Heidi Kooy

I first heard about California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) when I was working on an organic farm in Ohio. I was looking at graduate schools and knew I wanted to be on the West Coast, preferably in San Francisco.

I was interested in issues of sustainability, and I was looking for a graduate program in anthropology that had coursework in sustainability. I also liked that there were courses I could take in Women's Spirituality and other fields. I knew there were faculty at CIIS who were leaders in the field, whose names I recognized. I wanted the opportunity to study with those people.

I ended up getting a really good education in applied anthropology. When I graduated, I was able to get work in my field because I had done my master's thesis on sex and gender, and had learned how to do fieldwork, interviews, and analysis. After graduation, I worked on several studies related to HIV research.

When I first started the Itty Bitty Farm in the City at my home in San Francisco, I really wanted chickens. I had to look up whether you could have chickens in the city. I didn't realize that raising chickens in urban backyards was the new black-I had no idea it was so popular. I also really liked goats and the idea of dairying. I looked up the code and found out that in San Francisco you can have two female goats for family purposes.

Being an urban farmer is one way I hope to make change in the world. CIIS promotes change. A lot of the professors are activists, doing things in the world. It's motivating in that regard.

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