Sunday, January 24, 2010

Farm City

I've just finished reading the fascinating account of an urban farmer, Novella Carpenter. Her book, Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer, tells the story of her experience growing vegetables and raising farm animals — bees, chickens, turkeys, rabbits and PIGS — on a vacant lot in a rough section of Oakland (she calls it the ghetto). It's an unusual and amazing story of how she creates a garden haven in a gritty urban centre. Even more amazing is how she and her boyfriend scavenge food for their pigs by raiding dumpsters in back alleys behind restaurants.

When farmers raise meat animals, you know there's more to it than tossing them food. You've got to be prepared to make the animals into meat, and that's what she does. Then she invites the neighbours over to feast on an astonishing array of food that she has raised and processed all on her own.

Aside from the vegetable growing (and writing about it), it's not a life I'd choose for myself, but the book provides lively reading and raises the question of why most of us are not doing more to create agriculture in the places where we live.

It's a good story, well told. Check it out!

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