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Book Release: The Home Farming Revolution

Surprisingly enough, The Home Farming Revolution for Drylands, recently released by Zoe Wilcox and Melanie Rubin, had its origins at a MRCOG gathering. In March 2009, MRCOG held its monthly Agricultural Collaborative meeting. Zoe was in attendance, hoping to advertise the season's classes for her demonstration home farm, Mother Nature Gardens. Melanie, a business/marketing coach, writer, and trainer, was also there -- hoping to get ideas about how she could learn and then teach others to grow healthy food at home. When Zoe introduced herself to the group, Melanie realized Zoe had the expertise she was looking for. During a meeting soon afterwards, Zoe discovered Melanie could help with her workshop organization and marketing. The two became partners.

Zoe and Melanie launched a series of workshops together under the banner of "Albuquerque Backyard Farms," first at Melanie's Nob Hill residence, and later at locations around the city. Over the next three summers, the two designed and delivered dozens of workshops in collaboration with local experts. They used Melanie and her home as a public experiment in how to transform unused land into a micro-farm and a "city slicker" into an urban farmer. "If I can do it, anyone can do it," Melanie said.

From the beginning, the two envisioned a book that would develop out of the workshop series to provide a step-by-step transformation process for a broad, beginner-based audience.In fact, reading their book feels much like attending a series of interactive workshops. It can help you convert any plot of land into a micro-farm. Zoe's expert content, from Permaculture design concepts to irrigation systems to how to handle a chicken, is made approachable by boxed stories of Melanie's "beginner experiences" with exercises that will help you apply these ideas to your particular situation.

Here is an excerpt from the book:

The benefits of creating home farms in our towns and cities are as plentiful as the bounty they produce. We need healthy food in order to be healthy! Our country faces a growing number of health concerns ranging from degenerative illnesses, '¦ to mental and emotional conditions. These illnesses are often catalyzed or exaggerated by poor nutrition in this, the '˜wealthiest nation in the world.'

'¦We believe a person shouldn't have to be wealthy to eat healthy! Home farming provides healthy, organic food at peak freshness to all people despite economic status or location. Many unused plots of land in the city, suburbs, and country are just waiting to be used to grow produce. If we coordinate efforts, there can be land for everyone to farm, whether or not each person owns a home, or has a yard of his or her own.

The book is divided into four sections that present the step-by-step process for transforming a yard into a micro-farm:

Section One outlines the design process. It teaches you how to create your farm design in three steps:

1. Connect with your land by studying what already exists. You will look at how watershed, sun, wind, noise, buildings, trees, and existing soil affect your land. This is a "get-to-know-you" process imperative in a smart design.

2. Consider what you want to include in your home farm. Here you will define your personal needs as well as what you want to include in your home farm.

3. Blend what's already there with what you want to add in a functional and harmonious design using several design principles and techniques. This step teaches you how to place the desired elements you dreamed up in Step Two for maximum production and efficiency.

Section Two discusses outdoor living spaces, rainwater harvesting systems, and irrigation systems. These things are the structural part of the plan that creates the skeleton that supports the living garden. Once human spaces are identified and water has been planned for, it's time for the green stuff.

Section Three discusses food forests, building soil for veggie gardens, and how and when to plant them.

Section Four diversifies and interconnects your food production with information on raising chickens and taking care of honeybees.

The book released May 5th and is available for purchase at local retailer, Bookworks, and online.

Please visit www.homefarmingrevolution.comfor the latest news, including future book signing dates. To contact Zoe and
Melanie, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The August Agriculture Collaborative meeting will host Zoe and Melanie as speakers. Look for the meeting reminder coming soon for details!

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