Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Gardening-related Book Review: Farm City

Farm City
The Education of an Urban Farmer
by Novella Carpenter

The tale of a woman and her inner city farm...complete with pigs and all!

The book begins like this:
"I have a farm on a dead-end street in the ghetto. My back stairs are dotted with chicken turds. Bales of straw come undone in the parking area next to my apartment. I harvest lettuce in an abandoned lot. I awake in the mornings to the sounds of farm animals mingled with the neighbor's blaring car alarm."
There's been a lot of hype surrounding this book. I've heard about it several times in various ways. I was 5th in line for it at the library and had to wait several weeks to get it. And it's even been reviewed on NPR. Would it live up to all the buzz? My answer? An emphatic "YES!" I absolutely loved it. Novella is a very entertaining writer. I was so sad to see the last page coming. Have you ever savored a book before?

The book is all about an urban farm that Novella and her boyfriend created in an abandoned lot next to their apartment in Oakland...the rough part of Oakland. It's a beautiful tale of hope and survival. It's gritty, real, funny and clever. If you've ever gardened in an urban or suburban setting, it a must read. Unless you are too prissy, of course. Dirt under your fingernails is a prerequisite ;) It's not only about the "Farm"...it's also about the "Urban". Take this passage for instance:
"So we were in our element in Oakland, with its mammoth piles of junk placed on curbs, clutter dropped under overpasses and, sometimes, in the middle of the street. The junk piles became so bad that at one point there were billboard ads urging people to DUMP BOYFRIENDS, NOT APPLIANCES. It was a strange campaign - stranger when half the lights on the billboard went out, leaving only the illuminated command DUMP BOYFRIENDS."
Yeah. It's freaking awesome.


Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

It sounds like a good reading. Pigs in the city? Dump Boyfriends - I laughed! Thanks Jackie!

Anonymous said...

It sounds like a great read! I'm writing it down and going to check it out. I'm always looking for a good read. Thanks for the review.

Stefaneener said...

Her place is pretty interesting.

Jackie said...

Tatyana, I laughed about the "dump boyfriends" sign, too. Out loud!

Miss Daisy, I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.

Stefaneener, I have a friend who went to her "farm tour day" a couple weeks ago and said, though it wasn't the prettiest garden, it was definitely interesting.