Hometown Grown Documentary


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Novella Carpenter – Backyard Farm

Novella Carpenter is an urban farmer that raises livestock and grows crops in her backyard. She blogs about her experiences. Maybe we could score an interview.


A silly story Novella told KALW radio during an interview I recorded.


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Interview with Rachel Kesel

I interviewed Rachel Kesel, a friend of mine and an avid gardener. I’ve been to Rachel’s a few times for dinners cooked with ingredients grown in her backyard, and she’s pretty involved in the local horticultural scene. The interview is about 14 minutes long, and touches on Rachel’s personal experience with urban agriculture as well as her opinion on community efforts.

[soundcloud width=”100%” height=”81″ params=”secret_url=true” url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/11567985?secret_token=s-EeKdM”] Rachel Kesel Interview by kyleyoungblom

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A Visit to Ghost Town

Last weekend I visited a farm in Oakland. Weird, right? I know.

I’m reading a book called Farm City, by Novella Carpenter, and happened to check out her website for more information. Turned out she was hosting an open house of sorts at her place, Ghost Town Farm. This seemed like a pretty good opportunity to check out urban ag firsthand, so my boyfriend and I took a trip down to 28th and MLK.

The farm occupies a smallish abandoned lot on the corner of 28th and MLK. There’s a heavily-graffitied fence surrounding it, and the space inside contains tightly packed rows of herbs and veggies. I saw kale, greens, artichokes, and fruit trees. On one side of the property is a goat enclosure, a chicken pen, and an obese rabbit in a cage.

We had home-grown peppermint tea and rabbit pies while socializing with a weird mix of Oakland hipsters, yuppies, and granola people. All told it was a great experience, and we left impressed at all that Ms. Carpenter has been able to squeeze from a tiny corner lot in a rough urban neighborhood.

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So. These are the three concepts I settled on for the logo design assignment. I was trying to keep it really simple and clean.

For starters, we’ve got a big old “K”, which is my first initial. I like square logos because they can be used just about anywhere, and I thought it’d be fun to make a chunky one that felt kind of tangible. Plus, I’m in GAD, so a little suggestion of 3D doesn’t hurt.

The second one is more abstract: I started playing around with “K” and “Y”, my other initial, and looking at the negative space they formed. I came up with this concept, which is kind of suggestive of a pencil or stylus, but still might have a bit of the letters of my name left in the forms.

This last one is inspired by old wood-block stamps. I had a good time getting the curves of the letters to mirror each other and balancing the weight of the lines and serifs. That’s it!

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Sound Collage

[soundcloud width=”100%” height=”81″ params=”” url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/10902926″] Soundscape by kyleyoungblom

For my locational sound collage, I started with typical metropolitan sounds such as traffic, crowds, and sirens. I then mixed in sounds associated with gardening and green spaces, such as wind through tree leaves, local songbirds, digging sounds, and a chicken for good measure. My goal was to bring these different concepts together to create an environment that not only makes sense, but is actually an appealing change to the typical sounds of a city.

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Hayes Valley Farm

At Fell and Laguna Street in San Francisco’s Hayes Valley you’ll see an unexpected sight: amidst the dense housing and traffic are 2.2 acres of greenery. The Hayes Valley Farm dates back to January 24th, 2010, when the city officially opened the land for this non-profit community run exercise in urban agriculture. The lot was originally freeway which had been damaged by the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake.

Hayes Valley Farm offers classes including composting, apiculture, greenhouse growing, local plants, and garden design. Visitors are welcome and encouraged to lend a hand.

The farm has always been a temporary endeavor: after two to five years the city will move forward with plans to develop the space. For the time being, however, the Hayes Valley Farm stands as a great example of urban agriculture in action.

Photo Credit and Info:
www.hayesvalleyfarm.com web site, 14 February 2010.

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Urban Ag Photos

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Text Collage

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