We are serious about turning the 48.5 million acres of lawn in America into food production! Farm-A-Yard: It’s a movement… have ya heard? Linda Borghi and Criss Ittermann, two of the co-founders of Farm-a-Yard, share about the birth of the Farm-A-yard movement as a response to the challenges of soil degradation and food insecurity issues facing our country and the world.
You’ll notice in this episode that Farm-A-Yard is all about solutions, sprinkled with plenty of laughter and gratitude to pave the way for sustainable, lasting change.
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(excerpted from Slow Food for the Cheap and Lazy: Eating well for the time & cost conscious, work-in-progress)
Any way you look at it, life as we know it is a miracle. Cooking food is a nurturing act. When we cook to feed someone (including ourselves), we’re providing a cornerstone of life, ensuring that someone can live another day — preferably in the best of health. Through food, we support the miracle of life; we keep the candle burning.
There is a miracle ingredient to food. Unfortunately, it’s an optional ingredient. We can sustain life without it, but the question is how much that miracle ingredient in our food can improve the quality of our life. The miracle ingredient in our food is love. Love, in its most pure, unadulterated, raw, non-GMO form, is as necessary on a daily basis as water, vitamin C or protein. When you add love to your food, it honestly will taste better. You don’t have to think about it. You just have to consider the act of preparing food as an act of love, and allow the love to unburden the act of cooking.
When we run out to eat, to grab a bite, to drive to a fast-food place, sometimes we lose focus on the love ingredient missing in our food. The more carelessly the food is thrown together, the more neglectfully the ingredients are chosen, the less nurturing the food is. When you go to a good restaurant with a chef who cares, who picks out the best produce and meats, the food is naturally healthier. When you go to a fast food restaurant where the preparers are underpaid, the food frozen and shipped thousands of miles and stored in freezers and warehouses, the quality shows in the lack of love in the food.
However, this can be remedied. When you shop with respect to your money as well as the quality of the items you put into your cart, you’re showing love to your family. When you pass by something you know will harm your family, and pick something fresh and amazing that you know they’ll enjoy just as much, you feel better about your food, better about yourself, and better about your relationship with those you are feeding.
It’s also getting easier and easier to get close to the source of our food. We can shop at a farmer’s market and look our farmer in the eyes and thank them for a job that is generally taken for granted. We can eat fruits picked this morning, and be eating our lettuce for 2 weeks before it gets to the age it would have been had we gotten it from the supermarket.
And we can go another step further and grow our food (or at least some of our food) ourselves. From a windowsill full of fresh basil to a yard teeming with tomatoes and squash — you can talk and sing to your plants and give love before the harvest. It doesn’t get any better than that. Gardening can become a family affair, getting everyone off the couch, out from behind a screen, and out into the sun for some loving vitamin D, talking and working together. Children eat more vegetables when they participate in planning out the harvest and growing them.
Healing your relationship with yourself and your food is an important part of loving yourself and others.
Criss is the “Ninja-SwissArmyKnife” techie and marketer on the Farm-A-Yard project. A trained wildcrafting herbalist, she loves cooking and watching cooking competitions. She also teaches about raising chickens, making herbal remedies, and so much more.
Winter…. I love to get cozy and gather friends around the kitchen table and go through seed catalogs together. Sweet and spicy mulled wine is the ultimate adult beverage to share, that warms from the inside out!
During this dark and cold season, the herbs that I previously harvested are nature’s medicine cabinet and there are so many ways to employ them.
Urban farmers would do well to cultivate a healthy patch of herbs for teas, medicinal tinctures and/or herb bundles for soups and an array of culinary applications…many of which could be income producing as well.
So, mulled wine fills the house with the aroma of cinnamon, cloves and other delightful spices and helps us celebrate tradition and nurture family and friends!
Merry Mulled Wine
Serves: about 11 cups
8 black peppercorns
6 whole cloves
3 pinches of nutmeg powder
3 pinches of cardamom powder
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon anise seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
1 bottle red wine (French is the best!)
6 cups 100% fresh pressed sweet organic apple cider
1 cup brandy
1 cup local honey or whole, organic cane sugar
Bundle the whole spices in a round cut out of cheesecloth that has been gathered and tied with cotton twine. Place it in a stainless steel or ceramic stock pot. Pour in the wine, cider and brandy and stir in the honey or sugar. Slice one orange and drop it into the pot along with the bay leaves.
Warm over low heat at least 1 hour. DO NOT allow the wine to boil or you’ll cook out the alcohol.
Ladel into mugs, garnish with sliced orange and serve warm.