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Happy Paperback

It’s an honor to announce that The Penguin Press today released Farm City, the paperback!!!

It’s only $16, which makes it affordable for students and other scrappers (like me) who often can’t afford a hardcover book. I’ve heard that someties they just don’t print the paperback version, and that’s the end of the book. What a relief!

I’m also so happy when nice bloggers are still writing good things about Farm City.




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New York Times Top 10!

Holy crap, what a wonderful post-thanksgiving gift, Farm City made the New York Times Favorite Gift Book list:

Dwight Garner, whoever you are, I love you.




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New Yorker

Someone emailed me a few days ago to tell me my book was mentioned in the New Yorker. I went to my unread stack of reading materials (it’s busy, prime farm time) and found the latest issue, and frantically found the following mention from Elizabeth Kolbert:

The basic setup of “No Impact Man” is, by this point, familiar. During the past few years, one book after another has organized itself around some nouveau-Thoreauvian conceit. This might consist of spending a month eating only food grown in an urban back yard, as in “Farm City” (2009), or a year eating food produced on a gentleman’s farm, as in “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” (2007). It might involve driving across the country on used cooking oil, as in “Greasy Rider” (2008), or giving up fossil fuels for goats, as in “Farewell, My Subaru” (2008).

Of course anyone who has read Farm City knows that it is more than a stunt. I’ve been farming in the city for over ten years! When I met with my editors, I was clear: I will not write this as if it all happened over one stunt year (it *is* their favorite literary device). Why? Because farming takes time. You learn things over years, not weeks or months. So I was really disappointed to be locked into the stunt year category. It’s true that there are a few chapters in Farm City devoted to telling the story of eating out of my farmlet exclusively for one month. I decided to include that stunt because almost everyone’s first question is: do you live off the products of your farm? Do you ever go to the grocery store? The idea of self-reliance is particularly American, and I think that is why so many people want to read books about survival stunts. By the end of my stunt month I discovered that the idea of self-sufficiency is a ruse. Like Kolbert points out at the end of her article, real environmental change won’t happen until we come together and work for change as a community.

As for my book, I hope Kolbert will take the time to read Farm City and see that urban farming is not just a stunt, it is a true life: and it is taking the country by storm.


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Bookseller lunch report

God, why didn’t I take photos?

Wendy Pearl, the greatest sales rep on planet Earth arranged two great pre-pub events at Ghosttown Farm last week. The idea was to show people who will be selling Farm City that I wasn’t making shit up. That there is indeedy a farm in the ghetto.

Okay, maybe not. I think the idea was to have fun, show booksellers the farm, sign a couple books, and of course, hold some baby goats.

Chris Lee and Samin arrived first, bringing delicious Ghosttown Farm goodies like a frittata with new potatoes and kale, rabbit rillettes (yes, one of the bunnies made the ultimate sacrifice), a salad, and Chris’s specialty salamis and pancetta. Since they are in the pig section of the book, it made sense for them to be there cutting salumi, right? Chris had never been to the farm, so it was fun to show him around.

As we set up, Chris eyed the farm–my outhouse to be specific–“so are these people straight?” he said. Meaning, are they “normal”. I shrugged. Maybe they would be horrified at my rickety found tables, the greywater system, the goat turds on the stairs?

Then they began to trickle in: all manner of freaky book-loving people. Some of them had even read the advance reading copies and said they liked my book. I exhaled. Chris broke out his knives, Samin passed out the food. Booksellers came from all over the Bay Area, and I was mighty flattered. Thanks to Wendy and Lindsay and all the good book sellers!

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The Good Life, Seattle, June 25

I’m overwhelmed with the positive response I’ve gotten from Farm City so far. My amazing publicist at Penguin has sent out tons of advance copies and so in the last few weeks I’ve been getting emails from editors and bloggers who have gotten copies. I’ve been thinking that the advance readers are kind of like seeds. We’ve strewn them out and hope at least a few of them will sprout up into book reviews or excerpts.

I had a nice surprise last week when an editor at Food and Wine contacted me after reading Farm City. She wanted to talk to me about story ideas I might have. As a free-lance writer for the past two years, I’ve *never* had an editor just call me out of the blue–what a delight! (I was assigned a story, to debut this September).

I’m also pleased to announce that I’ll be reading at the Palace Ballroom in Seattle June 25. There will be snacks, drinks, a conversation with me and Warren Etheredge, and a copy of Farm City–all for only $25. Yippee! Hope to see you there. This site will sell you a ticket.

It’s very flattering and I worry that I might get a Big Head. Luckily, I had lunch with Michael Pollan recently and he told that I should enjoy it now because by August, everyone will have forgotten all about my book.

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