Urban Farms by Sarah Rich
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
A fun picture book for the wanna-be urban farmer. I love looking through the colorful, whimsical photos when my inspiration is running low.
I was really excited to see up-close-and-personal pictures of Novella Carpenter's inner-city farm, because I find her personal story fascinating--I've read her books and it's nice to put a visual to the work she chronicled so well in words. 16 farms are featured in this book in full, vivid color. The photos have creative flair, with fun closeups and interesting vantage points.
It's encouraging that many of these urban farms do not have the look of perfection. There are raised beds falling apart but still functioning, straw and compost strewn about, stacks of pots waiting to be used, hoop houses that appear functional but definitely homemade, and a delicious sense of hodge-podge on nearly every page. Now and then a random flower pokes through, basking in the sunlight, or a pig rests by his homemade pen, looking pleased. Why does this appeal to me? Well, it's enormously encouraging to see real urban farming and all it's imperfect quirks because I feel like so many of my own personal projects just, well...look terrible. I can get lost in this book for a few minutes and gain new appreciation for my 'happily cluttered' garden adventures.
These bright and colorful photos remind me that the beauty lies not in immaculate rows of vegetation, but in the efficient function, the practicality of the urban farm layout. The spaces showcased in these photos have very little wasted space, and are great examples of polycultures, loaded with biodiversity. Also, it's obvious that many of these urban farms have perfected the talent of repurposing objects for ingenious new uses.
Reading the stories of the farmers who tend these amazing enclosed food-havens is calming and inspiring. Because I dream of creating my own productive urban oasis, I feel a connection to these visionaries.
This would be a nice book to keep on the shelf to gain inspiration whenever you need it. Open to any page and feel an instant sense of peace and purpose!