In Farm City, the author Novella Carpenter and her boyfriend move into the underdeveloped, neglected city of Oakland, California. Novella, an avid farmer, has lived her whole life surrounded by farm animals and plants. Despite living in urban neighborhoods, she and her boyfriend Bill have always grown crops and harvested honey in their own backyards. This lifestyle continues when they move to the poverty-stricken neighborhood in Oakland called Ghost Town. Spotting an empty dirt lot behind her house, Novella takes this opportunity to use the patch of land to grow her own garden. After doing some soil tests to ensure the safety of the dirt, and with the help of her quirky neighbors, she gets to work growing her own vegetables and raising meat birds on the property.
Similar to Deanwood, Ghost Town has a lack of access to fresh produce and residence rely on corner stores for food. Novella and Bill have access to a car, which allows them to travel to and from the farms in other counties, however some of their neighbors are not as lucky. Novella’s garden serves as a community garden where other residents are allowed access to her fresh produce. As an “urban farmer”, Novella is slowly transforming her neighborhood into a more self-reliant community while forming relationships with those around her.