More Resources

6 Jul

So every Friday I post a new blog entry. Because of the 4th of July making this week wonky, I am behind schedule. So I am going to cheat a little bit. Today I am going to post some resources for those who would like to dive a little further into the topics I address here. I will review some of the books I have found most useful for writing the blog so far. This list will also foreshadow some future blogs so get excited. Because this is cheating and not a full post, you can expect a full entry tomorrow on the topic of season extension mechanisms like hoop-houses and greenhouses.

Food and the City by Jennifer Cockrall-King

I have already referenced this book and will probably continue to do so. This book provides a great overview of urban agriculture trends. She starts with Paris in the 1800’s to show that urban agriculture is not just a new fad. It is a tradition rooted in the history of cities. Though she has a focus on Western cities she visits a wide variety of cities with different histories and justifications for implementing urban agriculture.

She spends a chapter on Milwaukee, showcasing Growing Power Inc. Will Allen started a truly remarkable endeavor and Coackrall-King does a good job of showcasing his work. It is important to note, however, that Growing Power uses a non-profit model which makes them difficult to emulate for farmers who want to run commercial operations.

Detroit’s food movement is move about economic security and that it clearly demonstrated in the book. Detroit is home to some of the largest, most ambitious and controversial urban agriculture projects. In a city that is struggling so much, all the ideas are on the table. Detroit will be a city to follow in the coming years.

Overall, one of the better, more engaging books on urban agriculture. Worth buying.


Hungry City by Carolyn Steel

This is a more academic and scholarly approach to the topic of food and cities. Steel follows how the production, distribution, consumption, and disposal of food shaped the physical layout of London. It’s a fascinating reminder of why Fish St. is called Fish St. and Butchers’ Lane is Butchers’ Lane. Food in cities used to be much more visceral: the smells of fish, the sounds of bleating sheep being led into the city. The book provides a good food history, that is applicable to any city. Each city was shaped by food in a different way that shapes how it functions today. Though an equivalent book has not been written for Minneapolis, we have the Mill City Museum.  This is a much more fun way to learn much of the same history. If you would prefer to read a book, pick up a copy of Grain Merchants, Minneapolis Grain Exchange by Dave Kenny at the library.

Worth buying. Get Grain Merchants from the library.





Public Produce by Darrin Nordahl

A short book outlining a great idea. There are many spaces in cities that are in the city’s domain that could be producing food. Gardening is good, urban farmers are good, but the city could be farming too. He argues, and I agree, that public produce has a important role to play in the cityscape. This will be the focus of a later post, so I won’t dwell on this book now. Just imagine city parks and city streets filled with apple, pear, and nut trees.

Get this one from the library. A quick read full of ideas, but not full of details that would have you wanting to own it.






Those should give you plenty of reading for now. Once you finish reading these book you will see food every where you go in the city.



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