Disclaimer: I am idiot. Just because I find this book interesting and useful, that doesn’t mean you will.
There’s something deeply satisfying to me about growing vegetables. I love the smell of dirt, the feel a garden has to it. It’s exciting to watch a little tiny seed sprout, get started and then produce something edible. I now grow the majority of my own produce on two small lots. This has been a five-year process for me, full of errors, but more successes. I plan in the next year to make this a business for my family. My confidence in pursuing this path can be traced back to a couple of sources: Jack Spirko of The Survival Podcast, Leslie and Doug of High Desert Farms, and the subject of today’s article, Curtis Stone aka The Urban Farmer.
Stone has an incredible story. Basically, he began as a musician in Canada that did seasonal tree planting. Eventually, he decided leave that behind and focused his efforts on growing vegetables in yards around his home town. Eventually, he worked his way into restaurants and a few farmer’s markets. This turned into a fairly lucrative business and he is now an “urban farmer”.
He isn’t what many people think of as a traditional, tractor-driving farmer working 40 acres. Most of his tools can be bought on Amazon. He doesn’t own much land; he literally finds empty spots in people’s yards and gardens them. He learns his market and brings vegetable production back to his city. It’s a pretty cool idea and, based on what I’ve seen, a feasible one too.
So about the book. This was my Father’s Day gift this year and it’s one of my favorites. It has so much practical information about how to get into the business of being an urban farmer. Everything from advice on what to grow to how to approach chefs. It’s an incredibly rich resource for the aspiring farmer.
One of the things I appreciate most is the readability. Stone writes in a relaxed and forthright manner. He makes his subject very accessible. He’s clear about what his struggles and solutions have been. He provides plenty of examples and charts. This helps me connect the dream of farming to something concrete. Also, the chapters are fairly short, for easier digestion of the material. I’m busy so shorter chapters make it easier for me to pick up an idea and mull it over as I go throughout my day.
I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in local food production. When we’ve got dirt sitting outside, it makes sense to put it to work for our health and community’s health.