13 July 2013

Farm City

My mom joked that after I graduate I should move to a rural area and become a farmer. I responded by saying "Is that what you want your 40k investment into a civil engineering degree to yield?" (which I immediately thought was offensive and rude to farmers since I, for sure, would not be able to handle their lifestyle, so I mentally apologized).
But urban farming on the other hand :D

...is still pretty hardcore as demonstrated by Farm City.
I would describe this book as like Wild, but taught by a back lot farm instead of the PCT. The method of storytelling is similar. But this is what Amazon had to say:
When Novella Carpenter--captivated by the idea of backyard self-sufficiency as the daughter of two back-to-the-earth hippies--moves to a ramshackle house in inner-city Oakland and discovers a weed-choked, garbage-strewn abandoned lot next door, she closes her eyes and pictures heirloom tomatoes, a beehive, and a chicken coop.

What starts out as a few egg-laying chickens leads to turkeys, geese, and ducks. And not long after, along came two 300-pound pigs. And no, these charming and eccentric animals aren’t pets. Novella is raising these animals for dinner.

An unforgettably charming memoir, full of hilarious moments, fascinating farmer’s tips, and a great deal of heart, Farm City offers a beautiful mediation on what we give up to live the way we do today.
It is hilarious, especially the third part where she acquired pigs and her dumpster dives to acquire feed for said pigs.They're the pinnacle of urban farming as the author says.

Similarly, my motivation for growing a few vegetables on my balcony comes from the promise of better tasting food that wasn't bred for uniformity, prematurely picked and shipped half way across the world. And buying organic/local produce costs way too much. Other addictions, like stationary and skincare products, are already a bottomless sink. There's also the satisfaction of eating something that's the literal fruits of your labour.

Of course this is lots of hard work, as the book repeatedly points out (equal to a part time job if not more). It also doesn't fail to mention all the frustration like pests ruining your crop, or someone stealing the sole watermelon on your vine. Not to mention the death of many of the author's animals.

Meanwhile, I should have lots of fun managing the roof top garden at UT. Also found a much larger scale urban farm at Downsview that I hope to get involved with next growing season (well if I can find time). Also there's plenty seasons of River Cottage left to watch :D

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