The Essential Urban Farmer

In this indispensable guide, Farm City author Novella Carpenter and Willow Rosenthal share their experience as successful urban farmers and provide practical blueprints-complete with rich visual material-for novice and experienced growers looking to bring the principles of ethical food to the city streets. The Essential Urban Farmer guides readers from day one to market day, advising on how to find the perfect site, design a landscape, and cultivate crops. For anyone who has ever grown herbs on windowsills, or tomatoes on fire escapes, this is an invaluable volume with the potential to change our menus, our health, and our cities forever.

Resources

The Urban Orchard video

The Urban Orchard is a network of households in your local community who are meeting monthly to swap and share the produce of their backyard (or frontyard!) gardens, and conduct workshops on gardening and preserving the harvest.

In November 2007, Friends of the Earth Adelaide and the Goodwood Goodfood Co-op launched a homegrown fruit and vegetable exchange in the inner south-western suburbs of Adelaide. It’s a concept that has been practiced formally and informally in communities probably since time began. The basic format of this particular exchange was inspired by the Urban Orchard project initiated by Melbourne’s CERES community environment park.

The Urban Orchard project was initiated in Adelaide by local community members passionate about gardening, good food and building community.  Through providing a central space for community members to come together and share their homegrown or gleaned surpluses, the exchange offers a number of strong social and environmental benefits, including:

  • reducing waste by redistributing surplus fruit, vegetables, herbs and seeds
  • cultivating networks within the neighbourhood and building stronger communities
  • providing healthy, seasonal food for the community
  • sharing valuable skills in gardening and food preparation
  • avoiding greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the need for produce
  • transported from outside the local area

The Urban Orchard is currently active:

Communities around Australia are adapting the Urban Orchard concept to meet this unique local needs. A  do-it-yourself guide is available for download.

Book review: The Urban Cook by Mark Jensen

the-urban-cook

The Urban Cook by Red Lantern chef, Mark Jensen focuses on cooking and eating for a sustainable future. You may be familiar with him from the television show Ready Steady Cook. The book features over 100 modern seasonal recipes, often with an Asian bent.

There is a generous proportion of vegetable based recipes and I would have liked this section split into sides and mains. It features recipes for Eggplant and mozzarella bake; Zucchini, tomato, olive and feta gratin (using Poor Man’s Parmasen); and Chinese cabbage, fried noodle and black pepper salad. A sample recipe is available for Marinated summer radishes with currants, mint and chive dressing (PDF).

The Meat and Seafood sections contains recipes such as Yabbies cooked in tomato, chilli and black pepper sauce; and Lamb breast rolled and stuffed with mince, pine nuts and coriander. Mark Jensen says: “Yabbies are a great sustainable alternative to prawns. They are farmed in inland ponds, and any waste they produce can be filtered from the water and used to fertilise the land.”

He recommends using The Australian Sustainable Seafood Guide to help you make a wise shopping choice.

Mark also encourages us to use all parts of the animal, and uses secondary cuts of meat in recipes such as Beef cheeks braised in beer with aromatic spices; and Gremolata crumbed deep fried lamb’s brains.

Finish in the Dessert section and be tempted by Chocolate roulade with hazelnut cream; or an Asian fruit salad with agar agar jellies and coconut cream.

The Urban Cook – buy on Amazon.com
The Urban Cook – buy on Fishpond.com.au
– by Mark Jensen