On my reading list: The Essential Urban Farmer. A recent interview with the book’s authors, Novella Carpenter and Willow Rosenthal, maintains that the average urban backyard can grow all the fruit and veggies for one person in 25 x 40 feet, and espouses the idea that growing your own produce just makes good economic sense (via civileats.com):
People are like, “You should eat organic food,” but when you go to Whole Foods or the farmers’ market, it’s so expensive. So this was our DIY way to eat organic, healthy food. If you do it right, it can be cost effective.
The Civil Eats interview with the book’s authors also provides a good tip for Californians who want to eat organically and locally but are struggling to make ends meet:
In some states, like California, you can now get services through the [Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)] program to help you start a home garden. You can use food stamps for all sorts of special vouchers for gardening supplies.
As an urban dweller, I’ve got limited space to grow my own produce, and prior gardening experiments produced a scant few tomatoes and more chili peppers than I could ever hope to eat. Trying again, however, is on my to-do list for 2012, and armed with Carpenter and Rosenthal’s latest offering, I just may succeed (or at least improve over last year’s bounty).