Erik on HuffPost Live Tonight

Just a quick note that I’ll be on HuffPost Live tonight at 6:30 PST to discuss, “Backyard Chicken Coops, greenhouses, beehives and compost bins show that back-to-the-land activities and sustainable living are back. Say Hello to Victory Gardens 2.0!”

You can watch here. Guests include:

  • Barbara Finnin Executive Director of City Slicker Farms
  • Erik Knutzen Author of “The Urban Homestead” and Founder of Root Simple
  • Rob Ludlow Owner of

The show will be archived and I’ll post a link when it appears on the HuffPost website.

Feral House and Process Media Winter Soltice Party

Feral House and Process media, the publishers of our first book The Urban Homestead, will be holding their annual solstice party on Saturday December 8th from 7 to 10 pm at La Luz de Jesus Gallery, located within the Wacko gift store. Judging from the flyer, naked Shriners will frolic in the Griffith Park Fountain later on in the evening. Whatever happens, it’s a fun event not to be missed. Kelly and I will be there to hang out, chat and show off our emergency composting toilet. Perhaps we’ll get around to decorating it with blinking Christmas lights. Kill two birds with one stone and shop the Wacko aisles for Christmas gifts your young Goth and aging and ironic Gen X relatives! Then talk composting with us.

La Luz de Jesus/Wacko is located at:

4633 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90027

Notes on Mark Bittman’s “Behind the Scenes of What We Eat”

Last week Erik and I went to see well-known food writer Mark Bittman speak on food policy. He spoke in a huge room in The California Endowment–and it was a full house. Afterward, Erik and I compared it to being in church. We were surrounded by people of the same faith, being told things we already know, and being reminded to be good. And I don’t mean that in a bad way! It never hurts to meditate on how to be better, to do more. Bittman is an engaging speaker and it was a great evening. I took notes, and will share a little of what I learned.

He spent a good deal of time describing how our national food system and food policy is depressing and screwed up. We all know this, right? Factory farms, fuel waste, massive environmental degradation, obesity crisis, etc. & etc.

(One quick scary fact from the roll of shame: Did you know that 80% of antibiotics used in the US are fed to farm animals? That number has been shooting up fast for the last 20 years. Why are they used on animals? Not so much for illness, but rather to prevent illness in animals living in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions, and to speed growth. They’re prophylactic. Lovely. Antibiotic failure happens to be one of my favorite doomsday scenarios.)

Bittman believes that in 50-100 years we will no longer be shipping food across country or across planet–we’ll be relying on local/regional agriculture systems, based on family farms. Whether this shift is a positive, pleasant transition or made in a state of dreadful calamity, is entirely a matter of how soon we begin working on the shift.

Continue reading…

Chicken Talk at the LA Green Fest Saturday November 17

I’ll be doing a talk about keeping chickens on Saturday, November 17 at 2:00 pm at the Los Angeles Green Festival. Topics will include:

  • How to construct a chicken coop
  • What’s involved in keeping chickens
  • Predator proofing
  • What to feed your chickens
  • Chicks vs. pullets

The Green Festival will take place at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Kentia Hall, 1201 South Figueroa Street.

The convention center is right next to the Metro Blue Line and the Green Fest folks will also be providing a bike valet.

Hope to see you all there!

Root Simple Redesign

We’re getting ready to make some big improvements to our website. Roman Jaster, the designer of our book Making It (seen at the console in the picture above taking some last minute refinements from Mrs. Homegrown), is just about to pull the switch on the new design. We’re switching from Blogger to WordPress. Our new website design will feature:

  • improved search functions
  • an easier to navigate interface
  • improved comment moderation
  • better graphic design 
  • podcasts
  • videos

All of the 1800+ posts and comments from this blog will migrate over to our new host. The web address will remain the same– Hopefully you won’t notice the switchover, except for the fact that commenting will disappear between the 6th and the 10th. You are welcome to leave comments on the Root Simple Facebook page. During the switchover period we’re going to feature a rerun of our most popular posts.