Over the past few months as I've been working on my new project at Open View Farm, I've had farming on the brain in a major way. Suddenly, processed food looks strange to me, and I'm finding myself daydreaming about sheep, vegetables, honeybees, farm-fresh eggs, and canned delights such as Dilly Beans.
My good friend Jessie passed along a book for me to read, titled Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer by Novella Carpenter. It is a wonderfully written tale of Carpenter's experience starting an urban farm in Oakland, CA. Amidst unlikely surroundings, she grows a variety of vegetables, raises chickens, turkeys, and ducks, and eventually raises animals such as rabbits and pigs! Throughout this process, she taps every resource available to her, ranging from discarded food scraps from the city's restaurants, with which she feeds her animals, to the skills of friends and other farmers, which she acquires through a variety of ingenious barters.
Carpenter is a wonderful writer and her story is compelling. Her approach is frank and honest, and she deals with complicated issues in a very human way, sharing her emotions, triumphs, and failures candidly with the reader. I am inspired by her creativity and dedication and absolutely enjoyed reading every single page. It is exciting to think of all of the different ways you can grow your own food, whether you live in an urban environment or a rural setting, and the book is a great reminder of the huge amount of effort, time, and sacrifice that goes into producing the food we eat.
I have a feeling this is only the beginning of my farm-related reading, but I'd absolutely recommend this book to anyone and everyone, especially those with an interest in urban gardening and eating locally.
Find out more information about the author and her farm on her blog.