LA ecovillage: self-reliance in a car-free urban homestead

Johnny, who shot that nice video of us for faircompanies.com just made another video about our friends at the LA ecovillage. It’s well worth a view. Some of the most amazing folks in Los Angeles live there. And I like that fact that’s it’s an ecovillage smack dab in the middle of my beloved hometown. Make sure to also check out Johnny’s blog Granola Shotgun....

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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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Help Us Find the Ideal Urban Chicken Breed

Townes Van Zandt with chicken We are in the market for new hens and lately it has occurred to us that the best breed criteria for our situation is not a breed which lays most frequently, but a breed which maintains its egg production as it matures–even if that means that it doesn’t produce as many eggs per week as a typical high production hen. Does that make sense? Because Erik is such a soft touch, we have to maintain a nu...

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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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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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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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