Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Been There, Read That

Over the last few years, several people have asked me why I don't write a book about my adventures in urban homesteading. There are two answers to that question. The first is "I tried, but it wasn't long enough to be a book." The second one is "Because someone else already did." Novella Carpenters "Farm City," written about her efforts at urban farming and livestock production in Oakland, CA, was published more than two years ago. I found it hilarious and informative, but far too profane for most of my friends to truly enjoy. Any treatise on Permaculture would tell you everything I have learned and more, but they are usually just that- long, sometimes tediously academic treatises, expecting the reader to slog through pages of plant guilds and the advantages of biodynamic farming, when all they want to know is how to set up a backyard chicken coop.

Then last week I checked out "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Urban Homesteading." Mildly insulting title notwithstanding, it is a comprehensive beginner's guide to increasing one's independence (in the practical sense) without migrating to the countryside. I don't do everything they discuss, and certainly don't do it in the exact manner they  describe. But if you want to move beyond growing summer tomatoes and try something a little more radical (the root word of which  is the latin "radix", meaning "root", amusingly enough), then this is a quick read and a fine place to start your study.

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