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Events and information regarding sharing of skills

Hiding Skills & Talents?

The first Wednesday of the month, members meet to share their skills. I’m surprised when members mention only skills that they’ve derived from paid work. A skill is skill, regardless of the way it was gained. I know someone who has a knack for finding lost pets—it’s not a work skill, just a talent he has. Come to skillshares with skills from paid work and talents you’ve developed over the years.

The Sharing Economy: A bank where time is money

– article by Jen Chien, excerpted from

Frieda Kipar Bay is an herbalist. She teaches workshops on growing herbs for medicine. A class like this might normally cost $50-$60, but at a recent workshop at the Homestead Skillshare Festival, at Hayes Valley Farm in San Francisco, students didn’t pay a dime.

The daylong gathering – which included 40 different workshops, food, and live entertainment – was funded with a different kind of currency: hours. These transactions are managed by the Bay Area Community Exchange Time Bank.

“Everybody’s hour is equal,” says Mira Luna, a founder and organizer of the Time Bank. “So, for example, I do an hour of massage for somebody and then I get an hour credit to then get an hour of plumbing from somebody else. If I spend two hours, then I get two hours credit, and so on.”

read more at KALW

Creating Space for Kids at the Homestead Festival

Homestead Skillshare Festival, Girl Jumping

photo courtesy of Jennifer Zee

When I arrived at the Homestead Skillshare Festival with my husband and daughter, I immediately realized that the childcare space needed some help. Blankets and yoga mats were spread out on the ground, but there was nothing there to engage the kids.

At first I was sad, then angry. Why was the childcare area so neglected? But with the help of a bunch of creative kids and a few parents, we ended up making an adventure out of the oversight.

Since I was already a volunteer, it was only a matter of making sure my station was covered before I decided to take action. I had no idea at all what I would do with the kids, if any were even interested. But I’d embraced that unknowing.

Somehow the childcare area would come to life.

Next door at the greenhouse, I searched for guidance. Meredith, a worker at Hayes Valley Farm, pointed to a nearby field of flowers. “Sometimes we make clover necklaces and chains with kids who visit,” she said.  I jumped and thanked her.
Perfect! Now I had a project idea.

But I still needed some kids… and a way to get them excited about clover.“First things first,” I thought, and I went to gather as much clover as I could.

The flowers were huge, some a foot long. Such beautiful possibilities! While gathering them — a slower process than I’d anticipated — I ran into a woman with her six-year-old daughter. I asked the mom and her child if they had any ideas for fun kid activities that would go well with making clover chains. “We can tour the garden,” the girl said excitedly. I loved it: kids solving kid problems.
“Wow, that’s a brilliant idea,” I replied, “but I don’t really know my way around.”
“I do!” responded the girl. “I can be the Tour Leader. But first, we need to invite some more kids.” My thoughts exactly!
Tour Leader’s mother was just about to give a presentation at one of the festival workshops, so it was excellent timing. Off we ran through the festival crowd.

Kids Corner at the Homestead Skillshare Festival

photo courtesy of Jennifer Zee

Recruiting kids was easier than I expected. The children were thrilled for something that centered on them. (Many were bored by then.) The parents and guardians were relieved to be able to participate more meaningfully in the workshops. Some parents chose to join us on the adventure. By the time we met back up at the clover patch, there were about a dozen kids, ages 3 to 10, and three parents. (Well, four including me. But my little one and her pop had already gone home.)

We began by picking clover together, and in doing that came across a variety of other plants. Tour Leader and I whispered to each other, admitting we had no clue what they were. I asked the other kids if they knew. A 3-year-old pointed out some nasturtium, which another youngster told me was edible. “You should try some, it tastes peppery.” I picked some and tried it. Yum! I was already learning a ton.
The edible plant discoveries reminded Tour Leader that she knew where we could find some wild fennel. We chewed some pieces, which the kids agreed tasted a lot like black licorice.
The children had no trouble coming up with activities for themselves along the way. At one point, we took a “Duck, Duck, Goose” break. And later when the kids found a big hammock, they climbed on it and clung tight while one boy pushed them as hard and fast as he could. They were all shrieking and laughing joyously… until they knocked some shingles off a small structure nearby. “Alright, that’s when we stop,” I said.

photo courtesy of Jennifer Zee

Throughout our excursion, the kids had been gathering clover and handing it to me. By the time we returned to the childcare area, the bunch of clover was so big I could hardly hold it in my hands. As the children sat on the yoga mats, I set a good-sized clump on each mat and said, “Let’s see what we can make!” We tried figuring out how to make chains. I stumbled upon the way I did it as a child: knotting an end and slipping the next flower through the knot. (Really fun with such huge clover flowers.) The kids were coming up with their own ways and designs, asking for guidance when they got stuck.
Around 2 o’clock, the group was dissipating, so it seemed my work was done. I turned the “Child Care” sign around so it was blank, informally closing it. I was ready to go home and spend time with my own family.
About to leave, I realized I hadn’t said goodbye to the Tour Leader. I saw her with her mom. “Thank you so much,” I told my young friend. “You’re a born leader, and I hope to see you again.” Her expression showed that she was glad I recognized the importance of the afternoon’s fun. She smiled and said bye, and her mom looked really proud.

– article by Amber Yada

Over 30 Awesome Sustainability Workshops at the Homestead Skillshare Festival

Miguel Elliott of Living Earth Structures, photo courtesy of Amanda Kovattana

Miguel Elliott’s cob birdhouse workshop was both educational and entertaining. He very clearly explained and demonstrated the steps. Miguel has found ways to make cobbing easier, such as making a sand mold in the dome shape you want, getting premixed loam and just adding straw and water, and lighting a fire in the damp shape after drying the outside in the sun and removing the sand, in order to dry the inside.

Of the books Miguel brought to share, one showed his bamboo and aviary wire form for a small home, meditation room or study, which looks like a great idea for using less cob and still having strength. He also designed innovative buttresses for larger structures, allowing them to have 10″ thick walls instead of 12″ to 24″ thick walls. Miguel also has a very good eye for design — both shape and color.

Miguel Elliot’s company is Living Earth Structures; do go to him if you need a natural building, oven, or other structure.

Herbal Medicine Making with the Ohlone Herbal Center,
photo courtesy of Amanda Kovattana

Ducks thanks to Gabriel Cole!
photo courtesy of Marie Jobling,
Community Living Campaign

The workshop on fermenting cabbage (sauerkraut) and other vegetables by Veena West & Adelaja Simon of Canticle Farm was also highly informative. They made batches on the spot, shared samples, answered questions, told stories about how they learned, and recommended work by other people.

Veena and Adelaja focused on what matters, from sanitation to being in a peaceful mental state to why the veggies must be totally covered with liquid (lactic acid is anaerobic). The overall atmosphere was grounded, friendly, interesting, and fun.

Hayes Valley Farm is a delightful experience itself, and it looks like lots of people work hard making it so.

-article by Mark Roest

Homestead Skillshare Festival – A Fundraiser for the BACE Timebank!

Alma Desnuda

Wine-making, Chicken Wrangling, Bee-keeping, Solar-Cooking,
Medicinal Herb Growing, Bike-Powered Machines, Rainwater
Catchment, Oyster Mushroom Cultivation, Cob Ovens, & more!

Over 40 Workshops, Live Music & Silent Auction!

Schedule of Events

Memorial Day Weekend: Over 30 Workshops on Sustainable Living & Urban Homesteading:

Soap-making * Bee-keeping & Pollination * Cheese-making * Soil Fertility * Cohousing * Backyard Livestock (with live chickens and ducks) * Worm Bins * Solar Ovens * Gift Circles * Qi Gong *  Bike-Powered Machines * Cob Ovens * Urban Composting * Urban Gardening in the Bay Area * Seed-saving * Food Preservation * Wine-making * Disaster Preparedness * Herbal Medicine * Herb Growing * Teas & Tincture-making *  Urban Power Foods *  Making Community Meetings Fun *  Mushroom Cultivation *  Candle-making * DIY green cleaning * Natural Health and Beauty * Activist Communication Skills * Water Catchment * Place-making and more!

Open space discussion from 5-6pm.

Translation: Habra traduccion en Espanol, limited Cantonese translation.


Please bring your own water bottle. This is a zero waste event.

Tickets at the Door:  $10-20 sliding scale
Advance Tickets Sales: Register on Eventbrite.

Advance Timebank Payment Options :  2 hours per person, paid to Hayes Valley Farm

Please submit hours to Hayes Valley Farm via the BACE Timebank  by Friday, May 25th!

Kids are free
Families welcome

Rain or shine.
No refunds.

CO-SPONSORS:  BACE Timebank, Hayes Valley Farm, SF Permaculture Guild, SF Urban Agriculture Alliance, PODER (SF), Occupy SF Sustainability Working Group, the Institute for Urban Homesteading, Transition SF, KitchenGarden SF, SF Bee-Cause, the Connection Action Project, SF Free School, Just One Tree, Ohlone Herbal Center, Planet Drum, Arizmendi on Valencia, Rainbow Grocery Cooperative, Bi-Rite Market.

Thanks to our media sponsor,
Please contact mira at for more info.

WORKSHOP PRESENTERS:   SF Permaculture Guild, Urban Permaculture Institute, Connection Action Project, Rock the Bike, Shoe Shine Wine, Briones Self-Sufficiency and Urban Homesteading Circle, Chong Kee Tan, Taproot Medicine, Mushroom Maestros, Canticle Farm, Tatiana Florentina Craft Almendral, Institute for Urban Homesteading, SF Bee-Cause, Cohousing California, Kitchen Garden SF, SF Seed Library, Hayes Valley Farm, Jason Mark of Alemany Farm, Living Earth Structures, Hayes Valley Farm,  Transition SF, Ohlone Herbal Center, Gabriel Cole, Jennifer Fernandez, Alpha Lo, Mira Luna, Tatiana Almendral

Full Workshop Schedule Here

LOCATION: Hayes Valley Farm 450 Laguna, SF (@ Octavia)
[Limited Neighborhood Parking]
MUSIC: Alma Desnuda, Fog City Banjo Brewers, Lea Grant and Nicco Tyson.

Lots of local businesses (more info to come)

Homestead Skillshare Festival

What: A festival to help educate, inspire and spread sustainable living and self-sufficiency skills. (Habra traduccion en Espanol)

When: Sat, May 26th from 10-6

Where: Hayes Valley Farm, 450 Laguna Street, San Francisco, CA 94102 

Why: To make low-cost, sustainable city living accessible to all different kinds of people and jump start the transition to a more Earth-harmonious culture. To realize the potential of the Timebank to assist in skill-sharing.

Who: The BACE Timebank, Hayes Valley Farm, SF Permaculture Guild, Cohousing California, SF Urban Agriculture Alliance, PODER (SF), Occupy SF Sustainability Working Group, the Institute for Urban Homesteading, Transition SF, KitchenGarden SF, SF Bee-Cause, the Connection Action Project, SF Free School, Just One Tree, Ohlone Herbal Center, Planet Drum and more! Thanks to our media sponsor. Please contact mira (at) for more info.

Music: Alma Desnuda will be headlining and Nicco Tyson will be playing during the dinner and silent auction.

Spanish Translation: PODER SF

Food: Arizmendi on Valencia, PODER SF and Occupy SF! Stay for the benefit dinner.

Scheduled Workshops:
-solar ovens
-rainwater catchment
-chicken wrangling for all ages
-insects as food
-fruit trees
-worm bins
-cob ovens
-urban composting, worm composting
-urban gardening in the Bay and container gardening
-food preservation (incl. wine-making, pickling, miso, etc)
-water catchment and grey water recycling
-disaster preparedness
-herb growing, teas and tincture making
-qi gong
-cheese and yogurt cultures
-bee-keeping and pollination
-backyard livestock (incl. ducks, horses and/or goats)
-mushroom cultivation
-diy green cleaning
-green health & beauty
-nonviolent communication
-and more!
Tickets*: There 4 options to reciprocate the gift of this Festival (no one turned away for lack of resources). You may do one of the following: 1) donate 2hours to Hayes Valley Farm through the Timebank 2) donate 1hour to Hayes Valley Farm plus $10 to support BACE Timebank 3) make a $20-$100 donation to BACE Timebank 4) volunteer for 2 hours or teach a class at the event (we are almost full – please contact mira at for more info)
Donations of hours or $ can be made at the door or in advance (preferred and faster for you). To pay Hayes Valley Farm in hours, please log into your Timebank account or sign up, then search in the search box for Hayes Valley Farm and under their logo, click “give credit”, enter the number of hours and “Homestead Festival”. You can bring cash at the door or pay here on Eventbrite by credit card.
To volunteer or co-sponsor, please fill out this form (we are almost full for work-trade) – contact mira at for more info. To keep up to date with the event and organizing meetings, join our Meet Up group.
*No specific workshops are guaranteed. Rain or shine. No refunds.