URBAN FARM TOURS
Madison Street Postage Stamp, Albany
Host: Catherine Sutton
Lot: 3,300 sf 800 square feet 28%
Small is beautiful. This postage stamp sized food forest is an example of just how much can be produced in a tiny space. The permaculture-inspired no-dig design experiments with maximizing use of onsite resources (greywater, rainwater, sunlight, chicken poop) and minimum effort while rejuvenating the soil. Seven fruit trees, five kinds of berries, roots, leafy greens, herbs and vegetable polycultures, populate the tiny garden as well as a handbuilt earthen chicken house and two lovely hens. Host Catherine Sutton is one of the movers and shakers at Transition Town Albany and would love to share a bit of the hopefulness that springs from the Transition Town movement.
Richmond Grows, Richmond
Host: Rebecca Newburn
Lot: 4000 sq. ft Approximate square footage in agricultural/farm use: 2400 sq. ft Chicken coop and run: 150 sq. ft 64%
Sited in the heart of urban Richmond the Richmond Grows Garden includes about 4000 gallons of rainwater catchment, a chicken coop and run, beehives, 2 greywater systems (washer and shower), and edible landscaping in front, side and back. The permaculture-inspired landscape includes 15 food producing trees and supplies most of the vegetables for the household. The intention of the design is to create a beautiful and sustainable homestead that provides nourishing food, habitat and inspires others to do likewise. Host Rebecca Newburn is the instigator of the Richmond Grows Seed Library and will have seeds and information about seed saving to share.
Heart & Soil Li’l Farm, Richmond
Host: Kelli Barram
Lot: 6000 sq ft Area farmed: 4800 Percentage:80%
Heart & Soil Li’l Farm utilizes 80% of the land around the house as an "edible forest" aimed at producing a year round food and medicinal resource for humans and animals alike. Its design also prioritizes creating spaces that serve as a tranquil oasis. Kelli strives to creatively repurpose and reuse materials while establishing a bio-diversity in line with permaculture principles. In addition to over 100 vegetable, herb and fruit species, this 5 year old garden incorporates drip irrigation, a three phase composting system, creative bamboo structures, a small nursery/propagation area, lots of bird and insect attracting flowers and habitats, small scale water catchment, chickens, rabbits (2 who are pets and fertilizer producers), and worms. Heart and Soil accommodates two adults, two kids, and a dog.
Hillside Bounty, El Ceritto
Host: Simone Dippon
Lot: 10,454 sf ( just under ¼ acre) 1/3 to 1/2 agricultural usage on hill fairly steep hill side.
Hillside Bounty features a 13 year old terraced edible landscape located on a double lot in suburban El Cerrito. There is a year round vegetable garden in two raised beds, chickens which play an integral role in returning nutrients to nitrogen-depleted soil and a “laundry to landscape” greywater system. A lush orchard pouring down the hillside provides fresh fruit for seven months of the year and includes blueberries, raspberries, plums, nectarines, peaches, apricots, cherries, a variety of citrus trees, grapevines, and apple trees, all selected for maxiumum production for our climate. A special feature of Hillside Bounty is the fluctuating population of honeybees which are much beloved by the hosts and make their home in several different alternative hive systems including a modified top bar hive and several Warre hives also called “the people’s hive.” Utilizing natural materials, creating quiet space, recycling, composting, grafting, pruning and baking in an outdoor bread oven are all part of the daily lives of the human inhabitants of Hillside Bounty.
Villa Sobrante, El Sobrante
Lot: 10,800 square foot (1/4 acre) approx 5000 sq. ft in cultivation
Host: Massey Burke
Villa Sobrante is a small urban farm with a focus on construction and remodeling using natural earth friendly materials. Started by four natural builders in their 30s, the former crack house property has served as a vibrant research lab for natural building techniques. The property includes three earthen cottages, the very first permitted light-straw-clay remodel in the area and many elaborately decorated earthen landscape walls. Representing a wild array of techniques and materials most of the structures were built using some of the soil onsite. As well as the beauty and diversity of the hand-built structures Villa Sobrante hosts a full vegetable garden, mature fruit trees, timber bamboo, a cob oven, a large rainwater catchment system, ducks and chickens. Come learn about natural building in the urban fabric and hear how the folks at Villa Sobrante are working with officials to get natural building permitted throughput the county.
Happy Lot Farm & Garden, Richmond
Size 14,000 sq ft. (1/3 acre)
Area Farmed: Currently about 1/3 of the total area is utilized, spread out over the whole lot
Host: Andromeda Brooks
Happy Lot Farm and Garden, located in the Iron Triangle neighborhood of Richmond and still less than two years old is a testament to what one person with vision and will can accomplish. Once the site of section 8 housing the lot sat empty, an eyesore full of weeds for many long years. Then neighbor Andromeda Brooks decided to take action. In less than 2 years the site has a small fruit orchard, 17 planting areas--mostly raised beds made from scavenged materials such as pallets and cinder blocks, a whimsical curved greenhouse built from scavenged and earthen building materials (co-created with Massey Burke of Vlla Sobante--also on our tour) , a beautiful mural in progress, a beehive and a chicken coop-all ready for its chickens. All this was accomplished with elbow grease and scavenged or donated materials. Happy Lot is an open source farm. Neighbors and friends are welcome to join in the effort and the gate is open 24/7 for folks to harvest what they need. Beyond the offer of food in exchange for volunteering, Happy Lot proudly offers "landfill diversion," gardening classes and volunteer opportunities for a variety of neighborhood and civic groups. Farmer Andromeda was recently recognized by the city of Richmond for "Distinguished Service to the Community."
Soul Flower Farm, El Sobrante
Lot size: 2 ½ acres Approximate area farmed: ½ acre Approximate area for livestock: ½ acre percentage used for farming: 40%
Hosts: Maya Blow and Nevada Cross
Soul Flower Farm is an oasis of green nestled in the hills of El Sobrante. Down a narrow drive that feels like a dirt road heading into the country you will find yourself surrounded on all sides by mature fruit trees, towering violet artichokes and a long hillside field stretching before you. Soul Flower Farm strives to incorporate biodynamic farming methods and permaculture design to be self-sustaining. In less than three years they have transformed an overgrown weedy hillside into a productive homestead. They have many established fruit trees, an herb garden, a variety of livestock, and an apiary. In additional to the usual kitchen veggies they have masses of squash –over 100 plants and they are experimenting with grain crops like amaranth and quinoa. SoulFlower farmers have big plans to bridge city and country economics . They have explored community food sharing by creating an ongoing homemade food co-op and are in the process of planning their market garden and CSA. . Soul Flower Farm offers classes, scheduled tours, and hosts monthly community work parties.
ART & REFRESHMENTS ~ FREE ENTRY ALL DAY
Casa Bella Art Farm , Richmond
Host: Lauren Ari
Situated quite close to Heart & Soil and Richmond Grows, we thought it would be fun to include this vibrant art garden on the tour for your respite, repast and relaxation. Home to the Ari family the Casa Bella Art Farm grows one-of-a-kind whimsical artworks from clay, paint and wild imagination. This small kitchen garden that grows some family vegetables is also filled to the brim with sculpture, painting and delightful nooks and crannies to find rest. Check out the fantastical art works for sale at prices that fit any pocketbook and enjoy a cup of homemade soup and lemonade (entrance to the art farm is free of charge, a donation is requested for enjoying some food).
URBAN FARM TOURS RAFFLE PRIZES
Private Tour and A Meal at Beegrrl Gardens
Beegrrl Gardens, at the home of IUH founder, K.Ruby Blume, features over 200 species of fruit, vegetables, flowers, culinary and medicinal herbs, rabbits, quail, bees, mushrooms greywater and more. This prize includes a tour of the site and a small repast for two made from foods produced on site.
Private Tour & Cheese Tasting at Green Faerie Farm
Green Faerie Farm features a full vegetables garden, fruit trees and a working goat dairy on a double lot in Berkeley. This prize includes a private tour and cheese tasting for 2.
Farm Tour Goodie Basket
A basket full to the brim with farm fresh veggies, eggs, honey, mead and a copy of our Urban Homesteading book
Local Honey From One of our Farm Tour Farmers
Honey from Beegirl Gardens or Hillside Bounty
A Dozen Eggs from One of Our Farm Tour Farmers
Eggs from Soul Flower Farm
Hand Made Healing Salve
From Richmond Grows Demonstration Garden
Seed pack (x2)
A dozen varieties of locally grown and saved anuual seeds suited to our area, including several varieties if tomato, snap peas, beams, and lettuce.
Check back for more prizes soon!