Tuesday, December 3, 2013


By Hadley Dyer
Published by Annick Press
Copyright © 2012
Review by Anthony Kendrick

“More than a billion people survive on $1.25 per day or less,” thus hunger is still a big problem throughout the world. Even in the United States hunger is still a problem for millions of people. Many poor people throughout the world move to the city to make a better living, but what they find is that comparably they are still not making enough money and now they are farther from the good food sources of the countryside. Cities can be fun and exciting places to be, but they can be devoid of fresh, nutritious, and affordable food for many of us. That doesn’t have to be the case though.

“Potatoes on Rooftops” shows us how people of all ages around the world are using urban spaces to successfully grow great food from fruits and vegetables to chickens and fish. They are doing this on rooftops, window sills, empty city lots, and backyards. Urban farming not only helps feed people (often those in need), but also gives its participants a sense of pride and accomplishment.

This book is not a gardening/livestock instructional guide. It is a book of great ideas on how to make urban spaces greener and more useful. While the focus is mostly on the inner city, the ideas transfer well to small towns and the countryside where there are still many people who don’t own a lot of land, because among the important things it demonstrates is how to use limited space effectively. What I like most about this book, of course, is that it is directed at a younger reader. You are never too young to grow your own food as the text and illustrations in this book depict. You can make a difference in your family’s, and even your community’s, food supply and health.

I highly recommend “Potatoes on Rooftops” for middle school students and teachers. There is a lot to learn from reading and applying this book about environmental science, math, and even social studies.

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