3 great Urban Permaculture Books (and a giveaway)

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Here’s three great books we’ve read recently on creating resilience and abundance on the small, down the side and round the back.

They’re three very different books, and we rekon they’re all excellent resources to have on you Urban Permaculture bookshelf. 

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The Urban Homestead: by Kelly Coyne + Erik Knutzen

This is a great pocket-sized book which is the product of an urban homesteading household in LA. It’s two folks speaking from experience on, well, lots.

The content are broad, as you would expect –  from transplanting seedlings to city livestock to alternative energy to revolutionary home economics.

It’s text heavy and packed full of knowledge. I particularly like the touch that they use both their voices separately – Kelly says what she thinks on a subject, and so does Erik.

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Another thing I like is that the authors are really transparent about when they’re speaking from direct experience as opposed to suggesting personally un-tried, but good, ideas (keeping chickens vs keeping quail, for instance) – i love this aspect. Go team honesty!

The Urban Homestead is also a good holiday read in that it mixes instructional text with actual ‘projects’ for you to do from start to finish. It’s got a real pick it up, then put it down and go do it vibe.

I learned quite a few bits I didn’t know, and re-confirmed some things I suspected. This one’s a keeper.

The Urban Homestead – your guide to self-sufficient living in the heart of the city by Kelly Coyne + Erik Knutzen

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Practical Self Sufficiency: by Dick and James Strawbridge

This book. I love him. Or them, I suppose. This book is a weekend away in itself.

The Strawbridge father and son team are the business. They are fun, approachable and they know their onions. And everything else, it seems.

While not technically an urban focussed book, this tome is full of great stuff that you can do at home anywhere bigger than an apartment. It has specifically urban strategies for many growing projects.

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But besides that – it’s just full of fun. They’re fencing, they’re designing, they’re growing, they’re pickling. They’re making wine and beer and cordial and smoking fish on the side. They are having a ball.

While this book does have some sections that wouldn’t apply to the urban sphere and are clearly meant for small holders, there’s plenty left to get excited about if you’re in the city.

Make a pond, plant a tree, make jams and jellies, re-rout your downpipe and reclaim your rainwater for your own glorious purposes. It’s all in here. Good dirty fun.

Practical Self Sufficiency – an Australian guide to sustainable living by Dick and James Strawbridge

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Designing Urban Agriculture: by April Phillips

This book is solid. The projects included are from across the globe, and include both existing urban agriculture projects as well as a heap of future plans.

This book includes everything from rooftop edible playgrounds and restaurant grazing gardens through to designs for peri-urban settlements surrounded by communally tended fields.

The scope of Designing Urban Agriculture is from deep city to small farm, and spans community gardens, city initiatives, new developments, school gardens, village initiatives and rooftop greenhouse businesses.

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What i like best about this book is that its not just elegant future plans and kids with white teeth smiling as they pick their city-grown carrot.

There’s lots of analysis and statistics around the community and enterprise strategies of each project. There’s notes on using community feedback to progress the living design. There’s notes on mapping the system connections.

There’s design process and systems thinking. Apparent. The kind that so often gets left behind or rated as secondary to the building codes and the box ticking. So good to see.

I suspect we will see more and more books like this coming out now, and I’m glad of it. Our cities surely need them. Bring it on.

Designing Urban Agriculture – A complete guide to the planning, design, construction, maintenance, and management of edible landscapes – by April Phillips.

Notably, none of these books actually say they are about urban permaculture, thought all mention it. Which is fine with us.

Because Permaculture is about thinking in wholes, designing for life, connecting functions, mimicking nature, living lightly, and conserving energy, to name a few aspects.

Which manifests in results like localising food production, investing in the home economy, using what you have, sharing, communicating, cultivating. Which is what these three books are all about.

And (while we’re here) this what our upcoming Urban Permaculture Design Course starting January 5th in Sydney is all about!

It’s going to be two weeks of designing and growing and planning and cultivating abundant city futures. More info here…

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In the spirit of sharing and urban renewal, we got an extra copy of The Urban Homestead to pass on to one of our newsletter subscribers. Is this you? Do you get our weekly news?

If yes, then great. The giveaway will be in our newsletter this Tuesday, so look out for it. If not, you can sign up here to ensure you get a seat on the weekly everything.

Have you read any particularly fine urban-ag focussed books lately? What were they?

>> More posts about urban permaculture here…

5 Comments

  1. Posted November 30, 2013 at 9:04 am | Permalink | Reply

    Argh! I got halfway through your post on the Urban Permaculture, saw it as a perfect book for a friend, and went to Book Depository, bought it, then returned to your post. Got to the bottom of your post and saw that you were offering a free one! Oh well. Maybe I’ll win one next Tuesday as well ;)

  2. Posted November 30, 2013 at 11:43 am | Permalink | Reply

    Reblogged this on the harsh light of day….

  3. mykombiandi
    Posted November 30, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great post and interesting books. I am so looking forward to my PDC in January over here in WA.

  4. Posted November 30, 2013 at 4:25 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Reblogged this on rawautonomy and commented:
    Looking for a new book to cozy up with?
    Here in Vancouver it is rainy season and gardening options are limited… but learning new things isn’t! Check out these helpful titles and reviews, courtesy of the folks from Milkwood.

  5. Posted December 3, 2013 at 2:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Cool! Thanks for the recommendations!

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