We Are Just One Seed Away….

A single, unassuming, humble seed houses the most powerful, regenerative, reproductive, resilient, overcoming, prolific, generous life force energy on the planet and so much more….

We’re just one seed away…

It never fails….whenever I start planting, I see things change, like magic. After a short time of converting a new space into some food, I always see a organic, gradual shift in the energy of the space.  It gradually becomes so full of energetic vitality and creates an abundance of new relationships that thrive!

We’re just one seed away…

When we partner with the natural world, miracles happen.  The energy created in our space, when we plant a seed, begins to spread….

Gradually, persistently, intentionally, growing ’til it begins to transform us personally as we nurture the soil, the seed, then harvest and consume this nutrient dense food .  But it doesn’t stop there, we change, then a neighbor, then the neighborhood starts to change, then the city, then the region, the country and even the world.  

And all we have to do is be stewards of the seed and of our small plot!  The more personal, mindful plots planted like this, the greater the impact.  

We are just one seed away from growing our own personal transformation  and our own personal food security 🙂

Have you ever felt helpless to change a world that is hell bent on destruction?

We are just one seed away….from transforming the world. 

The Farm-A-Yard community is made up of folks who want to be connected, who care about how they show up in the world, because it matters.

They are changemakers, they aren’t afraid to take action and are not stopped by learning curves and set backs, but are stronger for it! (Reminds me of Linda!)  No matter how small the action, they know it matters as part of a powerful solution.

I love the story of the project that put a man on the moon.  When the janitor in the project was asked what he did there, he said, “I’m putting a man on the moon”.  He was part of the team and the team had one mission and their part in it was vital for the outcome.

When people get connected and share the vision…things happen!

You’re just one seed away….

     

In my experience, one of the initial and most powerful, positive actions I can take, is to hold a seed in my hand and contemplate, be grateful and trust the transforming power of planting and nourishing a seed.

And do it over and over again.

At Farm-A-Yard we are pouring into this project and we are teaching not for the income, but for the outcome.  

We are confident that the seeds we are planting will be the most important work of our time and of our life.

Thank you for taking seriously the need to heal the soil, plant seed and grow food.  This incredible journey needs your action in whatever way that you can support, promote and mentor others.

We challenge you to begin creating your corner of paradise with nutrient dense food, beginning with one seed in your yard to produce the energy that transforms your neighborhood.  

This is the vision… it’s a movement, have you heard?

When I plant a seed, I am connecting myself as an active partner in my micro, eco-environment.  I become a steward and also a benefactor of its reward.

       

It’s in this relationship with the soil and the seed that we can learn and be trained in how to transform a toxic, chaotic world that desperately needs the order that only nature seems to know how to do well and how to sustain, when all odds are against it.

 Nature just knows how to overcome.

We’re just one seed away….

Oh, to be conscious, mindful and respectful of her ways.  Even when we have been unconscious, ignorant or even abusive, Nature is always ready to teach us, to convey the eternal wisdom of the Creator…to fold us into a very personal, enlightening experience.  Nature loves to partner!  That’s what Nature knows best!

Whether we deserve it or not!

Who doesn’t want to learn to be in a relationship like that!

We are just one seed away …

Can you help us seed the movement? https://www.patreon.com/FarmAYard

 

How To Heal A Nation. Let’s Talk About Solutions

I am hearing, more and more, reports about countries who depend on importing their food to feed themselves and when that system breaks down they are now scrambling to start learning how to grow food…and food doesn’t grow overnight, so this is a huge challenge.

I call this a real crisis.

What I’ve also seen is that sometimes people in those situations come together to start growing their own food independence and they are now thriving.

“In Havana, Cuba, the farming movement has evolved as an amazing response to the loss of food imports and agricultural inputs towards the end of last century. Following dramatic political changes, and the ensuing economic, ecological and social crisis, agrarian production was seen as key to food security. This movement towards urban cultivation systems continues to sweep across the city, and according to recent reports, now over 50 per cent of the city’s fresh produce is grown with its boundaries.” Check out Cuba in the article below!

So, maybe we need to heed the warning signs and begin to establish our ability to grow some of our own food so that we are not at the mercy of others for our most basic human need.

In this country, many people are beginning to learn the skills to grow some of their own personal food independence in their yard or other shared space. Can you imagine the impact that this could make on our food security if most people just put in a very small plot in their yard or just helped with someone else who has a plot. We did it in WWII.

I am not comfortable being dependent on big corporations to feed me.

For me, my gardening plots which are scattered around the city (I live in an apartment), are real food security. (And I eat very well!) I am taking personal responsibility for my personal freedom.

But besides my own personal responsibility, I am passionate to help others learn to grow as well.  Why?  The more of us that grow, the more food secure we are locally.

GRASSROOTS collaboration is powerful.

Grow something. Eat together.

Build our local neighborhood annual/perennial food forest system that when established, can feed all of us with little effort.

Power is truly in the hands of a united people who find common ground. Is there a more basic “common ground” than food?

You’ve heard, “Let food be thy medicine”…. I believe that growing our own food and doing this together can heal a nation.

http://inhabitat.com/urban-farming-movement-sweeps-across-havana-cuba-providing-50-of-fresh-food/

100 Day Challenge- Look What This Dad of 4 Did!

In May, 2016, Justin Rhodes, Dad to 4 youngsters and a North Carolina homesteader and vlogger,  created a 100 day challenge to grow all the food his family would eat.

“I wanted to do this for myself, but also to inspire and encourage other people, and show them that [living off the land is] easier than you think,” says Rhodes in a phone interview with Modern Farmer. “It’s just about getting up and doing this. Look what you can do in just 100 days. It doesn’t have to be this unattainable thing.”

The family has been homesteading on eight acres in Fletcher, North Carolina. He decided to spend only 10 hours a week producing the food because he wanted to prove that it’s doable to live off the land while also working a full-time job as well. (Rhodes also writes and produces videos for a living.) He clarified that he spent a little more time in the beginning preparing, and then less when seeds were in the ground and the chickens had grown.

They did this challenge on less than a half an acre. They planted tomatoes, potatoes, corn, squashes, and greens to name a few.  They had ordered 75 broiler chicks.  About 50 days into the challenge, the chicks were ready to process and some of the veggies were ready to enjoy.  By August 13, Rhodes estimated that 75% of the food they ate was what Justin grew or raised.

Even though the kids didn’t like everything “on the menu”, they were more inclined to enjoy eating the veggies when they had helped to grow and harvest them.

There were some challenges, of course, but Justin has the same philosophy that I do.  “Do what you can”.

When we were young raising our family, we didn’t have a lot of money, but we were really resourceful and I am so grateful for the experience.  I was just learning the “back to the land” skills and I  incorporated what I could in my urban setting as I went along. I always had plenty of seasonal produce canned for winter. The skills have served me well and I continue to learn more everyday.  I really enjoy being an urban micro farmer.

Though I never had a half acre “farm”, I lived the “from scratch” life in the city on a very small scale.

Justin’s 100 days investment in the garden really set them up for good eating for months after the challenge.

Are you ready to make an investment? Create your own challenge and post it below.

More about the 100 Day Challenge http://modernfarmer.com/2016/09/justin-rhodes-100-day-challenge/

For videos from the entire 100-day challenge, check out Rhodes’ YouTube channel.

Getting Your Chickens to Work for You! Brilliant!

Chickens are designed to do much more than just lay eggs. They are the cheapest hired help you could ask for.  They scratch, eat bugs, which keeps the pests under control and fertilize at a amazing rate if given the opportunity.  This activity also helps to keep your birds healthy.  Check out how this gardener utilizes their talent!  You won’t have to do the tilling in your garden after seeing this!

How to Raise Chickens for Your Garden: Watch These Mind-Blowing Benefits

A Kids Life Beyond the iPad

I picked up an old Mother Earth News Magazine and opened to a lovely picture of a 13 year old girl on a horse.  The article was called “MY INTRODUCTION TO SELF-RELIANCE”.  I had to read on….

I was immediately impressed with Treska’s communication and writing abilities.  Move over Barbara Kingslover! 🙂

Having been a homeschooling mom myself, I remember how great it was to witness the impact of nature on my children and so grateful to be able to give them that connection even though we were urban dwellers. Allowing “nature to take it’s course” does wonders for children & young people (and adults for that matter!)

How do we get our kids beyond the iPad?

We all feel it…there is a desperate need to have a routine plan to unplug from technology.  I believe it’s critical to find ways to give our kids space for discovery, experimentation and to practice and build creative thinking, problem solving skills beyond the iPad.  No doubt kids are in training to do amazing things with technology, but what critical life skills are they missing?… not to mention the real world experiences & relationships that could be passing them by.

We all need to get a little dirt on our hands…or maybe better yet, a lot of dirt on our hands!

Mud run anyone?  Lessons Learned

My kids were outside digging in the dirt a lot and digging in the snow in the winter.  The best times, were when I went out with them to dig, which I regret, was not more often.  I remember the lessons and conversations that were generated just by taking that time.  Lessons in cooperation & compassion and often with out words. Seeing and valuing so many facets of life. Lessons not only for them but for me. Lessons that might have been missed otherwise.

Equipping our young ones in self reliant skills will go along way in the development and molding of tomorrow’s confident, well rounded leaders.

Now you know another reason why I am passionate about Farm-A-Yard.

What was particularly striking to me is that Treska writes,”After I became inspired by the idea of having a seedling business, I read anything I could get my hands on about seeds….I am looking forward to my learning experience….to me there is no such thing as an “expert farmer. But what any skilled farmer needs is a set of eyes, a pair of hands and a willingness to learn.”

Let’s raise a generation of  kids who know how to have a life beyond the iPad. Let’s get outdoors with them and hey, maybe even farm your yard! 🙂

I guarantee that you will be warmed and inspired by Treska’s article.

http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/self-reliant-zmaz09aszraw

 

 

 

 

Healthcare? Best Plan Checklist:

The spring is a great time to invest in wellness through preventative actions!

How are you investing wellness actions into your daily routine?

__Sunshine

__Deep breathing

__Exercise

__Grow a garden, share a garden

__Nutrient dense food

__Clean water

__Mindful eating

__Rest & relaxation

__Laughter & Play

__Friends

__Volunteer

__Be your own best friend

Add your own self care maintenance practices that work for you! 🙂

One last thing….We want to send you a little sunshine and make sure you know that “You Got a Friend” in Farm-A-Yard 🙂

I love this video and it’s message is our message.  We are all here together building this team of growers and eaters who are localizing our food system using our own yards as well as public and other private spaces!  

It’s a movement, and we can’t do it without each other!  So, check out the words in this song that we are sending to let you know that we are with you every step of the way!

https://www.facebook.com/letsfarmyouryard/photos/pb.1142003965862197.-2207520000.1488211063./1396339697095288/?type=3

Thank you for helping to grow and heal your communities with fresh, nutrient dense food!

Spread the Sunshine!…Forward to your friends…

 

Why Do We Need Weeds?

Purslane, Plantain, Dandelions…Oh My!

Besides all the important restorative work that “weeds” do for the soil, this is just a reminder that spring is the very best time to enjoy eating fresh, tender “weeds”.  Fresh in salad, or sauteed in grassfed butter, added to eggs,soup or stir fried dishes, these greens are packed with nutrients that you need.  These greens know how to “mine”deep into the soil to bring up important minerals & nutrients and make them available to the plant and to YOU!

Did you know that plantain is found worldwide (there is probably some in your yard right now!) and is a popular wound healer, body purifier, congestion aid.and neutralizer of poison and toxic elements?

It contains all 18 amino acids, is anti-inflammatory and a lymph tonic. For an insect bite or bee sting, take a plantain leaf, chew it in your mouth, then apply the green mush to the sting for relief.  It helps to neutralize the toxin and draw it out. Pick the young, fresh leaves to eat fresh add to dishes or dry the leaves  and powder them for use later and store in a mason jar to add to soups, eggs and stir fry  (I store everything in mason jars! 🙂 .

And Don’t forget our favorite dandelions 🙂

Did you know that all the parts of the dandelion are edible?. The root roasted is a coffee substitute.  It is used often in Eastern Medicine, as “bitter” herbs are very helpful for digestion and so many other things.  It is a powerful cleanser, high in potassium, a great source for Vitamin A, E, B complex, C, D, calcium, iron, manganese, magnesium…  Strengthens kidneys, is a strong diuretic without depleting potassium.  Even the roots are a good source of probiotics (beneficial gut bacteria).  Dandelions are “miners”.  Their tap root goes deep to bring up beneficial elements to the roots of other plants. If you have a lot of them, they are a sign of that your soil is needy of things and they are working to help bring balance back.   

So, I hope that you have a greater appreciation for the dandelion and that you take advantage of their gifts. I am an urban forager and love going on a treasure hunt to find the seasons gifts tuck away in plain sight just for the picking! Dandelions actually are sold in many grocery stores now! $4-5 a bunch! (Remember to only collect these greens from soil that is not contaminated by chemicals or not growing by the side of the road.)

Working Together We Can Solve the Soil Emergency!  

I wanted to share some thoughts I had after watching Evan’s free webinar.

The soil issues in this country are not joke…they can be even more serious in urban settings sometimes.

You may have already heard that… there is NO Miracle in “Miracle Grow”.

Budget artificial fertilizers are like fast food for plants. They are designed to feed the plant, not the soil.  This is one reason why our produce today is at least 40% less nutritious than 60 years ago.  The commercial growing practices have lead to nutrient-depleted soil from overuse of artificial fertilizers that do not feed the diverse microbes in the soil. This depleted soil results in weeds, pests & disease. Just like fast food sets people up for ill health, farms can fall ill and be plagued by these “deficiency disease symptoms.”

Did you know that the protein in a healthy plant cannot be digested by insects? So they are not interested in trying to feed on healthy plants! They can detect unhealthy plants, which is a signal to go in and do their job of breaking down and recycling them.

To have healthy plants we need healthy soil and healthy plants = healthy people!

Good soil is hard to come by, if you can find any at all. I hate when people ask where they can get good soil to start a garden, because I have to tell them that there isn’t any, truly good soil, available to buy!  They end up using cheap budget soils and fertilizers in an attempt to make their garden grow and then begin a cycle of managing problems, ie…symptoms of unhealthy soil instead of getting to the root of the problem.  It just doesn’t work.

Have you noticed that artificial products cannot be trusted in labeling? They contain “inert ingredients” that the EPA does not require to be listed, keeping the public in the dark. Crazy, but true. Use them and you don’t know what you’re putting in your soil.

Evan explained how those kinds of inputs only stimulate plant growth artificially, doing nothing to nourish the soil environment, leaving it stripped of elements and therefore the need for more inputs, over and over.

However, when you grow the plant in nourishing soil, it has all the nourishing elements and  it grows well. It  is able to uptake all the nutrients it needs, and just as important what YOU need as the eater!.

I found Evan’s presentation so enlightening, thought provoking and even more, this information energized me to TAKE ACTION!  I finally have the missing pieces that I have been looking for to really make a difference, not just in my own food producing endeavors, but knowing that I truly am able to contribute to the sustainable healing of my part of the world!

So, in case you missed Linda and Evan’s free webinar, here is a brief highlight

https://vimeo.com/farmayard/soilhighlights  

More words from the soil doctor….

“Spring countdown is is days away. Do you have your garden planned?

To get the most out of your growing make sure to include compost tea in your plans. It is simple to brew, and it is a dynamic and cost-effective means of adding microbes and trace minerals to your soil so that it can get to work being soil.

Fertilizer is a crutch, a compensation for the inability of the soil to generate fertility on its own. There is no yeast to make the bread…or the beer, so to speak.

In poor soil it is necessary to add fertilizer to generate a result, but the challenge of the progressive farmer is to constantly stimulate the soils ability to provide fertility. This way it only gets better with time and we can reduce the amount of fertilizer required to grow the garden.”  To learn more about this food for your soil go to:

www.farm-a-yard.com/compost-tea

ALERT…New GMOs at “Natural” Markets

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but processed food companies are getting better at hiding GMOs behind trendy marketing and promotional schemes to lure customers into thinking their products are clean eating, when nothing could be further from the truth.
The public is becoming more informed, but even the most savvy customer is challenged when trying to steer clean of the deceiving labeling and messaging strategies.
A new type of genetically modified product is now being slipped into your food.

My best insurance against this is being able to grow some of my own food or help a neighbor and share the bounty. But I could not have done that if it weren’t for Farm-A-Yard and Evan Folds. My biggest stumbling block was that my soil was so degenerated and I didn’t want to use artificial fertilizers and all the other toxic chemicals. My efforts to compost were very slow and I still had poor results. I got a complete soil test and Evan gave me a simple prescription. 🙂  Gardening has never been so rewarding. Learn more here:  Living Soil

When you do buy at the store…”Luckily, a cutting-edge list has been compiled which shows consumers exactly which products contain these new GMO ingredients.  These New GMOs that are flooding the “Natural” Market. Here’s How to Avoid Them”…

These New GMOs Are Flooding the “Natural” Market. Here’s How to Avoid Them…

My Favorite Garden Tips-One I Would Never Do Without!

For me, gardening has to be “no fuss”.  It has to almost run on auto pilot once it’s set up.

Making your growing project convenient. Besides an area that has good sun & water source, make sure where you grow your plants is easy for you to access.  Growing right outside of your front or back door is a good idea instead of having to walk all the way to the “back forty” to get to it.  Growing food works best if it can easily be part of your normal daily routine. (Though I have gardens in public places, that don’t need daily visits because I grow more perennial drought tolerant plants there and I normally drive that way in my weekly routine making it easy to maintain).

Water source and watering system needs to be handy and easy to use.  I can’t stand to fight with kinking hoses and I need a good shower nozzle that is not going to break tomorrow because it’s just made of plastic!  For smaller projects, I also prefer to use rain collection (instead of chlorinated water) by using an open top 55 gallon rain barrel (with removable screen) because I can just dunk my water can into it. (Works faster than the spigot at the bottom 🙂

Companion plant with herbs can increase yields, attract beneficial insects, and help nurture diversity for balance.

Companion and inter-plant herbs right along with your vegetables.  For instance, plant cabbage, kale, broccoli and other bassicas with dill, which attracts predatory wasps.

Predatory wasps are just one example of the how a healthy garden balances itself. Here is just a little about how that works.

Trichogrammatids, scelionids and mymarids are no bigger than the period at the end of this sentence. They help control caterpillars such as cabbage loopers and cabbageworms.

Eulophids parasitic wasps that are usually metallic green or blue in color. Some types help control Colorado potato beetles by parasitizing their eggs, while others parasitize the adult insects.

Pteromalids are about one-eighth inch long and solid black with distinctive red eyes. Female pteromalids parasitize pupating caterpillars and beetle larvae by laying eggs inside them.

Interesting stuff, huh?…

Dill planted with brassicas is just one of the many beneficial relationships you can encourage in your garden. Google companion planting for more.

All compost is not created equal.

It is smart to recycle our vegetable scrapes, coffee grounds and tea bags.  You can make a compost pile and make you’re own soil for your garden. I add some Microbemakers Compost Tea in a Box to mine so that it would jump start the process with more microbes.  Even though I use compost that I make, it is never enough or as effective as the compost tea. This stuff is amazing and perfect for people who cannot have a compost pile.  I use it to feed my garden plots and it takes all the guesswork out of balancing my soil nutrition because the microbes know just what to do!  Saves me sooo much time, energy and $$.  I have never had a product I could recommend until now.

Check out the Facebook live video with Evan Folds speaking at Fayetteville State University.   Evan Folds at Fayetteville State University- FB LIVE

Mulch

Mulch is one of my best friends!  It invites more organisms, help hold moisture (I spend less time watering), is a natural, slow release fertilizer, encourages the beneficial mycelium network that draws up nutrients from deeper in the soil and makes it available to the plants and suppresses any competing weed growth. (though I allow some weeds in my garden because I eat them they do important work as well.

Straw, or wood chips for mulch are two of my favorites, but I have lots of leaves available and I use those too.  It’s important to me to always keep the soil covered.  I will just rake the mulch back before I turn the soil, if needed, and then plant. It’s important to be careful not to till the mulch into the soil. Then when the plants are up, I move the mulch back to cover.

Watering plants before a frost.

If frost threatens water the ground well the day before. Plants are less susceptible to frost damage if they are well watered.

My biggest tip of all is this:  Use Microbemakers Compost Tea in a Box.  Before I used this, I was always trying a whole bag full of tricks to discourage pests, mildew and other problems…a lot of time spent with little results.  It all sounded good, but my approach was all wrong!  Now I know that I just need to bring in the microbes! (they are my superheroes!) I just feed them and they bring in the balance of what is needed in the soil to prevent issues.  Growing healthy soil is my first priority and it’s sooo easy to do!  Now I don’t spend gobs of time reading what to do about this or that isolated problem!  Thank you Evan Folds!

I overwintered some pepper plants and here is a picture of one in a 4 inch pot with a tiny pepper that is growing faster than anything I have ever witnessed before!  I had to bring it in last night, March 12, because it snowed here in Fayetteville 🙂

Boy, I just can’t tell you how good it feels to be able to grow this way!   Working with nature is the only way to do this. Start working with this microbe food and you will get really excited like everyone who tries it!