Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The Essential Urban Farmer (Humpday Giveaway!!!)

When I was in my early teens, I started to imagine the type of woman I wanted to be when I grew up. At the time, I was equal parts smitten with fashion, skateboarding (my brother and I had a half-pipe in our backyard and I had posters of Tony Hawk adorning my bedroom walls alongside those of Joey McIntyre), and creative self-expression. I was on the journalism staff, acted in school plays, and pursued my French homework with a studied conviction. Though I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to be when older, I knew, more or less, who I wanted to be. I wanted to be bold. I wanted to be brave. I wanted to be innovative. I couldn't possibly have known it then, but, essentially, I wanted to be Novella Carpenter.

Novella is the sort of person you want to know. She's resourceful. She's smart (not just everyone can say they studied under Michael Pollan at Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism). She's funny. She's tenaciously devoted to her convictions. And she engages in all of this resourcefulness and intelligence and humor and conviction from an urban farm in Oakland, California, where she's been toiling the soil (and fighting the law to do so) for the past decade. Her memoir, Farm City, details her epic journey as the steward of Ghost Town Farm. This excerpt, from the book's opening chapter, gives you a taste of the concise yet evocative prose that Novella is known for. She's a great writer, in my opinion. She's a seriously righteous lady, also in my opinion.

To that end, I'd like to share a bit of Novella's newest venture with you today. Well, firstly, let me state that she actually has two new ventures going on. The first, and most paramount, is in her new role of mom to a baby girl born in late December. Secondly, and more directly relevant to this blog (and, thereby, you!) is her new book The Essential Urban Farmer, co-authored with fellow urban farmer Willow Rosenthal. A beast of a book at over 500 pages, this hefty tome details all it takes to make things live and grow in an urban setting. As the book's press release details it:
    Carpenter and Rosenthal share their experiences 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.

Novella ran into, and continues to run into, a number of challenges as an urban farmer. From growing a renegade garden on an abandoned plot to butchering animals in an urban setting, it's not always sunshine and happiness in the 'hood. And that's part of what I love about her writing, and her spirit, so very much. She doesn't sugarcoat things. She gives it to you straight. And she's not afraid of controversy, or of carrying the torch a long, long time for something she feels strongly about.

Penguin Books, Novella's publisher, has graciously given me two copies, one for review and one to give away to a small measure reader. To be entered in the giveaway for a copy of The Essential Urban Farmer, simply leave a comment below. Please leave a means of reaching you, should you be the winner. I'll run the giveaway through next Wednesday, February 8th, midnight EST. Canadians, let's hear from you, too!

Winner or not, do check out Novella's blog and publications. She's a gifted, colorful, inspiring writer. She's full of gumption. She goes for the jugular. She's all I hope to be, and then some. My teenage self would have loved her, and my grown up self does, too.

UPDATE: The winner of the "The Essential Urban Farmer" is lucky #99, Valerie. Thank you so very much to everyone that entered! This book is a sure-fire winner, that much I know! 

132 comments:

Megan J. Miller said...

am i really the first commentee here? that's never happened to me before! the first one never wins giveaways, but i'm crossing my fingers! you can reach me at meganjeanmiller@gmail.com

thanks for the giveaway! i'll definitely be checking this book out.

Geraldine M said...

I've been eyeballing this book and would love a copy! Thanks for the chance to win!

Anonymous said...

I love this site and i love the things I learn. I'd love to win this book. Thanks for all you do. rainbowcottage@live.com

ChiknEgg Productions, LLC said...

That book needs a home on my essential library shelf! I know we will eventually get some cold weather, and it will be perfect for me to curl up with in front of my wood stove! Lisa

Heather said...

Sounds like a wonderful book and would be most helpful to me as I try to homestead from my little townhouse :-)
barrera.heather@gmail.com

Stefan, Sarah and Lukka said...

Would love to own this book! I'm still in the researching phase and any information is soo helpful! Thanks for the opportunity.
Sarah M

Anonymous said...

Ola from Canada! I have much to learn about urban farming.
Pauline

peeastete@yahoo.ca

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book! Thanks for sharing!

Kalyn

ctandk@charter.net

Alicia said...

You have a fabulous blog! Love all the info. Thanks!

Abby said...

I have a library copy of this book on my coffee table! I'd love to have my own, as my hubs and I are about to put in an offer on a two-acre property right outside of town! I need a plan (and the ability to highlight) very soon!
I can be reached at abisuz@gmail.com

petoskystone said...

Wow! What a great giveaway. So much heart, sweat, & soul put into this baby.
jlalexia@yahoo.com

Deven said...

Oh, this would be WONDERFUL!

Sara Elizabeth said...

Reading, it occurs to me that those bees and chickens are a now venture. So far my small town dovecote homesteading has been baking bread and growing salad greens and tomatoes in raised beds. But I turn to my hubby and say, "12 years! We put off the bees and chickens because we were going to move....and we have been here 12 years!" Lol. Woman!(I say to myself) You just have to do it.

Anonymous said...

I loved her first book and am excited to read this one. I'm new to your blog and would like to say how wonderful I'm finding it as I take baby steps into urban farming. Thank you.
Emma : healthesole101@gmail.com

Meryl said...

Loved her first book so much! Going now to see if the library has a copy of this new one!

Dawn Dutton said...

Sounds like a great read. Sign me up! Please and thank you!

Big Foot said...

I love your description of your teenage self, I felt similar! This book sounds amazing, thank you for offering the giveaway! ange@camplanterncreek.com

EcoGrrl said...

Excellent - the 500 pages is actually appealing as most of the books out there I *wish* were more comprehensive :) I can be reached via my blog, not comfortable leaving my personal email out on the comment field, thanks !!!

Jenny Lee said...

Novella sounds like my kind of gal and her new book needs to lives alongside my small, but growing collection of homesteading resources!

Jessica said...

I'd love to own a copy of this. Thanks for sharing it here Ashley!

Rosanne said...

Just moved to a new place and am in the process of setting up garden and hives and (hopefully) chicken coop. Would LOVE to have such a rich resource to help us in our venture! thank you SO much for offering the chance to win it!

Sarah said...

I would really love to read this book and add it to my slowly growing homesteading library. Thank you so much for the opportunity to win such a great looking book!
sarahmelisse@gmail.com

Chppie said...

What an interesting book. I had heard of urban farms but hadn't really thought through what that might involve. Thanks for pointing out the book. I know that Farm City is always checked out at our library.

CCarter said...

What a fantastic resource! Thanks for giving us the chance to win!

KC Pagano said...

That's my kind of book. Just from the title I want to read it.
kc@kathrynpagano.com

Tami said...

I would be so pleased to win! Let's hope. Thanks Tami

Matt said...

I absolutely loved Farm City. I had become a little tired of the lofty prose common in many foodie books. You hit the nail on the head when you say Novella is a straight shooter!
If I don't win the contest I am totally going to buy it anyway :).
matt.pricew@gmail.com

PurpleLarkspur said...

I really enjoyed Farm City, so would love to check out this book!

larkspurpurple (at) gmail.com

Josie Lee said...

Was previously unaware of this book...veeeerrry glad to hear about it!
josiesuska@gmail.com

Bee Girl said...

Oh! I've been waiting for this book! Thanks for the chance to win :-)

Anonymous said...

I'm a Librarian in a small rural community in Maine. Although you would think most people who live in our community would have the land for a garden, unfortunately it isn't so. There are several areas with "associations" that disallow gardens. Several people have tried to "buck the system" but have been discouraged by the red tape involved in changing people's minds about community gardening.
I have a glorious farm, large gardens, chickens and a large flock of sheep and 8 border collies (that work full time). I don't need the book. If I win the book, I would donate it to our library for all the people who would like to garden but are having trouble figuring out how to get started.
Sharon at haleypond@psouth.net

Elle Ross said...

I never heard of her, she looks very cool! We just bought our own house and I'd love to have this book!

Amanda said...

It's so thrilling to see this lifestyle gaining momentum and people taking back control of their personal environments. Thanks for the opportunity.
akmh75 at gmail dot com

Dixie J said...

I would love to read this and then pass it on to my son. He just moved into a new home and it is pretty much a blank slate that he wants to make into an urban farm. Thank you for offering this!
djones@agh.org

Kristen said...

I live in a small town and I'm stepping up the gardening this year ... not sure if I'll fall into farming yet but would love to read the book. Thanks, Kristen

kieferjkes@msn.com

jennifer_f said...

What a great sounding book. Thanks for sharing!

Jen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dawn said...

I love reading about other's journey to self-sufficiency, Although I do not live in an urban setting, I find these stories so inspiring. It's exactly the right message I hope everyone hears. You don't have to live on lots of acreage to take care of yourself, your community, and the world. Keeping my fingers crossed that I win this one! thedawnharris@hotmail.com

Jen said...

Sounds like a great resource. Thanks for hosing this giveaway!

jalley22 at hotmail dot com

The Haphazard Countryman said...

This sounds like a great book, something I wish I had when I was living in Phoenix, AZ. Now in rural VA, I think it would still be just as valuable. Cross my fingers!

Trail Pony Endurance said...

Another great book giveaway! These women sound so knowledeable and determined. How inspiring! This book is definitely going on my Amazon wishlist =)

jwalty@hotmail.com

Dorothy said...

What a fantastic book. I'd love to win a copy.

Mary Jo said...

Oh, I would love to read this book! thanks for the heads~up!
maryjo@redhouseranch.com

Meghan said...

How exciting! Thank you for the chance to win.
Mrsbrady@roadrunner.com

Anonymous said...

the book looks great!
pknott@shaw.ca

Courtney said...

oh my goodness! I just wrote about this book earlier this week, as I picked it up by chance at the library and loved it immediately. Living in Chicago, this book is one that will need to be in my collection sooner or later (preferably sooner). Novella's memoir is one of the many books that has inspired me to keep working towards the farm dream, so when I saw she wrote this awesome book, a good thing got so much better. I also think it's awesome that a book on urban farming is written by two women. sweet!

Penny said...

Gotta love a giveaway! I would love to add this book to my urban homestead library. Thanks for a chance to win!

Nicole H. said...

This book sounds great! Would love to put it to good use this spring! :) Thanks!

Thera said...

Oh I would love this book! Keeping my fingers crossed X

Carla said...

I can't wait to read this.

Kelli said...

I don't know how I came across Farm City, but it was the first book to really help me think that urban farming is possible and practical. Novella is a fantastic writer and I've recommended her book to everyone I know that has questions about gardening, bees, the whole lot of it. She's incredibly inspiring and her words have stuck with me frequently through the last few years.

When she posted on her blog that this book was being released, I was so excited! Thank you for the opportunity to win! It would be a great resource to help my budding urban farm grow!

Melissa said...

I admire Novella's work but have yet to read one of her books, so winning this would be great!

K Brumbelow said...

I really like reading your blog. I stumbled upon it one day and am hooked. I am very envious and live vicariously through you

katesmalley@gmail.com

Michelle said...

I will be checking this at the library but a copy of my own would be even better!

Thanks,
Michelle
steim99@yahoo.com

Dogs or Dollars said...

I too had many a Joey McIntyre poster on my wall. Those curls were dreamy.

I'd love to be the recipient of Farm City. Sound right up my non-sugar coated alley. Thanks!

Frances said...

Your books have been a wonderful help to my first experiences in the "farming" world. I work with children in residential treatment and we are working hard as an agency to use the land and space we have to build a program that increases the kids skills, connection with the natural world, awareness of where their food comes from and healthy eating and living etc. We have already started a chicken coop and have bees and potentially miniature goats on the way. This reference would be a tremendous help. Should I be the lucky winner, you can reach me at fclayton@gmail.com

Tony R said...

I loved Farm City, Thank you for the chance to win and enjoy another of her great books!

anthony.riley11@gmail.com

The Q said...

I've read about some of her obstacles as an urban farmer, I bet the book is a great resource!
Corley.a.tullos at gmail dot com

Angi said...

I loved Farm City! I didn't realize she had another book out - how exciting!

Jenni said...

Novella is an inspiration. I loved Farm City, and can't wait to devour her new book.
Domestic.efforts@gmail.com

ill said...

WOW! Who knew so many little girls loved skateboarding as children and grew up to be farm aficionados as well!
I managed to marry my skateboarding dream...my husband collects vintage skateboards and we have over 200+ hanging on the walls of our house!
I dream of farming (every waking moment!), but am currently stuck with potted plants in my window frames of my Brooklyn Apartment...which gets little light and is merely a block away from the WM (waste management!) plant.
Credendo Vides...by believing one sees!!!! I'm a believer! I would love to win this book and get a leg up on the future!

Tracy said...

I loved Farm City by Novella! I know this will be just as great!!

Jeanne said...

oh man - I respect the heck out of folks like her.....
jetierno@gmail.com

mandi said...

I would love this! Thanks for the chance!

Jess said...

These books look like great reading! Thanks for pointing them out.

rhino said...

I read Farm City...I'd be curious to check out this book too. :)

erika said...

Novella Carpenter is the bee's knees! I still tell people of her crazy escapades (fattening pigs by dumpster diving 2x a day - chinese food, no less!) even 2 years after I read her fantastic book! She feels like the friend I always wanted but still haven't made yet. I'd love to read her next round of tips and tricks!

Gini said...

Wow! I definitely plan to read this book, as Hubs and I are selfishly eying a perfect little plot of land-- it has room for a spacious garden, chickens, AND a beehive! We're looking at it this weekend. :D

Megan said...

I would love to have this book...as a small "urban" farmer myself (in the giant city of Asheville, ha!). Thanks for the chance to win!
mailmegster@gmail.com

City Girl said...

I read Novella's first book and LOVED it!! I am so excited that her second book has finally come out and would love to read it. Here's hoping I'm the lucky one. If not, I'm definitely buying myself a copy!! Go, Novella!

Diana, San Francisco

Anonymous said...

This is just the book we are looking for-besides your books! (I permanently renew them from the library.) Thank you so much. IT is making me dream of spring already-there are many things to get ready.
Libby
libmeister@hotmail.com

Anonymous said...

It's been a while since I visited her blog...thanks for reminding me of her because I just read her post about the book "An Everlasting Meal" and sounds like it's right up my alley.
heyzillah@yahoo.com

Samantha said...

novella is so hilarious and down-to-earth. i adored her first book and would be very grateful to get a copy of her second one. best wishes to you and the family! samantha

Anonymous said...

I have followed Novella's blog for awhile now and it is wonderful. Thanks for the chance to win! segura3@ameritech.net ~Shelli

Lauren said...

Looks like a great book! I'm wondering if it just living in large urban areas, or if it considers small towns under the "urban" farming jurisdiction.
cherish48 +at+ gmail +dot+ com

Linden said...

I can't figure out if my last comment made it or not. (I hate having to use Google to sign in!) Sorry if this is a duplicate, it was not intentional.

Thanks for the chance to win this book. I love Novella (and her first name!).

Linden
dorking(at)acsalaska.net

Joe and Jill said...

My husband and I are beginning our Homestead this year. I'd love to have a copy! 801-814-9095.

Jessica said...

I loved her first book. I think I read it in a day. It was so good I couldn't put it down. I would love to win her second book.

Jessica
helianthus12@gmail.com

Kathryn said...

Fantastic lady, fantastic book! Thanks for the giveaway!

Heidi said...

I would love to win this!

bennetthp at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

This one is one my "to read" list, so I'd love to win. I'm so happy to have found your blog, and recent post in Verve magazine, through my Facebook feed of From Scratch; it's nice to have found a connection with similarly interested folks. Thank you.

simsann@bellsouth.net

Aurora said...

I would love a copy of this book! Been trying to raise chickens, goats and a garden on my 1.25 acre plot. I can be reached at arthaym@bellsouth.net

Thanks!

PurrfectPetSitting said...

Would love to read it!

Marie said...

I was *just* looking at this book today when I trying to decide my next book order!

Dawn said...

I am about to start my first solo garden. Dnita at Rogers.com

Yasmin said...

This looks like a fantastic book. I've added it to my reading list!

sloejennfizz said...

I loved Farm City & can't wait to read this one as well!

Hollins said...

Thank you! I loved Farm City.
hollinsmills@gmail.com

Lisa said...

i've had my eye on this book.thanks for sharing!
lisaacsimpson@yahoo.com

Sarah said...

it sounds like a wonderful book. i'm trying to have my own little farm on a tiny lot and can use all the advice out there!

Melanie J. said...

Looks great, thanks for the opportunity! celticautumn69@yahoo.com

Matt_Middleton said...

Very cool! I'm hoping to get a bit of an urban mini-orchard going in my backyard this year.

Amy said...

I've heard interviews with her and think she's fantastic. Thanks for the giveaway!

Sherrie said...

Yay, Canadians! :) I heart Novella and would love to win!

Unknown said...

We would love a copy. I just started following your blog and reading books. My 1, 2, and 7 year old and I are very excited to start growing our own food this summer.

cheneile@dreamwisemarketing.com

Green Zebra Market Garden said...

I'm so excited for this book. I've been waiting for Novella to publish again. Farm City was inspirational.

donna said...

I love her first book and would love to read another by her.........she rocks :-)

Tobi said...

loved her first book!

Anonymous said...

I'm still in the reading/planning stage of making changes to my lifestyle. I would really love this book to learn more and help me make the right choices. I can be reached at vae2769@hawkmail.hacc.edu.

Thank you for the chance to possibly win!

Valerie

Kathleen said...

This book looks so interesting and fun! I agree with everyone who enjoyed the color--it's beautiful!

curlygirl8988@yahoo.com

Anonymous said...

This looks like a great read! Got bees going and picking up chicks in a month - this would be helpful! Jennifer.Anne.Howe@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Looks like a valuable tool to have in the little library. Count me in!
Kaye at Gigglesandraspberries.blogspot.com

Leigh said...

Looks like an amazing resource!

nasturtium(at)fastmail.fm

Audra said...

It isn't always rosy in the hood!! Great line! My husband and I have what we call a farm-ette here in a suburb of Portland Maine. Last year we ended up processing Thanksgiving turkeys during rush hour for all the commuters to see. Things were dicey for a while but we are figuring it out

Audralynn@gmail.com

Bram Spiero said...

Would tickle me pink to win this giveaway.

Bram

b.spiero@gmail.com

Robin said...

I would love this book.

robin.tausch@gmail.com

Casey said...

Thanks for an amazing blog and some great books!
kasi_love@hotmail.com

elizabeth said...

sounds like a great read!

Ellen said...

Sounds like a great read! ellen.b.koopman@gmail.com

tamika said...

I adored Farm City and have been following Novella for years now. So excited to see her new book, winner or not, I'll be reading it soon!

Lyssa said...

I loved Farm City, and I'm sure this book will be awesome too.

Danielle said...

I've been eyeing this book, and would love to own a copy. Thanks for the chance to win it!

ThePlantLady said...

Hi Ashley, Nice to meetcha!
i've been drooling over your books on Amazon for about 6 months...I think i've saved enough money to finally buy them. Happy to have just found your website. :)
You can reach me at lisa@theplantlady.com

Lavigne Photography said...

hello great book! I also love th "Sh,,,t crunchy mamas say" that has gone viral here in vt!
lavignephotography(at)yahoo(.)com

Anonymous said...

New to homesteading, I'd be delighted to have a point of reference to guide me on our venture. Please include me :)
Kassandra Hinds
Hindsbattlecreek@yahoo.com

Kathryn Z. said...

This looks like a fantastic book, or perhaps even tome by your description of the length of it. I would love the chance to sink my teeth into this before the growing season this summer!

Jennifer said...

I love Carpenter's blog and can't wait to read her book! Thanks to you for providing such an interesting blog as well.

Sage said...

I loved Farm City! Novella is an excellent writer and an inspirational urban farmer.

gisele said...

Everything you need to know is exactly what I need to know! I would be thrilled to win, thank you for such a generous giveaway.

Freedom Five said...

I would love the book. Also, what's her blog address? Did I miss it?

Grace said...

I've been wanting to read her. Thanks for a chance to win!

Eileen said...

What a great-sounding resource! Thanks for the giveaway!

Stephanie Scott said...

I am so happy Novella has a new book, and I just discovered her blog is back too! (I know, a couple months late on that one...) Thanks for the post, she is awesome, everyone should know it.

Chartreuse Latitude said...

When I came across Farm City a few years back, I was instantly smitten. I read it over a 24 hour period between the early days of my own urban farm projects and working crappy jobs for cash. It provided lots of encouragement and inspiration for me in those days. I'm excited that Novella is at it again!

6512 and growing said...

I read Farm City and cheered her on all the way.
Would love to read her new book!

k a t said...

I too want to be Novella when I grow up. Seeing her speak in Seattle only solidified that feeling. If I don't win her book I'm sure I'll buy it, either way I know I'll enjoy it!

beanyween said...

I love her writing style! And yours too!
kathowkins@yahoo.com

Farmer Joe said...

OMG a chance to win this book! SO AWESOM. I love love love Novella Carpenter. Her first book is what inspired me to become an urban farmer. I hope I win!
Thanks for the opportunity,
Raquel
roc2104@yahoo.com

redhott said...

Novella was just the nudge I needed to start my garden/chicken/rabbit adventure in my back yard. When I read farm city I asked myself 'if she can why can't I?' I cannot tell you how much I loved her first book. Seriously she is my hero. Either way her new book will find its way into my life.

Josiah Lockhart said...

Its interesting to follow the movements in the US and here in Britain working in parralell. You should check out Alys Fowler from ourside of the pond who has very similar ideas...

Tracie said...

I have a garden! I have chickens, bees and rabbits! I live in the city! I think I need this book!

bramblythicket @ mywildacres. com

Anonymous said...

Thank you!!


Valerie