This extraordinary book is the best I have ever seen on home gardens. Its authors grew all their own vegetables and meat from a tiny California plot. Application of the sound ecological principles in this book could increase the carrying capacity of the Earth by many times, and we would not have to worry about overpopulation for a while.
Even Health Food stores may add irritating chemicals to Organically Grown food, as I learned from an extremely chemically-sensitive friend who could not eat such produce. Also, food loses nutrients between farm and store, no matter how it is grown. So you simply cannot buy as high-quality food in any store at any price as you can grow yourself.
The authors had great success getting their city of Berkeley to adopt ecologically sound pest control. This is one of the most essential chapers in the book.
3 R's and an S of Pest Control
1. R-Residues. Most of us worry about this one.
2. R-Resurgence. Pesticides build up to higher levels in predators than prey, leading to the pest Resurgence to higher levels than before. This R is of concern with "Organic" methods like onion spray and not only from artificial poisons.
3. S-Secondary pests. Pests that had been present in very minor numbers may explode to major problems with the removal of predators.
4. R-Resistance. Most of us understand that pests' high reproductive rates mean that pests resistant to chemical controls soon become the entire population.
These ecological understandings are essential to anyone who wishes to make a truly positive contribution to the well-being of the natural world and to the human ecosystems that depend on it.
25 Years of City Farming, 1978-2003
By Michael Levenston
City Farmer - Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture
In 1978, a group of young environmentalists working at the Vancouver Energy Conservation Center stumbled across a book called The City People's Book of Raising Food
by William and Helga Olkowski. It described in everyday language how the authors grew all their own food right in the middle of the city of Berkeley. This inspiring book led us on an exploration of urban food production, which continues today, twenty-five years later.
Urban Sustainable Living's Dana Gordon interviews
Michael Levenston in Vancouver
by Dana Gordon
I spoke with Michael Levenston, Exexutive Director of City Farmer in Canada and was completely fascinated with everything he had to say. Such experience and devotion to the green movement for over 30 years says something about the establishment that has foundations built off sweat and labor, research and trials.
What or who inspired you to become an urban famer?
We started in 1978, working on energy conservation programs with the government to teach people how they could conserve energy in the city. A few of us looked into growing food. The City People’s Book of Raising Food by Helga and William Olkowski was instrumental. It introduced us to growing food at home in the city and I found it fascinating.
Then I was walking in the back lanes in Vancouver where you can see into people’s back yards and seeing their gardens growing all these food items and it was then that I became aware that people were growing huge gardens in their back yards. I mowed lawns back then and so this was new to me to see all of these plants growing and I became very excited by what I saw.