I am a huge fan of memoirs, which make up probably 90% of my adult non-fiction reading choices. Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer, written by Novella Carpenter (isn't that the coolest name???) was a fabulous memoir, filled with the utmost honesty and passion about growing and raising one's own food, even when the setting is not the most ideal.
Carpenter and her boyfriend move from Seattle to a not-so-great...well, really, terrible, section of Oakland, California, where gun shots are their background noise and drug dealers litter the corners. They choose this area on purpose, liking the places that others find undesirable, and decide to start their own farm in order to subsist of the land, no matter where that land may be.
Filled with funny and sad escapades surrounding the growth of a successful garden, the raising of chickens, ducks, turkeys, bees, and pigs in downtown, urban Oakland, this book is really an enjoyable and educational read, cover to cover. We get the insight into who Novella Carpenter is, the biggest aspect of a memoir to me, and we learn a bit about farming...the good and the bad.
I was so impressed with the determination of Carpenter, especially when it came down to killing the animals for food. I know I couldn't kill a duck or a turkey I had raised, but she knew what she wanted and was not going to consider these animals her pets. She raised them, killed them, and cooked them!
I was also totally impressed with the couple's passion for the urban area they lived in. Though people were killed right around the corner from their home, they were not going to run away or be scared. They wanted to live an urban lifestyle and bring somewhat of a backyard paradise to the people of Oakland. Though they sometimes took advantage, people were encouraged to come and take vegetables for free, helping to feed the hungry as well as Carpenter.
I loved the cover, I really loved learning about Carpenter's eccentric neighbors, and definitely took away some valuable information when it comes to growing gardens. I plan to start my first this coming spring and enjoyed gathering tips as I read through the book. Carpenter and her boyfriend are inspirations to those of us that desire to live more from the land and help cut-down our usage of "stuff."
A great gift for an adult in your life that enjoys gardening or farming. I would also recommend this to fans to memoir reading or those new to the memoir genre. A very enjoyable, fast-paced read.
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Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer
Borrowed from library