We will be working up a series of posts reflecting back on our first year of programs and gatherings here at Groundswell. We decided that we would start not at the beginning, but rather at the end of the year, with our most recent original program, the West Coast Communities Conference. This gathering was unique for us, in that it was both more workshop focused and also our only program not focused on the LGBTQ community (though plenty of the community was there). Read more
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.
I’ve got a Throwback Thursday post for y’all from last December.
After the significant rains of November I had decided to take a walk around camp with our Australian Shepard puppy Pansy documenting the changes to the land. I had originally wanted to do a detailed nature observation while walking through camp up to our pond, paying closer attention to life’s more minute details and capturing them in photo and description. Quickly after I began the walk I realized this would not be happening, foiled by the puppy presence.
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
January has seen a burst of activity at Groundswell. We wanted to hit the ground running and we sure have, holding two work parties in January alone. Our focus has been on building our new mobile chicken coop, which resembles a small house built on top of a trailer. Over a dozen folks came out between the two weekends to help our with the carpentry and some other tasks around the land, such as pruning our apple trees and demolishing a dangerously ramshackle shed. In between bursts of work we took time to hike around the land, play with the animals, and, of course, enjoy mimosas.
It has been a fascinating year interacting with five others to co-create a seriously amazing dream that we had all touched in our hearts for years prior to beginning meeting together in October 2013. Now we are living on a piece of land that we love, some full time and some part. And in both sharing living space and experiences and our frequent development meetings you can bet we are deep in the lusciously intimate and intense process of getting to know ourselves and one another better!
Groundswell is pleased to present its new website. This is now where you can stay in connection with what Groundswell is up to. Over time it will grow as our community and the Groundswell Institute grow themselves. For now, take a moment to look around at the different sections we have created and enjoy some of the spectacular photos of the land. This is an exciting time for us, as we are launching into our first full year on the land.
Check back often for updates to both our blog and our website content. And, make sure to sign up for the mailing list if you haven’t already so you can always be the first to know about Groundswell’s events and programs.