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Mad Skills for Urban Self-Sufficiency

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Fiber & Handcraft
Foraging & Wildcrafting
Homemade Health & Beauty
Permaculture & Ecology

Fibers & Handcrafts


Holiday Gift Making: Wet Felting Winter Scarves
Saturday December 3, 2016 12noon-4pm
Instructor: Becca Wetherby

Location: North Oakland

cost: $40-80 plus supply fee TBA
In this class, you will learn the basics of wet felting while making your very own hand-felted winter scarf. This class provides a comprehensive introduction to the art of felting, or combining layers of wool fibers into one flat piece of felt fabric. Felt is unique in that it is not made by weaving or knitting, does not require converting the fibers to yarn, and is the oldest form of fabric known to mankind. Join us for a fun exploration of this ancient craft, and leave with a felted scarf to keep you cozy this winter (or to give as a one-of-a-kind handmade gift). Please wear comfortable shoes and clothing that you don't mind getting wet.

Made BY Hand: Mosaic Making Intensive
Saturday March 19 10-4 pm & Sunday March 20 10am-1pm 2016
Instructor: K.Ruby Blume

Location: North Oakland

cost:$225 supplies included limit to 6 participants
A thorough introduction to the wonderful world of mosaic tile setting. We’ll learn about substrates, adhesives and tools, options for materials including ceramic tile, glass and found materials, cutting and setting techniques, grout and how to use it. Each participant will create a finished 12 x 12 mosaic. Small class size and personalized instruction.

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Foraging & Wildcrafting

Field to Table: Spring Foraging & Feast at SoulFlower Farm
Saturday April 30, 2016 10am-1pm
Host: Maya Blow
Location: El Sobrante
Cost: $40-80 sliding scale plus $10 for lunch
Join farmer, herbalist and permaculturist Maya Blow on a spring tour of SoulFlower Farm to learn about the common weeds and native wild plants that are safely harvested to eat. We will identify and taste both urban weeds and native East Bay edibles and learn which wild foods are best to eat raw in a salad, cooked into a soup, or used as medicinal tea. We’ll talk about wild food safety, proper harvesting, processing and recipes for the free spring bounty our coastal climate offers. Following the tour and talk students will be served a wonderful lunchtime feast prepared from Spring foraged foods.

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Homemade Health & Beauty

Animal First Aide for the Urban Homestead
Saturday October 15, 2016 1pm-4pm

Instructor: Becca Wetherby
Location: North Oakland
$40-80 sliding scale
Learn how to administer emergency first aid to your pets and backyard animals, some simple natural home remedies for minor ailments, how to assemble your own farm first aid kit, and even what to do if you find injured wildlife. Covering first aid for dogs, cats, rabbits, and chickens, this class will better prepare you for an animal medical emergency so that you can avoid feelings of panic that may accompany such a situation, and possibly even save your animal's life before you can get to a veterinarian.

Herbal Medicine Demystified
Saturday February 27, 2016 10am-4pm
Instructor: K.Ruby Blume
Location: North Oakland
Cost: $60-90
sliding scale plus $12 supply fee
This course will give you a introduction and overview of the herbal medicine making process. We'll learn about plant constituents and actions, get an overview of different herbal products that can be easily made at home including salves, slathers, tinctures, teas, poultices and decoctions. We'll learn about local sources for herbs as well as a brief introduction to harvesting, drying and storing your own. Then we'll visit and learn about some of the medicinal plants available locally — both wild and those grown easily in the garden. While we will not go in depth on every plant (that would be a year long course), we will learn about a few useful 'starter' plants and go home with a sampling of remedies for common maladies. We'll learn about useful references and how to decipher them to become more proficien and confidentpurchasing, making and using herbal remedies at hme.

Lather 101:
Sunday September 18, 2016 10am-12noon

Instructor: K.Ruby Blume
Location: North Oakland
Cost: $40-75
sliding scale plus $10 supply fee to be paid in cash on day of class
Making soap is so much fun! Join Serena Bartlett, travel author and DIY maven to learn the cold process method for making soap. You'll learn about the different types of bar soaps, how to balance your fats and alkalines with solid ratios, attributes of different plant oils, and fun things to add for various benefits like exfoliation or extra moisturizing. Then we'll walk through the process of making a batch of soap. We'll learn techniques for measuring and mixing, how to safely work with sodium hydroxide (lye), options for molding and details of the curing process . As an extra bonus we'll see how to turn these cold process bar soaps into liquid hand soap or shower gel, and you'll go home with samples and a cool recipe zine. Make bar formother's Day (session 1) or to give as holiday gifts (session 2)

The BItter Truth: Making & Mixing Homemade Bitters
TBA Fall 2016
Instructor: Tanya Stiller
Location: Berkeley
Cost: $40-70
sliding scale plus $10 supply fee in cash on day of class
Come learn the basic methods of small-batch artisanal bitter brewing. Experiment with differenct flavor profiles and fashion your own signature blend while learning several tried and true recipies. We will discuss the medicinal benefits of bitter herbs, spices and botanicals, and the digestive issues they can help remedy. We will go into the history of apertifs, digestifs and consider what cocktails and beverages pair best with different bitters. Come get your Mixology on.

The Bee’s Medicine Cabinet: Cosmetic and Herbal Preparations from the Hive
Sunday October 2nd 10am-2pm
Instructor: Alice Duvernall
Location: North Oakland
Cost: $45-85 sliding scale plus $10 supply fee

Students will Learn about the extraordinary properties of royal jelly, propolis, pollen, honey and beeswax. These raw materials are not only an untapped source for beauty, good health, and a strong immune system, they are also powerful ingredients to add to cosmetic and medicinal formulation for their anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, remineralizing and rejuvenating properties. Students will take home a 6 oz. herbal infused honey and thorough hand-outs.

Making Hydrosols From the Garden
Sunday October 2, 2016 2pm-6pm
Instructor: Alice Duvernall
Location: North Oakland
Cost: $50-90 sliding scale plus $10 supply fee

Hydrosols are pure plant distillates that have a wide variety of uses in culinary, medicinal and cosmetic applications. They can be used in beverages, deserts and main courses. They tone and hydrate the skin helping to alleviate conditions such as rashes, burns and insect bites. They even work with mood and emotions, calming the mind and soothing fatigue. After sampling and learning the properties of several hydrosols and other culinary distillates, students will learn to craft their own hydrosols from scratch using plants from the garden and readily accessible kitchen tools. This will include step-by-step information on how and when to pick plants, manufacturing and sterilization process, PH levels, blending and bonus recipes. Participants will take home a 4 oz. bottle of freshly made hydrosol, a custom made, hydrosol based, facial mask and a hand-out detailed the process and recipes.

Using Seaweed for Food & Health
Wednesday November 16, 6:30-9pm
Instructor: Becca Wetherby
Cost $40-70
sliding scale plus $12 supp;y fee to be paid to instructor on the day of class

Celebrated by many to be a "superfood" due to its high nutrient content, seaweed is a sustainable food source that requires no land, fertilizer, pesticides, or fresh water. In this class you will learn the benefits of including this fascinating food in your diet, the most common types of edible seaweed, where to buy them, how to use and store them and tips on incorporating seaweed into your meals. We'll talk about the basics of wild harvesting, how to identify some of the edible seaweeds that can be foraged locally, and you'll get a chance to sample some seaweed dishes you can easily make at home.

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Permaculture & Ecology

Biochar for Urban Gardeners: Soil Fertility and Eco-Resilience
Instructor:Paul Taylor
Location: Fruitvale
Cost: $40-70
sliding scale
Come learn about the multiple benefits of Biochar for home-scale gardeners and commercial and small-scale land use. Biochar is a 2,000 year-old practice that converts agricultural waste into a soil enhancer that can hold carbon, boost food security and mitigate climate change. The process creates a fine-grained, highly porous charcoal that helps soils retain nutrients and water. Biochar is found in soils around the world as a result of vegetation fires and native soil management practices. In this presentation Paul Taylor, author of The Biochar Revolution will discuss the specific benefits of using biochar in agriculture as well as potential global benefits through more widespread use. We'll learn how to build simple devices for making biochar at home and we'll see one of these devices in action. We'll also learn how to blend and apply biochar to enhance soil fertiility in the garden as well as how it can be used in vermiponics, aquaponics and hydroponics. Copies of the book, The Biochar Revolution will be available for purchase as well as small Biochar ovens.

Native Bees & Native Plants: Pollination to the People

Sunday October 1 2016 10am-1pm
Instructor: K.Ruby Blume
Location: North Oakland
Cost: $40-70
sliding scale
This is an introduction to pollination ecology, the wild world of bees and pollinator friendly gardening for folks who are curious and want to nurture an awareness for these beloved hardworking critters. There are over 25,000 species of bees worldwide, 4000 in the US and 1000 in California. We will learn about the lifecycles and biology of honey bees, and native bees, the differences between the two, the special relationship between bees and flowers and what you can provide to support more bee and insect life in your garden. We learn to how to tell the difference between a bee, a wasp and a fly and how to identify a few of our local native bees. We will also introduce the idea of api-centric beekeeping and offer possibilities for natural beekeeping. We'll taste some honey, observe both honey bees and native bees at work, and get the lowdown on Colony Collapse Disorder.

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