Edible Cities aims to inspire urban residents to incorporate nature, preferably the edible variety, into their lives. The authors, ardent permaculturists inspired by their study with Sepp Holzer (who also wrote the foreword to the book) believe that growing plants is possible for anyone with a balcony, rooftop, or even just a windowsill. To that end, they offer a broad overview of permaculture followed by numerous examples of how it is implemented in ways both beautiful and delicious.
The authors present an excellent overview of permaculture and a compelling case for cultivating it in an urban environment (a taste of self-sufficiency, community building, and pollinator support). A handful of basic techniques and practices (cloth tubes filled with soil can be attached to walls or railings while trellising fosters vertical growth and creates shade) ideal for small spaces and the rules, restrictions, and pressures urban residents may encounter are accompanied by detailed drawings and explanations.
It is, though, in the 18 case studies that practitioners will find a place for their imaginations to take root. Roaming from Colombia to Germany, Israel, the United States and Great Britain, the authors introduce examples of urban permaculture at work with diagrams, photos and ready-to-implement projects. Some, like Todmorden, are city-wide while others, like Doris S.' indoor vegetable and herb garden in Vienna are intimate endeavors. All make good use of space, light, and water, but perhaps most importantly include an element of community. Whether it's a collection of plants attracting pollinators or a gathering of people to plant, weed, harvest and eat, Edible Cities makes a strong case for diversity, collaboration and cooperation. The final chapters provide handy lists of plants and resources for further reading.
Edible Cities opens the door to possibility and makes a perfect companion for more in-depth volumes on permaculture, organic gardening and urban homesteading. By offering an overview of projects of varying size and complexity, it also makes an excellent discussion starter for community groups or local governments seeking to make better use of resources, localize food sheds, and generate new means of community and economic development.
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