The Urban Homestead: Your Guide to Self-sufficient Living in the Heart of the City, by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen, is a delightfully readable and very useful guide to front- and back-yard vegetable gardening, food foraging, food preserving, chicken keeping, and other useful skills for anyone interested in taking a more active role in growing and preparing the food they eat. I learned a great deal about composting, self-watering containers, mulching, raised bed gardens, vermiculture (worm composting), and raising chickens by reading this info-dense book.
Unlike many self-sufficiency books, this one isn't preachy, unrealistic, or dogmatic. Instead, it's honest and often humorous. Kelly and Erik (who run the Homegrown Evolution blog) are wonderfully lucid and accessible writers. They also walk the walk -- I visited their Los Angeles home and spent a wonder couple of hours touring their abundant vegetable gardens and henhouse filled with clownlishly entertaining chickens.
If you live in LA, you can meet Erik and Kelly at the Homegrown Evolution Book Signing and Lecture. It's this Thursday, June 26th at 7:30pm at the Los Angeles Eco-Village, 117 Bimini Place, LA 90004.Link
Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects