Weekend reading: Michel Ableman’s Street Farm
Michael Ableman. Street Farm: Growing Food, Jobs, and Hope on the Urban Frontier. Chelsea Green, 2016.
Chelsea Green publishes books on “the politics and practice of sustainable living,” and its catalog gets better all the time.
Michael Ableman’s latest book is beautifully designed, packed with wonderful color photographs, and a must have for anyone even remotely curious about whether urban farming is worth a try.
Ableman was asked to start urban farms in the toughest areas of downtown Vancouver. His book is a series of thoughtful, personal, and remarkably frank essays about how he turned vacant lots and parking lots into vegetables while engaging with the locals, coping with the city bureaucracy, dealing with landlords desperate for more parking space, and managing the hazards of trying to make this work among people beset by poverty, alcohol, and drugs.
But he did make it work and this book explains how you too can do this.
Street Farm is an elegant how-to manual on using farming to do real community work with populations classically “hard to reach” but thriving on such initiatives.