My Empire of Dirt: How One Man Turned His Big-City Backyard into a Farm


We love this book by Manny Howard; it’s a funny hair-raising, true-life tale that would make a perfect holiday gift for the urban farm fanatics on your list. On a dare, Manny embarked on an adventure that would change his life. From

For seven months, Manny Howard—a lifelong urbanite—woke up every morning and ventured into his eight-hundred-square-foot backyard to maintain the first farm in Brooklyn, in generations. His goal was simple: to subsist on what he could produce on this farm, and only this farm, for at least a month. The project came at a time in Manny’s life when he most needed it—even if his family, and especially his wife, seemingly did not. But a farmer’s life, he discovered—after a string of catastrophes, including a tornado, countless animal deaths (natural, accidental, and inflicted), and even a severed finger—is not an easy one. And it can be just as hard on those he shares it with.

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