These books on growing food for your community are ideal if you live in a food desert. You can get together and create a community garden, or use some innovative ideas below.
See plants & trees to avoid near pets (avoid cocoa/pine/rubber mulch & fresh compost near pets). Use humane safe slug/snail deterrents. See safer alternatives to netting for wildlife, if used. Many plants (inc. yew & oak trees) are toxic to equines. Use no-dig methods, to protect earthworms and other creatures. Also see how to grow your own herbs (includes pet-toxic herb details).
- Start a Community Food Garden is by LaManda Joy, who oversees the running of Chicago’s most successful public garden. It covers finding land and volunteers, teaching people how to garden and what to grow. If you have no local land, then consider de-paving an old car park or urban space. Courgettes are more useful than cars!
- Incredible Edible (Yorkshire) is a volunteer army who grow herb gardens, fruit & nut trees etc, for locals to just help themselves. This can be herbs at the train station, or growing free food in schools, doctor surgeries or even trees on the street.
- The Lean Farm & The Lean Farm to Growing Vegetables are two books on lean methods to grow vegetables. Author Ben and his wife earn a good living in the US, by using efficiency methods gleaned from the Japanese car industry to create high yields and good profits, from a small acreage of land where they grow organic vegetables for sale. From a Mennonite community (similar to Amish), he was raised in a culture of simple living, where people don’t waste anything.
- Find free apples in community orchards. Sheffield’s Abundance Project has a free e-book to start a ‘scrumping project’, where volunteers pick up windfalls and apples about to fall, from trees of landowners. The scrumper and landowner each get a third, with the rest going to communities (bruised fruit is turned into juice). Also see grow your own fruit trees.
- The Edible Ecosystem Solution shows how to start a peaceful revolution with your neighbours. Most cities and suburbs are now blanketed by lawns and ornamentals, with not much edible. These sterile landscapes need a lift. This book shows how to start with just 25 square feet of land to grow a public garden plot, that is also good for wildlife.
Building Community Food Webs looks at how our current food system has decimated rural communities, and confined the choices of urban consumers. While farm production is at astounding levels, net farm income is now lower than at the onset of the Great Depression, and one in every 8 Americans faces hunger. This book shows how a more just food system is possible, showing how grassroots food and farming leaders are tackling these challenges, by building civic networks. Health clinics help clients grow their own food and food banks engage customers, to challenge the root causes of poverty.
Keep fruit pips/seeds and nutmeg (often in cooked apple recipes) away from pets. A little chopped apple is usually OK for horses, but never feed strange horses as too much can cause colic. Pick up windfalls to avoid animals over-feasting. Again, rabbits are okay with small quantities of apple (not cores, seeds or stems). But one or two slices is plenty – read more on safe rabbit treats.