The Urban Farm Handbook: Review and Giveaway

So, perhaps you thought you might want to grow a little of your own food- say some lettuce or zucchini (or grind your own grain, make your own lotion, organize a community-wide bulk produce buy) or maybe toyed with getting a few chickens (or goats, meat rabbits, greenhouse tilapia). Likely you would need 8,10 or 14 books to pore over late into the evening.

Or you could just get The Urban Farm Handbook and call it a day.  The new book by Annette Cottrell and Joshua McNichols is densely awesome.  Somehow they have managed to iron out the nuts and bolts of an incredible number of topics in a highly readable and empowering manner.

urban farm handbook giveaway grow and resist

I haven’t met Joshua yet.  But you might remember I’ve mentioned Annette quite a bit.  She organizes bulk tomato buys.  She took in my dear (but terrorizing) chicken, Thirsty Boots.  Grows potatoes in burlap bags.  She brought me plant gifts.  Clearly, I admire her.  I feel lucky to live in the same gardening zone as she does because it really makes it all so easy for me. Just do what Annette does because she has done a gazillion hours of research on it already!  Annette says it is time? Then hop to it!

Another aspect I really like about this book as that Annette and Joshua have distinctly different approaches to farming and gardening. I find this incredibly refreshing. There isn’t a right, perfect, 100% way to do any of this. A lot of it is finding what works for you. For your family. For your life. For your space. I like that they have different ways of tackling the same issue.  For me, that keeps it real.

I won’t lie, I often get overwhelmed by all the ways to live a greener, more sustainable and more just life.  (Because, let me be clear- food is a social justice issue.)   The authors break down sections into “Opportunities for Change”– steps you can take toward a goal. It is in those steps that I find inspiration.  Looking at the big picture, with all the options (that all seem expensive, time-consuming, and overwhelming,) it is easy to get stuck and do nothing.  But by giving the readers small steps things get broken down in a way that it feels actually possible to incorporate some of them into your life starting with where ever you are and whatever resources you have.

The website for The Urban Farm Handbook is also a gem.  You can read about the authors, check out the first 50 pages of the book (!) and check out the vast resources.

The publishers at Skipstone graciously sent me a copy of the book and have another to send to YOU!  Winner will be chosen by random.  Enter by Wednesday, October 19th at midnight to be eligible.

To win a copy of the book for yourself, leave a comment (here, on the blog) telling me:

  • What urban farm activity do you want to learn more about and what do you believe to be your biggest barrier?

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169 Responses to The Urban Farm Handbook: Review and Giveaway

  1. Mellanie Johnson says:

    We have been gardening now for 3 years. Each year it gets a little bigger. We struggle with staggering out your crops or when to replant again. One thing this year that really frustrated us was that we have a 10 foot by 5 foot strawberry bed and we hardly got any strawberrys. This upcoming season we would like to get chickens and maybe bees also. What I noticed about the book to is they also go into preserving what you do grow. Canning this year has been are new addition to this whole new out look on life. Its so good to know what, where and how it got to your table. Sorry there a many thing we still need to learn and this book looks to be a wonderful help on EVERYTHING.

  2. Lise says:

    I’d love a chance to win; thank you! I would love to have bees some day. Not sure if it would be allowed/safe with my home-based early-childhood program, but what an awesome learning opportunity! (There’s also the issue of bears, which we have quite a few of…)

  3. Melissa in Chicago says:

    I am interested in learning more about extended season (food) gardening for my Zone 5b (relatively tiny (only 80 square feet in raised beds so far)) Chicago space!

  4. Amanda Baker says:

    I’d love this book! I want to learn more about growing from a hobby gardener to real sustainable urban farming. 😀

  5. Jen says:

    I would love the chance to enter this giveaway, thank you. I am also very interested in hosting bees and harvesting their honey.

  6. I’d love a chance to win too!
    I already have goats and chickens. I’d love to learn about bee keeping and greenhouse gardening.

  7. Jenn says:

    I’m dying to get an urban beehive to have my own honey. My biggest obstacle is that my husband is allergic to bees. A beehive it would be 100% my responsibility and I’ve already got so much on my plate! I need to work on training him better to do more house & yard work.

  8. Nancy Helton says:

    I’d love to learn more about bees, raised bed gardening and preserving and canning. My husband is afraid of bees and thinks raised bed gardening costs too much to start. *sigh* I’d LOVE to have this book!

  9. I’m trying to build up knowledge of the big things (bees, cows, etc.) for when we move out to a bigger piece of land in a couple of years. In the meantime, this city girl is having enough challenges just trying to grow a small vegetable garden! LOL!

  10. Lori Petroff says:

    We’ve done a lot of gardening – and right now I’m taking Sustainable Urban Agriculture through a University. What I’m most interested in, is keeping chickens. I have no idea why this has suddenly filled my brain. It just seemed like the logical next step.

    Oh, and teaching classes, info sessions, to others on how many ways urban farming is good for them!

  11. Matriarchy says:

    I would like to learn more about greenhouses for season extension. My biggest barrier is a lack of cash to invest in infrastructure and tools.

  12. Sharonnz says:

    I’d love to know how to use a greenhouse AND beekeeping. Biggest obstacle? The varroa mite is now a real problem in NZ hives, and I’m not sure yet how that is impacting “hobby” beekeeping.

  13. Jasmeen says:

    Biggest problems I have are lack of space and daylight time. And I’m still trying to learn gardening. Next year will be my second year of gardening. And I want chickens too.

  14. lissinn says:

    My goal is to have a more productive garden. We started a larger garden this year with a few raised beds, rather than growing just a few select things in containers as we had in previous years. The end product was so-so, although the odd Pac NW summer may not have helped much, my challenge is that I still have a lot to learn! Judging by the preview of this book, I think it’s safe to say there is a lot of information inside that would quite valuable.

  15. Lydia Harper says:

    ■What urban farm activity do you want to learn more about and what do you believe to be your biggest barrier?

    I want to learn more about raising our own meat and fish. I believe my biggest barrier will be slaughtering the bunnies.

  16. Dora Wilkerson says:

    I am not sure if this book covers it, but I would love to learn how to fish farm on a small bases (like enough to feed four people.)
    My biggest barrier is I haven’t had the time to start digging our pond yet. Maybe this coming spring we can take time off work and start digging.

  17. Julia says:

    Woo hoo! I love Annette, and I can’t wait to see this book! I know it is totally full of awesome.

  18. Kristin Yates says:

    I really want more info on bee keeping! I’m all for it but the hubby is not down with the idea. My biggest barrier to anything in my garden is time, I work long shifts and have 2 kids with full schedules…I try and make time for it all!

  19. I want to learn more about having backyard chickens!! My biggest barrier is just feeling somewhat overwhelmed with all the info out there and figuring out what I really need and how to build/get it reasonable priced – and have chickens that are happy and healthy and making super duper eggs 🙂

  20. Sara says:

    I am more “suburban” I guess than urban, but I think I have a similar concern, limited space…also since I’m in New England anything on season extension is helpful!

  21. Nichole says:

    I would love to learn more about the body & home products! I’m currently an apartment homesteader and my main barrier to doing more is time… owning a retail business does take up a lot of time! 🙂

  22. jess s says:

    My biggest barrier is always the limitation of time – working full-time, parenting, chickens, bees, the garden, nevermind all the normal chores. If I could have like, four extra hours in my day, I’m pretty sure I could conquer the world. I’d like to be able to work effectively enough to have those extra hours, but I haven’t figured it out yet.

  23. Rhonda Dieni says:

    We took a huge leap in faith and planted half an acre this year, followed the SPIN farming method. We even had a small CSA box program. Put away 1500 pounds of tomatoes, canned, jammed, fermented, dehydrated. you name it, we did it.We used all heirloom organic seeds, such a treat. just my husband and myself with our 11 month old son. We had an abundance of wonderful food, and it feels great to have it all put away for winter until the next season.
    I would love to keep bees, and i am kinda afraid of being stung, i plan on getting some chickens and goats in the very near future too!
    I love your site as well. Thanks for sharing all the wonderful information.

  24. tory says:

    I’d love to learn more about beneficial animals for our mini farm. They are our biggest hurdle now, we live with an HOA and I’d love to see us get some chickens/ducks/goats past it.

  25. I don’t have much of a green thumb and would love to learn more about raised bed gardening, along with a slew of other topics related to urban farming that interest me!

  26. Christina says:

    Ohhhh I’d love to have chickens…the biggest barrier to that: my teeny tony townhome backyard. Should I dedicate it to chickens or let my son have a sandbox and other toy stuff. ha!

  27. Julie O says:

    I’d love to learn more about gardening in small spaces–containers even. Particularly fruits. My biggest obstacles are time [lack of] and space [lack of] and my own fear of stinging insects.

  28. Jennifer says:

    I want to raise chickens but I’m a full time student and I don’t yet have the time or space!

  29. Kari Kesler says:

    Hi there! We got chickens and a worm bin this last year, and I really wanted to start gardening. I spent all summer trying to figure out where we get enough sun, which I think turns out to be no where 😦 So, I guess I would like to learn more about partial shade gardening! Also, in the past I have made lotions, cold creams, etc., and have made soap off and on for over 15 years. I have been looking for a book that has good recipes and advice for making these products in a more environmentally friendly, locally sourced sort of way. Besides the lack of time, my main barriers are the lack of money for making and filling raised beds and a limited amount of kitchen space for making products. On the up side, I have 5 kids who would love to help with both of these projects! Thanks for the offer and the query – it has been fun reading what everyone else is interested in, and what challenges they are facing.

  30. Frogdancer says:

    I really want to get good at succession planting and being on top of it all.
    My biggest problem: lack of time. Clearly I was lacking in foresight when I spawned 4 children and then had to support them! (Teenage boys eat a LOT…)

  31. Kate @ Snowflake Kitchen says:

    I’m looking to start a bulk buy like Anne and Joshua. I cant believe they both have time for all that they do!

    As far as personal goals – small steps first: I want to live in a place where we can plant in the GROUND. Containers are great and all, but definitely limiting. So someday, a big garden… which will lead to a small orchard of fruit trees and definitely bees. Maybe chickens. But first – house with sun!

  32. I’d love to learn more about raising chickens, though Planning & Zoning is a barrier. We’re not supposed to have them if we don’t have at least 3 acres, since they’re considered farm animals. 😦

  33. Sounds fabulous, Meg. I really, really want to get chickens, but we live in a rental house, so I just haven’t approached it. Somehow thinking that zoning is an issue in my ‘hood as well. But, when we find (well, and save for!) our llittle dream house someday, chickens on tops on my list!

  34. tamika says:

    I have chickens, a big garden, now longing for bees! my biggest dilemma is that we rent, so while I’m plunging full force ahead to be self sufficient, I know one day it all could end.. (moving our chicken coop will be an enormous task!). I would love to own this book, and win it or not, one day I will! Thanks for the giveaway!

  35. martina says:

    Chickens!!!! Just moved from Alaska to Oregon… Must have chickens…… Need book, want book….. !!!

  36. Georgia says:

    I desperately want chickens and bees, but am hesitant since we rent right now. Philly technically doesn’t allow chickens, but that doesn’t stop anyone!

  37. Tracy says:

    it seems like the chickens are the thing…i really want them too!

    • Tracy says:

      oh – and the biggest barrier will probably be start up cost for building out a coop that can keep them warm in our MN winter. would love to learn some new tricks!

  38. I would love to learn to grow our own sustainable/organic veggies and some fruits. I have a child with very sever preservative and food dye allergies, I mean grand maul seizure serious. I feel we would not have some of the problems we do if I could grow at least a portion of what we eat.

    In my heart of hearts, I want to have bees, but I live in a city and the ordinances are a challenge.

  39. Jillian says:

    I want to learn about where we can do urban farming – not just backyards, but rooftops, abandoned lots, school lawns, etc. What are the limits and benefits of each? Not sure the book addresses these things, but I’m sure it’ll provide lots of invaluable info!

  40. Kate says:

    I want to get involved with keeping backyard chickens. However, my HOA covenants say no poultry. My biggest hurdle to overcome is getting the board to change the rules!

  41. Carla says:

    Raising animals to supplement the food supply completely intimidates me. I’m a vegetarian but the rest of the family isn’t. Eggs and milk seem to be something a lot of people can manage but we’re in town so that won’t work here. Sometimes everything seems overwhelming but I’m learning to do more than I did last year (more canning, more gardening, more home baking and cooking, more local shopping) and gradually catching on to living a greener life.

  42. Brooke - in Oregon says:

    We have plenty of space, I would like to learn to make the best use of it and how to rotate crops, how to use cover crops, how to plant for fall and winter, not just spring hmmmm…. guess there are lots of things I would like to learn. Time is probably my biggest barrier cause I work 6 days a week. I have started canning and want to do more of that too, my freezer is full of ‘free produce’ from friends who know I am obsessed with not wanting to waste anything. lol I would LOVE this book. I would also like to start a canning swap in my area, but have to find more canners first! lol

  43. Kristina says:

    Thank you for the review and for hosting the giveaway 🙂 It sounds like a terrific read. I would love to raise more animals; my biggest challenge is lack of space for them. I’d also love to learn to make hard cheeses – but I’m intimidated.

  44. I’m really excited about growing things, but living in an apartment is rather limiting. My biggest barrier has largely been lack of space, but I think this is also linked to not knowing how to find and access adequate space, or make the best of what I have. I’d be really interested in learning more about alternative options – both how to find them and how to best make them work. I feel like there’s huge potential here – it’s just a matter of figuring out how to tap into it!

  45. Karen Haynes says:

    I want to learn more about gardening in a small space and coming up with a plan is my biggest obstacle!!

  46. quinnwick says:

    i’m most excited about chickens and bees, though i hope to someday be able to grow enough food to feed my family so i don’t have to rely so much on external sources. I am all geared up and ready to go, but my biggest barrier at the moment is having a place to start. One day i hope to have some land to grow food, raise chickens and nurture a happy family.

  47. star says:

    I live in a city, garden in community garden and struggle with two things, other gardeners who bring their pets and let them run around the other garden plots pooping and peeing with abandon, and other gardeners who aren’t concerned with pest control, because as soon as I get rid of a pest, it’s gonna come back.

  48. Farra says:

    Just found myself on 5+ acres with minimal farming knowledge. Where, oh where to begin!

  49. emma says:

    Biggest barrier is definitely lack of know-how! I have begun to get involved with community ag here at college, but I feel like I really need to educate myself much, much more, especially because I have high hopes for being as self-sustaining as possible after graduation. Would love to learn how to grow food in a small space and enjoy it year-round.

  50. Sweet Dick D - el jardinero mayor, huepa je! says:

    i’d like to grow as many andean/south american crops (potato, quinoa, uchuva, tomato, peppers, oca, yacon) as possible here in san francisco – the biggest barrier is getting a hold of the less common (arracacha, ulluco, maca, guasca ) ones- so that is what I want to learn about- getting these…

  51. Jeff Boynton says:

    I have never gardened before, but just moved to Houston and want to start my own garden, we started canning this summer buying fresh veggies at the Farmers Market. I think the biggest hurdle will beeither the start up costs or to just start it, getting everything in place and knowing how to go about doing it. I am thinking of a raised garden, but am not sure. I think the book would be a big help.

  52. Shae says:

    Meg, you know I always love your book reviews! I’m in an odd urb-burb-rural (urburbal?) zone down here in Northern California, and I can definitely put urban farming skills to use at our place. I really want to learn that potatoes-in-a-burlap-bag trick. I’d also like to figure out vertical strawberries. Thank you for the giveaway!

  53. misterkrista says:

    Some projects I’d like to tackle are a greenhouse and root cellar. We’ve got our chickens and bees and our garden grows bigger each year. The biggest obstacles are time & space. Squeezing it all in can be hard.

  54. Ida says:

    I want to learn more about planting compatible vegetables and composting. This is the first year I’ve had my own outdoor garden, and I loved the experience. I seldom buy veggies at the store. Next year, I want to feed more people.

  55. Lisa Sharp says:

    We hope to build a chicken coup this year and have some chicks in the spring. The kids and I also have been cultivating a small herb garden to use through the winter and hope to grow some veggies next year. It would be wonderful to grow most of the veggies that we can. Eventually I dream of bee’s but am concerned at how challenging it can be to keep them alive and do not fancy resupplying my hive every year. If we all strive in little steps towards our big dreams then the combined effort truly is a beautiful thing 🙂

  56. I have been growing food and plants for our family for a number of years now, and have been wanting to start keeping chickens, bees and rabbits. (At least, until I win the lottery and I can have a small farm. Then all bets are off!) 🙂

    Our little Mayberry-esque town allows backyard chickens and such, and we have the space, but until our large (very old) predatory dog is no longer with us, I don’t think I’ll risk trying to make that work. Still, I am always trying to figure out ways to make it work!! I’m nothing if not determined, so who knows?

  57. miareeva says:

    I would love to become an urban bee-keeper! I need to learn much more about keeping bees. Meanwhile I’d like to grow some veggies in containers, but I do not have a yard or a great southern window. There has to be a way though!

  58. I would really love to start beekeeping! However, my neighbor (with whom we share a yard) is totally freaked out by bees.

  59. sue v says:

    I would love to learn how to make cheese… my biggest barrier has been finding good milk and the motivation to do so

  60. Odia says:

    I think my biggest problem right now is too many dreams and not knowing what I don’t know! 😉 As for barriers, like many, I’d like more ideas on being effective in a small space.

  61. Kacy says:

    chickens! Worrying about my Jack Russell harassing them to death is why i haven’t done it yet.

  62. I want to take the garden to the next level, and make Hippie Hill homemade a reality now a dream. The biggest obstacle is me standing in my own way. Education, research and trial and error……are on the agenda

  63. Bill King says:

    I want to learn how to make flour from say corn and maybe make tortilla shells, so i have an idea on how to make my own flour. I would never have to buy it again.

  64. Jen Wittlin says:

    I would love to learn about keeping chickens and bees but live in an apartment building with no communal outside space. It would be great if the neighborhood had a community garden taken one step further- with chikens & bees!

  65. Amy says:

    I’ve dabbled in gardening for years and last gardened last year seriously for an entire season at a friend’s place. I am planning my own urban garden and what I am really interested in learning is how exactly to start from scratch, and how to design a 4 season garden from the ground up. My biggest challenge right now is a lack of personal gardening space, one I am hoping to rectify when I purchase a new house.

  66. Tammy Thomas says:

    I would love to be able to get my plants to actually produce. Had awesome looking tomato plants but really small tomatoes, not much of a harvest at all. Would love some chickens, but don’t know a lot about them yet. Would love to learn cheesemaking, and want to start waxing my own cheese. so much I want to learn. Thanks for the chance to win!

  67. I’d love to figure out how to grow certain herbs better. Even “slow-bolt” cilantro bolts quickly in our garden and turns yellow-green; similarly, basil bolts as well and grows tall and weedy rather than short and bushy/full.

  68. I had heard this book covers EVERYTHING in words we can all understand,,,if I don’t win, I will be buying one!!

  69. Cari says:

    I would love to learn more about gardening. I had a very successful garden this year but Im always opening to learning more to make it better/different. Also, we are buying a new house and my husband has decided to build me a greenhouse after we move, more info on how to utilize greenhouse space would be awesome!!

  70. Missy says:

    Hmmm, well I’ve always wanted chickens and thought that living in our city was the obstacle (until I found out yesterday that we’re all good!), so now the obstacle is choosing which ones to join our ever growing family. I’d also love a root cellar. Our toddler girls just finished helping put up over 120 pounds of apples, but I’m thinking there’s got to be more than canning in our future…

  71. Johanna says:

    We would like to know more raising a cow (to end up as our food). We have four acres (about 2 for the hoofed animals) and 2 goats reside there as our buddies. Do we need a strong fences? Strong hearts? Are we up for it? I’d like to know more. Thank you!

  72. Moira says:

    hi! i’m so excited to have started canning this year and most of it i grew in the garden my brother and i planted. we are older now and live together…what neither of us knows is how to stagger…can you help? or the book? )hint)..thanks!

  73. Monica says:

    I am definitely trying to figure out how to raise goats. Biggest dilemma? The daily care.

  74. Bees that would be fun and chicken if i thought i could keep the dogs at bay….so many things i wish to do and will….

  75. Erin Healy says:

    As a born and bred urbanite, it has been an adjustment to move out to a tiny speck of land in the not-too-country. With 1.5 acres, we have started raising chickens for eggs, dairy goats for milk, and I need to learn how to garden year-round effectively, affordably & organic (if possible).
    It is a goal of mine to garden so that I can preserve (pickles, tomatoes, jams, etc) what I grow. My daughter and I are learning to make cold-process soaps containing the beautiful milk that our goats gift us with each day. I would really love to win a copy of this amazing book that could help my family with our plans.

  76. Heather says:

    We really want to do it all, but it is hard because we just moved to our first house and money really is an issue.

  77. This year I removed half of my front yard as part of an urban farm certification program I went through. I am successfully certified as an urban farmer!! I have only been gardening for four years though so there is still a lot to learn. I would like to continue to learn about ways to grow efficiently in small urban spaces, utilizing polycultures, and ways to preserve and utilize my harvests. I’d especially love to keep learning about ways to become more and more self-sufficient/sustainable in my garden.

  78. Ang says:

    composting in super small places

  79. Cubits Laura says:

    I would really like some bees. The expense of the equipment is holding me back though.

  80. Jessica Rasmussen says:

    Finding out how to better use my gardening space and figure out more what we need to be more self sufficient.

  81. Sarah Hendrickson says:

    I want to learn more about maintaining the health of my soil and being able to interpret signs of stress in my plants. My biggest barrier is time…

  82. cdthoma says:

    I want to learn more about growing a basic vegetable garden, using raised beds.
    What scares me about this is the need to make time in the early morning and late afternoon, to tend to things. Also, having a plain chainlink fence means I’m just inviting anyone coming down the alley to take what I grow, but I can’t afford a privacy fence…

  83. I would love to learn how to feed my family from our own garden. We didn’t have a garden this year. It would have been our first garden but the heat and drought we had killed everything. How can we have a suggesfull garden with very little water? What would we need to do to get the soil to keep of of the water in the clay dirt that we have? I have so many questions about uran farming I don’t know where to start.

  84. Kris says:

    I would like to raise chickens, but the town I live in requires 7 acres for a flock of laying hens. I can’t imagine what six hens would do with 7 acres, so I hope to some day get that law changed. In the meantime, I learning what I can.

  85. Nora Martinez DeBenedetto says:

    canning & preserving!

  86. Megan Fischer says:

    One of my biggest barriers wasvgetting things to produce like I had hoped. I have a lot of space but not ideal light for the vegetable gardening I want to do. I would love to learn more about how to plant for the best production.

  87. Jennifer roney says:

    Gardening and composting! I can’t get consistently good tomatoes. I want them for canning. And I need to learn how to compost!!

  88. ann pomeroy says:

    I would love to get a chance to win this book. I am always looking for a challenge.I have 3 garden spaces, 2 at home and 1 by my boyfriends house.He has 40 acres that half are woods. Would love to raise some bees.We have talked about it but thats as far as it went.We talked about raising chickens also but will need to make a home for them first. He has made maple syrup outside under a wood fire for yrs now, love to watch that but it sure is alot of work.This coming spring i would love to get a green house.I would love so start to grow my own food early and also save seeds.I think i will need to send a letter off to santa for the green house, lol

  89. Suzette Martin says:

    What an exciting sounding book! I would like to know more about getting into bee-keeping both for pollination and honey. There were sadly very few honeybees in our garden this past summer. Obstacle? Money for equipment, distaste for getting stung, and worry about tracheal mites.
    Also, I would like to learn more about how to successfully grow heirloom veggies. Obstacle-I’ve tried heirloom tomatoes two years in a row without much success. They get wilt or nematodes or something, and I don’t know how to deal with that organically. We have a wonderful flock of cochin chickens that are laying, and we’ve raised two broods off them this year! Easy keepers! We also have goats, and I would really like to know how to make cheese and soaps from their milk. Obstacle- they are meat goats!!! LOL
    Also, help with raising root crops would be great! I planted a row of potatoes, and didn’t get a single one. Also, I’ve never had any luck with rutabagas.

  90. Emily says:

    This is our first year with chickens, I’d like to get a few more after a year or so. But what I think will be a challenge in our urban farming is getting our garden organized enough to provide a greater portion of our diet. I think we have the space, just need the skill and ideas!

  91. crystalsmuse says:

    The urban farm activity I want to learn more about would be beekeeping. My biggest barrier would have to be that I live in an apartment and city code.

  92. lindsey russell says:

    I would like to know more about bee keeping and rain barrels. my family already has chickens and a community garden but I feel like there is such a huge urban farm movement going on and endless knowledge to soak up! My biggest barrier is time…i’m a student and a mother/wife/independent woman! So a book with all the knowledge under on cover is a perfect time saver! Thanks!

  93. Stephanie Hankins says:

    I am a new kitchen gardener and have recently built our own coop and have 8 lovely hens and a boastful Roo! Learning everyday!

  94. Nancy says:

    Our gardening and canning ventures have steadily been growing over the last few years, we are always learning something new. Would be nice to have a good resource to help learn more about beekeeping (which we would love to do), and help with growing second season crops and learn to be more sustainable.

  95. Thanks so much for this!

    I believe one of the key issues contributing to food deserts is the total loss of food knowledge. I am really interested in helping food challenged young people to find ways through gardening and preserving that they will become more in control of improving their own food lives.

    The biggest barrier seems to actually be more a mental than a physical one; broadening our ways of thinking about our society’s class structure. This book’s got it all going on – it would be a great help in demonstrating what is possible.

  96. Mary Bartholomew says:

    I would like to learn more about grains and storage. We live in Mississippi and I’m afraid the humidity would ruin any storage, if pests didn’t get to it first. I’d love this book!

  97. Kristi says:

    I would love to learn more about urban gardening. I try ever year but I live in a older neighborhood with lots of beautiful trees but too much shade.

  98. Rosalyn Abbott says:

    Keeping dairy goats, the biggest obstacle will be our city by-laws.

  99. Susie says:

    I would love to learn more about hoop houses. I met some nuns in my area who have a year round garden with a hoop house, primitive geothermal, and DIY solar panels made from plywood and black paint. They inspire me to do more.

  100. Sandi says:

    I had a garden in my backyard this summer. I need more sunlight or a tomato that doesn’t need intense sun. It took a long time to get them to turn red. Everything else did well.

  101. Alice says:

    I would like to know more about keeping chickens, it’s something that my husband and I have been interested and feel a bit too overwhelmed at starting. My biggest barrier when it comes to anything green or in the garden type thing is knowing how to keep my plants healthy and thriving. I do the most obvious things, get them the sunglight that they need, put them in a good spot in the yard or the house to get that sunlight, then water it enough so they arent overwatered or underwatered and then give it plant food from time to time, yet it doesnt take long before they die…

  102. Kate says:

    i dream of keeping chickens and my largest barrier is city ordinances!

  103. Atwell Hill Anitques says:

    I’ve been gardening and canning for many years but always like to learn new and better ways.

  104. Jean M says:

    I have had a garden for the last 2 years, and have been canning for quite a few with family members and neighbors who have larger garden spaces. We are looking at raising chickens and meat rabbits, as well as adding bees. My goal is to be totally off grid and self sufficient in the next 2 years. Raising my own food be it in a garden or meat. I think this book may offer a few ideas that could help me now and down the road. I look forward to the opportunity to win this exciting book.

  105. Emily says:

    I am completely interested! We have a small space but make as much of our own as we can, some grown and a lot local-farmer purchased and canned or frozen. I’d love ideas for extending the health and justice of our food!

  106. Amy Lucero says:

    What a well-rounded book! I struggle with soil, salt & sea air living so close to the Gulf. We have the opportunity to do a small community garden and expand our space, just not really sure where to start. Someday I’d like to keep chickens, too.

  107. Posted a second ago but it logged in one of my clients, whoops. Anyway I am very intrigued by growing potatoes and most anything else. Fascinating!

  108. Amy Sirk says:

    I’ve been taking every beekeeping webinar I could find so I feel as ready as I will be for the bee hives we’re getting this spring. I want to learn about keeping dairy goats. Dairy is the one area where we are completely dependent on others. My biggest challenges so far is the time/money problem and dealing with the neighbor kids and their dogs. It seems when I have time, I have no money and when I have money, I have no time. I guess that’s how life is when you are self employed. I’m also back in college, studying soil science. So time is a big problem. I’m building a 6′ privacy fence, adding sections as the finances come available to keep the neighbors from stealing my eggs and the dogs from eating my chickens. Just like a big farm, it’s always something.

  109. kristina johnston says:

    I would love to learn about how to grow potatoes in burlap sacks. Also would like to learn about raising ducks and composting. I believe money to be my biggest obstacle.

  110. We have less than a quarter acre with pretty strict zoning laws, but I grew up in the country so I want to continue growing enough food to can each year. I’m slowly filling the yard with raised bed gardens, but it’s sometimes hard with all the neighborhood trees. (I love them, but it’s a puzzle trying to find places that get enough light.) Plus, the squirrels are terrible in the city! They dig up half of what I put in the ground.

    I learn a little more each year and am getting more and more fruitful harvests, but it’d be great to have a book that consolidates all the research I’m doing into one place. Whether I win or not, I will definitely be checking this book out on Amazon because this is definitely something important that I could also share with friends in the same situation.

  111. Melanie J. says:

    I would love to be able to grow vegetables on my porch, but haven’t found a way around the horrible east-west exposure and Florida sun yet. This book sounds like a goldmine! Thanks for the opportunity!

  112. Tavia Tindall says:

    I would like to learn more about keeping bees in an urban area. The biggest barrier I face is that I don’t have a yard, just a patio. It looks like a great book. Thanks!

  113. We want to build a brick oven and a green house using old windows. Thanks for the contest. We have over a 1/3 acre and we would like to have a milking goat for our son who is failing to grow and is allergic to cows milk. Our biggest obstacle is our town council. Even though we are a small town in Eastern WA, less than 300 people, we can’t have anything but a cat and a dog. There is a small group of us that are going to try to get the council to change the ordinance.

  114. tanya says:

    Thanks for the giveaway! I really want to learn more about raising chickens. Our biggest barrier, however, is that we’re renters with a shared backyard.

  115. Holly C says:

    I’d like to learn more about keeping chickens. Hubby and I are seriously considering getting some chickens. Our biggest barrier is preparing a place for them.

  116. Ellen says:

    I am DYING to get chickens. I’m currently living in a second-floor apartment and chickens are a no-no, so I have a CSA and mushroom logs and I grow my own sprouts…but I can’t wait to be able to add some live animals to the mix. I’m from Vermont and I’m a farm girl at heart.

  117. Lesa Cotto says:

    Oh, what a great book! I know I want to learn more about urban livestock. I know there are laws, but I am having a hard time figuring out what the laws are in my area about urban livestock.

  118. Claire says:

    I have been living in an urban area for 7 years now & have expanded our garden each year!!
    I would love to add bees and chickens but could use lots of information. Which brings me to my biggest obstacle the town ordinances 😦

  119. Krista says:

    I would love to learn more about everything. But, I am particularly curious about pressure canning, and making and using a root cellar. My biggest obstacle? Time, for sure!

  120. Jesse McAvoy says:

    We love your website, and are so excited about this book. We’ve owned our own home fir almost two years now, and have made excellent headway in gardening, preserving, berry bushes, and even a couple fruit trees. Aside from a few chickens next year, we are most interested in bee keeping! It is permissible in our town, however we feel overwhelmed by all of the varied knowledge and opinions out there! So much to learn! Thank you so much!

  121. Jane says:

    For me it would be just doing more. Garden is real hard where I’m at, I do buy for the farmers markets and farms and now I’m into cultures to help me.

    What would I like to start doing….more of it.

  122. My husband and I have planned on starting a garden for the last several years, but our yard has been completely overrun with weeds and our fence broken down. We’ve been struggling financially with me owning a small business and my husband just getting out of grad school and getting his first elementary school teaching job. We got so frustrated looking out of our kitchen window at the jungle which was now our yard that we decided to just go for it this summer, money or not. We’d figure things out as we went. Well, a week into our project my husband hurt his back and it’s been just me working on things (VERY SLOWLY) for a while now. We’ve also been talking about getting up to 4 chickens, but I’m still fairly clueless about what it will take. So, in a nutshell, I’m interested in learning more about permaculture gardening and raising chickens for eggs but I’ve been too broke to buy many of the needed materials and I still have a lot of reading to do! I think this book would be a great resource. =)

  123. Kelly Rozich says:

    I would absolutely love love reading this book. My boyfriend and I are looking forward to having chickens and bees. However we do live in the city and space is limited. But I vow that’s not going to ruin our dreams!

  124. Brenda Morton says:

    This is everything I need and more..all wrapped up in your book….Would Love to have a hands on book to read and refer back to…This book looks to be awesome!!! Thanks for your giveaway offer!!!:D

  125. I have an abundance of shade, not sure what kind of garden I can grow. Would love to have veggies instead of hosta.

  126. Rebecca Scheiderer Davis says:

    A lot of people have mentioned bees…that’s what I’d shoot for as well. There’s no reason to not raise bees in an urban environment.

  127. Susan says:

    This might sound silly, but weeds are really a problem for us in our garden. We’ve had a large vegetable garden for years and every year we struggle to keep up with the stupid weeds! Thankful for a good harvest, though, this rainy strange year.

  128. Rhea in Minneapolis says:

    I would love to have to livestock in the city… chickens, ducks, goats, etc… but I’m a renter with zero space, so it will have to remain a dream, for now anyway 🙂

  129. Helen says:

    I would love to learn more about just being self-sufficient. It’s hard to just choose a few topics I want to learn about. I have been gardening for years but find that there are always new things to learn to improve things. I am very interested in bees and raising ducks and chickens.So excited for the opportunity to win!

  130. Zoning laws and HOA rules have barrred animals for us. I find it silly that you can have several dogs and potbellied pigs, but not chickens.

    The other trouble is expense. While we have an edible landscape in the backyard, I can’t do the front yard still. The ground is so hard here that it has to be soaked for 3-4 days before you can move it with a backhoe or bobcat, or to jackhammer holes for trees. Dirt has to be bought and brought in, as our “soil” (which masquerades as concrete) is white, salty, and virtually dead, and extrememly alkaline (8-9 ph). A watering system has to be installed as well, because we get 2 inches of rain a year. All of this adds up to quite an expense!

  131. Heather says:

    This sounds like a wonderful resource. I want to start a garden but have no clue where to begin. Our backyard has a deck that I could put planters on and the yard itself has room to section off a garden area. However, I’m not sure what I should plant and then how to preserve it as I don’t want to waste anything. I would love to have chickens but that’s another area I’m not sure where to start. I will definately be checking out this book for help.

  132. Bernadette says:

    I would love to know more about knowing how much to plant to provide for my family for most of the year. I never seem to grow enough and I don’t really know how to calculate it!! My biggest hurdle is actally bugs and keeping them off organically.

  133. I would love to learn about networking with other urban farmers in my area or how to start an effective group. It would be awesome to grow different foods to swap or if you ever go out of town, there is someone who is trustworthy and knowledgeable to tend to your gardening while you’re away. Plus canning is no fun if you’re doing it by yourself. Oh the possibilities!!!

    My biggest barrier is that I love to grow things in my yard but there are also times where I need to go out of town for a few days and I can’t always depend on my neighbours to check in. I’m also not that great at canning but would love to have someone to help me out.

  134. Green Bean says:

    Pick me please! I want to get bees in the spring and I’m continuing to hone my little urban farm. This is one of the few books on the topic I’ve not read but would love to!

  135. Bridget says:

    I started gardening a couple years ago, but I want to get more serious about it and need to do some reading. I’m also playing with the idea of raising chickens. I’d love to read this book.

  136. Erika says:

    I want to learn more about extending the growing season/winter gardening in zone 6, and my biggest challenge is lack of (sunny) space!

  137. Misty Wilton says:

    Right now we are limited on what we can do because we live with my in-laws and are only allowed to do so much here. But I would love to learn more about gardening and getting a bigger yield from it.

  138. abby says:

    Your book sounds amazing! We are challenged with a very small space.

  139. bex says:

    We have a sandy yard in the Gold Coast that is crying out for some vegetable-tation. My first attempt at growing some eats has been stumped so far, not only by my lack of green-fingeredness, but also by our housemate’s dog, Michelle-Rodriguez (who responds only to commands in Spanish…), and who appears to think of my planting attempts as new digging opportunities. I have to admit that this put me off – I could have been more determined and fought her off, however, seeing this book giveaway, and dreaming of the earth of knowledge therein, i’m jumping at the chance to get my little green paws on a copy and have a second, more sucessful and enduring shot at having our very own, very organic produce. YUM.

  140. Steph W. says:

    Hi 🙂 I found your website from Marisa’s Food in Jars facebook page!

    So an uban farm activity that I eant to learn would be, how to rise chicken all year around, getting shares of grass fed cows and pigs. I would love to garden many vegetables as well lol. My biggest barrier is space (we live in a small apartment) so chicken wouldn’t be allowed. Also we are moving so I’m not sure where or how we would plant a garden next year 🙂
    I would really love to read this book and find out more!!

    Thanks for having this giveaway! 🙂

  141. Miss Cindel says:

    The Urban Farm activity I’m interested in learning more about is rainwater catchment. I would like to be able to catch all the water my garden and home needs for the year during our October – April rainy season.
    I used to think the biggest Urban Farming barrier I faced was being able to afford the materials to build raised beds: I now realize that is now longer a true issue because I can easily plant my gardens directly in the ground my first several years. So, currently, I consider my biggest barrier to be the low amount of direct sunlight available in the backyard where I plan to do the vast majority of my planting. I rent a room in a home within the boundaries of a neighborhood association and while I’m eagerly waiting to get my hands on a copy of my new CC&Rs I am praying that I’ll have the opportunity to use the vast amount of direct sunlight available in our front yard my first year for my favorite sun loving plant: the tomato! :*D
    Thank you so much for setting up this give-away for all of us!

  142. Angela H. says:

    Extending the growing season for our community gardens and ways to make them naturally more self sufficient!

  143. Suzanne Brown says:

    I am interested in how to prolong my gardening season and also how to get rid of all the critters that seem to be thworting all my efforts: woodchucks, chipmunks and rabbits!

  144. Craig Wrogeman says:

    I would like to get more of a selection of plants next year in our 324 square foot garden. We have canned 259 jars so far this year.

  145. Laura says:

    I want to learn how to raise chickens, but I think that the noise might be challenging!

  146. jen says:

    I started my raised beds this past year and was so excited until a crazy driver drove through my yard and ruined 4 of my beds one night! So needless to say, my garden did not turn out as I was expecting this yr 🙂 I am looking into the whole urban chicken thing but it is very intimidating and the class I took left alot of crucial information out that I learned from reading blogs. I love blogs! Thorough references books are my saving grace in this whole gardening process. Thanks for being a part of it

  147. Nerissa says:

    I am always looking for new backyard projects. I’m adding rabbits to my already exsisting garden and chickens. I want to learn more about how to turn it into one big recycling system. Feed my animals with the garden and feed the garden with the animals and I’ll eat everything. I’d say cost is a big barrier. Eddible landscaping gets expensive. It doesn’t help that I am renting and therefore likely to move in a few years.

  148. Manuela says:

    I’m trying to make my slice of suburbia into a suburban farm . I have lots of plans like adding more raised beds (so far I’ve added one more), a greenhouse, adding chickens, preserving my harvest…oh so much. That it becomes overwhelming when I really think about it. I think my biggest barrier is that it’s mostly just me figuring how to accomplish these goals. My husband works a full time demanding job and he’s willing to help when he has time – but mostly it’s just me.

  149. Eve Fox says:

    I’d like to learn more about creating great soil and all the ins and outs of testing it to see what it needs to make various veggies happy. Biggest barrier right now is lack of time and also not knowing exactly where/with whom to start.

  150. sarah says:

    I would like to learn more about urban gardening as a whole. Vertical gardening, rain gardens, community initiatives, etc. I also have been helping build and sustain a community garden in my town and would like more ideas for that. My biggest barrier so far is participation with the community garden, but also finding the most affordable and most efficient means of doing things. Last year was my first year with growing my own seedlings from seed, which I started enough of for 3 gardens we were going to be working on. This up coming year I would like to look more in to rain barrels. We grow all organic gardens too, so finding out more info concerning pest control and nutrition is always helpful and welcomed as well.

  151. Eileen says:

    I’d most love to keep some chickens, but the biggest challenge to that idea at the moment is that I’m renting a house…the landlord probably would not approve. Still I’d love to know what Annette and Joshua have to say about it so I can keep thinking about it for ‘someday’ 🙂

  152. Eileen, Annette says talk to your landlord. You can build or buy a small chicken ark (those A frames that you move around the lawn daily). They are perfect for 2-3 hens and many rental houses have less than perfect lawns already. A dandelion filled lawn would be even better for the chickens and provide a wider array of nutrients than just grass would. Good luck!

  153. Tara says:

    I’d love to learn more about edible perennials, and better ways to maximize space in a very small urban yard.

  154. dena dalton says:

    I am interning at an urban community garden that struggles to retain volunteers in the community. The produce and harvest doesn’t get eaten, and I seem to be doing most of the work. My variety to this lovely, amazing garden is it’s community. How in the world do I engage them?!!! Thanks!

  155. Small grains harvesting….want to grow my own wheat, rye, barley and rice.

  156. Kevin Hunt says:

    I would love to learn about raising chickens and “farming” of everything on a smaller scale. Thanks!

  157. mary says:

    I’ve been growing a garden and learning the past few years, but the more I learn the more I realize there is so much more I need to know. I want to learn about permaculture and forest gardening. I have a nice hill with pine trees out back, perfect scenario to set it up. I am half way there but still feel I need a resource to give me the proper knowledge and order of things. We are close to retirement age and see the need to utilize and depend on as much square foot of land we have for our food source.

  158. shani fletcher says:

    Thanks for this opportunity! I’m interested in learning more about year-round growing in small urban spaces. Thank you!

  159. I would like to learn more about raising rabbits.

  160. Trish Morrison says:

    More growing, less mowing. That is my mantra and I want to get maximum productivity out of the de-grassed areas I am attacking. It needs to be edible, pretty, herbal or artistic and require little to no fossil fuels to maintain. Old school tools and elbow grease mean no processed organic produce. Every yard can produce something to eat so that we are staying alive!

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