The Top 7 Gifts for the Urban Gardener In Your Life
Ever wonder about the best gifts to get the urban gardener in your life? I’ve been extremely delighted when relatives pick up on my love of urban gardening and surprise me with the perfect gift (see here), though I understand the stress of trying to find something that’s both personal and won’t overtake a small city gardener’s limited space. Just in time for the holiday season, I’ve compiled my list of favorite gifts for the urban gardener in your life.
For the hardcore urban gardener
The Worm Factory 360: I can honestly say that one of my favorite birthday gifts is the Worm Factory 360, which I got from my in-laws for my birthday a few years ago. This is not a gift for the novice urban gardener. It requires a few key conditions: enough space in the recipient’s living quarters to keep the worm bin (a garage, large closet, or shady outdoor space is ideal); a recipient who isn’t squeamish about worms and organic matter (as they’ll likely be digging in – literally!); and someone who is willing to put in the time and effort to maintain the bin every few days (this is not the best gift for someone who travels a lot for work.)
I’ve posted a few articles here, here, and here about my experiences with the worm bin. There’s also a review of different kinds of composters here. As I noted, it’s not for someone who is a casual gardener, and requires active maintenance every few days. However, it’s a fantastic surprise for that person in your life who really wants to take the next leap in urban gardening and sustainable living.
Available for $109.94 from Amazon.com
For the first-timer
Seed packets: Every urban gardener loves their seeds. Even better, seeds are in inexpensive and fun way to show someone you care – chard can be slipped inside a card before mailing, or snow peas stuffed inside a stocking for Christmas.
Available for as little as $.99 from the companies mentioned above.
For the bookworm
There is no shortage of books devoted to urban gardening, farming, sustainability, and green living, with more being added every day. Here are some inexpensive titles I really enjoyed:
Koyne and Knutzen open the book with five principles of “making it”, which I think is a pretty good indication of the laid back and conversational – yet authoritative tone that the book takes: Start by trying one project in this book and build from there, slowly; laugh at your mistates; follow your intuition; trust nature; and keep learning.
The Dirty Life: On Farming, Food, and Love: This one is for that person in your life who’s hinted about the desire to ditch the city for a life on the farm.
As a working professional, while sitting on an airplane (or in an office, or on the bus) I’ve often daydreamed about giving it all up and working on a farm for a season. So far, my balcony garden has kept the desire at bay, but it’s always there. Before I went back to graduate school, I even spent a good number of lunch hours Googling “farming internships.” While I may sit around dreaming, Kristin Kimball is the real deal – she took her curiousity a step further by seeking out – then committing to – a life of farming. Her book, The Dirty Life, chronicles the experience.
Urban Agriculture: Growing Healthy, Sustainable Places: This is the perfect gift for the urban planning nerd in your life. Urban Agriculture: Growing Healthy, Sustainable Places, is one of the first comprehensive reports that collects the best practices for integrated urban agriculture – in all of its forms – into planning practice. If you are interested in food systems planning, this is a good place to start. For full disclosure, I served as one of the reviewers, and even have quite a few infographics and photos in the book!
For the Techie
For the techie in your life, I suggest gifting one of the Fab Four Free iPhone Apps for Urban Ag Enthusiasts and Local Eaters. These four apps will help you make better decisions about what kinds of foods you are eating from a sustainability perspective. They’ll let you find local farmers’ markets, tell you what fruits and veggies are in season in your local region and give you the details on where to find them.
They’re all available from the iTunes store, and you can purchase them as a gift for that special someone for as little as $.99.
For the Difficult to Shop For
Sustainable Cities Collective