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City Farmer

Adventures in Urban Food Growing

Regular price $19.95 CAD
  • ISBN: 9781553655190
  • Tags: Lorraine Johnson, Nature & Environment,
  • Dimensions: 6.75 x 9.5
  • Published On: 05/03/2010
  • 256 Pages
  • ISBN: 9781553656289
  • Tags: Lorraine Johnson, Nature & Environment,
  • Published On: 05/01/2010
  • 256 Pages

City Farmer celebrates the new ways that urban dwellers are getting closer to their food. Not only are backyard vegetable plots popping up in places long reserved for lawns, but some renegades are even planting their front yards with food. People in apartments are filling their balconies with pots of tomatoes, beans, and basil, while others are gazing skyward and "greening" their rooftops with food plants. Still others are colonizing public spaces, staking out territory in parks for community gardens and orchards, or convincing school boards to turn asphalt school grounds into "growing" grounds.

Woven through the book are the stories of guerrilla urban farmers in various cities of North America who are tapping city trees for syrup, gleaning fruit from parks, foraging for greens in abandoned lots, planting heritage vegetables on the boulevard, and otherwise placing food production at the centre of the urban community. Additional stories describe the history of urban food production in North America, revealing the roots of our current hunger for more connection with our food, and the visionaries who have directed that hunger into action.

Throughout the book, sidebars offer practical tips for how to compost, how to convert a lawn into a vegetable bed, and what edible plants are easy to grow with children, among other topics.

Lorraine Johnson is the author of numerous books, including Garden Plants and Flowers: A-Z Guide to the Best Plants for Your Garden and 100 Easy-to-Grow Native Plants for Canadian Gardens. Her writing has appeared in such publications as on Nature, Chatelaine, and the Globe & Mail, and she makes regular appearances on CBC Radio and TV. She lives in Toronto.


"Lorraine Johnson's thought-provoking, hopeful book explores our relationship with food and how even the smallest acts of gardening . . . can bring us closer to bridging the gap between the food we eat and how and where it's grown. Never preachy or guilt-inducing, Johnson offers a well-researched look at the whys and wherefores of how we have become disconnected from our food." -Garden Making

"City Farmer plants the seeds of reimagining our cities as deliberate sources of sustenance." -Canadian Geographic

"Johnson explores how rooftops, front yards and even walls can support crops and feed a population that is hungry for fresh food." -The Winston Salem Journal

"Lorraine Johnson from Toronto reminisces about her childhood backyard food garden experiences and how they led to her lifelong need to cultivate at least some of her food herself, despite her urban locale. She deftly mingles her own well-thought-out arguments for doing so with those of other passionate and innovative urban gardeners throughout North America." -Helen Thompson, The American Gardener

"Lorraine Johnson warmly and enthusiastically weaves her stories of urban gardening ventures in the US and Canada . . . This book is an ideal gift for urbanites who yearn to garden." -Canadian Organic Grower

"An inspiring, hopeful testament to the value (social, economic, environmental) of growing food in our cities, and the unique ways that people across our country are doing so." -Little City Farm

"Enlightening for the avid gardener, food activist of those yet to be converted, City Farmer is a refreshing response to the growing literature cataloguing the failures of our current food system." -Alternatives Magazine

"In her new book, City Farmer, urban agriculture guru Lorraine Johnson gets her hands dirty exploring all the ways in which rooftops, yards, and balconies are becoming fertile, fruitful grounds for growing." -Torontoist

"It's wonderfully soul-nourishing to read a book that's all about impossibilities made possible, and how to plant your dreams and watch them grow." -Globe & Mail

"This timely, well-written work offers an insightful and inspiring look at gaining control of one's food and references other works that provide how-to knowledge and additional discussions of the current food movement. Although not a step-by-step planting guide, [City Farmer] contains sidebars full of helpful tips that may motivate black-thumbed gardeners to at least contemplate taking a trowel to dirt and begin a small garden of their own. Highly recommended." -Library Journal

"Where writers of this genre can sometimes take themselves a little too seriously, Johnson uses humour and a touch of self-mockery to demonstrate that no matter how important food security may be, the love of food should still give us pleasure." -Winnipeg Free Press