So Much Poultry, So Little Time

...ms to the inner city. Maybe it’s already been done, but from what I’ve been told urban 4-H clubs are all about nutrition, science fairs, and maybe training guide dogs. Kids desperately need contact with nature and animals. Let’s grow some food! But we may need to hippify the uniforms a bit . . . -When the economy hits the skids people start thinking about keeping chickens. I spoke to the editor of the always informative Backyard...

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Is Industrial Ag to Blame for the Swine Flu?

...ve and I’ll add that the press does a particularly bad job with anything that has to do with science. However, we’ve been trying to make the point that distributed agriculture, more people tending small numbers of animals, is most likely a safer practice than large factory farms. The exotic strains of E-coli and swine flu that have emerged in recent years could be the unintended consequence of concentrated animal feeding operations. T...

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Guyaba Guayabas (Psidium guajava)

...market. The tree seems fairly drought tolerant, but more productive with water. Guava expert Leslie Landrum notes that the guava is a “weedy tree, a tree that likes disturbance. It likes to grow along roads and in pastures. Animals eat the fruit and spread the seeds around.” It’s also a fruit so tasty that creekfreak occasionally has to chase off guyaba rustlers poaching specimens off his tree....

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Bird Flu and Industrial Agriculture

While I have not seen this new documentary, Shall We Gather at the River, its website contains three provocative interview clips with Michael Greger M.D., the U.S. Humane Society’s Director of Public Health and Animal Agriculture. In these excerpts Dr. Greger asserts that industrial agriculture’s penchant for cramming thousands of animals into sheds is the most likely vector for a host of scary diseases such as bird flu and mad cow d...

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Urban Livestock and Bikes!

...n’ chicken, permaculturist Joan Stevens will be rapping about rabbits and Leonardo Chalupowicz will share his recent experience of becoming a “backwards” beekeeper. We’ll discuss how to integrate these animals into your backyard and how they can serve multiple purposes beyond just being pets. Suggested donation: $10 to $20. Space is limited, so please RSVP by sending an email to [email protected] LA Bike Su...

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Make a Sourdough Starter

...se annoying packages of commercial yeast and bake bread the way ancient folks did for thousands of years. Just remember to feed your starter every day. We use the Torah’s mitzvah which suggests first feeding one’s animals (in our case our sourdough “pet”) before feeding yourself. 6. If you feel guilty about pouring off that cup of flour every day, and you aren’t making a loaf of bread, try making some sourdough panc...

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Author and Urban Farmer Novella Carpenter Rocks Los Angeles

...ak, make sure to go! We’ve read excerpts from Farm City and Carpenter is a terrific writer. In addition to her books and articles she blogs at ghosttownfarm.wordpress.com and offers workshops on raising and slaughtering animals for meat in the city. And like Carpenter, we also fantasize about trading the bicycle for a mule. Time to print up the “one less bike” saddle stickers . . ....

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California Buckwheat

Here’s a plant SurviveLA would like to see in more Southern California gardens. California buckwheat (Eriogonum fasciculatum foliolosum) has multiple uses–it provides cover and nectar for animals, grows with almost no water, and best of all it produces edible seeds. We’ve gathered the seeds we’ve found in fields and baked it into bread and added it to cereal to both boost nutritional value and to add a nutty flavor. The...

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Leaf Litter

...need for “order” and “tidiness” in your garden will make a huge difference. . Order and tidiness by definition reduce structural diversity in ecosystems. Structural diversity provides shelter for many animals for many purposes. In short, when it comes to fall leaf raking, just say no, be a slob and be proud of it. The mulch created by leaf litter serves multiple purposes. All those fallen leaves provide shelter for benefi...

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It’s Official: The End is Near

...sed ethanol, a biofuel that has surged in popularity over the past year, has pushed up the price of corn, Mr. Smith’s main feed, to near-record levels. Because feed represents farms’ biggest single cost in raising animals, farmers are serving them a lot of people food, since it can be cheaper. Connecting the stories and ads in the WSJ is our favorite game to play in the morning over our coffee. We’re not alone in playing this ga...

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