Farm Noir

Tuesday March 1, 2016
I’ve always been fascinated by detectives, the fantasy ones; the sly and slippery desperadoes of black and white; the colorful truth seekers of noir stories and films.  At heart, the lonely eye is in service, he will help you discover that which you most desperately want to know and he’ll do it for cheap.  I oftenIMG_4324 feel like a farmer-detective investigating the farmicopia of 21st century food.  I want to know the truth of a life dedicated toward food production and I’ll work for cheap.  It just so happens that food has been around for quite a while and that those in charge of its production models and distribution have power over those that don’t.  Attempting to farm now has its difficulties and they mirror those that existed way before organic was an issue.  Food is the heart of a civilization, and we live in an age of feed and fix, the heart is in cardiac arrest.  It’s the food and pharmaceutical 21st century.  It also turns out that before it becomes food, its alive and survives in a complex ecological and social relationship just like us.  To understand this is the job of the modern farmer.  Being a farmer-detective, my job at the Grange Farm School is to follow the leads provided by a team of fellow detectives.

Gratitude and Short History for the Granges

The Grange Farm School would like to extend a HUGE thank you tGrangeo the Aromas Grange and the Sebastopol Grange who joined Little Lake and Anderson Valley Granges by donating funds to our scholarship program. These Granges are actively empowering the next generation of food producers! We owe so much to our surrounding community and Granges for being the support and motivation needed to launch this school into its’ first few years.

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Nice to Meet You

Tuesday February 23, 2016
This is the first installment of my farm journal here at the Grange Farm School.  My name is Joshua Sternberg and I’ll be putting thoughts and observations to the page while farming apIMG_4213proximately an acre of land in Willits California, a small town filled with aged homesteaders, more recent urban expatriates, political dissidents, and passionate supporters of the next generation of food producers.  Our farm is on a historic ranch where an alternative lifestyle was forged during the era of conscientious objectors and Vietman. The alternative and conscientious continues amidst the spirit of John Jevon’s Golden Rule Garden run by Ecology Action and the fledgling force of the Grange Farm School.  There is a fervent feeling amongst all members of the community that we’re doing the good work that needs to be done.  With this history in my tail-wind I’m starboard forward into the sea of farming and activism.

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Fire Safety Tips and Tricks

It may be wet outside but in California, fire safety is always a priority. At the Grange Farm School, student tents come with a wood stove. When it’s cold (not that often) we burn a lot of wood, resulting in a lot of potential disasters. Today we had Little Lake Grange officer Mike Burgess give a lesson on fire efficiency, safety, and techniques.

One method he stressed is TOP DOWN. If you burn wood throughout the cold winter months, I highly encourage you to experiment with this method. The general idea is that you disregard everything anyone ever told you about how to build a fire i.e. log cabin, teepee…and instead put your big logs on the bottom, newspaper on top of that, and then kindling above the newspaper. This all may seem counterintuitive but it is actually the most efficient way to make a fire. Continue reading

On Building a Box

Eva King is an over wintering intern at the Grange Farm School

It’s winter time at the Grange Farm School and it has been raining non-stop. With California being in a pretty serious drought, I’m not allowed to complain, especially to the farmers. This El Nino is welcomed here and it’s making itself so at home, it is literally inside of my home. I live in a canvas wall tent, 10 by 12 feet, raised on a platform and complete with a wood burning stove. Its a pretty cozy lifestyle but the chimney top was installed a little crooked so water began building up and then there was a hole in the ceiling and the outside quickly became the inside. My tent looked little like a scene from Jumanji or more accurately, how my father imagines I’m living: outside, wet, muddy, and cold.  Continue reading

Happy Holistic New Year!

With new years resolutions just beginning to sink in, we encourage you to add another: to think holistically, act holistically, and manage your land holistically. If you want to learn more about holistic management, there are some really incredible opportunities coming up including more from Holistic Management International, and a collaborative workshop between the Savory Institute’s  Jefferson Hub with Mark Shepard, famed for his work in restoration agriculture. 

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Holiday Giving… or Friendly Lending

The Grange Farm School works to improve the future of farming by training the next generation of farmers.  We recognize how important community support is in that endeavor, and are constantly stressing the fact that a network is key to success in farming.

From the moment of this school’s inception, there has been a herculean amount of help from the community, families, and friends. This school would not be possible without the expanding team of people involved. We’d like to take this time, around the holidays and new year, to thank every one of those people — small and large contributors alike – that helped us through 2015 and launched us towards a productive 2016.

With this in mind, we’d like to share the work of another incredible non-profit, Kiva and KivaZip. Continue reading