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Urban Farm Guides App Available Today for Download

By Greg Peterson

I’m very excited to announce that our new Urban Farm Guides app was released for iPad and iPhone today. The app gives users access to useful tips and easy-to-use guidelines for learning about urban farming and sustainability. Our current guides include: Basic Seed Saving, Fowl Play: Your Guide to Keeping Chickens in the City, and Grow Wherever You Go!. Each guide contains just the right amount of how-to information, pictures, graphics and instructions so that you can actually go out and take your first steps in creating your own Urban Farm.

I have been urban farming in my front and backyard in Phoenix, Ariz., for more than three decades and have experienced growing in all kinds of urban places from a spacious suburban backyard to a tiny townhouse. My attitude has always been that if I am going to plant, nurture, fertilize and grow a plant, it had better be edible! Hey food grows for free—we all need to learn how to grow it pesticide-free and give it away.

My intention with our Guides was to begin packaging everything I have learned over the past 35 years to share it with you and it has quickly turned into a few friends and I working together. My good friend and Native Seeds/SEARCH Director Bill McDorman who is a worldwide expert in seed saving wrote the Basic Seed Saving Guide. He also wrote and taught Seed School which I attended in June of 2011. Plus local artist and writer Rachel Bess shares her vast experience on keeping urban chickens in her Guide, Fowl Play.

I imagine Urban Farm Guides being the modern-day Foxfire series teaching ‘how to’ do everything urban farming from A to Z. In Foxfire we get an inside view of what it takes to live a more sustainable farm life. Urban Farm Guides aims to develop more in our series of how-tos including very innovative Guides on Composting, VermiComposting, Edible Flowers, and Farming on Leased Land, all of which we currently have in-the-making with the help of some very creative people. Hey, if you have a topic you would like to write a guide about shoot me an email.

Becoming an urban farmer is easy. First grow food, and then share it with someone -- your family, neighbors, community. Finally, name your farm and begin creating a farming identity in your community. Our Guides are designed to help you along the way.

Growing one’s own food can seem like a challenging endeavor, but the Urban Farm Guides provide an easy-to-read source for quickly learning the ease and joy of growing food at your own home. Currently, the app has four how-to guides that include:

  • My Ordinary, Extraordinary Yard comes free with the download of the app and shares the story of how I transformed my own front and back yard into a thriving edible paradise. It also touches on how I incorporated solar panels, greywater and rainwater into my landscape. 
  • Fowl Play: Your Guide to Keeping Chickens in the City, by Rachel Bess, explains, in detail, how to keep chickens in an urban yard and shares the many reasons why they make a great addition to any household. 
  • Basic Seed Saving by Bill McDorman, executive director of Native Seeds/SEARCH, offers step-by-step instructions for saving seeds from 18 different vegetables and 29 wildflowers, including everything from the beginner’s basics to plants for advanced gardeners. 
  • Grow Wherever You Go! is a tool that enables readers to discover where their garden “lives,” be it a box of herbs on the countertop, a fire-escape garden, or a complete edible landscape. This guide even shares the stories of others who have maximized their homes’ potential as a source of inspiration for budding gardeners.