Warhol's Apiary: A Review of Farming the City


  • Christian Man Memphis Center for Food and Faith




Urban Agriculture


First paragraphs:

The first thing we notice about Farming the City is its hilarious cover: a wire-haired, black-and-tan hog chewing blithely on the side of a wooden roof that presumably shelters its young. Glancing below at the title, we wonder: Is that an urban pig? Is that a public park? Was that lumber pressure-treated?

The early onset of curiosity here is perhaps apt, anticipating as it does Farming the City's own sustained wonderment with food. Yes, here is a volume that does not (that cannot!) understate its infatuation with the beauty of planted and four-legged (and two-legged) things. Printed with vegetable-based inks on surplus paper, fully one-third of the book's pages are filled with sumptuous photographs: oyster mushrooms growing from PVC pipes in cool, protected alleys; rooftop beehives plastered with Warholesque renderings; great trees in Central Tokyo sagging with bright orange persimmons. Thumbing through the pages, you think: It is a wondrous place, Earth!

Farming the City is "a compilation of explanations, insights, case studies, exemplars and critical analysis from practitioners and experts in the food field" (p. 7). It also "outlines ways of using food as a tool to approach the many challenges inherent in contemporary urban life from a human, locally-oriented perspective" (p. 3). Well, in addition, "it aims to trace a path towards a socially, culturally and economically resilient society; a place where inclusive, locally-oriented modes of production are not only possible, but preferable" (p. 3). Which is to say that "the key question is: how can innovative food initiatives contribute to the re-interpretation and reshaping of urban dynamics in a physical, economic, social and technological sense" (p. 227).

If you haven't gone to lie down in a quiet place by now and are still reading, that probably means you are not new to the popular literature on urbanism (-ization, -ists, et al.)....


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Author Biography

Christian Man, Memphis Center for Food and Faith

Coordinator for Policy and Programming, Memphis Center for Food and Faith, Memphis, Tennessee, USA.



How to Cite

Man, C. (2013). Warhol’s Apiary: A Review of Farming the City. Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development, 3(4), 33–34. https://doi.org/10.5304/jafscd.2013.034.023