Urban Schmurban is the blog of Ana and Felicia, two sisters who eye the constantly blurring line between the metropolitan and the pastoral. Their mission: discovering the sustainable while living in the municipal and making it work from apartment to single-family homestead.
Back in her college days, Felicia used to feed herself with a Baltimore community garden plot and weekly trips to the city’s only year-round farmers market (mere blocks from her apartment). She moved back to her native Los Angeles in 2000 and boggled at the concept of year-round local tomatoes, prompting her to start her first food blog, Tableau Vivante. Some news coverage, constant writing and photographing of farmers markets, and a little luck let her turn the blog into a regular column at the LA Weekly. Her images of farmers market produce have also been used by the California Department of Agriculture and local restaurants showcasing locally grown produce on their menus.
She strongly believes that the road to a sustainable lifestyle is paved with top notch culinary skills, which significantly reduces waste and broadens food options. She attended culinary school at Ecole de Cuisine and became a certified Master Food Preserver with the University of California Cooperative Extension, teaching safe home food preservation and basic food craft to communities throughout Los Angeles.
The slow and steady conversion of the Highland Park home she shares with her partner, Steve, into a food craft laboratory and sustainable homestead is full of topic material. Thus, a return to blogging, only this time with her younger sister, Ana, who is a Master Composter and farm coordinator for Oregon Tilth, Oregon’s only non-profit organic certification organization.
When Ana is not busy helping farmers navigate the organic certification process for Oregon Tilth, tending her apartment worm farm, buying vintage kitchenware in Corvallis’ local antique shops, or keeping her Master Composter cred current, she coaches and skates with the Sick Town Derby Dames. Her badassery hasn’t prevented her from being a recently accepted resident of CoHo Eco Village, a cohousing community that is committed to environmentally sustainable practices. This switch to sustainable community living should (hopefully) make her apartment homestead experiments a little more accessible and maintainable, and open up a few new sustainability options. She might push the diversity envelope for CoHo since she doesn’t consider herself as “crunchy” as most Oregonians. Still, closer neighbors = MORE TEST SUBJECTS! Let the experiment begin.