26 May, 2010

Book review: Farm City by Novella Carpenter

I've been meaning to review this book for ages. It's a book about a city farm based here in a particularly dodgy part of Oakland across the bay. On a piece of undeveloped land next to her apartment, Novella Carpenter has a farm, and this is the story of how it came into being, and some of the animals and vegetables she's raised.

I've read a few books about people starting small holdings - Rosie Boycott's comes to mind - pigs in a Victorian walled garden, or Barbara Kingsolver's Animal Mineral Vegetable. And I enjoyed them. This one has the edge in that the locale is so unexpected, and the writing so refreshing. No privileged person downshifting to a rural idyll here. This is a book about someone with not much living in an area surrounded by people with even less, conjuring so much of value with so little apart from a ton of hard work, ingenuity and enthusiasm, and the kindness of friends and strangers. I loved the descriptions of dumpster diving in restaurant bins for food for the pigs. And the tale of the turkeys. And the stories of the other inhabitants of her neighbourhood.

You can follow her story on her blog, but I thoroughly recommend you also look for her book. A really good read. And now out in paperback.

No comments: