Farm City: The Education Of An Urban Farmer


I finished the perfect summer read, Farm City, by Novella Carpenter. The trouble is I finished it on the first day of summer. Now what do I do? I don't think anything is going to beat this book.

Farm City is a memoir but it's also bits and parts of how to, or how not to make a garden in the ghetto; on squatted land with an eventual farm yard of animals. The story reads like a novel. The characters are naturally characters; I fell in love with everyone. Except the prostitute looking butcher - there has to be someone not to like.

Novella is quirky, smart, driven and she has a seriously good heart. She made me laugh a lot and look at my neighborhood with new eyes. There's a deserted house nearby with a sunny front yard that would be a perfect urban garden. The idea had never crossed my mind before. That's what this book does. Novella finds possibility and assistance in places generally looked away from. All is not pretty on the urban farm. Even when I was laughing.

To start with she's farming in Oakland, not Mayberry. A homeless man watches over the garden and offers constant advice. She hauls in free horse manure, forages from local dumpsters to feed the animals. She meets the neighborhood in the garden, invited and not. Even with the weeds and fish heads, I have to admit though, it sounded like fun.

The cute guy is nearly done with Farm City. He laughs out loud too. Stays up too late reading. "Where are you now?" I hungrily ask him. He tells me and we talk about it. It's almost like getting to read the book again.

Which is what I'm going to do - read the book again. That is unless I find an empty lot I can garden.

9 comments:

Kel said...

ohh, thanks for the review ; holidays for me next weeks and i only have 3 books to take. will check the local!

Chile said...

I keep seeing this book mentioned everywhere - yesterday at "These Days in French Life" (just added to my bloglist) where it turns out the author is that blogger's sister! Today is too busy, but next week, I'm definitely ordering the book through Interlibrary Loan

kathryn said...

That book sounds wonderful Katrina. I love the idea and a book that makes you laugh out loud is something to be treasured. I shall see if I can forage out a copy

kale for sale said...

Kel - I hope you find it. I have no idea if books are released in Australia at the same they're released here. I've not even thought of it before. In any event happy holiday to you.

Chile - You will love the quirkiness of this book and your urban farmer self will seriously be inspired. Thanks for the small world connection. I love to check in on the French Life blog. Of course they're related.

Kathryn - Treasured and passed around. Laughter is such good medicine. - It's good to hear from you. Thanks for saying hi.

Green Bean said...

Nice!! I'm lookin' for a book just like that. Off to reserve it at the library.

Stefaneener said...

I live close enough to visit her "farm." Interesting people, interesting place. I guess I'll have to read the book.

kale for sale said...

agreen bean - I'll be curious to see if you add some farm animals to your yard after reading this. A few bunnies perhaps?

Stefaneener - Yes. Read the book. It was very fun to recognize different places. How corny but it really was.

doughgirl said...

I added this to my Wishlist, I can't wait to read it.

I heard a guy from London Food Link (http://www.sustainweb.org/londonfoodlink/) speak here in Philly several weeks ago and the community gardens in London have 3 year waiting lists for plots!! It makes me kind of sad to look around in Philly and see so many empty lots...great to see someone making something out of nothing.

Colleen

kale for sale said...

Colleen - Pass this book around - those lots won't stay empty for long!