Do you wish sometimes that you had enough land to be able to keep bees, goats, rabbits, and chickens and to grow all the vegetables you could eat, without worrying about neighbors’ complaints? Lots of us in this movement wish that, but for the time being we have to stay put on our 1/10th of an acre. Happily, the book The Urban Farm Handbookactually makes you feel better about living in an urban area. Seriously.
While many of the recently published urban homestead books emphasize community, this book elaborates on community and the opportunities inherent in urban homesteading. For example, one of the authors of this book spearheaded a movement to create a local bulk buying club by helping a farmer sell much of his crop to many people in her community. I’d not read about this kind of pro-farm/pro-community activism in other urban homesteading books. The author even describes pitfalls to avoid when pursuing a similar venture.
The book explains how to keep the usual urban homesteading animals: bees, chickens, rabbits, and even goats, but also describes a farm slaughter of local and humanely raised animals. If you are an animal rights activist, I would definitely say this book is not for you, but if you are a meat eater, the authors intelligently explore the question “where does your meat come from?” While the authors don’t pretend to be able to answer all the moral questions that arise when animals are raised for meat (and expressed that they felt uncomfortable during the slaughter), they did raise their awareness about the care we all should take with our food choices.
The book also presents some of the authors’ everyday recipes, including one very humorous recipe for Dandelion Coffee. You will have to read the book to find out why. I was happy to see a recipe for Ground Cherry preserves, as I am growing ground cherries for the first time this year. Of course, I will have to try the recipes for Maple Cured Smoked Bacon (even if I don’t have a pig), Better than Canned Baked Beans, and Power Pancakes. Yum.
This book is packed with so much information: producer profiles; how to make bio-char (which I’ve never heard of); tips, tricks and ways to avoid the various pitfalls of the urban homesteader; and humorous stories involving reluctant family members. For me, I would have to say that this book and The Urban Homestead by Coyne and Knutzen are my favorites of the urban homesteading bunch.
And learn how you can take The 2012 Urban Farm Handbook Challenge. I am!
You can order The Urban Farm Handbook here>>
Do you have any recommendations for any urban homesteading books that you read and found useful? Let me and the other readers know about them. Please leave your comments below. Thank you!