The Queer Menagerie: A Glimpse into the Livestock Internship

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photo credit: Kegan Marling

As I reflect on my five months here at Groundswell, it is clear to me that this was a place that I had been calling for both consciously and unconsciously for most of my life. After working on and off in the South Bay since 2009 on a 1600-acre farm and wilderness preserve called Hidden Villa, I found myself craving queer spaces that integrated farming, community, and social activism. Groundswell seemed to be that place, a perfect fusion of both farming and intentional queer space.

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Bees & Cheese at Groundswell

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Bees & Cheese
Talk, Tour & Tasting
Sunday April 3, 2016 2-5pm

Join BeeRepair at Groundswell for an afternoon farm experience. You’ll get a tour of the layered animal systems  which include alpacas, llamas, goats, chickens and rabbits, followed by a talk on honeybees and native pollinators, and finishing with a meet and greet and tasting with farm fresh snacks including cultured butter, cheese, jam, honey and mead. $10-25 sliding scale, no one turned away for lack of funds. Purchase tickets in advance at iuhoakland.com or at the door. Friends from out of town can stay for dinner and sleep overnight at Groundswell on a donation basis, RSVP for overnight stays appreciated.

BeeRepair, a project of natural Beekeeper K.Ruby Blume, promotes the health and well being of honey bees and native bees through education, consultation and hands-on services. Learn more at BeeRepair.com.

K.Ruby Blume is a beekeeper, educator, gardener author and artist working 100% treatment free in alternative hive systems since 1997. Ms Blume is founder and director of The Institute of Urban Homesteading and co-author of the book Urban Homesteading: Heirloom Skills for Sustainable Living Ms Blume lives, loves & farms on 1/10th of an acre in Oakland CA.

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Livestock Internship Available At Groundswell

Though we are just completing our first year in residence we have a thriving livestock program cultivated by DoubleSnake (né Jim Montgomery) who managed the livestock at Green Faerie Farm (an urban homestead) in Berkeley for 20 years. Jim is a faculty member of the Institute of Urban Homesteading based in Oakland, California.

Many of the animals at Groundswell came with DoubleSnake from Green Faerie Farm. Dairy goats, meat rabbits, a rat terrier and a flock of laying chickens traveled from Berkeley to Groundswell. In recent months, they have been joined by a herd of alpacas, a flock of guinea fowl, and two pigs. We also have two guardian llamas, a guardian Great Pyrenees and Australian Shepherd.

With all the animal activities at Groundswell; we are able to offer an internship position working with the livestock. (details after the link)IMG_0139

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Completion of the Poultry Palace

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There’s a fierce new gang at Groundswell – the chickens have arrived and are laying up a storm. We recently completed our mobile chicken coop, nicknamed the poultry palace, and wasted no time in filling it up with clucking friends. It took about two months and many skilled hands to finish our beautiful avian abode, but now she is sitting proud in the soccer field (the site of our future farm). Twenty six fowl joined us in total. They were previously being raised at Green Faerie Farm, the current home of our member DoubleSnake. Jim Montgomery, or DoubleSnake, is our main livestock maven at Groundswell and has been responsible for bringing us many of our new critters. He was the visionary and designer behind the poultry palace, and will be moving out to Groundswell full time in June.  Read more