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 & Toll is open for special hours this holi...

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Denver and Los Angeles Experience Crowds Staring at Chicken Coops

Denver Urban Homesteaders looking at a chicken coop Judging from the phone calls and emails coming into the Homegrown Evolution compound, America has discovered that it just might be a good idea to grow some vegetables and keep some chickens. There’s lots of motivating factors, no doubt. A bad economy and dissatisfaction with factory farming to start. But we also suspect that folks have discovered that it’s just plain fun to do all...

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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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Roundin’ up the Summer Urban Homesteading Disasters

Everyday loaf on the left, “charity” loaf on the right. As we’ve noted in our books, part of the deal with this lifestyle is persevering through the inevitable disasters. Which means it’s time for a regular blog feature, the disaster roundup.   Loafing Around I agreed to bake a few baguettes for a charity function this evening. Problem #1 is that I can’t do baguettes in my small oven so I decided to do a s...

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Urban Homesteading Mistakes: Landscape Fabric

Since you all seem to enjoy accounts of our many failures around the Root Simple compound, I thought I’d share what must be one of the worst mistakes I’ve made. It’s a error up in our great chandelier of failures along with buying a 91 year old house on a hill with a bad foundation. Two words for you: landscape fabric–that plastic stuff sold in rolls at big box stores that allegedly blocks out weeds. Just after we bough...

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Are We Keeping Too Many Bees?

Image: Jonalthunder Someday I’ll get around to writing a fill in the blanks form for journalists doing the inevitable urban homesteading backlash story. You know, “Folks are tired of all the chores and are dumping their [chickens/vegetables/bees] and returning to a life of [shopping/golfing/riding jet skis].” This month’s backlash story concerns urban beekeeping in London. Reader Cassandra Silver (who has a really beautif...

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Legalize Beekeeping in LA!

Action alert: LA City Council will vote on legalizing bees this Wednesday. I got the following note from Francesca De La Rosa–If you’re in LA please consider writing your councilcritter or attending the council meeting. As you’ve heard, LA City Council is voting on 3 pending bee measures on Wednesday, February 12th (press conference at 9:15 am). These are the three items that will be voted on: #1: LEGALIZE URBAN BEEKEEPING IN LOS...

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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 pay nearly nothing to...

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Plum Lemon Tomato Power’s Heirloom Tomato

...d those loads of melamine laced pet food from China, they did somehow manage to track 1,840 confirmed cases of food-borne illnesses in domestic tomatoes. Again, urban homesteading revolutionaries, GROW YOUR OWN! We found that label and it’s a tomato called “Power’s Heirloom”. Here’s how the Seed Saver’s exchange catalog copy describes it, “First offered in the 1990 SSE Yearbook by Bruce McAllister from Fr...

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Thrive: How Doughnuts Can Save The World

I flipped on the car radio the other day just as some new age guru was discussing why he thought that so many people don’t have a lot of money these days: Host: There is not lack of resources?Guru: There is not. We will always be able to create more. And we don’t need to know how or why. I see poverty as being this incredibly dangerous disease. I mean, how many horrible things are happening in the world today because of povert...

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