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Delightful memoir of a college-educated daughter of hippies who moves with her boyfriend to an apartment in an inner city slum in Oakland, California. She begins with beekeeping on her back deck and then adds chickens. She discovers that the empty lot next door would be perfect for a garden and begins what turns into a small city farm. In various chapters, she adds turkeys, rabbits (for food, not pets), and even two pigs. Along the way, we meet her varied assortment of friends, from the Vietnamese family downstairs, to the vegetarian arts lover across the street, to the homeless man who lives in an assortment of abandoned cars in front of her apartment. We also get a healthy helping of the history of city farms and a lot of thoughtful discussion about our relationship with the animals we raise and the food we eat. A lot of humor, too.
One of the best things about books is that they allow us to see the world through the eyes of many other people. This often shows us new things about the world; but it just as often reminds us of things we learned and then forgot. *Farm City* is an excellent example of both.
Even if you grew up on a farm, some of her projects (the pigs) were quite daunting. Pigs smell a lot. Good read.
This was a very enjoyable book. I wasn't sure what to expect from a urban gardeners memoir but, the stories shared were interesting and made me consider the issues faced by the author. I cared about the bees, birds and the outcome of her big experiments.
What an exciting read! The author is amazing - can't wait to read more from her. Wonderfully written, and will have you laughing throughout!
Hilarious!! A great read for anyone with a sense of humour, although even better for anyone trying their hand at Urban Farming. She has a great blog as well, which contains the same wit as the novel, just different stories. Look up "Ghost Town Farm" for the blog
A good book to me is when I get to the last page and cry because there isn't more. I was weeping as I read the last words and whispering, 'thank you' to the author for the lovely connection I felt with her throughout the book. Even though I had to steel myself over the parts where she killed or had her farm animals killed, my deepest longing is to be like Novella who understands the beauty and gift of growing anything on this earth. Today I'm eating everything more mindfully. This is a must read for any aspiring urban gardener.
From killing an opossum with a shovel and feeling an urge to place its head on a spike to warn other predators to stay away from her birds, to scolding a teenage would-be mugger about the dangers of carrying a gun, there isn't a dull moment in Novella's life. When she experimented with a 100-yard diet for a month, vowing to eat only what she either grew herself or foraged, Novella resorted to consuming home decor -- the ornamental indian corn she had grown a few years earlier.
I'm a vegetarian for ethical reasons, and I still loved this book that includes stories of raising and slaughtering animals for food!
I really enjoyed this book (it was a fast read - one day) - it reads like a long conversation with an interesting, slightly loopy person. It also demonstrates how far ahead of Canada parts of the US are in urban food production.
This woman has no fear! She's also quite funny and although I don't think I'd want to live next door to her (particularly when she's raising her hogs!!) she sure is interesting. The book is really good and I learned more about what a person can do on their own to provide for their family's food needs than I ever realized existed. More power to her and the other urban farmers out there.
An interesting autobiography of an urban farmer in Oakland. Nothing particularly ground breaking and at times and bit meandering. I went back and forth throughout the book thinking first "she's a trooper and innovator" and then "she's a bit of a loon" and then back again. No where near as good as Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.
This book is breathtaking from start to finish.
High Five to Novella Carpenter, she is an inspiration!