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


Urban Agriculture Books For Sale

Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes : Designing Urban Agriculture for Sustainable Cities by Andre Viljoen
"This book provides a design proposal for a new kind of sustainable urban landscape - urban agriculture. By growing food within an urban, rather than an exclusively rural environment, urban agriculture would reduce the need for industrialized production, packaging and transportation of foodstuffs to the city dwelling consumers. The impact that this would have on the future shape of cities would be immense. This is a pioneering book on urban design which dares to challenge the widely accepted "compact city" solution. "
On Good Land: The Autobiography of an Urban Farm by Michael Ableman, Cynthia Wisehart
"A dramatic pair of pictures opens this book: aerial shots of Fairview Gardens Farm, near Goleta, California, first in 1954, then in 1998. Once part of thousands of acres of farmland, Fairview Gardens is now entirely surrounded by tract homes, strip malls, and all the conveniences of modern suburban life. This 12.5-acre oasis exists only because Michael Ableman has steadfastly refused to let it be gobbled up by the relentless bulldozers. His story is funny, fierce, inspiring, and infuriating. His success, tempered by ample setbacks, will be of practical use to anybody seeking to preserve farmland from suburban sprawl. This powerful love story about a man and a place is especially moving because the land is not his: for most of the past 17 years, Ableman has been a tenant farmer at Fairview Gardens."
Metro Farm: The Guide to Growing for Big Profit on a Small Parcel of Land by Michael Olson
"According to a recent Census of Agriculture, the most productive farmland in the United States is in the Borough of the Bronx! The second most productive farmland is in the City of San Francisco! You can earn up to eight times the average personal income on as little as one acre of land. You can be male or female, old or young, married or single. You can lease, own, or rent. You can succeed with small fruits on prairie beach lands, house plants in costal valleys, flowers on steep wooded hillsides, vegetables in city greenbelts and ornamentals in neighborhoods of million dollar homes."
Gardening for Profit: A Guide to the Successful Cultivation of the Market and Family Garden by Peter Henderson
"Peter Henderson was a market gardener, florist, seeds man and author. He was born in Scotland and died in Jersey City, N.J. He was trained in Old World methods of gardening, and came to America in 1843. He started market gardening in 1847 with a capital of $500.00. The publication Gardening for Profit (1868) was the first American book devoted entirely to market gardening and it encouraged many to enter the business. The book was written in 100 hours, when the writer was writing 16 hours a day at manual labor and 150,000 copies were sold. Revisions were made in 1874 and 1887. This was an epoch making book in vegetable crops."
Waste Composting for Urban and Peri-Urban Agriculture: Closing the Rural-Urban Nutrient Cycle in Sub-Saharan Africa by Pay Drechsel and Dagmar Kunze
"In 17 studies, most from a 1999 UN workshop in Accra, Ghana, African and European contributors in agriculture and development present reports and case studies on urban and peri-urban agriculture and farming systems, and environmentally safe nutrient recycling options from organic waste generated in cities for use by urban and peri-urban farmers. They look at technical, biophysical, socio-economic, and administrative circumstances and introduce different approaches to quantifying urban nutrient balances and rural-urban nutrient flows."
For Hunger-Proof Cities Sustainable Urban Food Systems Edited by Mustafa Koc, Rod MacRae, Luc J.A. Mougeot, and Jennifer Welsh
"For Hunger-proof Cities is the first book to fully examine food security from an urban perspective. It examines existing local food systems and ways to improve the availability and accessibility of food for city dwellers. It looks at methods to improve community-supported agriculture and cooperation between urban and rural populations. It explores what existing marketing and distribution structures can do to improve accessibility and what the emerging forms of food-distribution systems are, and how they can contribute to alleviating hunger in the cities. Finally, the book discusses the underlying structures that create poverty and inequality and examines the role of emergency food systems, such as food banks."
Urban Agriculture in West Africa: Contributing to Food Security and Urban Sanitation by Olanrewaju B. Smith
"The urban agriculture sector in West and Central Africa is growing rapidly, despite an unfavourable political and policy environment. This book describes the valuable contribution that urban agriculture is making to food security and urban sanitation in the cities of the region. It also presents a strategy for launching a multistakeholder network on urban agriculture, and does so with input and support from producers; NGOs; national, regional, and international research institutions; donors; and policymakers and government officials at both the municipal and national levels. "
Of Cabbages and Kings County: Agriculture and the Formation of Modern Brooklyn by Marc Linder, Lawrence Zacharias, Lawrence S. Zacharias
"No one today thinks of Brooklyn, New York, as an agricultural center. Yet Kings County enjoyed over two centuries of farming prosperity. Even as late as 1880 it was one of the nation's leading vegetable producers, second only to neighboring Queens County. Drawing on a vast range of archival sources, the authors refocus the history of Brooklyn to uncover what was lost with the expansion of the city. For today, as urban planners, ecologists, and agricultural developers reevaluate urban sprawl and the need for greenbelts or agricultural-urban balance, the lost opportunities of the past loom larger."
Food Production in Urban Areas: A Study of Urban Agriculture in Accra, Ghana by Kwaku Obosu-Mensah
"This book explores the emergence of contemporary urban agriculture as well as official attitudes toward this practice. Using three theoretical models, the author tells us who is more likely to be involved in urban agriculture. In line with this, he explains why, contrary to expectations, in Ghana there are more males than females involved in urban agriculture. The author also addresses issues such as the influence of social inequality and the effects of social networks on urban agriculture. Furthermore, he identifies the problems urban cultivators encounter as city farmers and how they cope with such problems. Finally, the author predicts the future trend in urban agriculture."
Urban Agriculture in Zimbabwe: Implications for Urban Management and Poverty (Making of Modern Africa) by Beacon Mbiba
"This text addresses the phenomenon of urban agriculture in Zimbabwe. While it acknowledges that the activity is a significant source of food and income for the urban poor, the text draws attention to development conflicts raised by the activity. It attempts to place urban agriculture within the context of urban economy, the environment, institutional concerns, gender and urban poverty. Based on ongoing research the text demonstrates that there is a potential for urban agriculture as part of the urban economy, but that the urban poor are not beneficiaries of the activity. "
Cities Feeding People: An Examination of Urban Agriculture in East Africa by Axumite G. Egziabher, Diana Lee-Smith, Daniel G. Maxwell, International Development Research Centre
"Cities Feeding People examines urban agriculture in East Africa and proves that it is a safe, clean, and secure method to feed the world's struggling urban residents. It also collapses the myth that urban agriculture is practiced only by the poor and unemployed. Cities Feeding People provides the hard facts needed to convince governments that urban agriculture should have a larger role in feeding the urban population."
A City of Farmers: Informal Urban Agriculture in the Open Spaces of Nairobi, Kenya by Donald B. Freeman
"Urban agriculture, until now largely neglected, is of increasing economic significance in many African cities. Agriculture in the heart of the city is critical to the survival of very poor families and, especially, women and landless or unemployed rural migrants. In an insightful new study, Donald Freeman examines the development and significance of urban agriculture in Nairobi, Kenya, overturning a number of common assumptions about the inhabitants and economy of African cities. He addresses the ways in which urban agriculture fits into a broader picture of Kenyan social and economic development and discusses the implications of his findings for development theory in general. "


Planting Green Roofs and Living Walls by Nigel Dunnett, NoHl Kingsbury 2004
"Greenroof professionals and enthusiasts alike will be delighted with the easy reading and scope of content offered in "Planting Green Roofs and Living Walls" by Nigel Dunnett and No‘l Kingsbury. Very well organized, the book's forte and major value is as an essential resource - especially in terms of plant description, characteristics and specification. It's also a great bargain in that the book is filled with color photos, drawings, charts and reference material. This indispensable hard cover reference guide contains a truly massive collection of appropriate plant information, and perhaps most importantly, extensive plant directories are provided for both greenroofs and fa�ade greening. "
Roof Gardens: History, Design, and Construction (Norton Books for Architects & Designers) by Theodore H. Osmundson 1997
"A lavishly illustrated study of gardens built on the roofs of buildings. The first comprehensive hook in English about roof gardens, this survey includes a history of roof gardens, which date back to the hanging gardens of Nebuchadnezzar; summarizes contemporary design principles; details the techniques used in constructing durable and safe gardens; and gives guidelines for the selection of plants, planting procedures, and maintenance Sixty major projects from around the world are shown in color making the hook an important resource for designers and planners."
Roof Gardens, Balconies and Terraces by David Stevens 1997
"Text and illustrations explain how to create a dream garden above ground from laying flooring and building planters, through soil and planting techniques, to choosing color, furniture, water features, and lighting. Full-color photographs of some of the world's most gorgeous aerial gardens encourage readers of various tastes and climates. 250 color photos. 50 color artworks. 50 b&w drawings."
No Garden? No Problem!: Design and Planting Ideas for the Smallest of Spaces : Steps, Walls, Roof Terraces, Balconies, Basements and Courtyards by Mike Pilcher 2002
"Walls can be decorated with style and festooned with colourful hanging baskests while windowsills, balconies, terraces, basements and even front doorsteps and flights of stairs can become green oases in which plants thrive and people can relax outdoors. No Garden? No Problem! makes a garden where none exists, starting at the front door and taking in balconies, windowsills, walls, patios and basements. Here are plant suggestions, ideas and step-by-step projects to transform small outdoor spaces adding value to your home and allowing everyone to enjoy the therapeutic benefits of plants and gardening."
Sky Gardens: Rooftops, Balconies, and Terraces by Signe Neilsen 2004
"Leading landscape architect Signe Nielsen shares her years of experience, and draws on other professional projects to present this incredible design portfolio. Great design ideas are combined with practical tips on transforming an outdoor living space into a personal oasis. Lavishly illustrated with hundreds of examples, this book provides a stunning portfolio of hidden treasures and is packed with innovative and useful suggestions."
Terraces and Roof Gardens of Paris by Alexandra d'Arnoux, Bruno de Laubadre, Deidi von Schaewen
"Often unsuspected by passers-by in the street below, the roofs of Paris are rich in secret garden life. Hanging between the city and the sky, these curious gardens high above the urban traffic are a haven of peace and tranquility to those fortunate to have access to their many hidden treasures. Authors Alexandra d'Arnoux and Bruno de Laubadere take the reader on a voyage of discovery in the heart of the city, yet a million miles distant from the stresses and strains of city life. The owners of these green oases in the gray of the city have revealed their secrets and experiences: how they choose their plants, how they succeed in creating and maintaining a luscious green universe in such a hostile environment, what their roof garden means to them. Lavishly illustrated throughout, Terraces and Roof Gardens of Paris provides a visual treat and a source of inspiration for all those interested in gardening in a city environment, or who simply dream of a private space of their own, away from the mad whirl of modern life in a great metropolis."

Community Gardens

A Patch of Eden: America's Inner-City Gardeners by H. Patricia Hynes
"This is the delightful story of the resurgence in urban community gardening, describing the rehabilitation of jail inmates through raising organic vegetables, teaching inner city youngsters where food comes from, and laying out an inspirational plan to help all of us world-worn urbanites get involved once again in raising delicious food in the midst of our paved-over, formerly bleak, urban landscapes. This is about making the World a Better Place, about getting our fingers in the dirt, touching our planet with loving hands, and creating a vision of hope for our cities and our children. "
The Struggle for Eden : Community Gardens in New York City by Malve von Hassell
"Describes the history of community gardens in New York City, the internal organization, and the social, economic, cultural, and political dynamics of individual gardens, as well as the political struggle on their behalf which involves coalitions at the level of the neighborhood and the entire city. This study is a portrayal of the political, economic, and cultural history and present of community gardens in a New York City neighborhood, the Lower East Side of Manhattan. An ethnographic study of a particular instance of urban history, it provides a basis for an understanding of urban community gardens in the United States. Beginning with a historical overview of urban community gardening in the United States and other countries, the author concentrates on the last two decades of the 20th century in this portrayal of a social movement that seeks to impact urban environments both in social and economic terms and in terms of ecological dynamics. "
Creating Community in the City: Cooperatives and Community Gardens in Washington, D.C. (Contemporary Urban Studies) by Ruth H. Landman
"Landman studies four communally-oriented settings in Washington's urban environment. Through ethnographic field work she learned that cooperation, sociability, and self management overcame the common urban challenges posed by isolation and largely impersonal, single purpose contact with others. The settings were a cooperative food store, a cooperative bakery, community gardens, and a cooperatively owned low-cost housing project. Landman shows how the participants in these economically related activities are socially bound together in a web of relations considered unusual in large American cities, and how these exceptionally connected urban lives prove very satisfactory. "
Handbook of Community Gardening by Boston Urban Gardeners, edited by Susan Naimark, Charles Scribner's Sons, 1982.
"This book includes the basic steps of organizing a garden and finding resources. "
City Green by Anne DiSalvo-Ryan
"One girl's motivation and cheery attitude buoys this picture book about urban renewal and community action. Young Marcy is saddened after the city condemns and demolishes a building in her neighborhood. "Now this block looks like a big smile with one tooth missing," she laments. But as springtime arrives, Marcy's thoughts turn to gardens and flowers. She and her neighbor Miss Rosa decide to clean up the lot and plant seeds there. Soon nearly everyone on the street joins in, donating time, energy and supplies to create a lush green oasis. "
Our Community Garden by Barbara Pollak
"If you could plant a garden that would represent your personality and heritage, what would it include? Maybe cherry tomatoes, green peppers and delicious blueberries? Audrey Aubergine and her neighbourhood friends do just that in a community garden as they play hide-and-seek amidst giant sunflowers, count ladybugs and make compost mazes. Readers will enjoy following the garden's progress and will be inspired to start one of their own. Author and illustrator Barbara Pollak's colourful illustrations highlight the children's daily adventures in the garden. At the end of the story, the children and their families gather for a potluck to celebrate their garden and enjoy the fruits of their labour. "
The Garden of Happiness by Erika Tamar
"Tamar, the author of such tough-minded YA novels as Fair Game, turns dewy-eyed in her first picture book, an idealistic tale about a community garden in a rundown part of New York City. A studiously multiethnic coalition of neighbors claims an empty lot, and there Mrs. Willie Mae Washington plants black-eyed peas and greens "like on my daddy's farm in Alabama"; Mr. Singh raises valore, as he did in Bangladesh; etc. Young Marisol, pining to grow something, too, plants a seed she finds on the sidewalk and waters it faithfully. She is ecstatic when a sunflower finally blossoms and then grief-stricken when, at the end of the season, it dies. "
The Big Idea (The West Side Kids ; 1) by Ellen Schecter
"Grade 3-5? Luz lives in a large city where it's hard for her to find any sign of spring. One day, as she gazes at a vacant lot on her block, she fondly remembers her grandfather's garden in Puerto Rico and is inspired to turn the deserted eyesore into an oasis. A police officer tells her of a local group, the Green Giants, who investigate the property and help her begin the long process. She finds that getting people to help her do the work is even harder than gaining permission to try. But she perseveres, and as the garden begins to take shape, more and more neighbors pitch in. The story is primarily a vehicle to promote Schecter's advocacy of turning vacant lots into gardens. "
To Dwell Is to Garden: A History of Boston's Community Gardens by Bass, Warner, Durlach
"In the heart of a squalid city, community gardens are oases of productivity for the resident gardenersa source of satisfaction and pride for some of the city's least-powerful people. As Warner points out, community gardens have a long history, from the "allotment gardens" of England to the back-to-nature plots of the 1960s. Focusing on the Boston area, this study describes in the gardeners' own words and in photographs the importance of gardens to the neighborhood and the individual. The ethnic heritages of the gardeners are seen in the variety of crops grown; the book's final section considers the vegetables grown in the Anglo-Irish, the Afro-American, the Italian, the Chinese, and the Hispanic garden. Well-written and photographed, but of interest mainly to sociologists and students of the history of horticulture. "

School Gardens

Digging Deeper: Integrating Youth Gardens Into Schools & Communities by Joseph Kiefer
"This book is an invaluable resource--a cornucopia of practical ideas for educators interested in making learning come to life for their students. Having grown up on a family farm, I know firsthand the lifelong lessons that come from working the land. Digging Deeper shows simply and clearly how school gardening is an ideal vehicle to meet high educational standards and achieve learning results so necessary for future generations to live sustainably on this planet.--Dr. Marc Hull, Vermont Commissioner of Education."

Food Gardening

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Urban Eden: Grow Delicious Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs in a Really Small Space by Adam Caplin
"James is not a professional gardener, nor is he someone with plenty of time on his hands, but last year he grew enough herbs, fruit, vegetables, and salad greens in his garden to eat something home-grown and totally fresh almost every day. His garden isnšt a vast vegetable plot, nor a kitchen garden. In fact, itšs a very small but lush patch of soil in the heart of a city. Urban Eden shows that a garden can be productive as well ornamental, that it can thrive on a window sill, and that edibles need not be exiled to the vegetable patch. Every aspect of urban gardening is addressed, from choosing a design suitable for onešs needs to dealing with wildlife. Complete with a plant directory, recipes, and a generous array of color photos, Urban Eden demonstrates just how resourceful the gardener can be."

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Revised January 5, 2005

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture