Living in a city does not mean you can’t grow your own food and raise your own livestock, according to Phoenix resident and Master Gardener Kari Spencer, whose family operates The Micro Farm Project.

Master Gardener Kari Spencer grows food and raises livestock—including chickens—on her urban farm in Phoenix (photo by Joyous Moments Photography).

“The Micro Farm Project is a beautiful place where veggies, flowers, fruit, and herbs grow and our small livestock animals provide us with fun and food,” Spencer explains. “We are creating a tiny farm on our urban lot and are always experimenting with ways for our family to become more self-reliant and efficient. Our practices are slowly becoming more sustainable, replenishing our little piece of land, our health and our spirits.”

Spencer shares her experience, tips and techniques in a new book released last month, “City Farming: A How-To Guide to Growing Crops and Raising Livestock in Urban Spaces.” The book provides expert advice on growing a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and raising small livestock in a straightforward and non-technical way that is aimed at everyone interested in establishing an outdoor plot on any scale, from a modest backyard to a fully functioning small farm.

Farming in cities and small spaces is becoming increasingly popular, but it has its challenges. “City Farming” addresses the problems the urban farmer might face and turns them into creative solutions. It assists the new grower to gain expert understanding of how to create a production urban farm, as well as helping established farmers to troubleshoot and discover new ways to bring their space into greater harmony and production.

Each chapter unfolds a piece the story of The Micro Farm Project that provides an overview of the theme, and then discusses the crop and livestock considerations relating to the theme of the chapter in the form of the challenges they present and practical solutions to the problems such as lack of space, high population density, poor soil quality, planning restrictions/municipal regulations, etc.

You’ll also find detailed advice on natural and organic approaches, water harvesting, vertical gardening, aquaponics, composting methods, livestock suitability in limited space, permaculture in small spaces, and more.

The book (5m Publishing, $39.95) is available from and; presently not available in store.

Spencer also is the author of “Urban Composting Made Easy: The Art & Science of Creating Gardeners Gold,” and offers a free webinar on “Growing Food: The Basics” (download from The Micro Farm Project Facebook page). Additional free resources can be found at





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