Pennywise Platter Thursday will be open again this Thursday! Thanks to everyone who participated in the Nourishing New Year Goals! I am just now beginning to read through them all. I am also a bit behind in emails and questions. My apologies to those who have tried to contact me
I’ve done my fair share of flying lately and am glad to finally be home! Life is settling down a little bit and it’s time to adjust to my husband’s school schedule again (he starts today). But over the break and during my many flights I was able to get in some very interesting reading. My favorite was Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer
by Novella Carpenter.
This story is incredible. It tells the unlikely tale of one women, with the aid of her boyfriend, moving to the ghetto and “farming” on an empty lot. As you can imagine, farming in the inner city brings along it’s own challenges. Starting with a garden, Novella moves on to laying chickens. When that goes well, she starts raising poultry for meat, including two turkey’s. But even in the city there are predators, and many have an untimely death. As she continues in her “education” as an urban farmer, she honestly talks through many hard situations, like having to slaughter her own poultry, with all of the emotions, drama, and thankfulness for good food that it entails. As you can imagine it was not easy at first.
After her adventures and mishaps with poultry raising (all the while growing a large garden), she adds one more skill. Pig raising. So if you can imagine it. You are walking down the street, nervously watching your back. This area has drive by shootings every week, prostitutes, druggies, the whole bit. The road is dirty, the houses tired looking, and many of the people look a little rough. And then you see them. Two huge, 200 pound pigs walking down the street…..in the middle of the ghetto. You notice a few people trying to herd them back to a yard and so you help. It takes all of your concentration to herd them, but when you have safely helped drive them back to their yard, you straighten up and stare around in amazement.
Here, in the heart of the ghetto, a beautiful flower and vegetables garden covers the lot next to the pigs. In the middle of the garden, a bee hive is thriving. The two pigs now are noisily enjoying some of their slop and a whole flock of chickens, ducks, turkeys, with rabbits running around their feet, are clucking in their pens. It would be quite the sight wouldn’t it? And a very welcome one too, I am sure.
I love how she doesn’t romanticize her life. You feel her pain when her ducks are killed by a wild animal. You go through the emotions of the slaughter of her animals with her, and winch when she steps on a bee from her hive. She tells of the clutter and disorder of her house, full of farm equipment and dirt tracked in from the yard. You smell the pig sty. You know that it was hardly easy doing what she did. But the story is so inspiring, it really truly makes you want to plant a garden and raise a pig!
Whether I want to raise a pig or not, this story inspires me to be more creative and work harder to accomplish what I want. Novella literally dumpster dived to feed her pigs. She and her boyfriend would make the rounds to all types of restaurants (cheap Chinese to expensive gourmet) several times a week to get enough food to feed her pigs. They were literally raised on thrown away food. Her rabbits also enjoyed free bread. Her gardens were fertilized by the loads upon loads of horse manure they transferred themselves. While I am sure many thought her crazy, it was her passion for good food and doing it yourself and a lot of hard work that led to a very full freezer of pork meet, poultry, and a table of fresh vegetables.
It also showed one way to eat well when you have limited means. “Nourishing” food is often thought to be food for the well to do. Novella shows how work and creativity can open doors to excellent, nourishing food.
So yes, I have been inspired!
What do you all think? Does she sound crazy or wonderful?
Do any of you know “urban farmers” or are you one yourself? I would love to hear stories of people raising their own food!
*Parents: This book does contain some language.