K.Ruby Blume (founder, director, faculty)
Ruby is an educator, gardener, beekeeper, author, artist, and activist. As a life-long learner and hardcore generalist, she has studied everything from permaculture design to sewing machine repair and has taught herself canning, fermentation and cheesemaking 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, coaching and sheep shearing. She has studied native plants, botany, pollination ecology, soil ecology and micro-biology. She has extensive experience in the arts including work with ceramic, mosaic, glass, textile, printmaking, puppetry, collage, assemblage, costume design and photography. and is known for her work as founder and artistic director of the art for justice project, Wise Fool Puppet Intervention. 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 (with Rachel Kaplan, 2011). Ruby currently lives on 22 acres outside of Grants Pass. OR where she grows vegetables, fruits, flowers and herbs and cares for cows, sheep, rabbits, chickens, dogs, cats, finches, doves, pigeons and bees.
Chef Seth Peterson, a local lader (faculty, administrative support)
Seth is a second generation urban farmer, who grew up among chickens and mulch piles, and then went on to gain his wealth of knowledge and culinary experience living, working and cooking in the U.S., Mexico & Brazil over the last 30 years. Upon returning home to Berkeley to take over his mother’s urban organic garden, he came across permaculture, holistic management and regenerative agriculture, which gave him a framework to bring his many seemingly disparate beliefs into a coherent system and more wisely apply them to regenerate our neighborhoods, our society and our culture, and to do so at the dinner table. To do so through one of our most treasured cultural activities, through growing, cooking and eating food. Currently, he combines his twin passions, cooking and teaching, while he cooks in community, re-skills people and connects them to great local farms and ranches. Seth teaches and consults both nationally and internationally, as he delves deeper and deeper into this endless endeavor, his life’s work.
Jeannie McKenizie (faculty)
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, urban goats and making artisan goat cheese.