It’s no secret that I love children’s books, and one of my favorite aspects of children’s nonfiction is the way the pages are laid out: bright illustrations, infographs and diagrams, highlighted text, lists and charts, bold graphics. Most adult books are pretty dense with text... which is totally okay, but sometimes I wish more adult nonfiction was as appealing to the eyes as kids’ books. Fortunately, that’s where Your Farm in the City: An Urban Dweller’s Guide to Growing Food and Raising Animals by Lisa Taylor comes in.
I discovered this book tucked away in the garden section of our library last year, and the instant I opened it, I was entranced by the children’s-book-style layout. It was so pretty! I immediately checked it out, and soon discovered that its usefulness matched its fun design.
This book is a great introduction to urban/suburban homesteading, giving a lively (and pretty) overview of how homegrown food affects the world. Taylor’s friendly and personable writing gives you a starter’s guide to planning a garden (in any sized space), composting and creating healthy soil, building raised beds, starting seeds, watering, extending the harvest season, canning, storing vegetables, beekeeping, raising chickens and goats, and much more. It also includes pages dedicated to each kind of vegetable, fruit, and herb (how to grow it, how to harvest it, and suggested varieties), profiles of different kinds of helpful bugs, informational pages about weeds and harmful pests, sample plans for an urban homestead, and sidebars dedicated to organizations and websites where you can learn more.
This book isn’t exhaustive or in-depth, but that’s the point. I’m the kind of person who gets overwhelmed by too much information, so this book was the perfect starting point to learn about homesteading as a whole— and it inspired me to delve further into the subjects that interested me, helped out by the extensive bibliography. Your Farm in the City is a fantastic and appealing overview of what urban homesteading can be. If someone told me they were interested in urban homesteading, this would be the first book I’d recommend!