Kitchen Table Talks: Urban Homesteading in SF on 1/19 | Civil Eats

Kitchen Table Talks: Urban Homesteading in SF on 1/19

Happy New Year and welcome back for more Kitchen Table Talks, the monthly conversation series about the American food system. Many thanks to all of you who participated in our discussions in 2009 and we look forward to a fruitful and inspiring year of exchanging knowledge and ideas and building community with you. We’re excited to kick off 2010 with a conversation on Urban Homesteading on Tuesday, January 19 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at our new location in San Francisco’s Mission district at Viracocha, 998 Valencia St. at 21st St.

As the good food movement grows and urban farming heroes like Growing Power’s Will Allen and Oakland’s own Novella Carpenter pave the way, we will explore the surge towards City self-sufficiency, including growing and preserving your own food; raising chickens and goats; keeping bees and worms; composting, installing greywater and rainwater catchment systems; and a whole host of other DIY activities.

Please join us for a rousing discussion with a few outstanding local urban homesteaders who will share their experiences, insights, and ideas:

Kevin Bayuk is an activated advocate for ecotopian living, whose 3,000 sq. ft. backyard in the Haight is home to some 300 species of fruits and vegetables, ducks, worms, and greywater and composting systems. Kevin serves on the Board of Directors for the Urban Alliance for Sustainability, and teaches with the Urban Permaculture Institute, Urban Permaculture Guild, and UC Berkeley Extension and Earth Activist Training.

Heidi Kooy is a former anthropologist turned small business owner. Her City farming adventures are detailed in her blog, Itty Bitty Farm in the City. She gardens, cooks, cans, preserves, and tends to her collection of small livestock, including chickens and goats in her 1,000 sq. ft. backyard in the Excelsior.

Davin Wentworth-Thrasher is a San Francisco native and co-founder of the Ecology Center of San Francisco, a grassroots non-profit that cultivates community through designing and building experiential, ecological education spaces in SF schools and community gardens. Davin leads workshops on ecological gardening, urban homesteading, natural building, appropriate technology and more. Baking bread, making cheese, butter, and yogurt, caring for ducks, chickens, and honeybees, and foraging for uncultivated foods are a weekly passion for him.

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In 2008, Davin experimented with a low consumption lifestyle by living in a tent in his 1250 sq. ft. backyard in the Sunset; using rocket stoves and solar ovens; consuming less than five gallons of water a day; and relying on an outdoor shower, greywater system, and a composting toilet to save and reuse water.

We’re also excited to announce our new, permanent location at Viracocha, a new antique store/art gallery/performance, educational, and community space. We are extremely grateful to Jonathan Siegel for his support of KTT and we know that many of you will appreciate the convenient Mission location.

Kitchen Table Talks is a joint venture of CivilEats and 18 Reasons, a non-profit that promotes conversation between its San Francisco Mission neighborhood and the people who feed them. Space is limited, so please RSVP to or leave a message at 925.785.0713. A $10 suggested donation is requested at the door, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Sustainable food and refreshments will be provided, courtesy of Bi-Rite Market and Shoe Shine Wines

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Naomi Starkman is the founder and editor-in-chief of Civil Eats. She was a 2016 John S. Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford. Naomi has worked as a media consultant at Newsweek, The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, GQ, WIRED, and Consumer Reports magazines. After graduating from law school, she served as the Deputy Executive Director of the City of San Francisco’s Ethics Commission. Naomi is an avid organic gardener, having worked on several farms.  Read more >

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  1. The success and growth of the direct to consumer 'farmers markets' actually promotes the category of produce and educates consumers on incorporating fresh fruit and vegetables as part of their diet. The trips to the farmers market are often fun, exciting, educational, entertaining, and tasty! This growth is directly supporting the growth of produce sales in the United States via traditional retailers for a myriad of reasons.
    A solid group of American consumers are seeking diversion and entertainment when visiting the ‘farmers markets.’ Americans enjoy farm direct and purchase it at times but they also have lives to lead and need the ability to purchase their food quickly, efficiently, when they want, and convenient for their drive home not wanting to drive extra miles or minutes. Already, I am seeing traditional retailers take this information and apply it their produce sections by having similar fun, entertaining, events inside grocery stores.
    The ‘farmers market’ is like a big sampling and learning event that is assisting with the teaching and sharing the beauty of produce. These consumers then pick up more produce on their next grocery store shopping trip. Look at the growth of produce sales in this nation and you will see an extra $5 billion in just the last few years alone and Americans are spending 10% more of their food dollar on produce.
    The ‘farmers markets’ are doing a great service for the American food system and Americans diets with traditional grocery stores enjoying much of the benefit. In the future, you will be seeing more of the success marketing tactics of ‘farmers markets’ incorporated into traditional stores.

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