Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture

What Have I Learned in Five Years of City Gardening That We Can Use for Decades of Success?

By Adam Gottlieb 2005 a


I have written four texts for you and me this Summer, as I get ready to move on from my community garden and home town.

It's a good time to savour what I have learned, fertilize the land and community we have been building, and bulk up for the journey ahead.

I am happy to find that, from a city boy who didn't like salad or know what a Jerusalem artichoke was, I have gardened, farmed, chatted, read, and meditated my way to some information and perspectives that will serve me forever and may offer you nourishing opportunities, wherever you are.

Twelve years ago, I got an undergraduate degree in Chemistry. Ten years ago I finished grad school in Environmental Toxicology. Eight years ago I started eating local, small-scale, organic plant-ripened, fresh-picked produce, working on farms across Canada, and adding cross-cultural perspectives to what my mom taught me about nutrition and cooking. Five years ago I started volunteering with the Cantaloupe collective organic teaching garden in the NDG neighbourhood of Montreal. Today I have a diverse harvest of fruit, leaves, roots, and seeds. Your sharing will make it all the more luscious and satisfying. Thanks for being here!

I would also enjoy your sharing of impressions, suggestions, questions, and experience. I can be reached at and Mmmmmmmm!

Thank you to Rae, Martha, Esther, Cookie, Olga, Yoko, Delphine, and many other people who have shared this experience.

On this web page we have placed an Introduction. The four original writings and one special text can be downloaded here. (Word DOC 72KB) What have I learned in five years of city gardening that we can use for decades of success?

Original writings:

  1. At the Cantaloupe Garden, what limits our agricultural success, and what do we do about it?
    A starting assessment after five years

  2. Looking to Montreal's ecological history for clues to sustainable city gardening

  3. Sustainable agricultural systems for Montreal city gardens?
    Some ideas from cross-cultural study and five years' work with the Cantaloupe Garden in NDG

  4. If I had to imagine how agriculture got started...

One other special text

Farmers of Forty Centuries; or Permanent Agriculture in China, Korea, and Japan. F.H. King, 1911.
Preface and Introduction

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Revised Monday, October 17, 2005

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture