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.

We graduated from college, spent a couple of years apart while Haystack went to graduate school on the east coast and I pursued professional dance on the west coast. Haystack finished grad school, got a job in Silicon Valley, and we moved into an apartment that was biking distance from his job. I gave up on professional performance in favor of starting a family, we moved to a house in the outer-East Bay, Haystack got a new job, we joined a synagogue and a CSA, and got down to the business of growing our family. We now have two kids, Cupcake and Cookie, and while I was pregnant with Cookie, Haystack came home from getting a beer with a bouncy baby hackerspace.
Our vision of a perfect home has shifted from urban to suburban, but we still want to reduce our reliance on a car, minimize our space, shop local, and participate in a community. We believe that a home should be relatively low maintenance, but should be able to provide its family with most of the necessities–food, water comfortable space, hygiene, clothes,  and community. With this in mind, we intend to grow most of our fruits and vegetables, eat eggs from backyard chickens and fish from an aquaponic system for protein, and buy bulk grains, pasta, baking supplies, oils, and the occasionally beef. I plan to make soaps and clothes, and learn some preserving techniques so we can have convenient meals and out-of-season food. Haystack is planning to build as much automation into the system as possible.
Here are the projects we’re planning to turn our home into a family feeding machine:
Compost Bins
Garden paths and bridge
Grape Arbor over bench
Wall Garden
Front yard food patch 1
Front yard food patch 2
Backyard Playscape
Backyard seasonal bed
Solar oven
Grape trellis fence across the front of the lawn
Kids’ sitting “room” under the front yard shrub
Chicken Yard
Front porch seed trays
Window Box
Container fruit orchard
Berry trellis
Aquaponic container
Vegetable bin
Bee “room”