Achieving genuine self-sufficiency of the kind described in John Seymour's classic guide is sadly beyond the vast reach of the urban majority today. Few have the space, yet fewer will be prepared for the holiday-free life-time commitment it needs. For those few there are comprehensive guidebooks, but where do the rest of us - concerned citizens - keen to explore alternative ways of living but lacking the land - look for guidance? Ever wondered how much effort it really takes to grown your own food? Is beekeeping difficult? Can you keep chickens in your garden and would you ever be able to go on holiday again? Is solar power really worth the bother? From a small terraced house in the middle of a big city, Paul Waddington has made it his business to find out, and while trying it himself, has created a practical and absorbing guidebook on the way. It includes easy-to-read lists, tables, personal anecdote, and stunning illustrations, and more importantly demystifies the subject with practical tips that get to the heart of the matter to show you how you can enjoy the fulfilling aspects of the smallholding life without the hassle and expense of 'going all the way'.
If you want to go back to the land without leaving home, this is the perfect guide.
Paul Waddington is the author of Seasonal Food: a guide to what's in season when and why as well as a newspaper columnist and professional writer. He takes a deep interest in food and environmental issues and grows vegetables, keeps bees and lives as sustainably as possible in south London with his wife and two children.