Grist & Toll: An Urban Flour Mill

Southern California has its first flour mill in a hundred years: Grist & Toll. G &T will be milling grain grown by small farmers here in the Southwest. We’re on the verge of a grain revolution and small mills like Grist & Toll are leading the way. Dig Grist & Toll’s Austrian grain mill and sifter: Rumor has it that Santa is bringing me a mini version of this mill. Grist & To...

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The Original L.A. Urban Homestead

You know that band you saw play at your local dive bar back in the day that is totally popular now and playing in arenas? Well, the L.A. Eco-Home is kind of like that. Long before glossy magazines were doing “Green” issues, before hybrid cars and composting became hip, Julia Russell had been giving tours featuring the environmentally friendly aspects of her home and garden. Julia is pictured here in front of her Gordon apple tree wh...

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Google Sketchup as an Urban Homesteading Tool

I just completed a new chicken run, greatly assisted by an amazing and free 3d design program: Trimble SketchUp (formerly Google SketchUp). While it takes some time to learn (I’m still learning!), this program helped me visualize the chicken run as well as estimate the amount of materials I’d need to buy. Here’s how I used it to create the run: Previous runs either did not work (chickens squeezed out and flew over) or were hid...

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Summer Urban Homestead Failures: Exploding Beer Bottles

Somehow in last week’s roundup of the summer’s failures I blocked out of my memory the most exasperating: exploding beer bottles. I think I may have had a contaminated siphon hose which passed on some nasty, yeasty bacterial bug to every single bottle of two batches of beer I had made this summer. Three of those bottles over-carbonated to the point that they became beer grenades and exploded. One blew up on the kitchen counter and...

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Bar Codes on Veggies

...tural authorities and the JA Ibaraki Prefecture Central Union of Agricultural Cooperative cooperating with other farming and agricultural associations are adding QR code labels right at the point of origin. In the supermarket, consumers use camera equipped cell phones to scan the QR code on the label. The code links to a mobile website detailing origin, soil composition, organic fertilizer content percentage (as opposed to chemical), use of pesti...

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Poultry Outlaws: Chicken Laws Around the U.S.

...premises or at a public place within the City. [Despite this, we hear tell that there is some pretty progressive urban farming going on in Detroit, including plenty of livestock.] Los Angeles: Chickens may not be within 20 feet of owner’s residence, and must be at least 35 feet from any other dwelling. Crowing fowl must be 100 feet from any dwelling. [L ooks like we're breaking the law again! ] Madison: Up to four chickens per household. No...

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Fish Don’t Fart

...ed for most people. But perhaps we should give it closer consideration. Aquaponics is profiled in the pioneering urban homesteading book, The Integral Urban House: Self Reliant Living in the City and Scott Kellogg and Stacy Pettigrew’s book Toolbox for Sustainable City Living: A do-it-Ourselves Guide which comes out of their work at Austin’s Rhizome Collective. What all of these efforts have in common is a permacultural design princip...

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Permaculturalist Paul Wheaton in Los Angeles

In honor of the upcoming SoCal Permaculture Convergence, the Institute for Urban Ecology is proud to be partnering with several Los Angeles based organizations to bring you this once-in-a-lifetime event. Come learn from some of LA’s leading urban ecology experts and from internationally recognized Permaculturalist Paul Wheaton.  To encourage everyone to come and learn, this event is ALMOST FREE!!!!  Sign up a big group and pa...

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SIPS and Kraut at Project Butterfly

...gm shift that will improve our lives, our community and our planet. Erik Knutzen and Kelly Coyne, authors of The Urban Homestead, have become increasingly interested in the concept of urban sustainability since moving to Los Angeles in 1998. In that time, they’ve slowly converted their 1920 hilltop bungalow into a mini-farm, and along the way have explored the traditional home arts of baking, pickling, bicycling and brewing, chronicling all...

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