How To Homestead

For a slice of the homemade life, check out the short documentary films on How to Homestead – a rural-cum-urban project run by Melinda Stone, co-founder of StoneLake Farm and associate professor in the media studies department at the University of San Francisco.  Offering a series of how-to-videos ranging from the intriguing, such as concocting the Elixir of Life (honey and yeast added to apple cider for fermentation), to the squeamish (composting your own excrement), the activities help wanna-be homesteaders cultivate self-sufficiency whether home is a tiny studio apartment or 50-acre ranch.

You can start off small by making calendula tea or jump right in and slaughter your own chicken for dinner.  The simple videos are meant to inspire both beginners and those more experienced in the art of homesteading to dabble in whatever piques their interest.

For city folk looking to meet like-minded individuals, How to Homestead holds various get-togethers throughout San Francisco, complete with food from homegrown businesses, a raffle and local entertainment from groups such as the Sk8 Sisters.

I was able to attend the Hayes Valley Farm fundraising event a few months back sponsored by How to Homestead.  For $13, I scored an entry ticket, popcorn (covered in homemade maple bacon or chocolate-spiked butter), cup of authentic lemonade (you could detect hints of the rind, if you know what I mean) and chair seating for the night’s movie showing of “Dirt!” Those who opted out of chair seating spread picnic blankets on the paved parking lot ground.

The evening had a folksy, free-spirit vibe reminiscent of an impromptu community get-together – no pretentiousness and no rigid schedule.  How to Homestead is currently on hiatus for the summer, but I’m regularly checking their schedule of events to get a glimpse of the fall lineup.  Until then, I plan to ease into my novice homesteading skills with a simple herb garden and homemade strawberry jam.

**Check out this quirky video on making your own Elixir of Life and start brewing!

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