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

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!

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 🙂

De-Stress- 4 Easy Nature Reboots

“Absolutely nothing that humanity can create will improve human health and longevity more than reconnecting with our mother planet and father sun.” ~Jason Bawden-Smith

Read that again… “Absolutely nothing that humanity can create will improve human health and longevity more than reconnecting with our mother planet and father sun.” ~Jason Bawden-Smith

Absolutely nothing….that we can come up with will improve our health and quality of life more than reconnecting with the nature….

Another translation, “stop and smell the flowers”.

But to REconnect, I first need to have a daily practice of disconnecting….So, what does that mean?

In our busy lives, which seem to get busier by the day, I knew I needed to build in a regular routine, especially because technology beacons me to keep up with the unending emails and assignment deadlines. But alas, what is suppose to save me time, can rob me of true quality of life.

Yet, I am not blaming technology….

Am I the one steering my life?  or am I allowing life to steer me??

Much of the time in the past I was not conscious enough to even ask that question.

But guess what?  Once we are aware, then we can set an intention to change that.  I just needed to take practical action steps to make it real in my experience.

It needed to become just as routine as my old habit had been and it just takes practice to create a new habit.

I had to decide not to let old habits sabotage my plan.

So, what to do first….

Write it down…..you’ve probably heard that before…well, that truly is a powerful first step to making it happen.

Then I put it on my calendar.  I schedule everything else in my life, why don’t I schedule time for me?  If I truly matter, why am I not on the calendar?  All my other “important” things are scheduled.

The routine maintenance of my car is very important to me to prevent a costly breakdown.  But when it comes to my time, it is too easy to take another 10 mins on the computer or my phone, trying to “catch up”, which can end up robbing me of my personal “maintenance reboot” time. This habit can lead to a “costly breakdown” that can take it’s toll on our health and wellness.

When we truly “get this”, it will transform our lives for the better.

I learned from my daughter how important it is to also schedule, “unstructured time”, where you don’t have to do anything.   You can just “Be”.  So that doesn’t mean choosing to be with my phone on facebook or other phone time.

This can gradually help us to live more in the moment as we move through the rest of our day.

This is not just about managing our time.  More and more articles are appearing, concerned about the risks of over exposure to EMF pollution from cell phone towers, electronic devices, smart meters, and especially cell phones. Have you ever heard of a “cancer cluster”?.   Do some research and learn how to protect yourself and your children who are even more venerable. 

Can you hear nature calling?  Every morning I wake up to birds singing right outside my window….but some mornings I don’t even hear them because I am already so busy in my head.  Sound familiar?

We all could benefit from practicing connecting with nature on a routine basis.

So here are some steps and ideas:

1. Number 1 on my list is Grow a garden (are you surprised? LOL!) Grow something right outside your door, so that in your coming and going you can get a regular nature fix.  Stop and smell the flowers, spend a brief time watering and observing the magic going on in the garden. Pick a flower or fruit and bring nature into your house! Take a break from your phone and leave it inside!

2. Schedule a window of time, 1 or 2 hrs daily that you will not check your phone to answer text and voicemail. Or plan a certain time of the day to return calls and answer emails etc.   This will help change your mindless habit of checking your phone every few minutes or every time it sounds an alert.  (No wonder adrenal exhaustion is so prevalent!) Turn it off so you are not tempted or set it to airplane mode to also reduce EMF exposure.

3. Plan for a half or full day of no technology every week.  True story:  Whenever we go camping in the Sierra Mountains of California in the summer, our phones are not be able to get a signal because we are so in the “wild”.  We just turned off our phones and put them away all weekend.  What is funny is, on the way back down the mountain, all our phones start going off ding, ding ding, ding, over and over with download of messages we were not able to get on the mountain!  I love those times of “forced tech detox and decided to schedule voluntary times into my life.

4. Plan a “Re-Boot” Garden Party and invite your friends!  Have your friends “check” their phone at the door, by putting it in airplane mode or turn it off.  Everyone will enjoy some real, uninterrupted “face time” with the group. Plan some stimulating topics of conversation to pull out of the hat and/or mixer, team games and of course some great food from the garden.  Maybe even have a cooking party!

 

 

Pickled Avocado

Preserving the harvest can be done in so many ways.  

Even Avocados!

Avocados are high in a preferred healthy fat!  Great to take with you for a quick snack, instead of being held hostage in a famished moment and settling for some regrettable sugary choice!

This is a fun item to bring to a party because you don’t have to worry about them turning brown!

First things first!
Here is an awesome tip to make sure your avocado is green and creamy on the inside, and free of brown spots.  The key? Check under the stem.

Now, let’s learn a way to pick a good avocado.
Peel back the small stem or cap at the top of the avocado. If it comes away easily and you find green underneath, you’ve got a good avocado that’s ripe and ready to eat.

On the other hand, if you pull back the stem and find brown underneath, the avocado is overripe, and you’re likely to find brown spots inside the fruit. And, if the stem doesn’t come off, the fruit is not yet ripe enough to eat.

Here is a recipe for Avocado Pickles, but keep in mind, this is not the kind of pickle that is meant for long-term storage. It’s best to give them a couple hours to marinate.  You’ll notice that the avocado pieces have softened and are more tender and have soaked up just enough brine to make them quite delicious.

How to Use Avocado Pickles
Here are some cool tips to consider:

You can slice them or cut in chunks, just consider length so that it will fit nicely in the jar. They can go on sandwiches, salads, or garnish fish.  Of course they are great as a side to anything and eating right out of the jar!

The Avocado Pickles Recipe is at: http://www.thekitchn.com/recipe-avocado-pickles-231338

YOUR GONNA LOVE THIS FUN VIDEO! http://trib.al/yXGDRJ4

 

Plant Communication-The microbial community in the soil is related to our gut

This is indeed, one of the best articles I have read on the relationship between the soil and the human gut, by Mike Amaranthus and Bruce Allyn, called, “Healthy Soil Microbes, Healthy People”-The microbial community in the ground is as important as the one in our guts.

So much attention these days is around gut health.   There is an undeniable, vital connection in the soil that holds the secrets of real sustainable healing for the human health crisis around the world.

“We have been hearing a lot recently about a revolution in the way we think about human health — how it is inextricably linked to the health of microbes in our gut…”

“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.”

“These 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.”

This means a lot for a healthy garden which in turn will provide life-force food for healthy people!  Not to mention the $$ that is saved not having to buy all those pesticides, herbicides, fungicides.  On the flip side, all the drugs people take to deal with their symptoms, never address the true causes of the diseases and imbalances that are happening.

It’s imperative that we take care of our soils.  Nothing could be more critical.  We have already lost way to much diversity. We need to stop using toxic chemicals now and replace with simple natural compost teas, like “compost in a box”, to build up the soil’s immune system! (http://farm-a-yard.com/compost-tea/   Can be diluted up to 16 gallons for every gallon of concentrate.)

This is why we want to get everyone to help us “spray the country” with the microorganisms and biodynamic preparations to heal the nation’s soils.  Healthy Soils=Healthy People.

These healthy biodynamic preps work just as dynamically on lawns.  We want to see you grow food, but you can also have a lawn that is safe, by replacing all those toxic chemicals which add to the toxic load generated by the commercial lawn care industry.

This is another way to “vote” with your dollars for long term change that is good for your health, the environment and your pocketbook.

More of this incredible article here:

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2013/06/healthy-soil-microbes-healthy-people/276710/

Water’s Role in the Communication of Subtle Energy and Life Force

What is Water?

All of us here at Farm-A-Yard love water and care very much about learning more about it. We are doing what we can to share the miracle element that it is for all life on the planet and how to be good stewards of it.  We have a more personal relationship with water as we stir our compost tea preparations that will go out on our gardens. 🙂    (Check out the tea at www.farm-a-yard.com/compost-tea)
Below is a fascinating video, not to be missed!
Here is the latest from the Soil Doctor, Evan Folds.
Water may be the most obvious and at the same time misunderstood substance on Earth.
Dr. Masura Emoto investigated water’s more controversial abilities by taking microscopic images of frozen water structures after being imprinted with good and bad words and music.
Even if you are not ready to accept waters role in the communication of subtle energy and life force, this is fascinating.