Book Review: Diary of a Compost Hotline Operator
- Subject: [cg] Book Review: Diary of a Compost Hotline Operator
- From: Alliums firstname.lastname@example.org
- Date: Thu, 15 Jan 2004 15:12:38 -0500
Last book review until February -- too much to do! Let me know if you are
interested in using it -- I retain copyright.
Diary of a Compost Hotline Operator: Edible Essays on City
Farming by Spring Gillard, New Society Publishers, 2003.
ISBN: 0-86571-492-4, $15.95.
When folks ask questions on the American Community Gardening Association
listserve (join at
the regulars usually advise them to:
1) Ask Adam Honigman (Clinton Community Garden Volunteer, New York City)
2) Check the City Farmer website
Diary of a Compost Hotline Operator gives you everything the City
Farmer website is known for: top-notch information and
resources/links for every problem an urban (and not so urban) grower
faces: water issues, critter control, natural lawn care,
alternatives to pesticides, edible landscapes, doggy doo, good and bad
bugs and of course, extensive information on urban composting.
Every chapter ends with a Contacts and Resources section that lists the
best websites, organizations and publications for the chapter’s
topics. And, it’s funny, too.
As the Compost Hotline Operator for City Farmer – Canada’s Office of
Urban Agriculture (a 26 year old organization that really does have a
life outside its website!) since 1991, Spring Gillard has heard it all –
and enjoyed every minute of it. An advertising refugee, Gillard
uses her considerable wordsmithing talents to leaven the serious
information she imparts with a generous dollop of humor and all around
“joie de vie” about the life she now lives.
The biggest advantages of the book over the website are that it’s
portable, it’s better organized and you get the real dirt about the
dedicated (The PR materials which came with the book use such terms as
“eccentric,” “motley crew” and “crazed,” but I guess I’ve been in urban
agriculture too long– everyone at City Farmer sounds downright normal to
me!) people who work, learn and/or are resources for City Farmer.
If you’ve been in urban agriculture for any amount of time, this book
will ring true. If you’re thinking about serious growing in an
urban area or are just starting your first compost heap, read this
book. You’ll find both the information you need and a warm welcome
to one of the most frustrating, yet rewarding endeavors in North
Reviewed by Dorene Pasekoff, Coordinator
St. John’s United Church of Christ Organic Community Garden