review: the essential urban farmer

my friend novella sent me a copy of her most recent book a few months ago.  i meant to read it, but i had actually read an advance copy a couple of years ago as she asked me to review it for technical accuracy (thanks for the acknowledgement novella).  so i’ve only in the last few days had the chance to finally review it in its fully published form.

if you are not familiar with novella or her co-author willow rosenthal, willow was one of the founders of city slicker farms in oakland, and novella has a farm in oakland and wrote the book city farm (which for the record is a pretty entertaining read).

the essential urban farmer is the book i wish i had written, and frankly am happy i didn’t write.  its comprehensive and in some ways overwhelming by the scope of what they try to cover.  i’d be exhausted trying to write such a tome as they have.

the book is divided into two sections, the first on vegetables, and the second animals.  while plenty of other books address both of these topics, novella and willow do a great job of addressing urban concerns, smells, getting along with neighbors, dealing with contaminated soils, obtaining land, and removing concrete.

this is not a book to sit down and read cover to cover, at least for me it’s too expansive to absorb all at once.  this is one of those books that you purchase so you can come back to again and again when you get into a jam or try a new crop.

and that might be my only complaint about this book.  it’s a book i want to keep for a long time, take out to the garden, and not worry too much about it getting dirty, but the cover and pages are made out of relatively thin and not especially durable paper.  certainly not gonna last that long with my abusive ways.

for the hardcore gardener – a great addition to the bookshelf.  for the first time urban farmer, might be the only book you need.  nice work novella and willow.

here’s the link if you want to buy it.


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