Janelle Maiocco


Welcome to my blog. I live in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle on an Urban Farm (w/ five laying hens and a huge garden). I am a trained chef (w/ a certificate in food preservation), taught at a cooking school & like to share 'kitchen hacks' - culinary tips that save time, money & maximize flavor. If that isn't enough, I also run a food+tech startup called Barn2Door.com - a platform to help everyone easily find & buy food directly from farmers, fishers & ranchers (from CSA's to urban farm eggs to 1/2 a grass-fed cow).

Urban Farm Handbook. (giveaway)

Urban Farm Handbook. (giveaway)

chicken coop

I knew I wanted to get my hands on this book, just from the title: Urban Farm Handbook. I have carried it on the plane with me a few times recently, and am sure I get a few good looks what with goats, chickens and biochar pouring off the pages. No doubt someone saw me shaking my head and smiling when I realized that thanks to reading this book: I would end up buying a grain mill... and joining bulk-buy groups (think unprocessed grains, large orders of tomatoes).

But don't be alarmed, just reading this book doesn't mean you have to grind your own grain, make spelt crackers or use compost tea. You don't necessarily have to raise worms---you might not become a goat-owner or chicken lover or start raising rabbits for dinner. But Urban Farm Handbook does introduce you to these concepts---these opportunities---to take steps toward urban farming and sustainability. I personally love the idea of becoming increasingly self-sufficient---having a thumb on the pulse of my family's food supply.

Some folks want to go all in, pushing toward homesteading as a DIY way of life. Many folks simply want to make use of their urban plots, and provide their families with homegrown produce, perhaps chicken eggs plus some well-churned compost. Maybe you have a penchant for curing meats and have been meaning to learn more about fermentation. It's all in there. The reason I love this book is that I can go at my own pace: I can fold in one new idea/technique at a time---like mulching or composting, winter gardening or 'how to care for chickens.'

portage bay grange

Actually, we are building a chicken coop this weekend on our 'Burke Avenue Farm' (no website yet: remember, I am folding in one thing at a time! For now find farm updates here or check out farm photos). I actually stopped by Portage Bay Grange to peek at their coops (see pics), ask a few questions and hang out. I love that they are less than a mile from my house---my go-to store for organic chicken feed---and where I will buy my chics/grains in the future. Portage Bay Grange hasn't been around too long, they are still sourcing their store with homesteading items but that just makes it fun to stop by: what is new? This visit, they had their feed shed all lined up (for ducks, rabbits, chickens, goats and more), were storing some chics for a donation/raffle and added a compost tea 'thing.' Compost tea? Well: you will read all about it in the Urban Farm Handbook.

caleb with dirtcaleb with sod

BTW I have one Urban Farm Handbook to giveaway! Just enter a comment below and tweet, like or share this post---for your chance to win. You can enter anytime from now until NOV 19. It is a special day---mostly because it is my son Caleb's birthday (see pic of him helping build our urban farm)---and also a chance for you to check out the Portage Bay Grange AND meet the authors of The Urban Farm Handbook. Portage Bay is hosting an Open House from 10am - 6pm, and Annette and Joshua (co-authors) will be there from 2pm - 5pm to answer questions, sign books and chill with friends. I plan to stop by too!

janelle with chicken

I have been in touch with Annette and Joshua---I cannot wait to meet Annette---and actually spent an afternoon with Joshua where he walked me through butchering chickens (I figure: I have 8 of them, better face the music. See pic.). Like I said: learning one thing at a time, in stride. And loving every minute of it.

Thank you ALL who entered to win this coveted farm book: the winner (generated for all 27 comments, via random.org) is domestic diva. I LOVED hearing from all of you and your big plans for urban farms, city gardens, raising chickens and more! On giveaways I don't pile my comments in with yours, since I don't want to confuse the 'drawing' but I read and love each one. Krista: love the explanation of how things are done on your farm in Australia---I think I will be hunting down a metal cone! And Jennie: I so hope you get to keep your chickens!

sweet potatoes

will fly for oil: California Olive Ranch

will fly for oil: California Olive Ranch