The Rurbanite – Book Review

Review by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

The Rurbanite
Living in the country without leaving the city
by Alex Mitchell
published by: Kyle Books, Ltd.
178 pages, Paperback, 25.5cm x 20.75cm
ISBN: 978-0-85783-072-2
Price: £16.99

The Rurbanite book front_wedDo you live in the city but dream of keeping chickens? Do you look at derelict patches of ground on your way to work and see their potential as vegetable patches.

If you do then you are a rurbanite. You have a passion for the countryside but no intention of leaving the city. Don't worry, you are not alone there. On the contrary, you are part of a growing band of people who want the best of both worlds. From Brooklyn to Berlin, city dwellers are connecting with the local community and are redefining urban living; sharing gardens, sprucing up bus stops and derelict areas, transforming balconies and creating rooftop paradises.

InThe Rurbanite Alex Mitchell shares her passion, practical projects and incredible stories from seed bombers, rooftop beekeepers, guerrilla gardeners and urban farmers to inspire you to get in touch with your green side and change the cityscape for the better.

Split into three chapters, 'Grow' shows you how to turn your back garden into a homestead, put a green roof onto your garden shed and cultivate fruit and vegetables in containers as well as to reclaim your street with communal projects in public spaces. 'Find' will demonstrate the importance of wildlife in urban areas, how to identify and forage for wild food and how to encourage more flora and fauna into your environment. And finally in 'Keep' there is an introduction in keeping bees, hens, quails and ducks so that, in one way or another, everyone can fulfill their good life passion regardless of limited means and space.

The Rurbanite will inspire you to join the rurban revolution and demonstrates just how easy it is to get creative with your space, whatever shape or size, whichever city you live in.

Alex Mitchell is a gardener who has grown her own fruit, salad, herbs and vegetables for over ten yeas. She studied at the Chelsea Physic Garden and her columns in the Sunday Telegraph have entertained readers with her experiences of turning her garden into an edible Eden. Alex's previous book The Edible Balcony (Kyle Books) showed readers how to cram their outdoor nooks and ledges with home-grown fruit and vegetables and this book takes it one step further, proving that the sky is the limit.

Sometimes it takes a lot to discover as to whether a book is any good and sometimes it only takes leafing through to know and Alex Mitchell's The Rurbanite – Living in the country without leaving the city is just one of those latter ones.

Many of the gardens in the photos in the book look very much like my own “home allotment”, as I call my backyard where I grow my vegetable and fruit. I too use builders' bags, shopping carts and all manner of, often weird, containers, including some old bathtubs. But what counts is that they do the job and not, necessarily, what they are and what they look like.

A productive garden can be had anywhere, even in the midst of the urban jungle, as Alex's book shows.

The Rurbanite makes so much sense in the landscape of things and will, hopefully, inspire millions to make a positive change to the environment in which they live.

Great book. Absolutely love it! But then, I guess, I am rather biased as I am very much a practitioner of this.

© 2013