Saturday, March 12, 2011

Farm City: The Education of the Urban Farmer

I think this might be the best book I have read this year. I got through the whole book in less than a week because I couldn't put it down. It is absolutely captivating and throughly inspirational. In Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer, Novella Carpenter documents her positive, negative and always challenging experiences gardening and raising farm animals in Oakland, California. She turns a vacant lot into a thriving, productive piece of land. She grows an abundant crop of vegetables, but what I really loved about this book is her experiences with animals. She raised bees for honey, chickens for eggs, pigs, rabbits, geese, ducks and chickens for meat. Her challenges with rearing them in an urban environment, feeding them, keeping them safe from predators and deciding what the most humane way to kill them are compelling and at times extremely heart wrenching. Her urban farming projects help build community, she connects with other urban farmers and engages her neighbors in their food systems by providing a space to learn about farming and raising animals. She comes to terms with being an "urban farmer" and what that term means to her and how she embodies it. I absolutely love the way that she understand the urban farm. She eloquently articulates that the urban farm is always changing, farms can be destroyed by development but it is not always the individual farms that matters. It is about all urban farms coming together to produce not only food but community and active involvement with our food system.

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