Why I Rarely Go To The Grocery Store

Someone asked me recently why it was that I hardly needed to go to the grocery store.

After researching what is really going on with our food system, it’s imparative eating healthy is important to me. When I first moved into this food desert city in the south, I found that there is very little healthy food in the grocery stores. The stores are loaded with packaged, processed “food-like” snack substances with long ingredient lists (that are hard to pronounce!)  If the ingredient list is longer than a few ingredients, then it is too processed for me!

I live in the city in the upstairs of a back house under a gorgeous massive oak tree.  I am an urban farmer. I eat seasonal, local produce, cook from scratch and have little need to buy much at the grocery store.

I eat mostly a fresh diet of veggies, fruit, some grains, seeds, beans, eggs and  a little pasture raised meats. I also make my own probiotic foods like saurkraut & kefir, fresh nut milk, salad dressings, sauces and I have a great pantry to make shopping a breeze.  My personal pantry grocery store is just steps away!  I am a “semi-prepper” as I have always thought it was a good idea to store some extra food and supplies in case of an emergency of some sort.

Eating seasonally, has been sooo rewarding especially being in a different part of the country with new special foods to this area that were not frequently on my plate in my past location.and exciting especially when you get to eat some of what you grew yourself.  I am able to get a lot more fresh food diversity in my diet too.  So I capitalize on whatever is in season and put some of it up in the freezer for the winter too.

I harvest weekly from the public permaculture/perennial garden that I manage and other yard gardens that I work in.  I get unlimited herbs all year, which make a big difference for making the ordinary, extraordinary,as well as for medicine and teas.

[Dried Stevia Leaves]

Plus, I support local farmers and get seasonal veggies regularly from them to round out what I have growing and so that I can have access to a larger variety of produce without having to grow it all myself. I think it’s the best of both worlds!

I also am able to get pasture raised meats and eggs from local farmers.

Often I can find some organic options for dried beans, nuts and grains, pasta, coconut oil, olive oil, coconut milk/water and some dried or canned tomatoes/unsweetened fruits, sea salt, pepper, teas at discount stores like Big Lots.  When I do, I stock up.

Neighbors with fruit trees are often happy for others to harvest fruit so that it doesn’t go to waste.  A great opportunity to offer your help and take home some bounty to be canned, frozen or dried.

You can do this too!  Just start.  Take little steps. You’re body will thank you!

 

Why Living in the City and Growing Your Own is a Good Idea

Just in case you need ANOTHER reason to grow some of your own….

” New data presented last week at a children’s health conference show that glyphosate, the active ingredient in the popular Roundup weed killer, is detected in pregnant women and could lead to adverse pregnancy outcomes…”

“…preliminary results were presented at CEHN’s conference last Thursday in Washington DC. Learn more about the project here.”

“…this is the first U.S. study to demonstrate glyphosate is present in pregnant women. “Everyone should be concerned about this.”

“Preliminary work detected glyphosate in the urine of 63 of 69 (91 percent) pregnant women receiving prenatal care through an Indiana obstetric practice. Researchers collected the data over two years, from 2015-2016, and found that women with high levels of glyphosate in their bodies…  are seen as risk factors for many health and/or neurodevelopmental problems over the course of an individual’s life.”

“Additionally, women living in rural areas had higher mean glyphosate levels than women in urban/suburban regions. This suggests that proximity to corn and soybean fields that are heavily treated with glyphosate is a route of exposure for these women.”

“According to Dr. Winchester, much more research on glyphosate’s impacts is needed, and more data is needed on levels of exposure through food.”

“Debate has been raging about the continued use of glyphosate in light of the 2015 classification by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) of glyphosate as a probable human carcinogen. …One study found that chronic, low-dose exposure to glyphosate  led to adverse effects on liver and kidney health.”

AND, Why Am I NOT Surprised!!!

“Since the release of the IARC determination, Monsanto has made several efforts to discredit the scientific findings… However, a New York Times report revealed collusion between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Monsanto to suppress cancer findings in EPA’s carcinogenic review of glyphosate.”

So, besides growing food in the city, we can also work together for more change.

“The mounting evidence of glyphosate’s hazards is piling up and environmental groups, like Beyond Pesticides, are urging localities to restrict or ban the use of the chemical. Beyond Pesticides promotes these actions and many more through the Tools for Change webpage. This page is designed to help activists and other concerned citizens organize around a variety of pesticide issues on the local, state, and national level… talk to your neighbors about pesticides with our factsheets.

So, Folks, buy and support organic food and agriculture.
To find out more about the work Beyond Pesticides is doing on organic integrity, check out Keeping Organic Strong, or to see all the reasons to go organic, visit Eating with a Conscience.

Yesterday, Beyond Pesticides and Organic Consumers Association sued Monsanto for misleading and deceptive labeling, claiming no effect on people and pets, despite scientific evidence that glyphosate impairs the functioning of the human gut bacteria, essential to human health.

For complete article:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/58e3f715e4b02ef7e0e6e172

My Freckled Farm: Urban Postage Stamp Front Yard Garden

You’re not going to believe that what my very busy daughter did in her corner of a big city neighborhood!  You can do to it too!

Sara started out a couple years ago with a little tiny patch and gradually it grew and transformed. They are a family of 6 (4 of them are hungry growing men & boys!) She is able to supplement lots of fresh fruits and veggies for them right from her front yard!

She is an accomplished photographer and her pictures are worth a thousand words!  Be inspired and then go farm your yard!  Check out My Freckled Farm on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/myfreckledfarm/

Join the Farm-A-Yard Movement Community Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/groups/farmayard/

Local Food Reliance- “Inch by Inch & Row by Row” The Times They Are A Changing!

“Inch by Inch & Row by Row, gonna make my garden grow,  all it takes is a rake and a hoe and a piece of fertile ground”…

This is an old song by David Mallett for a new time…

“I bless these seeds I sow…feel the need to grow my own, ’cause the time is close at hand”.

“…sun and rain, find my way in nature’s chain, tune my body and my brain to the music from the land”….”mother earth will make you strong if you give her love and care”.

There is another song…”The Times They Are A Changin” by Bob Dylan

Things are changing whether we are ready for it or not.  There is a strong intention rising across America to localize our food system and it’s more urgent than ever to grow food where we are and to grow the health of our soil.  There is a serious threat to food security by the changing climate globally and steps need to be made now to be able to navigate what is projected in the near future.

We need to take responsibiity for feeding ourselves and grow local food reliance.  There is nothing secure about being dependent on a global food system.  There is no better place to start solving this than our own kitchen table!  Have neighbors over to share some of your garden harvest and talk about this.  We don’t need to look any further than our own yard and working with our neighbors. Local food systems are built from the grassroots up.  It begins with us!

Creating a local food culture, right where we live, requires a commitment to source from our local growers, or they will not be there to source from.

Our consistent, inch by inch efforts, will make this our reality!

I thought you’d enjoy this song!

http://youtu.be/y1oiVEWFHrs

Published on Jan 26, 2016
Music lyrics video for the song, THE GARDEN SONG, written by David Mallett and performed by David Grover and the Big Bear Band

How To Spend Less Than An Hour A Day Growing a Garden

Of course this statement depends also on the size as well as the kind of garden you are growing.  But for most yard gardens, you can manage your garden, once it’s set up, in as little as 3-5 hours a week.

Once your garden is all set up, you can save time managing it by an efficient watering system.  You will find that your garden will grow much more efficiently once you determine how much water it really needs.  Random, over watering or under watering can be detrimental to your outcome.

There are several watering methods and tips to consider before you decide what’s best for your size and kind of garden.  One method that can be used in a part or all of your garden is soaker hoses with a timer.

According to the article in Rodale’s Organic Life, “Studies show that well-designed drip irrigation systems use at least 30 percent, and in some cases 50 percent, less water than other methods of watering such as sprinkling.”

Rain water from a rain barrel provides less chemicals that are in city water, like chlorine, fluoride and other water contaminates. 
If you are using biodynamic methods and teas, it is best to mix those preparations with rainwater also.  Setting up a rain barrel is easy and low cost.Covering the soaker hoses with a good layer of mulch will also hold more moisture and you will have to water less.You’ll also want a pressure regulator, quick connect hardward and Y valves which will save you oodles of time!

 Read entire article here with fantastic tips:

http://spr.ly/61888Yt6y

http://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/top-10-ways-conserve-water

https://www.rodalesorganiclife.com/garden/how-install-rain-barrel

Everyone Should Have a Potager ~ Going Beyond Salt and Pepper!

Everyone should have a Potager, which is French for “kitchen garden” and “providing vegetables for the pot”!  It can be simply a small variety of herbs, edible flowers, vegetables and/or fruits right outside your kitchen door.

Do you like walking through your garden just for the aroma therapy that the herbs and flowers provide?  Right under our noses, (literally!) is a powerhouse of missed goodness that can revolutionize our culinary creations, but also our health and wellbeing.

Anybody who knows me, knows how passionate I am about taking responsibiity for my own wellness through real food.  The kind of food you grow yourself or are forunate enough to access from a local farmer.

Many an ill could be lessened or stopped in it’s tracks if we were proactively applying the the foundational adage,  ‘let food be your medicine and medicine be your food”, by keeping a simple potager of herbs, edible flowers and weeds.

Having a personal relationship with our food, as many a gardener can tell you, has so many benefits that go well beyond the physical nourishment it provides.

Herbs and flowers are wonderful for the whole garden environment and everyone who enters it!  When you begin to sow seeds, your intention and action energizes the space.

This energy, though invisible, is as sure as gravity.

And, what is seen, is the results of the life energy which is charging the well “intended” garden!

The most overlooked yet incredibly essential ingredients to better health and wellness is the herbs and weeds growing outside your door!

Many of us like the idea of having an herb patch either in our yard or in a sunny window, yet it is one of the most under utilized items in the garden.

So let’s change that right now!

I was, like most people, missing out on the tasty and powerful properties of herbs, simply because I was limited in my understanding of  how to used them.

So I want to share with you some simple facts & tips of ways that I am learning to get the most out of my herb garden.

Growing herbs for food and medicine is generally so easy! It requires minimal effort and is extremely cost effective! Store bought cut herbs sell for a premium. In my permaculture garden, where I have no water source other than the rain from the heavens, my herbs do exceptionally well with little to no attention. The secret has been that it is well mulched to retain moisture.

Herbs and spices are not just for flavor.

Herbs have carminative properties. What does carminative mean?

Herbs carminative properties make it easier for you to digest your food so that your system doesn’t have to work so hard. Carminative herbs actually reduce gas and bloating and other digestive discomforts.

You’ve probably heard that you are what you digest, not just what you eat.

One thing that you can do is activate your herb cabinet by moving some from the cabinet to the table for easy access and start adding them to your meals when you sit down to eat.

Here are some easy tips:

I love to use fresh herbs by the handful!  I just chop different combinations of herbs like  parsley, sage, garlic chives, cilantro, rosemary and thyme and sprinkle them on sauces and dishes at the end of cooking so that they are barely cooked and retain their fresh flavor.

I often saute chopped onion, garlic and sometimes fresh ginger  or curry spices, like tumeric and chili peppers to add to cooked squash that I have blended up into a sauce that is then poured over potatoes, roasted veggies or rice.

Be brave and play around with these!

You can also dry your herbs for making your own herb blends.

Make your own Rosemany, Thyme Salt Blend.  All you need is 1 Tbl powdered Rosemary, 1 Tbl of powdered Thyme and 1/2 Tbl of fine Sea Salt.  Mix and fill a salt shaker. Now it is ready to add to any dish right at the table. Don’t worry so much about what it “goes with”.  Begin to experiment  and discover new flavors and influences.

Another blend to make is for sprinkling on hot cereal, yogurt, toast, smoothies etc.  Add 2 Tbls of powdered cinnamon, 1 tsp. of powdered ginger, 1/2 tsp. of powdered clove and 1/2 tsp. of powdered cardamon.

I also love fennel.  You can save the seeds and use them whole  or make a powder.  You can make a nice fennel rice by sauting over low heat, 1/2 Tbl. of fennel seed and 1-1/4 cup of jasmine or basmati rice in a pan until lightly roasted, stirring occasionally, then add a 2 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and cook until water is gone about 15 mins.

Bitter herbs have special properties to activate bile and get your digestive system primed and ready to eat.  Besides being useful for digestion, bitter herbs can be used to help with urinary tract infections, kidney stones, fluid retention, achy joints and gout.

An example of bitter herbs are dandelions and coriander.   I dry danelion leaves and coriander seeds from the garden and then using a coffee bean grinder, make a  powder. You can also use a mortal & pestle to grind into a powder and then fill a shaker bottle.

I sprinkle some on the first bite of my food to activate my digestive system.  If you especially like the flavor, then you can sprinkle more on the dish and enjoy, but just the initial tasting of bitters will bring a lot of benefit.

And Don’t overlook Paprika! It has four carotenoids: beta-cryptoxanthin, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin. All four function as antioxidants, but the first two are converted into the form of vitamin A that is used in the eyes to turn light into vision and is needed to produce the protein that makes skin.  Be generous with it as it is not an overpowering taste, but blends nicely with almost everything.

There you go!  Start adding more herbs to your meals and get the most out of your herb garden!

A Truly Free People Can Feed Themselves. Declare Your Independence! Grow a Garden!

As I awaken in so many new ways, to the preciousness of freedom, the one matter that remains the dearest to my heart is the freedom to choose what goes into my body and the right to healthy air, soil, food and water.

IS THERE TRUE FREEDOM WITHOUT THAT? 

We live now in an environment that requires us to question what’s in our air, food and water.  What are the invisible toxins that we are exposed to?

Well, there is a very LONG answer to that.

Rather than go down the rabbit hole on that question, there is enough evidence to make my solution an easy one, to the overwhelming reality of the slow degeneration of air, soil, food and water.

Grow at least some of your own food. Or support someone who does.  We all need to put our shoulder to this!  It’s SO much easier than you think!

I am producing a series of blogs on how to get started with biodynaimic gardening and why it is the best and easiest way to guarantee nutrient dense safe food and simple ways to turn your yard into a yard with real “life force” to support health and healing.

We are on a mission to inspire and empower folks across the nation to convert 48 million acres of turf grass that is polluting our environment BIG time.  Only the collective WE can turn that around across the country!

We even have the best and easiest solution if you want to keep some of your grass by applying biodynamic practices as well!  You can even turn your turf into a regenerating life supporting oasis, instead of a degenerating, toxic producer that is compromising your health and the thriving of your neighborhood ecosystem.

Join this happy, growing, supportive community of urban farmers! https://www.facebook.com/groups/farmayard/ 

You have got to hear what this beginning yard farmer is doing!  http://farm-a-yard.com/p009/

Farm-A-Yard Podcast logo: orange sun with sunbeams rising over a mound of black dirt with 2 sprouts and a microphone in green coming up out of the soil.
Farm-A-Yard Podcast — It’s a movement… have ya heard?

 

 

Always believe that something wonderful is about to happen

Always believe something wonderful is about to happen…humm…now that is a great affirmation.
Even when my desired outcome in the garden or in life doesn’t happen according to my expectation, nature and life find ways to make it better than I originally intended.

Nothing in creation is without purpose, meaning and useful….nothing.

Patience is an acquired trait, and a very valuable one. It gives me opportunity to discover so many things that I would otherwise completely overlook or even disregard about my environment and more importantly, about myself.

Nature has a way of assisting with developing that trait and many other virtues.

Nature is a living network of miracles.

Nature provides so many opportunities for new, simple, as well as, robust experiences and discoveries that, I can testify, have transformed my way of thinking and living in the world.

When we are connected with nature, we might observe a worm’s process to become a butterfly, which invites us to consider this reality even for ourselves and our circumstances.

Ok, enough borderline deep thinking 🙂

Let it be known, that there is more to this gardening thing and growing your own food than meets the eye! LOL!

We, at Farm-A-Yard know that as you take the path of growing your own, using nature’s methods that honor and coordinate with nature’s ways, will bring you so much more than you could ever imagine!!!

So, always believe something wonderful is about to happen! And with a little patience, you will not be disappointed!

This mindset is powerful!

Now, go farm your yard  🙂

Soil Microbes and the Human Gut Connection

Farm-A-Yard teaches people how to grow healthy soil as the foundation for producing nutrient dense food.

There is great need to introduce healthy, living microbes into the depleted, dead soil caused by modern farming and gardening practices.

The need for microbes in the soil is also the same need in the human gut.
The research is revealing how important the realm of microbes are to human health.
Have you heard the term, “leaky gut”?   Or all the the articles bringing attention to the importance of gut health in healing an array of diseases?

 This is another post of a great article,  “Healthy Soil Microbes, Healthy People”, this time with more quotes to get you to read more about how microbes work and why we need them!

“Just as we have unwittingly destroyed vital microbes in the human gut through overuse of antibiotics and highly processed foods, we have recklessly devastated soil microbiota essential to plant health through overuse of certain chemical fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, pesticides, failure to add sufficient organic matter (upon which they feed), and heavy tillage.”
“Soil microorganisms do much more than nourish plants. Just as the microbes in the human body both aid digestion and maintain our immune system, soil microorganisms both digest nutrients and protect plants against pathogens and other threats.”
“For over four hundred million years, plants have been forming a symbiotic association with fungi that colonize their roots, creating mycorrhizae (my-cor-rhi-zee), literally “fungus roots,” which extend the reach of plant roots a hundred-fold. These fungal filaments not only channel nutrients and water back to the plant cells, they connect plants and actually enable them to communicate with one another and set up defense systems.”
“Half of the earth’s habitable lands are farmed and we are losing soil and organic matter at an alarming rate. Studies show steady global soil depletion over time, and a serious stagnation in crop yields.”
“Reintroducing microorganisms into the soil, together with the organic matter they feed upon, has the potential to be a key part of the next big revolution in human health”
Do you need some soil organisms?  www.farm-a-yard.com/compost-tea/
To read the full article by Mike Amaranthus and Bruce Allyn:  https://www.theatlantic.com/author/mike-amaranthus/

Adventures of a Guerrilla Gardener

It is so COOL to see what I can grow in all these random garden locations that I have gradually established around the area where I live.

I just harvested about 70 baby gold potatoes, spring onions, garlic , beets, beet greens, kale, malabar spinach and herbs!  I am ecstatic!

I’m in Fayetteville NC and this is the first harvest of the season. All grown guerrilla garden style in public plots.

I made a Bechamel sauce with rice flour and minced fresh herbs of rosemary, thyme and garlic that I also grew. Poured over the potatoes and beet greens…OH MY! I wish you could smell and taste it!

I could hardly wait to indulge! “Garden Bon” 😋(translated garden good!) I am planning a cold borscht soup with the beets and I love them shredded or cubed on salad.

  

“Farm-a-yard.com” it’s a movement, have ya heard?!!

We are just one seed away from food security and “amazingness”! (We create new words here too!!!! LOL!!😁🍲)

If you are farming your yard, post a picture and tell us what city and state your are in 🙂