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City Farmer: Adventures in Urban Food Growing [Paperback]

Lorraine Johnson
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

May 15 2010

City Farmer celebrates the new ways that urban dwellers are getting closer to their food. Not only are backyard vegetable plots popping up in places long reserved for lawns, but some renegades are even planting their front yards with food. People in apartments are filling their balconies with pots of tomatoes, beans, and basil, while others are gazing skyward and "greening" their rooftops with food plants. Still others are colonizing public spaces, staking out territory in parks for community gardens and orchards, or convincing school boards to turn asphalt school grounds into "growing" grounds.

Woven through the book are the stories of guerrilla urban farmers in various cities of North America who are tapping city trees for syrup, gleaning fruit from parks, foraging for greens in abandoned lots, planting heritage vegetables on the boulevard, and otherwise placing food production at the centre of the urban community. Additional stories describe the history of urban food production in North America, revealing the roots of our current hunger for more connection with our food, and the visionaries who have directed that hunger into action.

Throughout the book, sidebars offer practical tips for how to compost, how to convert a lawn into a vegetable bed, and what edible plants are easy to grow with children, among other topics.

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City Farmer: Adventures in Urban Food Growing + Locavore
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In her new book, City Farmer, urban agriculture guru Lorraine Johnson gets her hands dirty exploring all the ways in which rooftops, yards, and balconies are becoming fertile, fruitful grounds for growing. —Torontoist


Enlightening for the avid gardener, food activist of those yet to be converted, City Farmer is a refreshing response to the growing literature cataloguing the failures of our current food system. —Alternatives Magazine


City Farmer plants the seeds of reimagining our cities as deliberate sources of sustenance. —Canadian Geographic


It's wonderfully soul-nourishing to read a book that's all about impossibilities made possible, and how to plant your dreams and watch them grow. —Globe & Mail


An inspiring, hopeful testament to the value (social, economic, environmental) of growing food in our cities, and the unique ways that people across our country are doing so. —Little City Farm


Lorraine Johnson warmly and enthusiastically weaves her stories of urban gardening ventures in the US and Canada . . . This book is an ideal gift for urbanites who yearn to garden. —Canadian Organic Grower


Johnson explores how rooftops, front yards and even walls can support crops and feed a population that is hungry for fresh food. —The Winston Salem Journal


Where writers of this genre can sometimes take themselves a little too seriously, Johnson uses humour and a touch of self-mockery to demonstrate that no matter how important food security may be, the love of food should still give us pleasure. —Winnipeg Free Press


Lorraine Johnson's thought-provoking, hopeful book explores our relationship with food and how even the smallest acts of gardening . . . can bring us closer to bridging the gap between the food we eat and how and where it's grown. Never preachy or guilt-inducing, Johnson offers a well-researched look at the whys and wherefores of how we have become disconnected from our food. —Garden Making


Lorraine Johnson from Toronto reminisces about her childhood backyard food garden experiences and how they led to her lifelong need to cultivate at least some of her food herself, despite her urban locale. She deftly mingles her own well-thought-out arguments for doing so with those of other passionate and innovative urban gardeners throughout North America. —Helen Thompson, The American Gardener


This timely, well-written work offers an insightful and inspiring look at gaining control of one's food and references other works that provide how-to knowledge and additional discussions of the current food movement. Although not a step-by-step planting guide, [City Farmer] contains sidebars full of helpful tips that may motivate black-thumbed gardeners to at least contemplate taking a trowel to dirt and begin a small garden of their own. Highly recommended. —Library Journal


About the Author

Lorraine Johnson is the author of numerous books, including Garden Plants and Flowers: A-Z Guide to the Best Plants for Your Garden and 100 Easy-to-Grow Native Plants for Canadian Gardens. Her writing has appeared in such publications as on Nature, Chatelaine, and the Globe & Mail, and she makes regular appearances on CBC Radio and TV. She lives in Toronto.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, well-written book about urban agriculture April 20 2013
By Alya
Lorraine Johnson has written an engaging, funny book about growing food in the city. My favourite chapter was about urban chickens; while I am personally not planning to start a city chicken farm any time soon, her advice is simple and easy to follow. And her description of all the things her three hens did made me smile.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspring March 3 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved hearing so many inspiring stories from our area of the world. It's wonderful to hear about the amazing work that so many people are doing to make the world a better place.
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich earth March 20 2013
By Travis - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book made me want to go out and garden. Not only does this book give you an idea of the benefits of farming where ever you are, but it gives a lot of great advice about how you can start. I highly recommend this read.
4.0 out of 5 stars Urban Farming in the City Jan. 15 2012
By Kate Copsey - Published on
City Farmer is a book about taking unused space and using it for growing food. The concept is simple but as Lorraine points out the need for fresh vegetables and food is most critical in the inner city and depressed urban areas and this can be eased by creative use of vacant lots, rooftops and other surfaces. Using the example of her `tomato farm' which consisted of planting tomatoes in four bags of potting soil on the roof of her building we see that there are opportunities everywhere for growing healthy food.
Not only is the book filled with great information, but the resources at the back make it essential for anyone who is interesting in the topic. Guerilla gardening, foraging, animals and community garden organizations are all listed with contact information.
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