David Galloway's Reviews > Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer

Farm City by Novella Carpenter
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's review
Nov 26, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: urban-agriculture
Read in November, 2011

Novella Carpenter's Farm City is an endearing look at the author's journey to eat well and live simply. The child of 1970s back-to-the-land hippies, Novella spent her first 10 years on a farm in Idaho until her parents split and rediscovered the joy of growing in college. This book recounts her and her long term boyfriend Bill's efforts to create a small farm in a ghetto neighborhood in Oakland, California. At first she has a large garden and bees, but soon she adds in chickens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, and, near the end, a pair of pigs. Her honest writing about trying to honor the lives of the animals blends in well with humorous descriptions of her neighbors; Buddhist monks, homeless men, Black Panther members, and a kaleidoscope of immigrants. The best part of the book is near the end where her dumpster diving for pig chow lands her an apprenticeship in making salamis and proscuittos from the owner of one of the fanciest restaurants in the Bay Area.

If you're interested in raising your own animals for food, urban agriculture, or unusual descriptions of inner-city life you'll enjoy Farm City. It's well written, amusing, and contains a great bibliography to explore topics in further detail.

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