Digging the City

Provocative, passionate and populist, RMB Manifestos are short and concise non-fiction books of literary, critical, and cultural studies.

At the last census in 2006, just over 80 percent of Canada’s population lived in urban centres. How we feed that population and protect its food sources is an enduring subject of debate in food security circles these days. As consumers and citizens, we all need to take a hard look at the deficiencies in Canada’s ability to feed the urban poor; our dependence on imported foods and centralized food processing; our detachment from our food sources; the often problematic solutions to food security devised by governments, municipalities and non-profit groups; and where we are headed if we change nothing in these times when change is urgently needed. Many efforts are being made to introduce urban agriculture initiatives all across the country, to address the problems we’ve created and to protect our cities from real and potential crises in the food supply.

With passion and lyricism, Digging the City addresses the problems facing urban omnivores in the 21st century and looks at various policy, grassroots and utopian solutions being developed and implemented, while considering the pros and cons of plans such as vertical farms, urban fish farms, transition-town initiatives, seed banks, permaculture and water conservation projects.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents
Digging the City 1
Acknowledgements 7
What Gives? 11
Urban Answers 27
Food-safe Cities 35
Culture and Food 37
Nutrients, Nutrition and Nutritionism 42
Year-Round Cheap Food Is Expensive 50
Where the Seed Falls 55
School Gardens 56
Community Gardens 58
Front-yard Gardens 64
Backyard Gardens 66
Up on the Roof 67
Down on the Ground 69
In Water or Under Glass 71
Bags, Buckets and Great Big Pots 76
How to Deliver It 79
Markets, Farm Stands and Other Retail Outlets 80
Pocket Markets and Buying Clubs 88
Community-supported Agriculture (CSA) 89
Self-sufficient Institutions 92
Urban Animals 97
Bees and Other Insects 99
Chickens 107
Other Urban Animals 111
Fish 115
Waste 117
The Future of Urban Agriculture 125
Conclusion 144
Urban Agriculture Glossary 147
Bookshelf 161
Other Titles in this Series 165