UCP Episode 006: Chickens, Gardens & Everything Else Grandma Knew and You Don’t – But Can Learn at the Institute of Urban Homesteading

Chickens in the Garden by steve p2008

Chickens in the Garden by steve p2008

In this modern world, we are in poor supply of the sensibilities and skills of our forefathers. Let’s face it – Grandma and Grandpa had a lot of ‘know-how’ and we are slipping into a nation of ‘know-nothings’.  Not everyone is resigned to accept this disconnection with their heritage.  In the past few years, there has been a surge in the number of urban classes and schools teaching city-dwellers how to rediscover traditional skills in the homesteading arts.  Class-by-class, learned skill by learned skill,  urbanites everywhere are becoming a little more self-sufficient and a lot more self-determining as they learn what their grandparents knew – how to create their own healthy, nutritious food sources and tend their own green spaces capably.

Today on the Urban Chicken Podcast, we are going to talk with K. Ruby Blume, the

K. Ruby Blume Institute of Urban Homesteading Oakland, CA

K. Ruby Blume – headmistress of the Institute of Urban Homesteading

headmistress of the Institute of Urban Homesteading in Oakland, California.  The Institute of Urban Homesteading (IUH) is a modern school that teaches homesteading skills through readily usable and easily applicable methodology.  The goal of the IUH is to allow anyone who takes one of their classes to have enough practical information in the subject matter to put that education to use the very next day.  Founded in 2008, the IUH helps students in the San Francisco/Bay Area not only learn about the traditional arts, but it also helps students learn how to embrace self-determination in their lives.  The IUH offers classes in backyard chickens, beekeeping, gardening, herbal medicine, holistic veterinaries sciences and so much more.  K. Ruby Blume will discuss the institute, chickens, learning, sustainability and a number of other topics in the main segment of today’s show.

In today’s Sally’s Sidenotes, we will also be discussing how science gets it WRONG yet again, as French researchers are trying to genetically engineer chickens with bigger gizzards to “fix” the problem of chicken poo.  Additionally, we will talk about chickens being kept at schools in Colorado.

Also, K. Ruby Blume is the second guest recently on the show who has mentioned the “godfather” of the localvore/sustainability movement, Michael Pollan.  Pollan has a new book out – it might be worth checking out (see links for excerpts, etc. below).  I plan on reading it and reporting back to you, the listeners, with a book review soon.

Show Resources:

      • The Institute of Urban Homesteading in Oakland, California LINKUrban Homesteading by Rachel Kaplan with K. Ruby Blume
      • K. Ruby Blume, author, activist, gardener, headmistress LINK
      • Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living– book  by Rachel Kaplan & K.Ruby Blume, a book about practicing the traditional skills in an urban environment
      • Michael Pollan – Godfather to the localvore, sustainability movement Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual
      • Michael Pollan’s latest book – Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation – his journey connecting with food emphasizing the four natural elements: fire, water, air and earth
      • Except from Pollan’s new book “Cooked” LINK
      • Audio Introduction to the Pollan’s new book AUDIO LINK
      • Slow Foods USA – the international organization teaching people to appreciate wholesome food slowly — they are the antithesis to fast-food LINK 
      • Chickens being kept at schools in the city LINK 

Sally’s Sidenotes:

  • Scientists bio-engineering chicken w/ bigger gizzard to produce less poo LINK
  • Full research article about genetically engineering chickens with bigger gizzards LINK
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