Author: Lorraine Johnson. Published by Greystone Books, 2010
In big cities like Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal, ubran farming is a pretty hot trend and Calgary is jumping onto that farm-fresh wagon! With community gardens already in place and farmers' markets popping up throughout the city, it's pretty evident that as Calgarians we want a new relationship with our food. While the economic benefits of growing our own produce is a definite plus to starting your own edible garden, I think there's a much bigger issue taking place. We all want to get closer to our food.
In anticipation of the 2012 opening of Forest Lawn's own community garden located at Forest Lawn Library, I thought it's time we start thinking (and talking!) about growing food in our city. City Farmer: Adventures in Urban Food Growing is a recent non-fiction book from Canadian author Lorraine Johnson and gives excellent personal insight to the role urban farming has within a uniquely North American context. Johnson, based in Toronto, is a huge advocat of getting in "close contact" with food and believes that while we may not be the ones growing the produce we eat, it's really important to learn more about all the hows, wheres, whys, whats and whens about our food so we can "make informed decisions about how we sustain ourselves". And having a connection with food can't get any closer than putting our hands elbow-deep in dirt!
Johnson's book is much more than a celebration of eating locally - writes about the role of the community garden outside of food sustenance. Community gardens are "less about food production and more about social interaction and growth". Whether it is teaching kids the responsibility of starting and caring for a vegetable garden, or coming together as a community in a form of "socially supportive gardening", starting up a community garden is all about growing and maintaining relationships with each other - the good and the bad.
This book is filled with great personal and historical anecdotes, and is an excellent introduction to urban farming - whether you're planning on being a farmer or just the consumer.
How do you feel about urban farming? And what about starting a garden in your own community? Let's start the discussion!