Summer Food Course Photos 2010

Summer Food Course Photos 2011

Summer Food Course Photos 2012

Welcome to this site, all interested in resilient farming!

Welcome to this site, all interested in resilient farming!

The postings most appropriate for you have the label, "Resilient Farms."

Monday, December 19, 2016

San Miguel de Allende 2019

One week in (or close to) the dead center of Mexico, 14 students, 1 assistant, and 1 faculty member constituted one of the most intensive study travel experiences I, personally, have had.  In the U.S., 8 months later, we are still processing all that we experienced. It was with the expert facilitation of Jorge Catalan and Wendy Coulson, plus a most gracious hostel host, and exceptional tour guides that we were able to witness so much of the beautiful culture and ever-present challenges of daily life in San Miguel de Allende. We are ready for more, August 15-29, 2019. This time, with service learning.

Our group, each contributing an important life skill, interest, and energy to our travels

Student Kate, Teacher Gigi, and Assistant Dan

Excursion: The nearby pyramids, close to where we stayed at a mystical ranch

The mask museum, San Miguel de Allende


Mexico’s food heritages
The Colombian exchange
Food and identity
Mexico today – NAFTA, the environment, changes and challenges
Colonialism and neoliberalism
Land-reform, revolution, capitalism & narco-corruption
Export agriculture, groundwater extraction & migration
Organizing, empowerment & revolution


Day 1: Orientation
Day 2: Guanajuato
Day 3: Caminos de Agua/San Miguel de Allende
Caminos de Agua’s facilities & introduction of water technologies including: rainwater
harvesting systems, ceramic water filter production, biochar production, slow-sand biofiltration,
passive solar water pump, bicycle water pump, sustainable brick manufacture, and sustainable
building practices; Spirulina Viva’s Production (Spriluna Blue Algae Production); Atotonilco, 500-year old UNESCO World Heritage Site
Day 4-7: Food, Soil, and Carbon: Vía Orgánica ranch
Day 8-9: Water/Impact of foreign assistance on development project
Days 10-12: Pozo Ademado Community Center; Participation in the construction of a 12,000-liter rainwater harvesting system during the
Day 13: Post-Service debriefing/assessment

CHEESE -- classes, field trips, excursions to Switzerland, home cheese making

In effect, teaching and researching the natural processes of cheese making is nothing less than an attempt to save declining species of cheese bacteria and molds (unique to each particular cheese cave), to preserve efficient nutrient cycling of whey wastes and inputs, and to honor the cheesemakers themselves, who facilitate the life-giving natural processes. Cheese makes it possible to store milk for extended periods of time, in less sweet form.

Master affineurs, such as the Mons family near Lyons, France and professional organizations, such as the American Cheese Society, are safehavens for such processes. I had the enormous pleasure to work with both within the past two years, bringing the results of my study home to students, my colleagues, my family.

Ruth Sofield and Gigi Berardi teaching in their Art and Science of Cheese class, summer 2015, Western Washington University. Next course: Summer 2017.
Field trip to Shaw Island, Our Lady of the Rock dairy

In our classroom, a beautiful cheese spread -- for tasting

At Rhonda Gothberg's long-time goat dairy. Rhonda, a former nurse, is a master cheesemaker and a major force in Washington state for local creameries.
Goat cheese, raw, in Switzerland

The most rich, luscious cheese fondue, in Switzerland
Also in Switzerland, a magnificent spread of raw milk, biodynamic cheeses, charcuterie, homemade jams, and heritage-grains breads
At home, my sheep in their BB&B (Breeding Bed & Breakfast) -- Socks on the left and Sugar on the right, a friend in the middle
A beautiful round, after pressing with light weight

An aging peccorino (referring to the cheese)

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Solstice and World foods

Winter Solstice is fast approaching, and soil energies are vitalizing the microbial and macro fauna so as to cycle nutrients in a most efficient way. Plants take advantage of the improved nutrient status, and humans benefit. Here are some favorite foods, worldwide -- and a soil treatment that enhances such nutrient cycling.

The soil treatment is hay-mulching. Here, agroecology students in August prepare winter beds.
The mulch is effective in managing soil temperatures (protection from cold, protection from heat), retaining moisture, adding nutrients.

Perennial wheats, maximizing nutrient-cycling efficiencies. Perennial guru Stephen Jones, presenting.

Sukuma wikiin Swahili-speaking countries, literally meaning "to push the week"...greens around the world
are nutrient-packed. In Italy, they can be as expensive as a "primo," first course dish.