Sunday, December 20, 2009

Joel Salatin and Novella Carpenter

FEAST had the opportunity to meet two of our heroes in the last few weeks-- Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms in Virginia and Novella Carpenter who started an urban farm in downtown Oakland. We saw Joel at the Santa Barbara Public Library; a bit of a drive but definitely worth it. He is the farmer featured in Omnivore's Dilemma and Food Inc.. He described himself as a Libertarian, Environmentalist, Christian Lunatic. Those are not adjectives that I would typically attribute to being my "hero" but Joel had a lot to say about supporting small farmers, saving the environment and reconnecting with each other, food and the land. The main point he wanted to get across was the small, organic farms must abide by the same regulations as big corporate farms-- which often means buying hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment that really is not necessary when you are working on a smaller scale. This explains why food from small farms is often more expensive-- their output is nothing close to those of huge farms yet they are still expected to buy all the equipment necessary to process huge amount of food and on top of it they are not receiving the same types of subsidies as these large farms as they do not produce commodity crops. It was inspiring to hear someone with such a clear vision of a better world who spends every waking moment working toward creating that world.

Novella was inspiring in a similar way but was a very different type of person. We visited her farm in Oakland and got a personal tour of the garden and animals. She has about an eighth of an acre. Not much land but she packs it in. The gates to her garden are always open and her neighbors (many of whom could not afford to regularly buy greens in the supermarket) are encouraged to come a take what they would like. The garden itself would have given Bruce a heart-attack-- raised beds every which way and every size with all sorts of manure all over the place; definitely a chaotic type of beauty. The highlight was meeting her goats. She has three lovely female goats who provide milk and manure for the garden (which does not even need to be composted first!). She described slaughtering and "braising the hell" out of one goat that she had always found annoying. She will be teaching a course of raising rabbits for the table in March-- it would be cool if we could get some FEAST people there. Some ideas to take away from this morning. One, we should get goats and rabbits. Both produce great manure that does not even need to be composted. Two we should start planing more produce in all the beds. We could have a lot more diversity within each bed and a lot more output that way too.

FEAST feast pictures.

These are late. But better late than never.
We had a great meal and people made some pretty bomb contributions...quinoa with cauliflower, corn chowder, OX TAIL RAGOUT WITH HANDMADE PASTA, a great cheese platter, cornbread, a chocolate cake, salad from the garden (harvested 10 minutes before we ate), Asian pear with prosciutto and mint, a persimmon and celery salad and homemade eggnog. That is just the tip of it. Feast knows how to eat and obviously it was great.
Here are some pictures.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The FEAST feast is here.

Tonight. At 7 pm. In the UEP Building. We are having a feast. Please come and bring a dish to share.

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Everybody should come to this with me:

it's about making soil and how everything comes into the world hungry!
e-mail me at if you are interested in coming

Monday, December 7, 2009

Back to the land

Here is an interesting article about people moving back to rural agricultural areas to become more self-sufficient in the heat of the financial crisis.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Mayor Visiting the Campus

Mayor Villaraigosa is visiting the Oxy campus this Friday at 12:30 in the Morrison Lounge (one of the rooms off the Branca patio).
The premise of his visit is to hear student concerns on climate related issues as he will be at the Copenhagen climate conferences next week. Giulia and I (along with 7 or 8 other students) will be on the panel with the mayor to address land use and food sustainability.
What advice should we give the mayor?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


HI Election Posse
I'm sorry I did not inform you sooner but we do not have meeting today!
I'll be at the garden to answer any questions though :)