Manny Howard wrote a story which I read in New York Times called My Empire of Dirt in which he describes how he attepted to live off the land of his own backyard in the city of New York for one month. 
He made a plan of where and what kind of vegetables and greens he will plant and what kind of animals he will grow in his 800 square feet backyard:

A cucumbers, cantaloupes, peppers, heirloom tomatoes.
B Rabbit feed, chicken feed, six rabbit hutches, a slaughter station, a refrigerator, and four egg-laying coops.
C 1.Tomatoes, beets, celery, yellow squash, purple eggplant, a fig tree. 2 Collard greens, cucumbers, and callaloo. 3 Cabbage, eggplant, rhubarb, leeks, garlic, onions, fennel, rosemary, thyme, and mint. 4 Corn, broad beans, basil, bok choy, and parsley.
D A duck coop, a duck pond, and two wayward rabbit hutches.
E A high-rise high-capacity chicken coop.
F The potato crop: a raised bed technically known as a “drill.”


Whatever came out of this project you can read here:  My Empire of Dirt.  I am going to ruin it for you: it did not end well.  To live off the land one needs a much bigger backyard, maybe not in the city and maybe more the size of a real farm. Also, one needs to know well how to take care of plants well.  I think to grow additional food for your meal, like tomatoes, strawberries,peas or chives is good in the city, but not a whole meal. Chicken are also possible to grow in the city but for such clustered city like New York, maybe quails since they are smaller?


January 01, 2009