Porter Square Books, 25 White Street, Cambridge, will host author Novella Carpenter on Monday, June 7, from 7 – 9. Carpenter, who grows greens and raises livestock on a dead-end street in the ghetto, is the author of Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer. For the past decade, the 38-year-old has cultivated land in the city, the last six years on GhostTown Farm, the sunny, squat lot in Oakland, California next to her rundown, coral-colored flat â€” complete with a back porch covered in goat poop â€” where she lives with mechanic boyfriend Bill and a menagerie of her so-called edible pets, including rabbits, chickens, and, on occasion, a turkey or two.
The â€˜hood is also dotted with long-shuttered businesses, drug dealers, prostitutes, multiethnic neighbors, and what Carpenter affectionately refers to as â€œfellow freaks.â€ She feels right at home there. â€œThe neighborhood had a whiff of anarchy,â€ she notes in her memoir. â€œSpanish-speaking soccer players hosted ad hoc tournaments in the abandoned playfield. Teenagers sold bags of marijuana on the corners. The Buddhist monks made enormous vats of rice on the city sidewalkâ€¦And I started squat gardening on land I didnâ€™t own.â€
A child of back-to-the landers, Carpenter has received stellar reviews, most notably in the New York Times, for chronicling her exploits in the urban jungle.Â Sheâ€™s been featured everywhere from mainstream outlets like Time, foodie circles, like Culinate, and eco-green arenas like Grist. Log on to www.portersquarebooks.com for more information.