So, perhaps you thought you might want to grow a little of your own food – say some lettuce or zucchini (or grind your own grain, make your own lotion, organize a community-wide bulk produce buy) or maybe toyed with getting a few chickens (or goats, meat rabbits, greenhouse tilapia). Likely you would need 8,10 or 14 books to pore over late into the evening.
Or you could just get The Urban Farm Handbook and call it a day. The new book by Annette Cottrell and Joshua McNichols is densely awesome. Somehow they have managed to iron out the nuts and bolts of an incredible number of topics in a highly readable and empowering manner.
I haven’t met Joshua yet. But you might remember I’ve mentioned Annette quite a bit. She organizes bulk tomato buys. She took in my dear (but terrorizing) chicken, Thirsty Boots. Grows potatoes in burlap bags. She brought me plant gifts. Clearly, I admire her. I feel lucky to live in the same gardening zone as she does because it really makes it all so easy for me. Just do what Annette does because she has done a gazillion hours of research on it already! Annette says it is time? Then hop to it!
Another aspect I really like about this book as that Annette and Joshua have distinctly different approaches to farming and gardening. I find this incredibly refreshing. There isn’t a right, perfect, 100% way to do any of this. A lot of it is finding what works for you. For your family. For your life. For your space. I like that they have different ways of tackling the same issue. For me, that keeps it real.
I won’t lie, I often get overwhelmed by all the ways to live a greener, more sustainable and more just life. (Because, let me be clear – food is a social justice issue.) The authors break down sections into “Opportunities for Change” – steps you can take toward a goal. It is in those steps that I find inspiration. Looking at the big picture, with all the options (that all seem expensive, time-consuming, and overwhelming) it is easy to get stuck and do nothing. But by giving the readers small steps things get broken down in a way that it feels actually possible to incorporate some of them into your life starting with where ever you are and whatever resources you have.
The website for The Urban Farm Handbook is also a gem. You can read about the authors, check out the first 50 pages of the book (!) and check out the vast resources.
The publishers at Skipstone graciously sent me a copy of the book and have another to send to YOU! Winner will be chosen by random. Enter by Wednesday, October 19th at midnight to be eligible.
- What urban farm activity do you want to learn more about and what do you believe to be your biggest barrier?