Backyard Roots.

Author:Millard, Elizabeth
Position:Book review

Lori Eanes (author); BACKYARD ROOTS; Mountaineers Books (Nonfiction: Sustainable Living) 21.95 ISBN: 9781594857119

Byline: Elizabeth Millard

Offering deeply useful advice and fascinating portraits of urban farmers, Backyard Roots is a rich collection of stories about people who boost community by growing food and raising animals in the heart of a city.

Author Lori Eanes, a food and portrait photographer who is also an urban farmer and journalist, offers snapshots -- both literal and figurative -- of thirty-five advocates of hyperlocal food.

The breadth of projects and personalities encompasses a nice range of efforts. Focusing on urban farmers in Northern California, Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, Eanes covers farmers like Lindsay Dault, who set up beehives in her backyard and on the roof of the recycling center managed by her husband. Dault offers insight into why "urban bees" make sense: "Cities often offer more varieties of flowers, available in more seasons, with fewer pesticides," writes Eanes. "City bees are said to work harder than country bees, because cities tend to be warmer and, with all the artificial lighting, the bees can work late."

Other farmers offer tips on growing in very small areas, goat keeping, chicken tending, and other pursuits. Eanes provides a wealth of website links, sidebars, and advice that give resources for learning more about each type of urban farming.

Advocacy for better environmental strategies is also a dominant theme, so it makes sense that Eanes kicks off her collection with Laura Allen, an Oakland resident leading the charge to change California's water policy. After modifying her own habits to...

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