Olkowski Helga and William - The City People's Book of Raising Food

Author : Olkowski Helga and William
Title : The City People's Book of Raising Food
Year : 2008

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Introduction. I have always wanted to live on a farm. But I have always lived in the city. In this country, most people live in cities. In fact, all over the world, with a few excep-tions, the trend is towards urbanization. City people are a funny lot. They don't spend much time thinking about what keeps them alive-their life-support systems. There was a time when I didn't think about it much either. Oh, of course, I knew people need air to breathe, water to drink, and food to eat. But fresh air was obviously free and available and I didn't worry about the water that came through the pipes to my house, or the food that I bought at the store. If the vegetables and meats looked attractive, if they were a reasonable price, if they didn't look too hard to prepare, I bought them, took them home, prepared and ate them. Well, we're all a bit more sophisticated now. We've heard about pesticide residues on foods, fertilizers contaminating water, lead in the air we breathe, the energy crisis, and other environmental disasters. If you are like me, you may have reached a point where the list is too long and upset-ting to confront. You don't want to hear about another problem unless at the same time someone suggests what you can do about it. This is such a book-about the prob-lem of producing food for city people and what you can do about it. Consider the tomato. It takes large amounts of energy to produce the synthetic fertilizers used by the tomato farm-er. Fossil fuels are heavily involved in modern agricultural technology and in the production of pesticides that such farming methods may seem to demand. Fossil fuel energy is also necessary to bring the tomato to the store where it is sold. How many of us walked home with our groceries this week? No doubt most used a car to bring the tomato to the kitchen, thus doing our bit directly toward energy consumption and air pollution, too. And at the end of all that environmentally disastrous activity, what have we got? A tomato that hasn't seen the farm in many a day, a variety with a skin tough enough to withstand lots of mechanical handling, hopefully with pesticide residues below the FDA allowable tolerances. Nothing exactly to cheer about. So what's a city person to do? Grow some of your own. I think that one can grow a good deal of food in the city, and have fun doing it. It was done during World War II-they were called Victory Gardens. The apartment dweller can grow tomatoes and cucumbers inside in a sunny win-dow, citrus and bell peppers too. A window box salad, of loose-leaf lettuce, radishes, green onions, cress, baby car-rots, and turnips, is a real possibility. There may be room for a planter box of food plants on the roof or in a court-yard, and even room to raise meat rabbits. You may be able to share a backyard or patio with a friend who has some outdoor space, or join forces with your neighbors in working on an empty lot, unused city-owned land; or you might talk your local parks and recreation people into let-ting you use a portion of a city park. Other city people have found a way. You can too. Of course, not every city dweller wants to raise his own food. Even if you want to, you would have a hard time trying to raise all of it. But you can raise quite a lot. I know, because for the past four years my family has raised all of its own meat and vegetables in the middle of the city. We have taught hundreds of others to do the same. You can do it too. This book is to tell you how. This is a record of some of our personal experiences and some of the "book learning" we found essential to our success. We hope it will be useful to you. ...

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