by Lorraine Johnson
I saw this book on a library display and just found something really intriguing about the stocky carrot and grungy letters that form the title. As you can probably guess, it\’s about gardening in city spaces, but not a personal approach like Garden Anywhere. Instead, City Farmer is full of facts and figures about how various cities throughout North America have embraced (or not, in some cases) urban gardening efforts. The book discusses how people have become disconnected to the roots of their food sources, how historically cities have produced their own food, and methods that can been implemented to make urban gardening more widespread. The pages are stuffed full of examples and suggestions, everything from city-government-sanctioned official organizations to guerrilla gardening done in secret. The author even describes how she kept backyard chickens knowing it was against city code (it was my favorite chapter). There are cautions and recommendations, suggestions on methods to get around the lack of space, polluted soil, buildings casting too much shade, skeptical neighbors, and so on. It all boils down to one big dose of encouragement: you can grow something to eat, anywhere, if you really want to. Or find it. Another small section of the book is about harvesting food from public spaces, like nut trees or dandelions from public parks, something I smiled at because just yesterday I took my kids on a walk in a path between backyards and we picked enough mulberries from branches overhanging the public path to make a pie. It\’s all about people coming together to make something new, and the benefits that arise alongside the vegetables from the soil. I think this sentence from one of the later pages sums it all up well: Gardeners without land find land without gardeners. And make do. And grow something wonderful.
Rating: 3/5 …….. 250 pages, 2010