Monthly Archives: May 2010

Breaking The Concrete Update: Lewis Lewis Reborn…!

| May 31, 2010


Lewis Lewis Reborn from MainStreetMedia on Vimeo.


A grease bus breaking down in Berkeley is like having a computer glitch at Steve Jobs’ house during the company party. Within a few hours of Lewis refusing to start, the small world of urban farmers and veggie diesel mechanics swung wide open.

Craig Reece arrived first on the scene, via cell phone. Craig runs PlantDrive.com,* a vegetable grease store of sorts. Craig sells conversion kits and components for people running waste vegetable oil in their diesel vehicles. Though we’d never met, Craig talked me through the engine and the triage process for Lewis.

*Editor’s note: We here at BTC can and will plug businesses we like. We like PlantDrive. This entire post, in fact, has more product/people placements than a sitcom kitchen set.*

Craig also recommended a few mobile mechanics.

One showed up that first afternoon in a sooty Mercedes that looked like it had been parked in an exhaust pipe. A tall lean man in a mechanic’s jumpsuit emerged. Dreads like ancient tug boat lines fell halfway down his back and framed his worn, super-sized facial features. A grease pirate. Unfortunately, he didn’t have time for a thorough check and just muttered some highly complex suggestions as he climbed back down into the french fry Mercedes and took off.

Then Billy showed up, on his bike with pannier bag full of tools. Billy is one of the nicest men on earth. He looks a bit like Jack Black and John Belushi in his mechanics Dickies pants and Converse shoes and heavy flannel coat. He speaks softly and deliberately and his voicemail says he is “delicately working on a car.” Billy searched Lewis Lewis for over an hour. Nothing. He returned the next day, this time in his red Mercedes grease sedan that looked as if it also spends nights in an exhaust pipe. No answers yet again. I liked working with Billy; it felt like being with a shaman of sorts.

Billy is also the boyfriend of Novella Carpenter . Novella works at Biofuel Oasis in Berkeley, a biofuel station and urban farming shop run by five women. Novella has become a big name in the urban farm world since her book Farm City came out and chronicled her exploits and experiments with raising goats, ducks, pig, and other livestock and fowl in Oakland vacant lots. She’s rather revolutionary, even in Berkeley, where “revolutionary” gets tossed around like Free Tibet bumper stickers in Boulder, CO.

Just down the road, Grist.org food editor, Bonnie, who has been posting BTC dispatches, works in her home office and knows Novella and Billy. And a few blocks away, Jenny, science editor for our book publisher, University of California Press, met us for coffee. All of which is a short bike ride from Alice Water’s Oprah-huge Edible Schoolyard.

So it seems Lewis Lewis drove right into the epicenter of the urban farm and biodiesel web. We can’t begin to describe how happy we are to have him back.

On our way out of waste vegetable shangri-la, we filled up with 100+ gallons of greasy gold from Craig and headed south into the California night, stopping at 2am beside a classic example of large-scale monocrop – miles of potato fields sown by equipment larger than Lewis Lewis. We woke early and rolled out before coffee could brew. To Flagstaff, AZ…

Berkeley Break Down

| May 25, 2010

Stuck in quiet little neighborhood of south Berkeley. Lewis Lewis hasn’t woken up since Saturday night. It was not a late night for him so we are flummoxed as to the root of the problem. He will not start and we have employed most of the Shadetree mechanic options at our disposal. He gets towed to shop today.

Two of the crew will move on to Santa Barbara and Fairview Gardens for photo shoot tomorrow. Lewis Lewis will continue rehab.
In the meantime, we’ve been able to edit some footage from Homeless Garden Project in Santa Cruz. We spent a beautiful Friday there, full of sun and strawberries.
See Video Dispatch #1 – www.breakingthroughconcrete.com

Head Like A Kite Limited Edition Vinyl – Now Available at all Caffe VIta Locations

| May 21, 2010

VITA PAIRS UP WITH CRITICALLY ACCLAIMED BAND, HEAD LIKE A KITE, TO RELEASE RESERVE COFFEE AND LIMITED EDITION VINYL – AVAILABLE NOW!!!


The launch party for Head Like A Kite Blend and new album, Dreams Suspend Night, will be at Neumo’s May 21, 2010 in Seattle.

Caffe Vita will launch Head Like a Kite Reserve, hand picked organic Farm Direct coffee from select drying patios in the mountain jungles of Aceh (label below), and release a limited edition white vinyl version of the new HLAK album, Dreams Suspend Night, on May 21, 2010. Available exclusively at Caffe Vita locations, online at www.caffevita.com, select retailers, and HLAK shows.

Buy the Limited Edition Vinyl + The Reserve Blend HERE $18
OR just grab the Coffee HERE $14

Breaking down beats seems as natural to HEAD LIKE A KITE’s Dave Einmo as breaking down genre barriers. On HLAK’s new full-length Dreams Suspend Night, blip beats dance around meaty analog synths and mischievous guitars, while HLAK drops the vocal hook bombs. Drummer Trent Moorman brings the beats live. Guests like Boom Bip (Neon Neon), Her Space Holiday, Asya of Smoosh, and members of The Long Winters, The Saturday Knights, and Swervedriver fuel the party.

Head Like A Kite’s ride in the music industry started in 2006. Marrying a love of progressive electronic production… More on HLAK here…

FRIDAY, MAY 21 @ NUEMOS
KEXP, CAFFE VITA, SONIC BOOM RECORDS PRESENTS
HEAD LIKE A KITE CD RELEASE PARTY
DAEDELUS
THEE EMERGENCY
+DJ sets by Terry Radjaw (Fresh Espresso/Mad Rad)

more info at neumos.com

Breaking Through Concrete : Urban Farm Tour : Fueled by Caffe Vita: Launch Day

| May 20, 2010
Lewis Lewis received a Korbel champagne shower last night, his last evening in the safe harbor of Magnolia, Seattle.
Lewis Lewis is a short school bus powered by veggie grease and sometimes biodiesel. He houses the crew of the Breaking Through Concrete (BTC) urban farm tour.
Vita Headquarters, morning coffee pick-up, five lbs

Three of us – Charlie Hoxie videographer (Brooklyn), David Hanson writer (Seattle), and Michael Hanson photographer (Seattle) – rolled out at 7am to begin a seven week book development trip for a photo book on American urban farms. We’ll explore fourteen projects around the country to showcase the people and places who are transforming urban communities and food systems.
On our way out of town we stopped at Caffe Vita to pick up five lbs of Sumatra farm-direct. Because we’ll be french pressing it along the way and sharing it with new friends, we got a lesson from head trainer, Andy Kent. He’s a master and he sat us down at a big wooden table overlooking Vita’s roasting room. He shared the art of the French press (invented 1850 France, patented 1930s Italy).
Huerto de la Familia project, Eugene, OR
Stopped at Eugene, OR’s Heurto de la Familia this afternoon. Sarah Cantril started it in 1999 as a way to provide garden plots to low-income Latinas. They began with six women and now have over 50 families growing tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, peppers, onions on community plots. Sarah and Daniel, her only employee, are the only west coast recipients of WHY Hunger’s Annual Award. (WHY Hunger is a major sponsor of the BTC tour.) 
Roadside dinner: Azalea, OR
We continued on through a wild show of rain, sun, rainbow, wind, rain and into the Klamath Mountains. We passed the town of Riddle and stopped in Azalea. Cooked in Lewis Lewis and ate at the table outside the Azalea General Store, closed for the evening. Two cars passed in 30 minutes.
390 miles driven on veggie grease.

We now nightcap bourbon before sleep at the Rest Area beside I-5 between Bear Creek and the town of Talent, Oregon, roughly 500 miles from our next destination, Santa Cruz and the Homeless Garden Project

written at…

11:05pm

Rest Area: Talent, Oregon