Master Tinkerer Ray Narkevicius

While I’m sitting on my ass writing this brief blog post, my neighbor Ramutis “Ray” Narkevicius is building something, tending his poultry, making compost, growing hops on the rooftop of a brewery, scavenging materials, grafting a fruit tree or wiring the inside of a Fed Ex cargo jet.

Over the years Ray has turned his yard into a elaborate nutrient loop. Spent grains that he gets from the brewery feed the poultry. Poultry manure nourish fruit trees and the duck water waste hosts crayfish. All the water gets pumped around to a series of raised beds that grow herbs, dragon fruit and strawberries. His small yard overflows with the most delicious citrus you’ve ever had. And he’s a generous and kind neighbor who is always willing to lend a helping hand.

Thankfully, the folks at Fair Companies, including friend of the blog Johnny, of Granola Shotgun, made a video about Ray. One of the cool things about this video is that the footage spans seven years so you get to see how much Ray has done in just that short amount of time. One little takeaway you see in this video is how well citrus does with the liberal application of compost. The other takeaway? It’s time to put this laptop down, head outside, and get to work.

Talk and Vermicomposting Workshop With Nance Klehm Sunday March 8th!

Heal the soil. Heal our communities. Heal the world.

What: A talk by ecological wizard Nance Klehm PLUS an optional vermicomposting workshop
Where: St. John’s Cathedral,  Los Angeles –514 W. Adams Blvd
When: Sunday March 8, 2020 12:30 PM

Nance Klehm (socialecologies.net, spontaneousvegetation.net) is a an ecological systems designer who has worked to heal degraded soil around the world, from her home neighborhood of Little Village, Chicago to the rain forests of Ecuador. Join her at St. John’s Cathedral, where she will talk about the deep connection between soil health and social justice, and the importance of healthy soil in troubled times.

“Soil is both decomposition engine and support network for all living things. It is the living sponge that filters our water and air, thereby cleaning them both. It stabilizes our constructions, prevents flooding, protects our landscapes against drought, and ensures the health of our food, water and air. Soil is not a thing. It is a web of relationships that stands in a certain state of a certain time.”   — Nance Klehm

Bonus option! Stay after the talk for a short workshop taught by Nance on vermicomposting, that is, home composting using a worm bin. This is a fun and easy way to transform your kitchen scraps and waste paper into gold, even if you live in an apartment. Worm castings are a fantastic food for house plants as well as garden plants.You don’t need a strong back or much space to compost with a worm bin. Worm-shop participants will go home with a functioning bin complete with worms!

The general lecture is free and open to all, and no reservations are required for the talk alone, but the worm-shop materials fee: $30 (Financial aid is available) and you must reserve your space by emailing [email protected].  Registration is mandatory so that we can supply your bin and worms.

135 Larry Korn: Rest in Revolution

Root Simple reader Pat just informed me of the passing of Larry Korn, who was a guest on our podcast in October of 2015. Larry was probably best known as the translator of Masanobu Fukuoka’s One Straw Revolution but that underestimates what he did in his life. Larry, almost single highhandedly, is responsible for bringing Fukuoka’s revolutionary ideas to the rest of the world. A few people have told me that Larry’s words in this interview changed their lives and so, in his honor, I thought I would repeat the episode.

Larry authored an autobiography One-Straw Revolutionary. In this interview we talk about Larry’s experience living on Fukuoka’s farm and we delve deep into Fukuoka’s natural farming philosophy. During the discussion we cover how natural farming is similar to indigenous agriculture and how it’s different than permaculture. We also talk about the mystical experience that changed Fukuoka’s life. Larry’s website is onestrawrevolution.net.

If you want to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected]. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. The theme music is by Dr. Frankenstein. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.

130 Farm Unfixed with Jessica Rath

In her work artist Jessica Rath examines, as she puts it, “how human containment of the land effects non-human species from the propagation of agricultural plants to the sensoria of bees.” She is on the faculty of the Art Center College of Design and her previous projects include works about apple breeding, co-evolutionary communication between flowering plants and their pollinators and a long term project called Farm Unfixed that we spend most of this conversation discussing. During the podcast Jessica mentions,

You can look at Jessica’s work on her website at jessicarath.com. Sign up for her newsletter to find out about upcoming projects.

If you’d like to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected] You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. Closing theme music by Dr. Frankenstein. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.

110 A Report from the 2017 National Heirloom Expo

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On the podcast this week are three interviews I recorded at the 7th annual National Heirloom Expo in Santa Rosa, California in the first week of September 2017. The organizers of the expo, Baker Creek Seeds, hold a press conference in the midst of the fair and that gave me the chance to talk to some really interesting folks including:

If you’d like to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected]. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. The theme music is by Dr. Frankenstein. Additional music by Rho. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.