My Empire of Dirt: How One Man Turned His Big-City Backyard into a Farm
The premise seemed interesting: a man with no agricultural knowledge attempts to create a farm in his Brooklyn backyard with the intent to live off of the harvest for a month. What you find out is that this was an all-expense paid stunt concocted by hi ...more
a note about tone, 60 pages in. you know those people who justify their bad table manners by calling you uptight, and excuse away their flakiness, unemployability and general asshattery by insisting they're free spirits when in fact they are just incompetent emo-douches? yeah, meet manny howard. so far we've got poor judgment, insane entitlement [my daughter deserves a FLOCK of songbirds! dude, she's two. give her a large c ...more
The premise is simple - Manny is a writer who is asked to do a story about growing his own food in the small yard of his Brooklyn home. You know, think Barbara Kingslover, only with a wacky ...more
There seems ...more
I knew this story was in trouble when the author continued to harrass a fish salesman for a couple live Tilapia and couldn't seem to figure out how to go online and order some from a dealer. Come on now! If the big box pet store I worked for in Alaska could have salt water fish overnighted and couriered, why couldn't th ...more
What I expected was a witty little story about home farming with a trendy social lesson at the end about how we're all doing our part to destroy the earth by not growing ...more
This book was sort of all over the place. Neat concept but Manny Howard seemed to write about the experience off the top of his head, with no attempt to order his thoughts, and frequently going off on rabbit trails (no pun intended).
Kind of a bumbling sort of guy who had NO earthly idea what he was doing, but isn't afraid to reveal that to us.
I learned that a can of sardines can lure raccoons into a trap, as w ...more
So you know when you go out to dinner with friends, you meet a new couple there and the guy dominates the evening? He drinks a little too much. He has some interesting stories but it is clear he finds them funnier than the rest of the table (like the Christmas Eve story in the book). You notice his wife getting sympathetic looks when he spouts something that makes others cringe. And you are relieved to be free of him when walking to the car at the end of the evening.
That’s how it felt for me and
He had unlimited funds behind him, and spent thousands upon thousands of dollars of his publisher's money setting up his food production system. What was he missing? Research and follow-through. He gave a half-hearted attempt at tons of different farming methods, things he really didn't bother to learn much about, and gave a bad name to urban agriculture when his farm failed.
It was frustrating t ...more
That said, I found Manny to be an interesting, if not entirely sympathetic, character. He has grand ideas, high aspirations, and lots of enthusiasm. What he dosen't have is a lot of patience for research or advice, and ...more
On this journey, there is a lot of 'collateral damag ...more
The book did not go into as much how-to as I thought it would, but Howard does a good job telling the stories behind the farm, including the book-long fight with his wife over the endeavor.
As interesting as Howard's adventures of creating a farm in an 800-square-food backyard are, perh ...more
I won't belabor the points that ...more