Farm the City: A Toolkit for Setting Up a Successful Urban Farm

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While running a city farm demands more energy and commitment than a community garden, the concerns and problems are similar: location, finance, crop selection and production, post-harvest disposal. In sub-titling Farm the City a “toolkit,” this introduces (forgive the pun) a down-to-earth approach. Michael Ableman, an old hand at city farms, lays out an encouraging sequence of steps, never hesitant to describe early mistakes and their remedies.

A key element in the Sole City Farm, the project described in his book, has been establishing a second, complementary organization, a charity to oversee fundraising. Together, fundraising and harvest sales supply the income for running the farm, which has been organized to “empower individuals with limited resources” through jobs and training.

A city farm demands, first and foremost, a comprehensive mission statement and an understanding that it takes three to four years before the farm is truly viable. The successive steps and guidance are clearly written: seeking a farm site on unused or derelict spots within a central high-price zone, experimenting with soil type, using unperishable plastic containers rather than wooden ones. He suggests popular, easy vegetables to begin with rather than exotic ones and describes an orchard with almost five hundred fruit trees, the spaces between each filled with varieties of herbs.

A later section discusses the pros and cons of farmers’ markets, retail sales, and further harvest alternatives. Throughout, images show production design and the “farmers.” This is a grand book, an essential primer for anyone with aspirations to follow Ableman’s lead.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 108 pages
Publish Date 2020-04-30
ISBN 9780865719392 Buy this Book
Issue July 2020
Category Home & Garden


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