February is a funny month for us here at the Institute. We are simultaeneously super busy and not busy at all. On the one hand we are working diligently every day to set things in motion for a fabulous 2013 season, on the other hand the garden is still quiet and classes are few. In other words, things are brewing. And indeed, this is a great time of year for it, both literally and figuratively. I personally just brewed up a few gallons of honey wine, but fermenting vegetables is great this time of year as well. The cool even temperatures make for a slow and steady fermentation. Other things are brewing as well...what do you want to grow this year? What do you want to learn? It is the time of year for planning and scheming, pouring over seed catalogs and dreaming up your year.
Get Ready for the New Season
Our full 2013 schedule will be officially online and open for registration February 20th. We've got lots of new and exciting offerings as well as our core curriculum. You can get a sneak peak on our website by clicking on the calendar. Some of the classes are already posted--just remember that GREY boxes mean you cannot actually sign up for that class yet We'll be sending out a rare mid-month newsletter to let you know when those grey boxes have turned to green!
Winter Session Classes
You may not be quite ready for gardening, but our winter class offerings are designed to get you on your way for spring. Coming up in the next few weeks, you can learn fun stuff with fruit trees including grafting, winter pruning techniques and the down-low on bare root fruit tree selection and care. We also have a mid-winter session of our intro to fermentation, Ferment! and another round of our Winter Cheesemaking Intensive (boy,did we eat well at the last one!). For those of you who are hand-craft minded, please join me in my studio to learn everything you need to get started making gorgeous one-of-a-kind mosaics like the two table tops pictured at the end of the email below.
Intermship Applications Due February 15th
If you have ever wanted to see behind the scenes of running a small organization on a shoestring or want the opportunity to attend LOTS of our classes, please consider applying for our 9 month internship:
Three Springs Administrative Internship March 15-December 15, 2013 Deadline for applicaton: February 15, 2013Our nine month internship gives you a good sense of the flow and work required to run a small non-profit. You will be involved in learning to manage some of the day to day aspects of running IUH as well as mentorship in a specific area such as grantwriting, promotion or outreach. In addition you will attend many classes and events as a representative of the school. A great opportunity to expand both your small business skills and homesteading knowledge. This internship requires your availability Wednesday mornings as well as some weekend days and weekday evenings.
Here's what one of our current interns has to say about the experience "This year was professionally and personally transformative. I learned about running a grass-roots organization with integrity and creativity, met many gifted people and got to attend a lot of amazing classes. A deep well of knowledge and experience"
Download Application for Spring Internship
Permaculture Principle #11
Use Edges and Value the Marginal
"Don't think you are on the right-track just because it is a well-beaten path"
Things get interesting at edges and transitions--think of what goes on at the edge of a creek bed (riparian zone) or the ocean (tidal pools). A example of this principle can be seen in the use of the keyhole bed in permaculture garden design. A keyhole has many more nooks and crannies than a square bed. This enables you to reach everything, but also to get creative with the shape, layout and placement of your plants. Interesting ideas also seem to flow from the margins of our culture towards the center (rock and roll, organic agriculture, the Detroit farming rennaissance), Subcultures often offer up the most inventive, intelligent and creative solutions. For example, though we may also see it as a double-edged sword, with the internet we are at an amazing time historically in terms of information coming from the edge into broader consciousness. This can be seen in the huge popularity of viral phenomenon like YouTube where ideas can catch fire from the furthest outbacks of our culture. Finally, I am sure you have called something "edgy" or used the expression, "that's my edge." The work of change and transformation seems to happen most at the edge of our comfort zone. Change can be uncomfortable, because it is new and unfamiliar and requires stepping into unknown territory, where we don't know what will happen. So, what is your learning edge for 2013?
Still Looking for Farm Tour Sites
We are still looking for willing participants in North Berkeley, Albany, ElCerrito, Richmond and El Sobrante? Could it be you or someone you know. Please let us know! We like to see animals, vegetables, fruit, composting systems and other green design features such as greywater, rainwater catchment, natural building, mushroom growing or.....? Featured "farmers" should feel comfortable talking to the public and receive a split of the donations.
Urban Orchard Care: Winter Pruning
Saturday February 9, 10am-1pm
This hands-on class will cover the basics of reconstruction, aesthetic and fruit tree pruning. Participants will practice assessment and pruning skills, as well as some common insect and disease identification. We will also discuss seasons for pruning, tree anatomy, and best installment practices. Bring hand tools if you have them. Class is outdoors. Raindate: Same time following weekend.
Bare Root: Selection & Planting of Your Urban Orchard
Saturday February 9, 2013 2pm-4:30pm
Enjoy the amazing taste of fresh sun ripened fruit from your own backyard! This course will lead you through selection and planting and general care of fruit trees and berries., including consideration of site selection, planting techniques, tricks for maximizing fruit production in small spaces and best varieties for our East Bay climate.
Cheese Making Intensive
Saturday February 16 12noon-6pm & Sunday February 17 10am-2pm
Cost:$160 -200 includes supplies
This two-day intensive course will cover everything you need to get started making simple cheeses that are easily created in a home environment. We will learn about cultures, equipment, ingredients and cheesemaking concepts and will work with both cow & goat milk to complete a number of cheesemaking projects including: Yogurt, Yogurt Cheese, Feta, Ricotta, Brie, Buttermilk, Sour Cream, Chevre, Mozarella and Cultured Butter. We will also learn about the hard cheese process. You will receive hand-outs outlining the major concepts, recipes and resources to help you along once you try your hand at home. Each day will culminate in a community feast in which we share food, sample the cheeses and enjoy the friends we have made working together through the weekend. This course is the equivalent of Cheesemaking 101, 102 & 103 together.
Dormant Season Fruit Tree Grafting
Saturday February 23, 2013 10am-1pm
$25-45 plus $10 supply fee
Grafting is a wonderful way to make more from less in a small urban orchard and begin to explore the joy of variety in fruiting plants. In this class we will learn and practice methods which may be used for grafting dormant scion (cuttings) onto both rootstock and mature trees. You will gain an understanding of plant propagation and the role of grafting, the basic science of grafting, which fruits which are compatible, which take to grafting more readily and tools needed. We will then get hands on practice and each participant will go home with at least two grafted apple trees.
Ferment! Lacto-Fermenting for Flavor & Health
Saturday February 23, 2013 1-4 pm
Cost: $35-65 plus $5 supply fee to be paid on day of class
Fermenting foods is a healthful and amazingly easy way to preserve and enhance the flavor and nutrition of food. Sadly some of the healthier ferments have passed out of common usage because they are impractical for commercial production. In this class we will learn about different types of fermentation and cultures including pickling vegetables, ginger beer, traditional sodas and more. We will learn how to preserve food with lactic fermentation, a technique which requires neither canning nor vinegar (includes fresh sauerkraut and kim chee) and will prepare one lacto-fermented soda and one fermented veggie medley. Kombucha and traditional yeast soda will also be discussed and demonstrated if there is time. Along with your supply fee there will be a short list of readily available supplies to bring with you. Everyone will bring home goodies.
Made BY Hand: Mosaic Making Intensive
Saturday March 3, 10am-4pm, Sunday March 24 10am-1pm
$200 supplies included limit to 5 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.