By Lorraine Johnson, Greystone Books, $19.95, 250 pages
City Farmer: Adventures in Urban Food Growing by Lorraine Johnson is a timely exploration of gardening, food production, and urban living. Most people don’t think of growing their own food in the middle of a city, but thanks to this new book, the reader comes away both enlightened and inspired. This is not a typical “how to” book, although it is interspersed with great how-to info and excellent resources for further information, but more of a personal manifesto imploring us to consider the potential bounty of urban gardens and food production. The author provides historical context of how our food once came from the local farm, but now comes from large agribusiness conglomerates. She makes a strong case as to why we need to consider taking the production of our food back to a smaller, urban, local scale. If you live in a high-rise building surrounded by concrete, don’t think this book doesn’t apply to you. It is these very urbanites that may be inspired to find a patch of dirt begging for transformation. The author shares numerous examples of activists and garden lovers alike eking out rooftops, road medians, and random plots of earth to sow a seed. I have not viewed an overgrown weed-ridden medians the same since finishing this book.
Reviewed by Julie Finley