Learn to Build a Cob Oven


Eva Miller stands with co-builders at an Oakland cob oven project during a drying fire.

Community Minded Enterprises sent us this notice on a cool sustainability project going on this weekend:

Spokane’s “Greener Youth” Program Builds Communal Cob Oven
Local Activities Part of National “Green Jobs Now” Campaign

As part of a national grassroots event for green jobs, the public is invited to learn about and build a cob oven at a Spokane community farm on September 26 and 27. Community-Minded Enterprises is organizing the cob workshop and community spaghetti feed through its “Greener Youth” program, in cooperation with the Inland Chapter of the Northwest Ecobuilding Guild and with the participation of West Central neighborhood’s Project HOPE, who will offer a “teach-in” about how to create a more sustainable economic future for Spokane neighborhoods.

Cob construction contains earth, water, sand, straw and other fibers and is usually mixed with bare feet as a cooperative activity. It is valued as an alternative building practice and for its form, function and cost effectiveness. Cob forms have been around since the medieval period, and the fire-proof walls can be sculpted into any shape. For the Spokane event, an oven will be built at a Project HOPE Riverfront Farm location. The oven will be used for neighborhood micro-enterprise purposes such as baking breads and pizza, using ingredients grown at nearby community farm and garden locations.

The cob oven workshop will be led by Eva Miller, a natural builder, gardener and craftswoman from Portland. Eva co-founded The Village Building Convergence; she and other sustainability experts in the Pacific Northwest are taking the lead in the resurgence of cob construction.

Event details:
Riverfront Farms Eco-House at 3605 West Boone Street, Spokane.

Friday, September 26
• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Build brick floor and create sand mold for oven.
• 6:30 p.m. – Green Collar Jobs Teach-in led by Project HOPE
Saturday, September 27
• 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Cob mixing and oven construction
• 5 p.m. – Community spaghetti feed

Youth 22 or younger can attend the activities for free; older participants are asked to pay a one-time fee of $20 for Friday and/or Saturday events.

The event will be videotaped and the footage will be sent to the Green for All organization, who is organizing the “Green Jobs Now” national action campaign and a video documentary based on the campaign’s grassroots activities nationwide. For more information on the Oakland, California-based organization, go to www.greenforall.org.

Community-Minded Enterprises, founded in 1996, offers community-based solutions to larger societal issues. Community-Minded Enterprises has secured more than $25 million in funding from national sources to fuel innovative demonstration projects in the Spokane region, such as the Partners for Empowered Youth (PEY) consortium of youth-serving organizations; Project HOPE is one of eleven members of PEY. For more information about Community-Minded Enterprises call 509-444-3088 or visit www.community-minded.org.

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