Category Archives: field trips

Urban Farm Tour, June 7

I’m humbled and honored to be part of the Institute of Urban Homesteading‘s annual Urban Farm Tour this year. Every year, Ruby connects urban farms (and their farmers) with people who are interested in learning more about urban farming in the East Bay. Here’s the description of the event:

Come see what established home-scale urban farmers are up to and what is possible on a small. medium, large, or extra large urban lot.

You will see fruit & vegetable gardens, composting systems, rabbits, goats, bees, greywater and more, plus you will get to sample some of what these urban farmers are producing..

How it Works
Join our mailing list at iuhoakland.com and we’ll send you details the week before the event. Once you have the locations, plan your itinerary and bike, drive or walk yourself there. Visit as many of the sites as you have time or interest for.

Guided tours with tasting and Q & A are lead by the farmers once per hour on the hour . Each tour lasts about 45 minutes.

10am-4pm, last tour at 3pm

It’s going to be a blast. You can either buy advanced tickets or pay as you go at each site (it’s $5/site).

Advanced Tickets can be bought here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/628998

I think I’ll be doing a homemade sauerkraut demo, and will have carrots and honey to taste. Tell yer friends–it’s going to be really fun.

Food community

First off: GO RAIN!!! I love this deluge.

So, you can call me Professor Carpenter now. I’m teaching two classes at University of San Francisco this semester, and sometimes the students do call me professor, and I don’t hear them because that can’t be me, right? I don’t have a Ph.D, so normally it would be hard to get a gig teaching at the college level, but USF took a chance on me, and I am so grateful.

I’ve talked about the writing class–called Tapping the Apocalypse–here on this blog already, but the other class is called Community Garden Outreach, and you know what? It kicks ass. Basically I just coordinate helping the students build community.

Everyone talks about building community as an ideal and these days, universities are figuring out that students need, want, crave, to learn how to actually do that. Our mode is to use food to engage the students and community outside the classroom. The first step is to tell the students that they will be sourcing/harvesting/gleaning enough food to feed 60 people at a free community dinner. Students then scampered to farmer’s markets at the end of the day and asked for donations, they harvested food from the student garden, they went to Rainbow Grocery Food Co-op to collect the fixings for a vegetarian meal. It’s amazing how gracious everyone was, especially the farmers at the markets.

Then we met at St. Cyprian’s church near campus to cook up the food in their kitchen. Nothing makes friendships faster than cooking together in a big group. After some gentle food safety and basic beautiful food rules from chef Jessica Theroux, it was showtime. “Go! We gotta feed 60 people tonight!” I yelled (my role was to be Gorden Ramsey, if you can imagine that.)

classphoto

I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical. Did they really know how to make pasta for a large group? Would the soup suck? Would the salad be soggy? Would anyone come to the dinner? By 6pm, it was clear the students had made an amazing meal–crostini with herbs from the garden, potato/rutabaga soup, an amazingly beautiful green salad, pasta with greens and broccoli.
CGOplate

And then the people came: old and young, rich and poor, food snobs, vegans, freegans, students, faculty members, clergy members. It was truly amazing. They ate all the food up. They talked. They hugged. People met each other, and socialized, and loved being part of something like this dinner. It made me wonder, what if we did this in all our communities, in our neighborhoods? Cooked dinner together, then ate as a group? Go here to see more photos.

I didn’t get to sit down and eat–too busy and nervous–but during clean up, one of the students gave me a bag of the pasta to eat on the bus ride home to Oakland. I snarfed half of it down–delicious with its sauce of olive oil, green onion, and broccoli. Then I saved the rest to eat with Frannie and Billy; they were going to be amazed. I can’t wait for the rest of dinners. If you want to come, the next dinner will be at St. Cyprian’s Church in San Francisco on Turk at Lyon; March 6, from 6-8pm. Mark your calendars, it’s really fun.

Oh, and I just wanted to say how honored I am to be working with Melinda Stone, David Silver, and Rachel Lee, who blazed the trail of this class. All photos by Sam Wilder.

We are ON

People: Yes, open farm day this Saturday, Sept 28. 10am-1pm. Tours on the hour. I’ll have honey, dino kale starts, and tomatoes for sale. Also a few books and t-shirts. The farm is at 2727 Martin Luther King Jr Way, at 28th and MLK. Entrance on 28th Street. The sign marking 28th street is MISSING. Look for the abandoned building and a bent stop sign. See you then.

SF Reading/Presentation

The garden is really, really coming together. Yesterday my neighbor and I jack-hammered up a bunch of concrete. Last week I tried to use a concrete cutter, to no avail. The concrete on the lot, we discovered, is 6 inches thick and is very old, very limey. It’s a nightmare. But that jackhammer, that jackhammer went through the concrete like butter. I need to add compost and gypsum before planting the trees. Can’t wait.

Anyway, I’ll be doing a reading and presentation April 1 in San Francisco! I’ll have some slides to show how the garden is getting transformed, in addition to the back story. So, come on over to the Presidio!

USF Presidio Campus 112 – Classroom
Monday, April 01, 2013
5:00 PM – 7:30 PM

Darlings, Open Day

So I’m a dumb-ass. Forgot that we are going to Florida, flying on the 14th, for Bill’s dad’s 86th birthday! See you on February 21. Sorry sorry sorry.

Big news: I’m pretty much finished writing my new memoir, Gone Feral. More on that in later posts.

This means the following:
1. more blog posts, more regularly
2. more gardening, more regularly
3. an open day at GT Farm! specifically, Thursdays, 3-5pm

Two visitors from afar came by today, and while we were pulling weeds in the parking strip, chatting about life and farming, I had an idea: maybe other people would think that is fun too. So, starting on Valentine’s Day, Thursday, Feb 14, I’m going to open up the farm for work days. If you live in the area–Ben!–come on over. I will put you to work.

Bring:
1. water to drink
2. gloves

A warning: the garden really is trashed. I’m getting it back into shape, but it’s taking awhile. Also, animal lovers: I have no animals, except bees. Dial back the expectations, and you’ll have fun.

See you on V-D (which, btw, I hate as a holiday. Why do lovers need a special day?)–and every Thursday, 3-5pm.

Garlic Planting Time

Garlic’s been on my mind lately. For one thing, there’s this cool benefit event going on with First Person magazine:

Please join us for the benefit dinner and release party of First Person #5: Radical Foods!

Thursday, November 10th
7:00 pm
Church of Saint John the Evangelist
1661 15th Street, San Francisco

Legendary filmmaker Les Blank will be screening his 1980 film Garlic Is As Good As Ten Mothers.

I’m totally going. I’ve never seen that movie, which I hear is great, and the menu sounds really awesome, involving artichokes, sardines, Tartine bread, chicory salad, mashed up potato/sunchokes, and other vegetal delights. If you want to go to the event, buy tickets here; a bargain at $40.

The only problem is garlic has so disgusted me during my pregnancy that I banned the allium from our kitchen and “forgot” to order bulbs when I made my fall seed order. Maybe the baby is a vampire. Now, here it is, garlic planting season, and I found myself with no bulbs to plant (9 months from now, odds are I will be back on the garlic train).

Lucky for me, my dear friend Leilani had a stash in her bedroom. I went over to her house last night to eat dinner and see the Halloween Trick or Treaters in her neighborhood. Instead of candy, she gave me garlic. This garlic is pretty special, too: her dad is an agronomist in Oregon, and he has made some special crosses to make entire new breeds. One of them, which Leilani calls the Fire Twin, comes as a bulb with only two cloves. But the cloves are large, the size of a shallot. And they are incredibly spicy hot. Saving garlic from the Fire Twin will be a little frustrating–one for me, one for next year’s crop–but if it tastes good, it might be worth it. The other ones I selected are pink, purple, and big bulbed white. I’ll do a taste test next summer, with details about the crosses.

Hope to see you at the movie!

Buy tickets here.