. Hi all

    This sounds like a great resource going by all the positive comments – could someone please provide one link to download it all. This will help people on slow connections who would like to view it offline. Thanks a lot, regards

  11. Hi D. Graves
    thanks for the comment. Sorry but I don’t think we can make it one file. Unfortunately if it were all one file it would be huge – at least 50MB. But at least the current format allows you to pick and choose smaller files.

  12. thanks guys – your great content will soon be part of content – at the start the airmailed dvds and then later on the website – thanks! alex weir, gaborone botswana for

  13. Dear , I came across this handbook when I was search the net about Zero Budget Farming. I am planning to get into Zero Budget Farming in my newly bought farmland as a way of get in touch with Mother Earth and earn a sustainable living as well. I am delighted with this source and humbled by the generosity of the authors.

    many thanks and I will be happy if I can be of some use.

    with best regards, Karthikeyan.

  14. this handbook is very helpful and fruitful for kitchen gardening and home gardening. it is a good effort and highly appreciated

  15. Hi all I have done a permaculture course in the past and have finally got a place to begin . This info is straight to the point and will be a wonderful aid in my design. I’m excited to get started and hope one day this is one of the main text books at school.
    love to all Anne

  16. Well done guys! Love it and shared on FB (people like it too). The color pic do help a lot and enjoy the step-by-step process.

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