Farm City, the Education of an Urban Farmer

I just got done reading Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer, by Novella Carpenter. I spied it on my library’s new book shelf and just had to check it out. With little to no experience in urban farming or homesteading I was very curious to read about her experiences. With the popularity of urban homesteading on the rise this book comes out at just the right time, to help feed the curiosity and hunger for information on real-life homesteading.

Novella ends up growing a garden, essentially, as a squatter in an abandoned lot next to her apartment building. The risk of it being bulldozed over always sits as a possibility. I’m sure not many people would have enough courage to invest that kind of time into a garden when it could be taken away overnight…. I don’t think I would. But, I’m sure for most people getting into urban farming/homesteading they’ll be taking up the work on owned or rented land.

Bringing animals into the mix, first bees, chickens, ducks and turkeys, then onto larger animals like the pigs. All within the inner city, hard core environment of Oakland, California, with highway traffic rushing close by and occasional gunshots. Novella and her boyfriend Bill’s adventures into raising and harvesting their “daily bread” in such a tough place gives me hope that I could tackle a similar project, too (if only I could find the land).

A great read and a great writing style. I’d rather read a book like this than How to Grow More Vegetables Than You Ever Thought Possible (sorry John!). How-to books on gardening and rabbit raising, etc., are an important part of a homesteader’s arsenal of tools, but it’s so refreshing reading an autobiographical story such as this to really get a feel for actually living this kind of life.

Due out in paperback about 3/2010.

Novella’s blog: Ghost Town Farm.

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