Jul 24, 2013

Book Review: Urban Farm Handbook

* More than 150 sustainable resources for the Pacific Northwest
* More than 90 basic home-production recipes
* 75 black-and-white and 35 full color photographs
* Up-to-date information on Seattle-area urban farming permits and policy

Is that . . . a goat in your garage?! It might be if you've been reading The Urban Farm Handbook: City-Slicker Resources for Growing, Raising, Sourcing, Trading, and Preparing What You Eat. In this comprehensive guide for city-dwellers on how to wean themselves from commercial supermarkets, the authors map a plan for how to manage a busy, urban family life with home-grown foods, shared community efforts, and easy yet healthful practices.

More than just a few ideas about gardening and raising chickens, The Urban Farm Handbook uses stories, charts, grocery lists, recipes, and calendars to inform and instruct. As busy urbanites who have learned how to do everything from making cheese and curing meat to collaborating with neighbors on a food bartering system, the authors share their own food journeys along with those of local producers and consumers who are changing the food systems in the Pacific Northwest. Organized seasonally, this handbook instructs on:

> How to maximize space for planting a variety of fruits and vegetables
> Small-animal husbandry and beekeeping
> Canning, drying, freezing, fermenting, and pickling techniques
> Grinding grains for flour and other uses
> Tips for creating a farmer-to-consumer connection
> How to form a "buying club" with neighbors
> "Opportunities for Change" steps to follow

And so much more!

* * * * * 

I actually have a guest reviewer today.  Lou is very much an earth goddess who is heavily involved with the public herb garden at the Point Defiance Park here in Tacoma.  She however isn't that computer savvy so when she wanted to do up a review on a gardening book, I asked her to send it my way so that I could put it up on my blog. 

I have recently had time to sit down and read if page after page. This is one of the only non-fiction books that I've read cover to cover with out skipping ahead.

The URBAN  FARM Handbook authored by Annette Cottrell and Joshua McNichols is a gardening/lifestyle bonanza. Written as a loose journal following the calender form with Winter as the first group of chapters. Through out the book are profiles on the people that assisted in the development of the life of a URBAN FARMER. Recipes are simple and sound oh so good. At the end of the book are a series of information pages listing plants both edible and not, a perpetual garden that included a sugar maple, plants for livestock, pollinators and cover crops that listed comfrey. There are listings of companies to go to for help and supplies.

 The prose is interspersed with black and white and color photos that add to the information and read. NO WHERE did I feel I was being preached at. This is a pleasing look into how 
two other families have handled tough times and trying to be good to the earth.


  1. This book sounds like another sign of the times, Shai. Though our small-city dwelling family has always gardened, canned, frozen, pickled and occasionally even hunted and fished, we have yet to raise livestock or keep bees. Though hubby would go for bees in a minute (we buy honey locally in 35 lb. buckets), I am likelier to choose chickens as the next step.

    I think this mindset is important as folks start seeing the problems of relying on globally sourced grocery chains and choose to educate themselves. With or without a failure of the infrastructure supplying our "superstores", we all benefit by reining in our buying habits and developing local sources. Good choice of book to share and thanks to your guest!


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