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Willow Rosenthal & Novella Carpenter @ 18 Reasons

March 20, 2012

Last month I attended an evening of conversation with Willow Rosenthal & Novella Carpenter @ 18 Reasons in San Francisco.  Willow and Novella have recently published an incredibly useful book “The Essential Urban Farmer”. The book has a ton of information, diagrams, resources and covers what you need to get started and keep growing food in cities. Here is a a great review from Edible East Bay.

Olivia Maki of 18 Reasons, our host for the evening, was very friendly and really kept the conversation moving, not an easy job when people are sometimes a bit shy and are eating. The food and wine were delicious. I had the pleasure of sitting near Naya Peterson of Fire Escape Farms and  Blair Randall of Garden for the Environment (who was a co-host of this event), it was great to hear about their future plans.  We were seated around a rectangle of narrow tables with Willow at one end and Novella with her 9 week old daughter at the other.  The topics of conversations were varied and inspired by attendees questions as well as from the book. The first discussion was about what inspired them to write this book, it seems that people are always asking them how to get started in urban farming and how did they know if something they were doing was allowed.  Both of them answered that they didn’t know if it was allowed, but they did it anyway. This led to other topics like class issues – like that a middle class white lady is probably not going to be arrested for breaking an urban agriculture related law, but someone who is living closer to the edge may not want to take the risk. The cycles of urban farming over the decades – the original farms just outside of most cities, victory gardens, the permacuture movement of the 70’s, and now the DIY culture that has kept this movement growing steadily over the last 10 or so years. And about how there need to be more ways for gardeners to come together to share information, resources, and use the strength of numbers to get more urban farming friendly laws passes, like rural farmers do with grange halls.  After  dessert Willow and Novella signed copies of the book for sale from Patrick of the Green Arcade bookstore.  All in all, it was an informative and fun evening, a big thank you to everyone involved.

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