Monday, November 19, 2012

bas allen

(part one of what i hope becomes a seven-part blog series titled "the farmers of black mountain college.")

The founding of Black Mountain College, in 1933, is a fascinating story - one of those Depression era, against all odds, they did it stories. Fortunately, we know much of it through three outstanding books: Martin Duberman's Black Mountain: An Exploration in Community (1972); Mary Emma Harris' The Arts at Black Mountain College (1987); and Katherine C. Reynolds' Visions and Vanities: John Andrew Rice of Black Mountain College (1998). For the sake of this post, I offer a brief history of the college's beginnings.

In April 1933, after a series of conflicts and disagreements, Hamilton Holt, president of Rollins College (in Winter Park, Florida), fired John Andrew Rice, (tenured) professor of classics and academic iconoclast. Rice appealed, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) was brought in, and by the end of May the AAUP ruled the reasons for Rice's dismissal unsatisfactory. In early June, Holt fired two more Rollins professors, Ralph Reed Lounsbury and Frederick Raymond Georgia, for their association with Rice. By the end of June, eight more faculty were fired, asked to resign, or resigned out of protest. Many students, including the student body president and the editor of the campus newspaper, withdrew from the college out of protest.

Rice, an academic visionary and friend and follower of John Dewey, had often thought about what an ideal college would look like and, with encouragement from some of the now-former Rollins students and faculty, he began thinking about how to make it happen. Two things were necessary: a campus and money (about $14,500). From a tip from Bob Wunsch, who taught drama at Rollins, Rice visited a collection of buildings owned by the Blue Ridge Assembly of the Protestant Church, located in the mountains in western North Carolina, eighteen miles east of Asheville. The ready-made campus, which included ample lodging for students and faculty, a dining room, and the iconic Lee Hall, was used as a resort-conference space during the summer but available for fall, winter, and spring. Rice loved it. Through hard work and good connections, especially on the part of former Rollins professor, Ted Dreier, and former Rollins student, Anne "Nan" Chapin, they raised enough money to launch the college.

By the time the twelve faculty and twenty-two students moved into the Blue Ridge Assembly, in mid-September 1933, Bascomb "Bas" Allen was already there. (Jack Lipsey, chef for Blue Ridge Assembly, was also already there.) Bas was what we now call "plant manager" for the Blue Ridge Assembly - he made sure everything worked and everyone was warm and dry. Bas was an expert plumber, electrician, steamfitter, carpenter, and auto mechanic. He was able, according to multiple personal memoirs of both students and faculty, to fix anything and everything. Bas Allen was, in the words of Jon Everts (BMC faculty, music, 1933-42), "our regular handyman-genius."

Bas was also the college's nature expert and he organized overnight hikes for the students. As Duberman notes, Bas "took students on camping trips into the mountains, familiarizing them with the paths, flowers, and wild life, and many grew to value his quiet, intuitive insights" (155). The mountain trips quickly became one of the highlights at the college among students. In a 1946 issue of the Black Mountain College Community Bulletin, a student remembers: "It would take too long to recall the many ways in which we knew and depended on Bas. But one of the pleasantest was on the mountain trips that we took. Often we went together over the Craggies, the Black Mountains, Mitchell, Yates' Knob, Blue Ridge, Pinnacle, Green Knob, and so forth."

But what really interests me about Bas Allen is this: for the first two years of Black Mountain College, Bas taught farming. In fall 1993, Norman "Norm" Weston (BMC student, 1933-1938) and a few other BMC students thought it would be a good idea to start a campus farm. Inspired in part by Ralph Borsodi's 1933 back-to-the-land classic Flight from the City: An Experiment in Creative Living on the Land and encouraged by now-BMC professor Dreier, Norm and his crew proposed the idea to members of the college council, who approved the plan as long as the students took charge of the project. The students' collective knowledge of farming was healthy but limited. So when the students needed help running the farm, they went to Bas. As a student wrote in the Black Mountain College Community Bulletin, Bas "showed us how to farm: how to plow and how to harvest and everything in between" (3). Allan Sly (BMC faculty, music, 1935-1938) recalled that Bas "initiated us into what to do for harvesting corn, how to raise pigs, how to cut down trees, and things of that kind" (12).

There's a lot more to research and write about Bas Allen, including the apple orchards he rented (first from the Blue Ridge Assembly, then from Black Mountain College) and used to teach students how to prune fruit trees and how to make fresh apple cider. But for now, I'm confident to call Bas Allen Black Mountain College's first farmer.

Although my main interest in Bas is with his role in the farm, I am struck by how many personal memoirs mention Bas as an integral and inspiring part of the Black Mountain College experience. Janet "Bingo" Aley (BMC student, 1944-46) lumps Bas together with some of BMC's most famous teachers including Josef Albers and M.C. Richards. Bingo recalled "quietly absorbing the teachings of Bob Wunsch, Dave Corkran (a wonderful teacher who spotted my uncertainties during study of "Documents in American History"), M. C. Richards, Albers (briefly), George Zabriskie (poet), Alfred Kazin … Jalo and Eddie Lowinsky (beautiful music), as well as Bas Allen, whom I adored and who taught me plumping" (150).

And then there's Gisela Kronenberg Herwitz (BMC student, dates unknown) who recalls: "The work program was an important and exciting part of my life at BMC … Eventually I was put in charge of the tool shed and later worked with Bas Allen, the general maintenance man and an excellent teacher, learning to steamfit the lodge and other existing buildings, wire them, put in street lights, etc. I learned to put in subflooring, to drive a nail straight, and to do some masonry work with field stones on the Study Building. These accomplishments gave me a lot of confidence and some useful skills that have lasted me a lifetime."

And finally there's Norm Weston (who will re-appear shortly in this seven-part blog series on the farmers at Black Mountain College) who writes of Bas: "Always pleasant, and willing to teach, he made the place run and kept us warm and dry" (3).

On August 24, 1946, while crossing the street in the nearby town of Black Mountain, Bas was struck by a car. Three days later, he died. Although the name Bas Allen is rarely mentioned in discussions about Black Mountain College, it is difficult to consider the college, not to mention the farm, without him.

Works Cited:

Aley, Janet "Bingo" (Ramsey). "A Little Upstream." In Black Mountain College: Sprouted Seeds: An Anthology of Personal Accounts, edited by Mervin Lane, 149-151. Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 1990.

"Bascomb Allen." Black Mountain College Community Bulletin (September 1946): 3. Found in the Horace McGuire Wood Papers, 1933-1972, Black Mountain College Collection, Western Regional Archives, Asheville, NC, USA.

Borsodi, Ralph. Flight from the City: An Experiment in Creative Living on the Land. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1933.

Duberman, Martin. Black Mountain: An Exploration in Community. New York: E.P. Dutton, 1972.

Evarts, John. "The Total Approach." Forum 6 (December 1967): 20-25.

Harris, Mary Emma. The Arts at Black Mountain College. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1987.

Herwitz, Gisela Kronenberg. "The Work Program." In Student Experience in Experimental in the Early Years (1933-43), edited by Robert Sunley. Online: Black Mountain College Project, 1997. (The Black Mountain College Project site is currently unavailable online. However it can be accessed through

Reynolds, Katherine C. Visions and Vanities: John Andrew Rice of Black Mountain College. Baton Rouge, LA: Louisiana State University Press, 1998

Sly, Allan. "Excerpts from taped reminiscences of Black Mountain." Found in Mervin Lane Manuscripts, 1987-1989, Black Mountain College Collection, Western Regional Archives, Asheville, NC, USA.

Weston, Norman B. "Draft of possible 'Personal Account' to be delivered at Black Mountain College Reunion" (4 pages), Black Mountain College Reunion Statements, M. H. de Young Memorial Museum, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, March 6-8, 1992.

Monday, October 15, 2012

a field trip to black mountain college

since 2009, the black mountain college museum + art center has organized an annual conference called reviewing black mountain college. the conference includes performances, talks, and panels and the last two conferences had a thematic focus. last year, the focus was john cage. this year's focus was buckminster fuller, who, among many other things, was a faculty member at black mountain college in the summers of 1948 and 49.

it was a good conference and a lot went down. for this post, though, i want to focus on my favorite part of the conference: the field trip to the lake eden campus of black mountain college.

alice sebrell, program director of BMCMAC and one of the main organizers of the conference, led the field trip. she began by explaining that when BMC started, in 1933, they were across the valley at the blue ridge campus, where they stayed until 1941. from 1941 to 1956, the college existed on the lake eden campus. throughout the tour, alice told fascinating stories and anecdotes about the college and shared a thick photo album that brought to life the buildings, campus, and college.

alice was sure to include a number of bucky fuller-related nuggets. for example, when we got to the studies building, the beautiful, modern building that BMC students, staff, and faculty designed and built between 1940 - 41, alice brought us to the room that bucky slept in during his stay at the college. a sudden and prolonged hush filled the room. as other tour members began filing into "bucky's room," the guy next to me, wearing a "i heart domes" shirt, whispered to the incoming group, "this is where bucky slept!" a sudden and prolonged hush fell upon the group.

i must admit i was less interested in bucky stuff and more interested in farm and food stuff, including the dining hall, where our campus tour began. the dining room was, well, the dining room - the place where students, faculty, and faculty families sat, at tables of eight, to break bread in the morning, afternoon, and evening. it was also a space of endless talking, scheming, suggesting, debating, arguing, and fighting. after meals, student work crews moved the tables and chairs to the side and the dining room was transformed - into a rehearsal space for the dancers, into a performance hall for the musicians, into a lecture hall for speakers, or into a dance hall for saturday evening dances.

while the tour group was in the dining room, i snuck into the kitchen. the kitchen is an essential part of my research on the farm at black mountain college. the kitchen was where they took dairy, meat, and produce from the farm and made it into meals. further, the kitchen was where a remarkable group of men and women, mostly black, worked hard and creatively to feed the college. BMC kitchen staff -- each of whom will soon receive a blog post of their own -- included jack lipsey (chef, 1933 - 1945), his wife rubye lipsey (assistant chef, 1934 - 1945), and cornelia williams (cook, 1947 - approximately 1950).

our field trip also included a tour of a student lodge, what was once the quiet house, and the studies building. as the official tour ended, alice turned to the group of about thirty or forty and said, "if folks feel like walking a bit, we can take a quick tour of the farm and, er, maybe david silver would be willing to say some words about the farm." (this wasn't a surprise for me. i had the good fortune of carpooling to BMC with alice and during our ride she asked if i might want to share some stories about the farm. i believe my answer was: "yes! oh hell yes!") then, like so many black mountain college students, staff, and faculty before us, we walked, about twenty or thirty of us, from the studies building, northward, up a gentle hill, and to the farm.

i was so excited to be at the farm that much of it is, alas, a daze. at one point, i do remember a fellow field tripper approaching me and asking some questions about BMC's livestock. my first reaction was surprise -- i totally knew the answers! my second reaction was to share my knowledge about the college's history of livestock -- from chickens to pigs to dairy to beef cattle. when i finished, i sensed something behind me. i turned around and saw about twenty people surrounding us, listening in, curious about the farm. "a talk about the farm at black mountain while at the farm at black mountain college," i thought to myself, "let's go!"

my talk was brief, about ten or fifteen minutes. i shared with the field trippers a brief history of the farm, from its student-initiated veggie garden in the 1930s to the farm buildings and pastures and livestock in the 1940s to its slow demise in the 1950s. i explained the role of the farm within the college's work program and the ways the farm was used to build community and encourage collaboration among students, staff, and faculty. and i shared some of BMC's sustainable practices -- everyday practices that would, today, immediately qualify the college as the country's "greenest" campus.

after some Q and A, we turned our backs to the farm and began a leisurely walk, southward, down the hill, towards and past the studies building, back to the parking lot, and into our cars. perhaps i'm projecting but at the time it seemed that many of us, myself included, wished we didn't have to leave so soon.

Monday, September 10, 2012

remy charlip, hooray for you!

when siena was about a year old, my sister lisa gave us a perfect day by remy charlip. in the book, what looks to be a father and son have a day's-worth of adventures - they eat breakfast, take a walk, meet friends for lunch, have a dance party, take a nap, paint pictures, read books, eat dinner, and go to sleep. remy's magical illustrations and simple, rhythmic writing ("invite some friends to eat some lunch / sing and dance with a friendly bunch") render the day perfect.

after a few reads of a perfect day, siena and i set out to our public library to find and fetch the rest of remy's books. we found, checked out, and read over and over fortunately, sleepytime rhyme, mother mother i feel sick send for the doctor quick quick quick, and, my favorite, little old big beard and big young little beard (or, as it's known 'round here, big beard and little beard). a year after lisa introduced me to remy charlip, i returned the favor by introducing big beard and little beard to lisa and jean's boys august and prosper.

sometime between reading a perfect day and big beard and little beard, i discovered that remy charlip spent thanksgiving 1951 and the summers of '52 and '53 at - where else? - black mountain college.

remy first learned about BMC through composer lou harrison, who, like remy, was a participant at reed college's summer institute of dance and theater in 1949. in fall 1951, remy accepted an invitation to visit BMC from harrison, then a faculty member at the college. remy drove with friends mc richards and david tudor in a car missing one door from new york city to black mountain, north carolina. from multiple accounts, remy was certainly at BMC for thanksgiving 1951.

remy returned to black mountain college in the summer of 1952. his most notable project / collaboration that summer was with john cage who, in addition to organizing what is now recognized as the world's first happening, was also working on sonatas and interludes, which he would eventually perform at BMC on august 16. remy designed the programs. as recounted in remembering black mountain college, remy made the programs out of cigarette papers: "I went to the print shop and set the whole text in the smallest possible type (8 pt). The type was so small, I had to use a magnifying glass and tweezers, and yet it filled the cigarette paper I printed it on. When I stacked all the programs up on the table near the entrance, they were less than a half an inch high. I placed matches and a bowl of tobacco next to them on the table. I arranged the seats in a circle looking in, with an ashtray on each seat, so that the audience could smoke their programs as they listened to the program" (p. 83).

it was the summer of 1953, though, that remy was part of history. when black mountain college invited dancer merce cunningham to take part in the college's 1953 summer institute, Merce agreed under the following conditions: he would not take a salary if four of his students (carolyn brown, remy charlip, jo anne melscher, and marianne preger simon) could spend the summer at BMC with free room and board. three other students (anita dencks, viola farber, and paul taylor) either paid tuition or received work-study scholarships. as mary emma harris notes in her landmark book the arts at black mountain college, "at Black Mountain Cunningham was able to have several weeks of concentrated work with both dancers and musicians without the distraction of parti-time jobs, hassles with unions, and the cost of studio space. The cavernous dining hall in which the dancers worked provided a flexible space for rehearsals and performances" (p. 234). that summer at black mountain college, the merce cunningham dance company, perhaps the most influential dance troupe in all modern dance, formed - and remy charlip was a part of it.

remy charlip was extraordinarily talented. his titles included dancer, choreographer, actor, costume designer, graphic designer, calligrapher, painter, mask maker, stage director and designer, educator, and, later, children's book author and illustrator. but the title that interests me the most was "food procurer." remy was an expert food thief.

in carolyn brown's wonderful book chance and circumstance: twenty years with cage and cunningham, we find remy in 1950, in the lower east side. putting into practice his experience as a costume designer, remy wears an army-surplus coat that "sported custom-made pockets that opened into cavernous inner linings ready to receive cartloads of produce from local grocery stores." brown continues: "Once a week for a month or two one winter, we gathered for dinner at 12 East Seventeenth Street in Merce's top-floor loft. A five-pound T-bone steak, brazenly dropped into the caverns of Remy's greatcoat, fed us all." later, she writes: "We rehearsed Thanksgiving Day, then a dozen or so people went to Merce's loft to address flyers for the season while John and M.C. and Nick [Cernovich] made a glorious dinner. The Thanksgiving turkey - mammoth size - was a gift from Remy and the A&P." brown concludes: "we felt guilty, but none of us ever said no to two-inch slabs of sirloin steak!" (quotes from pages 88, 89, 92, and 88).

as i'll explain in some future blog post, remy's food-lifting skills became essential learning during the 1950s at black mountain college. in fall 1954, due to dire financial realities, black mountain college moved out of its lower campus which included the kitchen and the dining room. also in fall 1954, farmer doyle jones quit. meals were no longer served. a steady stream of dairy, vegetables, and meat no longer existed. miraculously, for nearly two more years the college survived - partially, i think, from the kinds of skills BMC students may have learned from remy charlip.

last month, remy charlip died. for more on remy's remarkable life, see the obituaries in SFGate, the new york times, and publishers weekly (the last includes comments left by people who knew remy), as well as john held, jr.'s remy charlip: the art of being an artist in SFAQ online. remy was 83.

i marked remy's passing the only way i knew how: by taking siena to the downtown berkeley library and checking out some remy charlip books. when the elevator opened to the fourth floor, siena dashed to the rocket ship and i dashed to the C area. i found this:

siena and i borrowed some classics - mother mother i feel sick send for the doctor quick quick quick and, of course, big beard and little beard. we also checked out hooray for me!, a book remy co-authored with lilian moore that features the paintings of vera b. williams, who, among many other things, studied graphic arts from 1945 - 1949 at - where else? - black mountain college.

hooray for you, remy charlip, and thank you from me and we.

Monday, August 20, 2012

my sabbatical

this year i am on sabbatical - my first! no teaching, no service at 3/4 salary. it lasts a whole year.

i will spend it researching and writing the history of the farm at black mountain college, a small, liberal arts college that existed in north carolina from 1933-1956. my sabbatical will include research trips to a number of archives, building my bibliography, and writing the first few chapters of what i hope becomes a book.

for the last year and a half, i have been studying the history of this highly experimental and influential college. i read and re-read martin duberman's black mountain: an exploration in community and mary emma harris's the arts at black mountain college. i poured through mervin lane's black mountain college: sprouted seeds: an anthology of personal accounts, fielding dawson's the black mountain book, and, my favorite, michael rumaker's black mountain days. i also visited, with help from USF's faculty development fund (or FDF), the black mountain college museum + arts center collection at ramsey library at the university of north carolina asheville (blog post; flickr set).

this summer, again with FDF support, i visited the BMC motherlode, the black mountain college collection at the western regional archives in asheville, north carolina (flickr set; carolina public press article about the collection and my research visit). also this summer, i visited the mc richards papers at the getty research institute, in los angeles (flickr set).

during my sabbatical, i will expand my archival research with four more research trips.

in late september and early october, i will travel to asheville, NC, to visit again the black mountain college collection at the western regional archives. while in asheville, i'll attend and give a talk at the reviewing black mountain college 4 conference.

later in fall, i'll travel to the a. lawrence kocher collection at the john d. rockefeller, jr library, in williamsburg, virginia. kocher was a professor of architecture at black mountain college from 1940 - 1943, and was responsible for designing not only the now-famous studies building but also a barn, two silos, a milkhouse, and a tool shed/corn crib

in early spring, i'll return to north carolina, this time to boone, to visit the john a. rice papers in the belk library and information commons at appalachian state university. rice was one of the founders of black mountain college and was responsible for much of its early pedagogical and community principles.

in late spring, i'll travel to the east coast, first to bethany, connecticut, to visit the josef & anni albers foundation, and then to storrs, CT, to visit the charles olson research collection.

i look forward to my sabbatical project and hope to use this blog to share my findings and research. comments are, as always, highly encourage and much appreciated.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

3 undergraduate research assistantships available for summer 2012

The Urban Ag minor at USF is currently seeking 3 undergraduate research assistants for summer positions in the USF garden. The RAships run from May 21, 2012 - August 8, 2012. RAs work approximately 10 hours a week.

RA duties include:

1. Plan and plant summer garden beds;
2. Maintain garden - weeding, watering, oversee irrigation, manage compost;
3. Plan, manage, and implement weekly community work days - publicize work days, organize group tasks, and hold open garden hours;
4. Work with Upward Bound students teaching garden skills;
5. Harvest and deliver fresh produce to Booker T. Washington Community Service Center's food pantry;
6. Maintain @USFGarden's multiple social media platforms;
7. Start starts for fall classes; and
8. Keep the garden kitchen clean.

Interested USF students must email David Silver no later than Monday, May 7 (but if you can send it in earlier, do!). In your email, please describe your qualifications, state your availability for summer, and tell us why you want the job. We - David, Melinda Stone, Justin Valone, and Seth Wachtel - will notify all applicants by Friday, May 11. Good luck!

Friday, April 13, 2012

cook from a book from gleeson library assignment

cook from a book from gleeson library assignment for green media

1. last tuesday, we took a field trip to the TX section of gleeson library. each of you were asked to find and check out a cookbook that you found interesting.

2. select a recipe from your cookbook and cook it.

3. write up a blog post about your dish and post it to our course blog green media @ usf.

4. make sure your blog post has 4 photos (no more, no less): one that shows where your ingredients came from, one that shows your recipe, one that shows the cooking process, and one that shows the dish being served.

5. somewhere in your post say something interesting about the cookbook you selected.

6. sometime before class on tuesday, april 17, post a tweet that includes a link to your blog post.

7. in class on tuesday, be prepared to demo your work. if you have no work to demo, do not come to class.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

new minor in urban agriculture

it took nearly a year to get approved but now it's here: the new interdisciplinary minor in urban agriculture at the university of san francisco. with advising coming up next week, this page serves to a) describe the minor and its course requirements and b) list urban ag courses offered this summer and fall 2012. stay tuned for a more official web site soon!

Minor in Urban Agriculture
Students minoring in Urban Agriculture acquire critical understandings and creative skills in three integrated areas: Food systems and food justice; Food production and distribution; and Community-building and collaboration.

Course Requirements
Take one intro course (4 units):
ENVA 220: Introduction to Urban Agriculture (offered, in fall, as ENVA 390-02)

Take two courses in organic gardening (8 units):
ENVA 130: Urban Ag: Fall
ENVA 140: Urban Ag: Spring

Take two electives (8 units):
ANTH 235: The Anthropology of Food
ARCD 370: Construction Innovation Lab
ARCD 400: Community Design Outreach
BUS 304: Management & Organizational Dynamics
BUS 389: Advanced Culinary Skills
ENGL 235: Literature and the Environment
ENVA 145: Community Garden Outreach
ENVA 390: Special Topics in Urban Agriculture
HIST 341: Feast and Famine: A History of Food
MS 301: Green Media

Learning Goals
Upon completing a minor in Urban Ag, students will be able to:

1. Integrate diverse disciplinary perspectives to understand today’s complex food systems – both dominant and alternative;
2. Demonstrate an understanding of the food/environmental movement and contribute to various efforts taking place within San Francisco and the Bay Area;
3. Master advanced skills in organic gardening and urban homesteading and demonstrate ability to grow, harvest, prepare, and preserve food grown in San Francisco; and
4. Demonstrate ability to work collaboratively with others within USF’s Garden Project and in community gardens and kitchens across the Bay Area.

Urban Ag courses offered in Summer and Fall 2012

Summer 2012:
ENVA 301: Buck Mountain Experimental Station Summer Immersion (Melinda Stone, July 10-July 20, 2012)

MS 301: Green Media at Buck Mountain Experimental Station (David Silver, July 24-August 10, 2012)

Fall 2012:
ANTH 235: The Anthropology of Food: Culture, Class, Power, and Change (Rue Ziegler, MW 4:45-6:25 pm)

ARCD 400-01: Community Design Outreach (Instructor TBA, TR 9:55 am - 12:40 pm)

ARCD 400-02: Community Design Outreach (Instructor TBA, TR 12:45-3:30 pm)

BUS 304: 01-10: Management and Organizational Dynamics (See class schedule for different sections)

BUS 389: Advanced Culinary Skills (Jean-Marc Fullsack, M 6:30-8:15 pm)

ENVA 130: Community-Based Urban Agriculture (Justin Valone, M 11:45 am - 3:25 pm)

ENVA 145: Community Garden Outreach (Melinda Stone, R 12:45-4:25 pm)

ENVA 390-01: Advanced Urban Agriculture (Justin Valone, W 11:45 am - 3:25 pm)

ENVA 390-02 (counts towards ENVA 220): Introduction to Urban Agriculture (Rue Ziegler, TR 8:00-9:45 am)

Saturday, March 31, 2012

last week's farmstand + gleeson library

a few weeks ago, following a very successful farmstand one, i gave the 21 students and 1 TA in community garden outreach a challenge: "at our next farmstand, when people approach your table and say, 'i would like a salad, please,' i want you to say, 'which one?' at the last farmstand we offered 1 of everything. this time, let's offer 2."

at our second farmstand (thursday, march 22) CGO students delivered. they harvested for, cooked, and served 2 salads (a mixed green with golden goddess dressing and a raw kale salad), 2 soups (a butternut squash with greens soup and spicy collard green with potato and sausage soup), 3 (3!) desserts (lavender cookies, lemon bars, and rhubarb almond bars), 3 (or 4) frittatas, and 1 huge vat of lavender lemonade -- all featuring at least 1 ingredient from the USF garden.

there's a real community forming around farmstand and it includes students, faculty, librarians, staff, administration, and jesuits. by the time we finally opened (about 12:10, i think) there was a long line of folks waiting for good food.

this farmstand included, for the first time, a food/cooking/gardening/sustainability-related book and DVD collection curated and created by gleeson library. arranged by USF librarians debbie benrubi, shawn calhoun, matt collins, and sherise kimura, the gleeson mobile library offered on-the-spot, free, relevant, and borrowable books and DVDs to the farmstand community. perfect.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

cooking something new project

update (march 27): to see students' work, please visit our blog, green media @ usf. also, at the end of demo day, march 27th, students were assigned to comment on each of their fellow students' blog posts.

update (march 30): students were assigned to do this project again - due in class on tuesday, april 3.

cooking something new project for green media

1. sometime this week or this weekend, go to a san francisco farmers market.

2. select and buy a vegetable or fruit you have never cooked with before.

3. find a recipe - from a book, from a friend, online, at the farmers market - for your vegetable or fruit.

4. cook it.

5. write a blog post, on our new course blog green media @ usf, about the dish. include a recipe.

6. sometime before class on tuesday, march 27, post a tweet that includes a link to your blog post.

7. in class on tuesday, be prepared to demo your work. if you have no work to demo, do not come to class.

rules and regulations:

a. your blog post must have four - no more, no less - photos. you must have one photo of the farmers market, one of your recipe, one of cooking your dish, and one of serving/presenting/eating it. remember: less is more.

b. you must extract something interesting from your interactions with the folks running the booth at the farmers market. learn something about the food you purchased, the farm it's from, and the people that brought the food to you - and integrate that something into your blog post.

c. at some point in your blog post you must use the word esculent.

d. link generously.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

green media at buck mountain experimental station

MS 301: Green Media
Professor David Silver
July 24 - August 10, 2012

Green Media is an advanced production media studies course devoted to making media about making food. During this summer intensive, students will learn how to combine words, drawings, photographs, performance, video, social media, and found objects to tell and share compelling stories about food. Along the way, students will also learn some basic skills in harvesting, cooking, and preserving seasonal food.

Learning Goals:
1. To learn how to use social media to make and share media about making food;
2. To develop a unique, creative, and compelling voice within your media work; and
3.To learn how to collaborate creatively and effectively.

Lodging and Logistics: This course takes place at Buck Mountain Experimental Station, a 22-acre off-the-grid homestead located in Eastern Humboldt County, from July 24 - August 10, 2012. Prior to the summer intensive, students and professor will meet face-to-face to discuss class expectations and assign pre-intensive readings. Upon completion of the course, students will have one week (until August 17, 2012) to complete their final project.

Accommodations: Students will sleep in tents and have access to a large vegetable garden, chickens, a milking goat, two kitchens, a homestead workstation, two showers, and two outhouses.

Food: Students and professor will plan, prepare, and serve daily lunches and dinners. Students are responsible for preparing their own breakfasts.

Connection: Although Buck Mountain has internet access and cell phone reception, they are extremely limited; students should expect to be online about an hour a day.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

pinwheel assignment

pinwheel assignment for green media

1. by now, you have all received invites to pinwheel.

2. join pinwheel.

3. set up a profile, add a photo, and write a description.

4. find and follow all members (students and professor) of our class.

5. post at least two notes - about anything or anyplace.

6. play. get to know the platform by playing and participating within it.

please have all of this completed by class on thursday.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

all the stuff you get rid of in a day project

all the stuff you get rid of in a day project for green media

1. tomorrow (wednesday, february 15) photograph everything you throw out or get rid of during the whole day.

2. select your best photos and upload them to flickr.

3. title and tag all your photos. put them into a set. title your set.

4. sometime before class on thursday, february 16, post a tweet that includes a link to your project.

5. in class on thursday, be prepared to demo your work. if you have no work to demo, do not come to class.


* you have one day to make and share this project: stay focused.

* be as precise as possible.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

what i eat and drink in a day project

what i eat and drink in a day project for green media

1. photograph everything you eat and drink in one whole day.

2. select your best photos and upload them to flickr.

3. title and tag all your photos. put them into a set. be creative with all aspects of this project. make it interesting.

4. sometime before class on thursday, february 9, post a thick tweet that includes a link to your project.

5. in class on thursday, be prepared to demo your work.


a. steps 1-4 must be complete prior to class on thursday.

b. if you have no work to demo, do not come to class.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

twitter assignment

twitter assignment for students enrolled in green media

1. if you have not yet joined twitter, join twitter.

2. create a profile. in either your user name or bio (or both), use your real name.

3. make your profile public. if you already have a twitter account that is private and wish to keep it that way, create a new account for this class.

4. find and follow all members (students and professor) of our class. also follow GleesonLibrary. although you are not required to follow ITweetUSF, you'd be a fool not to.

5. get into the habit of checking twitter at least once a day.

Monday, January 23, 2012

community garden outreach (spring 2012)

Community Garden Outreach
Environmental Studies 145
Thursdays, 12:45 – 4:25 pm, in the USF Garden

Professor David Silver
Office: Kalmanovitz 141
Office Hours: Tues 1 – 2 pm & by appointment
Contact: dmsilver [ at ] usfca [ dot ] edu

Community Garden Outreach introduces students to ideas, skills, and practices in ultra-local, urban-based food production and distribution. Through course readings and discussions, harvesting in the USF garden, running the campus farmstand, and working on group projects, students will gain first-hand knowledge of and experience in ultra-local, urban-based food systems.

Learning Outcomes
1. Develop practical skills in harvesting, preparing, preserving, and distributing food;
2. Gain hands-on experience in designing, implementing, publicizing, and administering the campus farmstand;
3. Learn how to collaborate creatively and effectively.

Course Schedule
This course meets once-a-week for fifteen weeks. Approximately one-third of our class periods will be spent discussing assigned readings and films, sharing ideas and progress on group projects, and brainstorming our next farmstand. Another one-third of our class periods will be spent in cooking and homesteading workshops in the community kitchen at St. Cyprian's Church (2097 Turk Street). A final one-third of our class periods will be spent setting up, administering, documenting, and breaking down our campus farmstands.

33% - Quizzes, homework, in-class assignments, weekly reflections, and class participation.
33% - Participation in and contribution to campus farmstands, including designing, setting up, publicizing, preparing food, administering, documenting, and cleaning up.
33% - Individual contribution to group project. This includes: selecting a topic that sustains your attention for a semester; working with other team-members in a collective and generous manner; and devoting at least four hours a week to your project.

Attendance Policy
Missing class, or attending class unprepared, will significantly affect your final grade. If you do miss class, contact a classmate to find out what we discussed in class and ask to borrow his or her notes. Then, do the same with a second classmate. After doing this, if you have questions about missed material, visit me during office hours or send me an email.

1. No late work accepted.
2. No drinking out of non-reusable containers during class.

Monday, January 09, 2012

green media (spring 2012)

MS 301: Green Media
Tues & Thurs 9:55 – 11:40 am
Lone Mountain 350

Professor David Silver
Office: Kalmanovitz 141
Office Hours: Tues 1 – 2 pm & by appointment
Contact: dmsilver [ at ] usfca [ dot ] edu

Green Media is an advanced production media studies course devoted to making media about making food. In this class, we will learn how to combine words, photographs, video, and social media to tell and share compelling stories about food and food production. Along the way, we will explore different meanings of food, food politics, and connections between food and culture.

Learning Outcomes
1. Learn how to use social media to make and share engaging stories about food and food production;
2. Develop a unique, creative, and compelling voice within your media work; and
3. Learn how to collaborate creatively and effectively.

Course Texts/Costs
o All readings are free and online, available for free via Gleeson Library, or available for free outside my office.
o Students are required to purchase a flickr pro account ($25/year).
o Throughout the semester, students will accrue a number of food-related costs, including homework assignments involving shopping at local farmer’s markets and purchasing ingredients to cook or bake class-related assignments.

Course Schedule
On Tuesdays, we will discuss readings, films, and videos about food, food production, food politics, and food and culture. All readings/viewings will be assigned at least a week prior to being discussed. On Thursdays, we will have social media workshops in class, cooking workshops in the kitchen at St. Cyprian's Church (2097 Turk Street), and Demo Days – class periods when students demonstrate their green media. There is no final exam.

Quizzes, homework, and in class assignments - 20%
Class and online participation - 30%
Projects - 50%

Attendance Policies
o Missing class, or attending class unprepared, will significantly affect your final grade.
o If you do miss class, contact a classmate to find out what we discussed in class and ask to borrow his or her notes. Then, do the same with a second classmate. After doing this, if you have questions about missed material, visit me during office hours or send me an email.
o On Demo Days, a completed assignment is your ticket to ride. If you have not completed the assignment, do not come to class.

1. No late work accepted.
2. No drinking out of non-reusable containers during class.