The Rooftop Growing Guide reviewed in The New York Review of Books — June 1st, 2016
But let’s turn to another kind of nourishment. If your vegetable garden happens to be on your roof, Annie Novak is the genius for your place. Novak, who is passionate about “people, plants, food politics,” is a co-founder and the head farmer of the nation’s first commercial green roof farm, in Brooklyn.
Whipping winds? Tar paper? Scorching sun? No problem. New York has a long tradition of rooftop gardening and, as Novak points out, not just for the owners of penthouses. Her Brooklyn farm opened for business in the spring of 2009, immediately attracting bees, bugs and buyers. THE ROOFTOP GROWING GUIDE: How to Transform Your Roof Into a Vegetable Garden or Farm (Ten Speed, paper, $23) features farmers from across the country, with advice for everyone.
Novak’s prose is clear, warm and accessible. No space is wasted in her garden, and it’s the same in her book, where every page is packed with information. You’ll learn how to build a Berlese-Tullgren funnel (a simple century-old tool “for luring out and identifying ground-dwelling insects”); you can decide whether Bokashi composting is for you (speedy but smelly, as it’s anaerobic); and you can even learn the names of the various parts of your roof (a useful demystification for many homeowners). For years, Novak has been proselytizing for a movement that has now reached global proportions. She notes that Chicago has seven million square feet of green roofs; as of 2013, Portland, Ore., had 300 ecoroofs and 130 roof gardens; and in Germany, one rooftop in 10 is green. But why wait to have flat acreage over your head? Many of us live on patches of ground that look as desiccated as that roof Novak started with. Her book is also a terrific introduction to farming in Any Yard, U.S.A.
The Rooftop Growing Guide is additionally featured in the following press:
11/18/2015 – The New York Botanical Garden – The Rooftop Growing Guide presented at the Urban Agriculture Symposium
12/31/2016 – Modern Farmer – 8 New Gardening Books
1/22/2016 – Design Sponge – Featuring The Rooftop Growing Guide’s photographer Naima Green
1/27/2016 – Heritage Radio Network – Feast Yer Ears radio show with Harry Rosenblum
2/7/2016 – Heritage Radio Network – Eat Your Words radio show with Cathy Erway
2/11/2016 – BatteryRooftopGarden.org – Book review by author, rooftop gardener, and environmental advocate Frederic C. Rich
2/12/2016 – Rodale Organic Life Magazine – How Female Farners are Turning a Profit (and The Rooftop Growing Guide can help you get growing)
2/15/2016 – The Female Farmer Project – Q & A – The Rooftop Farmer
2/24/2016 – Terrain – Featuring A Rooftop Growing Guide Dinner with Annie Novak
2/29/2016 – Greenroofs.com – The How-To of Rooftop Farming featured in The Rooftop Growing Guide by Annie Novak
2/29/2016 – The New York Times – Leap Day Lore – Annie Novak in conversation at Greenlight Bookstore
3/1/2016 – The San Francisco Chronical – Want Farmland or Garden Space in the City? Look Up!
3/1/2016 – New York Magazine’s Bedford + Bowery – The Rooftop Growing Guide’s Launch at Brooklyn Brewery with Ovenly and Tacoway Beach
3/14/2016 – The Citizen Times – Rooftop Farmer Annie Novak speaks at the Organic Growers Conference in Asheville, NC
3/22/2016 – AM New York – Annie Novak, author of The Rooftop Growing Guide, on urban gardening and rooftop farming
3/30/2016 – The Atlantic – A No-Nonsense Guide to Growing Food in Your Apartment
3/30/2016 – Edible Brooklyn – What to Put in Your Pot (A Guide to Container Gardening)
4/1/2016 – Civil Eats – Grow up! How to Transform Your Roof into a Garden or Farm
4/4/2016 – Modern Farmer – Five Minute Mentor: Annie Novak
4/5/2016 – Greenpointers – Rooftop Farming: a Growing Movement
4/11/2016 – The New York Times – Some Like Them Hot. She Likes Them Homegrown.
5/20/2016 – National Public Radio (NPR) – A Farm Grows in Brooklyn
5/29/2016 – KSFO Bob Tadem in the Garden – San Francisco Public Radio interviews Annie Novak