Somerville Reads is a project that promotes literacy and community by encouraging people all over the City to read and discuss books on the same theme. For our third annual program, the subject is food—local, sustainable, delicious!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Got Farm?

Reading Farm City may have sparked an interest in becoming an urban farmer yourself, but unlike Novella Carpenter, you probably don't have a vacant lot down the street that seemingly never gets developed. However, even those with the least space have some options. Lifehacker and Apartment Therapy have some tips on growing vegetables in window boxes. Recently I ordered a new book for SPL's collection: Fruit Trees in Small Spaces, a guide to growing fruit trees in containers (or a backyard, if you have one). Currently on the shelf we have titles such as The Edible Container Garden: Growing Fresh Food in Small Spaces, Container Gardening for Dummies, and Plant Parenthood for Urban Gardeners.

If would rather have a traditional garden plot and you don't have a backyard, get in touch with Jim Boyd of Somerville Community Gardens. He'll be happy to talk to you about how to get on a waiting list for any of the SCG plots which are located throughout the city. Unfortunately, waiting lists for the community gardens can be long, but the good news is that the City keeps adding more gardens in an effort to meet the demand. You can reach Jim at or at 617 -201-1680.

N.B.: On April 22 at 1 p.m. Boyd and Head Children's Librarian Cathy Piantigini will lead a discussion of the award-winning children's book SeedFolks, a novel about an urban garden that makes a community out of a group of strangers.

If your gardening ambitions go beyond mere plants, check with City Hall. One of the few explicit mentions of farm animals in City Ordinances is part a of Section 3-4, which states, "No person shall allow any domestic fowl, swine, goat, sheep, ox, cow, horse, or other grazing animal, owned by him or her or in his or her charge or control, to go at-large or to graze in or upon any of the streets, parks, commons, public grounds or lands of the city." That at least implies it's legal to raise livestock in Somerville.

Just keep them out of Foss Park. Or any park for that matter (and yes, that includes the dog park on Summer Street).