Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Potatoes on Rooftops: Farming in the City

Dyer, Hadley (Author)
Annick Press 2012. 84 pages
First published: 2012
ISBN: 9781554514243 (paperback)
9781554514250 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Dewey: 635
Book type: Non-Fiction

Text Elements:

setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

The topic of urban gardening, in its variety of forms, is addressed through four fairly lengthy chapters of image-rich layouts, covering topics such as the advantages of eating locally, improving the environment, increasing food security and enjoying tastier fruits and vegetables.

“In North America, Food is everywhere! … so why do some people have trouble finding good things to eat?" Clear and conversational language offers information under engaging headlines such as “Inner-City Deserts,” “Food Oases in Unexpected Places,” “Beyond Kale in Kiddie Pools” and more.

Big ideas (“Micro-gardens are making a real difference to people in the developing world”) mix with practical tips (“Greens such as lettuce or spinach are some of the best plants to grow in a micro-garden. They have shallow roots … and they sprout quickly”). Engaging captions offer additional access into the material: “In many cities, chickens are considered pets by law. Urban farmers may collect eggs but may not kill their own chickens.”

Abundant photographs show a great variety of urban gardens—from container to rooftop to underground—and their gardeners. These are supported by colourful design grids and spot illustrations. The final spread, “The Edible City,” features an illustrated panorama with pull-points, highlighting gardening options discussed in the book along with humorous additions: “City farmer, very buff” and “This man isn’t a farmer, he just likes the look.” Back material includes a glossary, a how-to bibliography, further resources and an index.

  •  

    Discuss the benefits of gardening. How is the planet better off if you grow plants yourself?

  •  

    Cook and Emmanuel from Toronto Food Strategy say “People increasingly understand that food is connected not only to health but also to the environment, the economy and the community.” (page 7) In your reader-writer’s notebook, explain what this statement means and how it connects to what you have learned in this book.

  •  

    Read one of resources proposed in “Learn How to Start Your Urban Farm” and make a plan to get started gardening.

  •  

    Survey what you eat in one day. Pinpoint the origins of the various foods on a world map. What do you notice?

  •  

    Discuss whether your family grows or produces some of their own food.

  •  Explore your city’s resources to see what food sources are accessible within a 20, 40, 60 and 100 km range.
  •  

    Design your ideal garden. Research which edible plants grow in your area and try to grow some of them.

  •  

    In small teams, decide on one example of a good meal for breakfast, lunch and supper. List all the foods that comprise these meals and determine their origins.

  •  

    On a team map, research and draw different coloured lines representing your food’s journey to your town. Note and compare the maps of other teams. What do you notice? Discuss your findings and any concerns you might have.

  •  

    Using ideas from the book, prepare a social media post to spread the word by suggesting three simple tips to encourage people to try gardening, no matter where they live. Your message should also educate your audience.

  • To cooperate with others
  • To exercise critical judgment
  • To use information
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Health and Well-Being
  • Science and Technology