Joanne Poyourow


Joanne Poyourow explores sustainable solutions. Her home garden is an edible landscape and an urban wildlife habitat. In 2004 she co-founded the Environmental Change-Makers community group in Los Angeles.

With the change-makers she has built two community gardens and a community-scale, wood-fired bread oven. And since 2008 she has managed the plantings at the Community Garden at Holy Nativity, which grows vegetables for the local food pantry.
Joanne finds delicious ways to cook those abundant vegetables. She is a passionate seed-saver, and for relaxation she knits insanely complex lace patterns.

She is on Instagram @ecmJoanne

Smashwords Interview

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
One of the first books I remember loving was Charlotte's Web by E.B. White. My forever take-away was that there are many things going on around us that people just walk by without noticing; they're not aware of what's going on. That thread continues in my work today.

A high-school favorite was Frank Herbert's Dune. Right now in the worst California drought in recorded history, it's like Dune is somehow coming to life. Herbert's characters had "moisture consciousness" and I feel like I have that too, and we're all going to acquire it in coming years as climate change accelerates.

One of my favorite gardening books today is Wendy Johnson's Gardening at the Dragon's Gate. It drifts between hard-core gardening advice and spiritual observations, they become one-and-the-same, as they should be.

The common thread in these is: things aren't necessarily as they appear to be, and if you're sensitive to it, and you really listen, the natural world will tell you a story. Now go read my books about the economy, and you'll find the same theme!
What do you read for pleasure?
I read a lot of young adult fiction for entertainment. There's some really great content out there, and a lot of it is forward-thinking. A lot of today's young adult fiction doesn't idolize technology; it questions it, and there are many different ways it shows the down sides of technology being everywhere in human life. I've read a lot of stories that show how technology and "scientific advances" are making us less-human, how they're eating away at the edges, in some way or another.

In my real-life work, we try to reclaim that human-ness. "Building community" might need internet and email to schedule a gathering, but the event itself is about people talking face-to-face and getting to know one another. I'm not a luddite; I've got the smartphone, and I'm on lots of social media, but there's a whole lot more living to be done than inside that little light-box. And when it comes to environmental solutions, and putting solutions in place in the real world, we have to step back from the technology and do real-world things.

Lots of the young adult stories I'm reading are about action: can do, let's go do it, young people out there doing stuff in the world. There isn't much "story" if you were to write about a kid sitting in a dark room playing video games. Similarly, there isn't much "life" if you were to try to do everything from your armchair. You've got to go out and get dirty, put your fingers into the garden soil.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Joanne Poyourow online

Where to buy in print


Abundant Harvests
How can you achieve abundant harvests of rich, nourishing vegetables within a tight city footprint, without a lot of gardener time, and without having to buy a lot of "stuff"? The Abundant Harvests series covers soil and water issues, flowerpot gardening, access to land, and seedsaving. It's all-organic and regenerative, and includes aspects of sustainability such as rainwater harvesting, graywater, carbon sequestration and supporting beneficial insects and pollinators.


Food from a Flowerpot
Series: Abundant Harvests. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 10,180. Language: English. Published: March 27, 2021 . Categories: Nonfiction » Home & Garden » Gardening » Vegetables, Nonfiction » Home & Garden » Gardening » Urban
Grow a feast of vegetables, fruits, and herbs on your patio or balcony. You don’t need a farm or a huge plot of land to be a gardener. You can grow healthy fruits, vegetables, and herbs in the smallest and most unexpected spaces. From soil building to water-wisdom, Poyourow adapts simple principles of gardening to flowerpots and other tiny containers.
Urban Seed Saving: Best Practices for City and Suburbs
Series: Abundant Harvests. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 14,340. Language: English. Published: September 3, 2019 . Categories: Nonfiction » Home & Garden » Gardening » Vegetables, Nonfiction » Home & Garden » Gardening » Techniques
Plant. Harvest. Collect. Repeat. How would you like to enjoy your favorite variety of garden vegetables year after year? You can. Even if you live in the city. Or the suburbs. This comprehensive guide will show you how to collect the seeds in your garden this year, so you can reap the mouth-watering benefits next year, too.
The Quest for Higher Yields
Series: Abundant Harvests. Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 7,150. Language: English. Published: January 31, 2016 . Categories: Nonfiction » Home & Garden » Gardening » Vegetables, Nonfiction » Home & Garden » Sustainable living
How can you achieve abundant harvests of rich, nourishing vegetables, within our tight city footprint, without a lot of gardener time, and without having to buy a lot of "stuff"? This question has been at the root of the journey we've been on for more than 7 years in our high-production community garden in Los Angeles.
The Secrets of Soil Building
Series: Abundant Harvests. Price: $2.99 USD. Words: 18,320. Language: English. Published: August 22, 2015 . Categories: Nonfiction » Home & Garden » Gardening » Vegetables, Nonfiction » Home & Garden » Gardening » Urban
Rich, healthy, alive garden soil is the key to success in every organic vegetable garden. Here's how to build great soil -- at low cost and with minimal inputs, without much gardener time, within tight urban spaces. Learn how to compost, mulch, vermicompost, perform D-I-Y soil tests, and maintain fertility year-round -- so that you can produce food sustainably for years to come.