Monthly Archives: February 2009

Veggie Oil

Hello. Of course you know you can power your diesel car with vegetable oil. But the details, for many people, become a little hazy. To that point, the lovely Moe B and myself will be co-teaching a class about all the ins and out about using veggie oil instead of that stinky dino-diesel.
If you’re interested, details are below:
Veggie Oil 101
Thinking about converting your vehicle to run on straight vegetable oil? This class covers basic theory, veg oil collection, issues, and explains the different types of conversions available. Also, local conversion kit installers will talk about their kits. Taking this class is a great way to educate yourself about SVO options.
Sunday March 1st 11 a.m- 3p.m.
Cost: $40
To enroll please email: with the subject heading: March 1st class.

We All Live in the Ghetto Now

Yes, it’s all doom and gloom out there. Since we Americans live in an economy, not so much of a culture, it often feels like our entire way of life is crumbling as the stock market crashes and banks struggle.
People point out that I don’t need to worry because I have a garden and farm animals. It’s true that I recently started selling my eggs ($5/dozen) and sometimes sell a rabbit or two. That money goes toward buying things I can’t make, like parmasean cheese, beef, bananas, and french bread (thank you French guys at Oakland Farmer’s Market!) But of course, I’m not immune to the trials of the economy, as I watch friends lose their jobs and their homes, I realize how fragile our society is.
Last weekend I went to a Long Now event and saw doomsday-er Dmitri Orlov speak about what happened when the Soviet Union fell. The winners were the ones who could adjust and adapt quickly. Orlov lists the most important things for people to worry about during collapse: food, shelter, transportation, security. I was surprised that all of the descriptions of food post-collapse involved growing your own food, allowing animal husbandry in cities, even planting wheat on college campuses (after their endowments become worthless). If Orlov had spoken even two months earlier, I’m sure there would have been a lot of eye-rolling in the audience. People were on the edges of their seats. Including me, I found myself slapping my forehead about the wheat growing in Memorial Glade. Genius! Timing, for doomsday predictors, is everything.
Funny thing, though, here in the ghetto where everyone is poor, no one is grumbling about the economic crisis. It made me realize that for as long as this crisis goes on, we’re all going to be living in the ghetto. We’re going to have to forage, scrimp. Many of us may chose to do things that are considered illegal (selling drugs, selling rabbit meat). We’ll start sharing living space with our friends and families. We’ll spend more time chatting on the corners (no jobs to go to). And, I predict more and more people will arm themselves.
For awhile, I was sort of gleeful about the downturn, but lately I’ve recognized that it’s fun to choose to do all these self-sufficiency things, maybe it won’t be so if it’s forced on us.

P.S. Farm Tour Saturday, March 7. 10am

Farm Tour: Sunday, Feb 15 CANCELED

Sorry!! But it’s mudsville here. I’ll resked for March…

Okay peps, because of popular demand, let’s do a farm tour Sunday, Feburary 15 at 10am. Maybe we’ll do some grafting and seed sowing…

GT Farm is at 665 28th street, at MLK in oaklandia. Rain cancels!

And in other news, my friend Heather is selling her awesome house in Gainsville, Florida. There is already a chicken coop and fruit trees. Check it out:

Tanning hides

Sorry most of my posts lately have been all about events and actions, not necessarily deep thoughts about urban farming or poetic day in the life portraits of GhostTown Farm, but I’m feeling more action-y lately, so bear with me. Soon I’ll pull up the rocking chair and tell you some yarns. For now, here’s another potentially amazing upcoming event–please let me know if you are interested!

Though the wonderful auspices of UC Berkeley’s student group, SAFE, there’s a movement afoot to host a hide tanning workshop at GhostTown Farm. How appropriate.┬áBut this isn’t going to be some quickie session like the turkey-killing class, this involves a tw0-day commitment. And potentially camping in our lot. Or sleeping with the goats in the goat house. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

1. The class will be taught by Tamara Wilder, an absolute authority on primitive skills. Her business is called Paleotechnics, for Christ’s sake.

2. Remember how I said I have a million bunny hides in my freezer? Tamara said we can tan those. Each of the class attendees can have one of my million pelts to learn how to tan!

3. Remember my cool friend Jim who has goats? He said we can use on of his goat hides to practice tanning. For when we get bored of the rabbit.

3. There’s only room for 16 people

4. Tamara’s going to show up with all her tools (things like scrapping beams) and we 16 are giving her $100 EACH to take the class, which I said, spans two days.

5. This is not for the faint of heart. I’m imagining lots of dangling meat parts and stinky goo. And rubbing.

6. This will all go down either on April 11/12 or April 18/19. Do let me know which dates work best for you! But remember–it’s $100 and will span two days! If people want to stay the night or pitch a tent, I’m sure we can figure something out. There will be farm chores in the morning!

7. I am so excited to learn how to tan a hide!!

UPDATE 8. Please RSVP to with subject line ‘Tanning’ and the best weekend for you (April 11 or April 18) so that they can pick the weekend with the most interest.