Elizabeth Nolan Brown // Blog

media. music. feminism. food. city-dwelling. story-telling. and other things.

Education of an Urban Farmer

with one comment

Folkster alert? Next American City interviews Novella Carpenter, author of Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer. I liked this passage:

JL: But did you really call it urban farming at first?

NC: We never called it anything in Seattle. It’s like we were weird people who had chickens and bees and there was no kind of identity surrounding it. I think California is really obsessed with identity and so I became obsessed with identity as well, but I also started encountering people who were doing similar things and they called it urban farming. I was like, wow! That’s what I’m doing! I’m urban farming.

And this one:

What’s interesting is that in the developing world, urban agriculture is huge. It’s what people do. I had a guy from Nigeria come over to my house and he was like, “I heard you have goats. I want to go see them.”  I brought him into the backyard and the goats are all running up and down the stairs. It’s not a big backyard. He said, “It’s just like Nigeria.” And so I started to realize that it is an affectation a little bit for white people to talk about urban farming. But at the same time it’s a cultural identity for them in the same way.

But here’s what nudged my folkster radar:

JL: You talk in your book a little bit about distinguishing yourself from the Berkeley hippies and the like. How did you distinguish yourself from them?

NC: I don’t know that I’m necessarily trying to distinguish myself from them. Because I think what I realized is that in some ways, wow,  I’m doing similar things that my parents did, but it’s in a different era. It’s in a totally different time and the fact that I’m doing it in a city made me feel a little bit better about it, because I have access to all these different cultures and I can plug into the music scene or the art scene or whatever is going on in the city. So it is different.

Anyway, I could pick out too many more good passages. Read the whole thing.


Written by Elizabeth

July 29, 2009 at 10:47 am

One Response

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  1. this is excellent! so, there are MORE of them!!! as soon as I am back in bk, we can begin seeking them out.


    July 31, 2009 at 2:01 pm

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