Check out Lorraine's blog - ediblecity.ca - for all kinds of tips and hints and more adventures in urban food growing!
“Who’s the punk rock earth mother on the cover?” asked one reviewer, in the early 1990s, in response to the cover photo of Lorraine Johnson and Mark Cullen on their book about composting, The Real Dirt. Lorraine may have been wearing a Laura Ashley dress (under duress), and Mark may have been holding the pitchfork, but as the reviewer made clear, this was not your typical garden writer.
In the more than fifteen years that Lorraine has been writing books and articles, she has become known for her unconventional outlook on the world of gardening. Advocating for organics in the days when synthetic chemicals ruled, writing about native plants before most people had heard the term, promoting community gardening when politicians were wary of involving people in parks, profiling guerrilla gardens when the idea still sounded vaguely dangerous, Lorraine has always written about marginal subjects on their way to becoming mainstream.
Not easily pigeon-holed, her work is often about the surprising corners where the impulse to nurture and sustain growth intersects with the human need to cultivate meaningful connections—with the earth and with each other. She views gardening as a strenuous conversation with the planet—indeed, as one of the most transformative ways to find our place in the world and what we want that world to be. She’s not afraid to include failures (her own, our own), along with hopes and dreams, in that conversation.
Lorraine’s writing career follows her passionate interests, and her more than ten published books have covered a broad range of topics—from composting and native plant gardening to censorship and travel. Unabashedly an advocate, she has been promoting urban food production for decades not only in her writing but in her involvement with numerous community groups and organizations such as the Toronto Community Garden Network, Toronto Botanic Garden, the American Community Gardening Association, and others.
Lorraine lives in Toronto with three chickens and two cats—and dreams of including a dwarf goat in her backyard.