SOW SWELL

design-inspired urban farming

Inspired Reading — Get Bookish on Urban Farming

We are always quite inspired by authors specializing in a variety of urban farming craft.  And we often seek out the help and advice of the experts.  We have put together our current reading list to brush up on our skills (and help you with yours).

Carrot City: Creating Places for Urban Agriculture, by Mark Gorgolewski, June Komisar & Joe Nasr. The authors of Carrot City characterize urban agriculture as a design challenge.  They say it  is to develop “exciting and innovative proposals for a future Productive City that will capture the imaginations of the public”. For urban agriculture to gain wide acceptance, they argue, the design of buildings and garden spaces around need to incorporate edible landscaping, and space for small livestock — and these must be aesthetically pleasing.  We couldn’t agree more and find this book to be an important and enlightening read to provide design-inspired urban farming ideas for all.

Carrot City: Creating Places for Urban Agriculture
The Monacelli Press 2011, 240 pages

The Essential Urban Farmer, by Novella Carpenter and co-authored with Willow Rosenthal. Carpenter  came onto the scene with her 2009 memoir, Farm City: The Education of An Urban Farmer, where she describes her extensive garden in Ghost Town, a run down neighborhood a mile from downtown Oakland, California. In The Essential Urban Farmer, Carpenter and Rosenthal  share their experience as successful urban farmers.  The book is a practical guide for urban farmers at any skill levels in cultivating crops, designing landscape, creating indoor herb gardens and growing tomatoes on fire escapes.

The Essential Urban Farmer
Penguin Books 2012, 592 pages

Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, by Gail Daverow.  We frequently recommend this book to our friends and family who are thinking about and starting their own backyard flocks.  There are several great reference websites that we love, but this book is a perfect all-in-one essential guide to raising chickens.  It covers the process of choosing breeds, caring and feeding to raising for chickens for meat and showing your chickens.  It is extremely comprehensive and if you are thinking of raising your own chickens for eggs or for meat, this is the perfect book to get you started.

Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens
Storey Publishing 2010, 448 pages

The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods, by Sara Forte.  Sara Forte is a food blogger and vegetable enthusiast.  If you ever wonder what shall I make for dinner? This lovely cookbook is a great resource.  The photos, by Hugh Forte, are luscious displays of mouthwatering goodness that make you want to cook.  Forte brings in some recipes from her blog and integrates them with new and original recipes.  Some of our favorites are the Cotija-Stuffed Poblanos, and sweets like her Cocoa Hazelnut Cupcakes!

The Sprouted Kitchen: A Tastier Take on Whole Foods
Ten Speed Press 2012, 252 pages

Alain Ducasse Nature: Simple, Healthy and Good, by Alain Ducasse, Paule Neyrat and Christophe Saintagne.  We bow down to Master Chef Alain Ducasse.  World-renowned and the first chef ever to achieve three Michelin stars for each of his three different restaurants (to which, he now has nearly 30 worldwide). In his book, Nature, he brings forth recipes inspired by his upbringing on a farm in Southwest France.  Farm-fresh eating is nothing new to Chef Ducasse and he brings the French farm-to-table philosophy to each recipe in his latest cookbook.  Some of the recipes that jump off the page: Cucumber and Yogurt Gazpacho with Fresh Mint and a Crisp Garnish, Vegetables à la Barigoule with Vanilla, Steamed Whiting with Seaweed and Sautéed Greens, and Oeufs en Cocotte with Morels.  All we have to say is YUM!

Alain Ducasse Nature: Simple, Healthy, and Good
Hardie Grant Books 2011, 359 Pages

The Preservation Kitchen, by Paul Virant.  If you read the Sow Swell blog with any regularity, you know that this month we have been wild about food preservation.  In part because of the love we have for this book.   Virant, a Michelin-starred chef and restaurant owner, spends a year pickling and preserving his way into hearts.  His book is a vivid display of food preservation. His tangy jams are some of our favorites and his brandied cherries make for the perfect accompaniment to a hand-crafted Manhattan.  His book is both artistic and technical and guides you through not only his beautiful recipes, but also the proper safety techniques to ensure safe eats when storing.  If you want to extend the tastes of each season, this book will masterfully guide you through preserving the flavors of each season.

The Preservation Kitchen
Ten Speed Press 2012, 304 pages

One comment on “Inspired Reading — Get Bookish on Urban Farming

  1. Marisa Hawk
    August 29, 2012

    When I was twelve, my parents plucked me off of idyllic Solana Beach and onto a farm, inland of San Diego. Suddenly, I went from surfer chick, to slinging chicken shit under 30 acres of newly planted avocado trees. My parents wanted to go organic all the way…and planted those trees on what seemed to be a hillside made of pure granite. We gardened, kept bees and chickens and tore down old buildings so we could use the reclaimed wood on our land. It was nuts, no health insurance at all and us kids scurrying around on those roofs pulling nails. Those experiences have informed everything about me as an adult. At times, I find myself with a strong urge to do as they did; pack up, move away and dig in the dirt.

    These book selects energize that impulse and inspire me to create that world again, but…in the place that I live…in the here and now…landlocked in the beautifully diverse urban jungle that is LA.

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