East Bay Agroecobotics

In the 5 years since we last posted anything, we’ve bought a small house near to where we were renting, and added two children, chickens, a 4-H club, another cat, and a minivan to our lives. Our new space has plenty of backyard space which is divided into the east side and west side by a deck. The west side was almost entirely lawn when we moved in and the east side had raised, irrigated beds which we promptly planted with enough food that we had to cancel our weekly farm box. Unfortunately, pregnancy and new jobs (paid and unpaid) resulted in a lack of time for the garden and it has been taken over by weeds. We’re finally getting back on the horse and have been working on both projects and refining our vision for our future.

We want to develop and live on a sustainable, biodiverse farm easily accessible to residents of Livermore and the surrounding area. We would pursue carbon sequestration via restorative agriculture, intensive farming enabled by automation and agrobotics, and community supported agriculture. Our farm would be a place for ecotourism, agroecology education, and demonstrating and testing strategies for growing food in a changing climate.

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This entry was posted on August 1, 2019, in Vision.

Experimenting with Drone Photography

We will be using educational drones as part of an upcoming 4-H project on agricultural robots. It’s a low cost Parrot Mambo drone which doesn’t have a very good camera but it’s good enough to illustrate the concept and has a block programming interface.

These are some “before” images ahead of our plans to get land back into production shape this fall.

It appears that the camera does not have an IR cut filter which is great because it means I can add an Infragram filter and hopefully get some chlorophyl images.

This entry was posted on August 1, 2019, in Robotics.

Harvest update

19 oranges

from our little tree and they taste pretty good. The year we moved in to our rental property,  we only got 3 pale, tasteless oranges. The year after when we had done some pruning and watered the tree over the summer, we got a half dozen. This year we topped the tree, gave it citrus food and watered regularly. It seems to be working. It also is now growing more blossoms than years past.

Designing Our Space

When we set out on a project, we jointly come up with a crazy goal, and then I come up with a crazy design which my husband then builds. It works for us. Our current goal for our living space is an affordable, off-grid, low-ecological impact, creature comforts machine. Eventually, we’d like to build our house. We’re hoping to do that in 5-7 years, after we have saved the capital and learned as much as we can about off-grid, low-impact, homestead living. In the meantime, we rent. I’ve been chewing away at the best design for our space. The house we rent is a 3 bedroom 2 bathroom 1200 sqft 1960s house with an attached 468 sqft garage on a 6000 sqft lot. We are allowed to do some things like paint and garden, but anything we do should be possible to undo unless we check it with our landlord first (getting rid of the lawn is out, sadly). Continue reading

This entry was posted on January 30, 2014, in Archive.

Transforming our house into an urban hacker farm

I’m not entirely sure when we decided that we wanted to have an urban hacker farm. When we used to talk about where and how we wanted to live, those terms hadn’t made it into our vocabularies yet. We would talk about the virtues of high density living, not owning a car, and community shared resources. We envisioned ourselves living in a comfortable three-bedroom apartment or condo with sufficient space to entertain 12 for dinner, having access to a community room for larger gatherings, getting our food from a CSA or community farm, actively participating in a Jewish community while supporting Haystack at a UU community, and biking or taking public transit to everything from quality museums and performances to the grocery store. We imagined that this would be the ultimate environment both for sustainable living and to form a village in which to raise our children and grow old in.

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This entry was posted on June 20, 2013, in Archive.