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Sep 11, 2007 10:03 AM

"My Empire of Dirt" - Article NY Magazine. Has anyone read this? It's fascinating! [moved from Outer Boroughs board]

I just finished reading "My Empire of Dirt" by Manny Howard in this week's NY Magazine. Mr. Howard decided to build a farm in his tiny Brooklyn backyard and vowed to eat only animals that he raised there and vegetables that he grew for one month! This article is fascinating and hilarious!

Take a look here:

In the magazine version there are 2 photos of two dishes that he made -
Home-Garroted Roast Rooster & Maimed-Rabbit-Euthanasia Stew!

After reading this article I have a new appreciation for farmers, markets and all food producers in general!

I also admire Manny for his determination and great humor through out his venture!

Has anyone else read the article?

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  1. Looking forward to reading it. If nothing else, the title is a great swipe from a Nine Inch Nails song.

    1 Reply
    1. re: ted

      I didn't realise that was from Nine Inch Nails! Thanks! Yes -- the article still has me chuckling just thinking about it! I wish someone would feature Manny's farm on one of the cooking shows -- someone like Anthony Bourdain could appreciate this I'm sure!

    2. I read it and laughed all the way through. His experience breeding the rabbits and dealing with the murderous hen was both terrifying and funny. Good for him for trying to achieve something like a farm, for heaven sakes, in the middle of an urban setting. Here, we cannot have any livestock on our suburban property....I secretly always wanted Bantam chickens. I'm not too sure if the Locavore movement will be very widespread. It's very intense if it's to be done properly, as Manny tried to do.

      The effort of starting a vegetable garden from a former lawn is daunting and requires many hours of planning and back breaking labor. I could empathize with him regarding the seed starting. Each February my kitchen was given over to potting soli, grow lights, fans, and all the seed starting pots I could find. There is such a tremendous satisfaction to see something you've planted, nurtured and harvested. It's one of the nicest things I have done.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Gio

        I think Manny should have his own TV show. Kind of like the old Victory Garden but with a twisted slant! He could have famous chefs visit him every week -- and they could try to cook something from beginning to end with whatever is available on his farm. His wife could snarl and snivel about everything in the background....

        1. re: Jill Brazil

          That would be a fun show to be sure.

          In the latter days of TVG the wife of the producer, Marian somethingorother, had a segment in her home kitchen where she would cook something Roger talked about in the garden. That's where I first heard of cooking cod on a bed of braised kale on top of the stove. We still make this after maybe 15 years or so. Still so very delicious.

          1. re: Gio

            Just goes to show how we all used to be eat full fat everything and non-diet meals and remain so slim, you had to work like a, well, a farm animal to get by. He lost 29 pounds trying to farm it out. Crazy. And the way he had to kill animals and remove animal carcasses. Makes any farmers market seem so polite and gentrified. Makes a supermarket like a sterile funeral home. No one has to know the dead bodies and blood are in the basement!

      2. I really liked the article as well, although the part about the rabbits grossed me out ( guess I shouldn't have read it before going to bed) The picture on the front cover confirmed the thought I had while reading the article that his wife was less than amused by the whole ordeal.

        1. This was a great article. Thanks for posting the link! Makes it so clear that farming isn't something that "everyone" could do, and is indeed more hard work than a lot of people could comprehend. Also injects a bit of reality into the locovore movement, although I love the concept of supporting local growers and finding freshness wherever possible.

          1. I enjoyed the article, I admire his efforts, and I will never do what he is doing.