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Faculty 2015

Ruby Blume

IUH Founder & Headmistress

K.Ruby Blume

K.Ruby Blume is an educator, gardener, beekeeper, artist, performer and activist, with 20+ years experience gardening in an urban setting. As a life-long learner, she has studied everything from permaculture to visceral massage and has taught herself cooking, canning and fermentation techniques, as well as how to set tile, install a sink, do electrical wiring, tend a beehive and repair a motorcycle. Ruby holds certificates in permaculture design, massage, somatics and coaching and has studied botany, pollination ecology and native plant ecology at the Tilden Botanic Gardem, the Jepson Herbarium and the Sierra Nevada Field Campus. She has extensive experience in the arts including work with ceramic, mosaic, glass, textile, printmaking, puppetry, collage, assemblage, costume design and photography. She is known for her work as founder and artistic director of the art for justice project, Wise Fool Puppet Intervention, and has performed and exhibited her work throughout the Bay Area and beyond since the mid-80s. The product of three generations of teachers, Ruby's experience as an educator extends back thirty years. She has taught music, art, puppetry, theatre, gardening, beekeeping, canning and more to people ages five to ninety-five. She founded The Institute of Urban Homesteading in 2008 and co-authored the book Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living. Ruby teaches much of the core curricula at IUH.

  Headmistress in Training

Becca Wetherby
Daily Bread: No Knead Bread Making
Seaweed For Food and Health
Holiday Gifts: Felting Winter Scarves
Animal First Aide

Becca Wetherby is an urban homesteader, veterinary technician and artist who maximizes every square inch of her small northwest Oakland lot, home to gardens, chickens, bunnies, and bees. Passionate about sustainability and empowering people to make informed choices about their food sources, she believes that we don't have to be limited by space, economics, or an urban environment if we want to grow delicious healthy food at home. Becca holds bachelor's degrees in biology and studio art, and has completed graduate level coursework in veterinary science. She has worked in the veterinary field for over a decade in a wide range of settings including veterinary emergency rooms, small animal general practices, internal medicine and specialty practice, animal shelters and zoos. She has worked with dogs, cats, parrots, farm animals, wildlife, and birds of prey. When she's not working with animals, she can be found gardening, fermenting, sneaking healthy homemade food into her family's diet, designing clothing and textiles, performing with her fire dancing troupe, or enjoying the beautiful Bay Area nature with her dogs.

  Teachers (alphabetical by last name)
Maya Blow
Field to Table: Spring Foraging & Feast
Farm To Table: Work Party & Lunch

Maya Blow is an herbalist and classical homeopath practicing in the East SF Bay Area. She studied herbal medicine at the California School of Herbal Studies and also completed four years of homeopathic medical school at the Institute of Classical Homoeopathy in San Francisco. Besides her passion for holistic and alternative medicine, Maya is an artist, mother of two, aspiring farmer, and avid crafter. She has been studying, practicing, and teaching art for two decades and continues to draw her inspiration from her love of nature. Some of her hobbies are gardening, animal husbandry, foraging for wild food, fermenting and canning, making herbal medicine and dying with plants. She currently runs a handcrafted herbalism CSA from her urban farm in El Sobrante where she lives with her husband and sons, goats, chickens, bees and jersey milk cow.

Alice Duvernell
The Bee's Medicine Cabinet
Making Hydrosols From the Garden

Alice is an innovative cosmetic designer who helps people develop their own eco-friendly product lines. She has been teaching in the Bay area for the past 9 years and has developed curriculums in the domains of Botanical extraction and distillation, bee products, natural cosmetic emulsification and preserving systems. She studied ethno-botany at the Paris Sorbonne and subsequently created an “open house” laboratory in Brazil, where she taught and collaborated with indigenous people and university leaders in the field. Alice was motivated by her own experience of adult acne, where she found relief from botanicals, hydrosols, colloidal minerals and nutrients. This opened her heart to a passion for organic cosmetology, botanical extraction techniques and foods for beauty.
Kathleen Elliot & The Hillcrest Ranch
Olive Picking & Brining
Kathleen Elliot is the owner of the Hillcrest Ranch, where she produces organic extra-virgin olive oil, brined olives and olive oil soaps. The ranch is historic, part of a huge planting of olive tress dating back to the 19th century and its 6 acres now sits as an island atop Sunol's Pleasanton Ridge Park. Kathleen has a lifelong involvement in animal husbandry and plant sciences. She was a beekeeper for 30 years starting when she worked at the Bee Biology Center while a student of plant sciences at UC Davis. As well as her work on the ranch, Kathleen currently works as horticulturalist and landscape designer at Regan Nursery, where she regularly teaches pruning, edible landscaping and plant propagation. Further teaching experience includes teaching beekeeping, chicken husbandry and dairy goat management, cheese making and cooking to people of all ages through diverse organizations, from 4-H, to senior centers, to the UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens.
Jarrod Jayne
Home Cider Making
Jarrod is a home cook and fermenter that runs his own cooking school for kids. When not teaching food science and kitchen skills to kids, he is working on various fermentation projects at home. Jarrod makes cider, kombucha, sauerkraut, charcuterie, and any other thing he can get to ferment. Cider has been a passion for Jarrod for the last two years, initially starting as an avenue to cider vinegar. While playing with the flavors for his vinegars, Jarrod discovered a passion for making ciders to drink as well.
Jeannie McKenizie
Backyard Chickens
Urban Goat Dairy

Jeannie lives on a half acre homestead in Montclair that was the neighborhood's first chicken farm. She has been gradually reviving the old farmstead which now includes chickens, bees, and goats, an organic garden and many fruit trees. Jeannie is a circus artist, dancer, musician and teacher. She currently teaches music in a few elementary schools and plays with several bands around town. Jeannie has been involved in many aspects of homesteading and she’s excited to share her growing knowledge of and passion for backyard chicken farming.

Jim Montgomery
Bees & Cheese: Tasting Talk & Tour

Jim Montgomery is an East Bay native who has been raising livestock in urban settings for 30 years. He started with 26 guinea pigs at age twelve and quickly moved on to rabbits, pigeons and chickens. He started raising livestock to feed his pet Burmese python but he couldn't help feeding eggs and meat to his family as his menagerie grew. The soil in his mother's yard also improved greatly thanks to the animals' contributions. Jim volunteered at the Berkeley Free Clinic from 1981 to 2006.. He has a BA in Molecular Biology from UC Berkeley, which has fueled his interests in Public Health and Animal Husbandry. Since 1992 Jim teaches Math at Maybeck High School -- a small community-based, collectively run school. In 1995 Jim and a close friend purchased a large garden with a modest house attached in Berkeley. In 2001 Green Faerie Farm (as they call their home) acquired two Oberhasli dairy goats to add milk and cheese to the bounty of food coming from the garden. Jim is the lead animal handler while his farm partners Mateo and Roy take the lead with the plants. Jim enjoys teaching both young people and adults and hopes to inspire his community to decrease the distance their food travels to get to their table and to increase their food security by helping them bring more food production under their own control.

Jordan Reed
Small Flock Sheep Handling & Care
Intro to Small Flock Shearing

Jreed was born In Greenville, South Carolina,and moved to Sonoma County in the fall of 1998, Reed has extensive agricultural experience including horticulture and greenhouse production, landscaping, row crop and small scale organic food production, winery production work, raising poultry, dairy goats sheep and other livestock. Jordan is a certified sheep shearer specializing in small flock shearing and management since 2010. He is also well known as Jreed and his Mongrol Hoard, a Terrierman and his working pack of ratting terriers who together work to eradicate vermin and varmints, keeping poison off small farms.

Seth Peterson
Wielding the Knife
The Whole Pig
The Whole Lamb
Sausage Making
Made With Masa
Seth Peterson's passions are teaching and cooking. As a second generation urban gardener living in the heart of Berkeley, his love of gardening is a natural extension of his love of food, cooking, and eating in community passed on from his mother. His passion for teaching is fueled by fourteen years in Latin America, where he taught English and business. Since returning five years ago he has dedicated himself to working in East Bay restaurants and exploring the local foodshed. He enjoys combining his twin passions and experience to bring real local food to the people,giving them knowledge and skills to prepare it using traditional cooking techniques that are healthy and delicious.
Kitty Sharkey
Container & Raised Bed Gardening
is an urban homesteader, consultant, and educator who believes that “You don’t have to move to change the place you live.” After purchasing a foreclosed home in East Oakland, she began the process of transforming an empty yard into an urban oasis. She has since become a master of small space design and utilization, packing an entire urban farm into her 2,000 square foot back and side yards. Focusing on livestock, Kitty raises goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits, quail, and honeybees. She practices raised bed and container gardening with an emphasis on utilizing vertical space and water conservation. Aside from typical homesteading activities like gardening, preserving, cheese making, baking and brewing, Kitty also enjoys fishing and foraging for mushrooms and other wild edibles. With a degree in graphic arts, she has been in print production management for 34 years.
Tanya Stiller
The Bitter Truth:
Making and Mixing Homemade Bitters

Tanya Stiller
learned to make preserves, fruit leather and wine growing up on a small family farm in Eastern Oregon with her mother. She received her herbalism certificate in 1994 from The Oregon School of Herbal Medicine, ran a tincture and lotion-making company called Pixie Plants and has been teaching herbalism classes in Oregon and the Bay Area for the last 15 years. Tanya is passionate about studying and teaching permaculture, nutrition, and ethnobotany. She works as the Nutrition and Garden Coordinator at Rosa Parks Elementary School and lives at an intentional community house called Brigid Collective in West Berkeley.
Paul Taylor
Biochar for Urban Gardeners
Paul Taylor,
author of The Biochar Revolution: Transforming Agriculture and the Environment, graduated with the University Medal in physics from the University of NSW, received a PhD from University of Colorado, and worked at Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics, Oak Ridge National Labs, Harvard Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, NASA and MIT. He now lives in both Australia and the US, researching and presenting on biochar and climate change. Paul has presented papers in several international biochar conferences in Australia, US and Brazil and is a presenter for Beyond Zero Emissions, an exciting blueprint to provide 100% Renewable Energy for Australia within 10 years.