Farm City

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Novella Carpenter on her experience moving to a ramshackle house in Oakland, California, and turning a weed-choked, garbage-strewn lot next door into a small farm, complete with egg-laying chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks, rabbits, and two three-hundred-pound pigs. Her memoir, Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer is both a cautionary tale and a call to action.


Novella Carpenter

Comments [6]



Oakland is not "city" in the same manner in which Manhattan is. It's also very diverse in terms of the landscape... think of how different the nicest parts of Riverdale (in the Bronx) are, and then the worst parts of the Bronx. Then add some mountains and a longer growing season, magnify the difference, and you might be able to imagine Oakland..

When I lived in Queens, there was a crowing rooster in the neighborhood, and it did not bother me in the least.

And as I understand it, there remain one or two working farms in Queens, and they were doing well as of ten years ago.

I just can't understand your complaining about a rooster, when the birds in New York in springtime are SO loud. The rooster will crow for a while, stop, do it again a few times. If you live in New York, it's seriously less annoying than the tinkling music the ice cream truck makes. And if you live in the burbs, roosters are a preferable noise to leaf blowers, for goodness sake!

Further, I would argue that it's healthier for the animals to live in a small urban farm than on a factory farm in the middle of nowhere where they are treated terribly!

Jul. 16 2009 07:33 PM
JP from Garden State from NJ

Ivey from Brooklyn,

You have obviously never lived next to a real working farm if you think it would be worth it just for fresh meat. I have squirrels for neighbors in my ceiling to (its amazing how loud fluffy tailed rodents can be) and I’ll take them any day of the week over a rooster that wont shut up as soon as the sun comes up. Growing food is a whole different story then raising animals in the city.

Taher from Croton on Hudson,

My grandmother lived to be 94. She ate fruits and vegetables and whole grains every day of her life. She also ate meat every day of her life. She would have lived to at least 100 but she died of a broken heart (mentally, not physically), not cancer.

Jul. 16 2009 01:49 PM
Taher from Croton on Hudson

Please let us know on Twitter when you get your bout with cancer, Novella Carpenter , due to eating so much meat.

Jul. 16 2009 01:23 PM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

Drug dealers "just trying to make a living.. just like all of us"????

Hellooo! That's one of those statements that listeners accept uncritically... because it sounds so generous of spirit.

But if we really take the time to think about it, a pretty foolish thing to assert.

Jul. 16 2009 01:20 PM
Ivey from Brooklyn This great resource supports urban bee and chicken keeping. JP has a point, but I would rather have a smelly loud farm than a many of the alternatives. Perhaps a better alternative here in the city is veggies. And of course if you are interested in eating local meat, I have a great recipe for Brunswick Stew made with squirrel meat, and I have plenty of squirrels living in my ceiling!

Jul. 16 2009 01:19 PM
JP from Garden State from NJ

How much does your close neighbors love your noisy and smelly chickens and goats being how they have no choice to put up with it? Animals in the city? Very wrong for very many reasons.

Jul. 16 2009 01:13 PM

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