MEDIA: The City Homesteader by Scott Meyer

Story by Felicia D'AmbrosioHow can you get back to the land when you don’t have any land to get back to? In his new book, The City Homesteader: Self-Sufficiency on Any Square Footage, Scott Meyer shows acre-less urban- and suburbanites how to grow and preserve their own food, raise small livestock and become ever more self-sufficient—from composting to making soap, pest control to home remedies. Meyer’s experience as editor in chief of Organic Gardening magazine is evident; however, he’s written with novice gardeners in mind. Handy illustrations diagram building everything from a tomato cage to a bee house, while a foraging section exhibits the key identifiers of edible weeds, berries and flowers.

As a 101 course in the basics of homesteading, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more complete guide, and even veteran gardeners may pick up a trick or two. Meyer peppers the text with pop-out examples of living lightly—did you know Google and Yahoo both lease herds of goats to clear brush from their office campuses? A Growing Guide appendix lays out how to sprout everything from arugula to zucchini, and Meyer concludes with a long list of resources for continued study. A resident of the Philadelphia suburbs, Meyer fondly recalls a childhood spent picking cherries from his grandparents’ urban backyard trees, and being compensated with pies. His book starts with the seed and takes you right through to the sweet reward.