Community Philosphy Blog and Library

Archive for the ‘Events’ Category

Sneak Peek: HOMEGROWN Skills Tent Schedule at Farm Aid 2014!

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

 

North Carolina, here we come! Farm Aid 2014 is right around the corner—September 13 at Walnut Creek Amphitheatre, in Raleigh—and you may have heard that a bunch of real pros are headlining. (You know, just some guys named Willie, Neil, John, Dave, and Jack, among others.) But over on the HOMEGROWN Skills Tent schedule, you’re the talent!

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What’s this HOMEGROWN Skills Tent, you ask? Good question! From noon to 5 p.m. on the concert grounds, a county-fair-style hoedown called the HOMEGROWN Village sets up camp, featuring interactive exhibits from groups across the country. One of the main attractions in the Village is the HOMEGROWN Skills Tent, hosting hands-on workshops connected to food, farming, and homesteading—similar to the fun and juicy how-tos you know and love from the HOMEGROWN 101 library. Except live. In person. Requiring your elbow grease. (Can’t quite picture it? Check out photos from the HOMEGROWN Skills Tent at Farm Aid 2013.) Are you ready to get those hands dirty? Good! Here’s what’s on tap!

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HOMEGROWN SKILLS LINEUP!

12:30 p.m.
Shell-off Smackdown: Sustainable Fishing 101

What’s the right way to shuck an oyster or a clam? And what’s a community-supported fishery anyway? Find out when Chris McCaffity and Debra Callaway of the cooperative Walking Fish join chef Sharon Kennedy in a demo on shucking technique. Then pit your newfound skills against the pros in a shrimp-cleaning faceoff. Ready? Set? Shell!

1:30 p.m.
Hair-DO: Flower Crowns 101

Get gussied up for Farm Aid 2014 and support local farmers to boot! Maggie Smith of Pine State Flowers, Durham’s sole local-only flower shop, leads a workshop on making hair garlands using North Carolina-grown flora provided by Spring Forth FarmWaterdog Farms, and Wild Hare Farm.

2:30 p.m.
Grow It Again: Seed Saving 101

Love the veggies you grew this year? Did you know you can save the seeds and reap their bounty again next summer? Hilary Nichols of SEEDS, a nonprofit educational community garden in Durham, walks you through the cleaning and storing process. Courtesy of the Digging Durham Seed Library, you’ll take home ready-to-plant seeds whose offspring you can save and share next year!

3:30 p.m.
Spice It Up: Pepper Jelly 101

Wondering what to do with all those chiles from your garden? Two words: pepper jelly. Audrey Lin and Debbie Donnald of Two Chicks Farm show you how to make your own spread while sharing some back-fence wisdom on farming and the benefits of fermented foods.

4:30 p.m.
Friends in Deed: Friendship Bracelets 101

Show your pal—and your environment—some love! Grab a buddy and make friendship bracelets from natural fibers (alpaca, sheep’s wool, hemp) with the good folks of Abundance NC.

 

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MORE WAYS TO GET INVOLVED!

First things first: Download the swanky new Farm Aid 2014 app and get concert updates on your phone!

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A (very!) few tickets for Farm Aid 2014 remain, but there are plenty of other ways to join the party! Visit farmaid.org/events for details on Friday farm tours, a Thursday-night dinner at City Farm in Raleigh, and more. Stay tuned to Farm Aid’s About the Concert page for news, and share your own route to the concert on social media using #Road2FarmAid. We’ll see you there!

 

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HOMEGROWN Village Returns to Maker Faire Bay Area This Weekend!

Monday, May 12th, 2014

 

California, here we come! HOMEGROWN.org is headed west this weekend for Maker Faire Bay Area, the ginormous annual festival of all things sawed, hammered, welded, programmed, and—yep—grown. Farmers are the original makers, after all! For the sixth year running, HOMEGROWN and our big sibling, Farm Aid, are partnering with Maker Faire to put on the HOMEGROWN Village, a curated haven devoted to food, gardening, and eating.

Most definitely eating.

Maker Faire Bay Area runs Saturday, May 17 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday, May 18 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the San Mateo Event Center. You can snag tickets here—but first, get a preview below of what to expect in the HOMEGROWN Village. Makers, start your taste buds!

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HANDS-ON HOMEGROWN WORKSHOPS

Roll up your sleeves and dig into these hands-on homesteading how-tos! Full schedule below.

SATURDAY

» 11:30 a.m. Kraut-a-thon, with Todd Champagne of Happy Girl Kitchen (Can’t make it Saturday? Get your kraut fix, same time on Sunday!)

» 1 p.m. Chinese Noodle Making, with Mr. Wang (Can’t make it Saturday? Catch more noodle magic, same time on Sunday!)

» 3 p.m. Unraveling the String Cheese Knot, with Louella Hill, a.k.a. the San Francisco Milk Maid

» 5 p.m. Making Marshmallows, with Cristina Arantes

» 6 p.m. Sourdough Starters, with Brandy Reynolds (as in, take home your own starter!)

» 6:30 p.m. DIY Tea Blending, with Christopher Coccagna

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SUNDAY

» 11:30 a.m. Kraut-a-thon, with Todd Champagne of Happy Girl Kitchen (Can’t make it Sunday? Get your sauerkraut fix, same time on Saturday!)

» 1 p.m. Chinese Noodle Making, with Mr. Wang (Can’t make it Sunday? Catch more noodle magic, same time on Saturday!)

» 3 p.m. Shake It Like You Mean It: Butter Making 101! with HOMEGROWN.org (Yep, that’s us! Shimmy over and say hello!)

» 3:30 p.m. Ginger Beer with Wild Fermentation, with Jennifer Harris

» 4:30 p.m. We Can Pickle That! with Kelly McVicker

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MAKER SQUARE STAGE

Head here for a jam-packed lineup of food and farming demos! Full schedule below.

SATURDAY

» 11 a.m. Making the Perfect Dip, with Kelly Manzo

» 11:30 a.m. It’s All in the Crust: Making Your Best Pie, with Suzanne Kissinger

» Noon Gastronomy + Chocolate = Make a Unique Dessert, with Vanessa Holden

» 12:30 p.m. Making Pearl Sugar, with Sivan Wilensky

» 1 p.m. Making Bean to Bar Chocolate at Home, with Greg D’Alesandre

» 1:30 p.m. Making Fresh Chevre at Home, with Nicole Easterday of the totally awesome-sauce FARMcurious (She’s a HOMEGROWN member!)

» 2 p.m. Home Coffee Roasting, with Byron Dote of Sweet Maria’s

» 2:30 p.m. Backyard Beekeeping, with Kendal Sager

» 3 p.m. Backyard Livestock, with Dog Island Farm‘s Tom Ferguson and Rachel Hoff, a.k.a. HOMEGROWN’s very own crazy-rad blogger (and a HOMEGROWN member!)

» 3:30 p.m Tiny Homes on the Move, with Lloyd Kahn, author of a 2012 book by the same title, as well as the 1973 classic Shelter. Don’t miss him.

» 4 p.m. Your Place in the World—An Intro to Biointensive Sustainable Mini-Farming, with Justin Cutter

» 4:30 p.m. Soil is Life. Tillage is Death. The Awesome Future of Agriculture, with Paul Kaiser

» 5 p.m. Bringing Home the Grain, with Doug Mosel

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SUNDAY

» 11 a.m. String from Sticks! with Tamara Wilder

» 11:30 a.m. Mushroom Cultivation, with Patty and Ray Lanier of the Mushroom Maestros

» Noon Home Kitchen Food Handling & Safety, with Bill Waiste

» 12:30 p.m. Root to Stalk Cooking: Discovering a New Way of Looking at Vegetables, with the James Beard Award-winning author Tara Duggan, who was kind enough to share the recipe for her no-cook fennel-Parmesan  salad with HOMEGROWN last year

» 1 p.m. Lactoferment Just About Anything! with Nicole Easterday (yep, the supercool HOMEGROWN member)

» 1:30 p.m. DIY Yogurt, Greek Yogurt, and Cream Cheese: A Simple DIY Science Project for the Whole Family, with Tyler Henthorne

» 2 p.m. Art of Dehydrating: Dehydrating Pineapples into a Hibiscus Flower, with Michelle Francia

» 2:30 p.m. Your Sustainable Home Brewery: Crash Course in Building It and Using It, with Amelia Loftus

» 3 p.m. Aero Press: Coffee from the Future! with Chris Casassa

» 3:30 p.m. Wet Block to Finish Product (homemade jerky!), with Randall Hughes

» 4 p.m. How to Make a Good Sweet Potato Pie, with Charles Swift

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HUNGRY FOR MORE MAKING?

» Browse HOMEGROWN Village photos from last year’s Maker Faire Bay Area

» Be your own maker! Find all kinds of DIY projects to craft, plant, grow, cook, preserve, and beyond in the HOMEGROWN 101 library!

 

HOMEGROWN Life: County Fair Season Is Here

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

 

HOMEGROWN-life-bryce-logo-150x150If you are a born and bred keeper of livestock, there are certain rights of passage that our agricultural system expects you to participate in. One of these is the annual cycle of county-based livestock breeding competitions we’ve come to celebrate in the form of county fairs.

For those not in the know, agriculturally driven counties have a strong tradition of holding summer convenings, where farmers get together in common spaces to compare their outputs, eat some fried junk food, and yuk it up in overalls and cowboy hats. (My people tend toward overalls, which we pronounce “over-hauls.”) The county fair is a celebrated institution. It’s an outgrowth of the kind of mindset that’s driven to grow more food, raise “better” breeding stock, use science and the understanding of genetics to learn from one another, and show off what we do on our individual farms.

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Knowing our history is key to understanding how things work in the modern world. One-hundred-plus years ago, the country life movement helped inject professionalization, scientific inquiry, and educated competition into our agricultural system. The county fair is part of that great legacy as are the county-based, university-educated professionals who would live and work throughout the rural population, helping train a new generation of farmers. County-extension programs, as well as 4H, FFA, and other groups represent this history today.

My two boys, and my nieces and nephews, take part in our local 4H scene. As a family, we have a longstanding history of participating in and supporting the Bates County Fair, in Bates County, Missouri. It really is a sight to behold. Dozens and dozens of local youth work with their families to produce projects and livestock that demonstrate our agricultural capacity. There are contests for vegetable production, hog production, beef production, quilting, woodworking, jam making, photography, and even singing/performance art to wow the parents and grandparents.

The whole system is a beautiful conglomeration of hard work and community-minded spirit. It’s got some publicly financed support (that’s the university-driven outreach and extension system), but the primary driver is farmers and rural businesses working hard to create an event that serves and promotes youth entrepreneurship. Parents, grandparents, and small business owners have a stake in supporting the next generation of farmers.

This year my boys will be showing off their farming chops by participating in the goat- and swine-production contests. They’ll also be raising potatoes and tomatoes and peppers. And taking some photos, too.

Do we expect to win? No. Winning generally means spending thousands of dollars on breeding stock and high-powered feeds. We are in it for the experience rather than the competition side of the equation. I’m just glad they want to participate in the continuing agricultural legacy of the county fair system.

Plus, they have chores to accomplish every day. My boys are athletic and academic in nature. I was the same way. As farmers, we have to find ways to entice our young people to round out their education with daily activities that demonstrate a different way of living. Do your geometry. Work on your soccer footwork. But also feed your pig and make sure it has clean water.

It’s not the only way to live in the modern world. But it can connect you to a very basic human need to feed ourselves and our community with food. There’s a lot to be said about the mess of agriculture and its discontents related to fossil-fuel dependency and resource consumption. But there’s also a lot to say about a kid forming a bond with a growing goat or a gilt (a female but not-yet-mothering pig). It’s a real-life connection with a growing and breathing creature that depends on us for its sustenance.

I don’t particularly care whether my kids end up winning the county fair or not. Mostly, I care that my kids understand the annual cycle of living and dying and utilizing our resources responsibly. I care that they make a connection with the living creatures around us. I care that they care about the animals and plants here on the tallgrass prairies and the bottomland hardwoods that surround us.

HOMEGROWN-bryce-oates-150x150Bryce Oates is a farmer, father, writer, and conservationist in West Missouri. He lives and works on his family’s multigenerational farm, tending cattle, sheep, goats, and organic vegetables. His goals in life are simple: to wake up before the sun, catch a couple of fish, turn the compost pile, dig potatoes, and sit by the fire in the evening, watching the fireflies mimic the stars.