018 – Let’s Meet Farm-A-Yard Co-Founder Marsha

018 – Let’s Meet Farm-A-Yard Co-Founder Marsha

with host Linda Borghi and guest Farm-A-Yard Co-Founder Marsha Howe

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?

Linda and Marsha are like 2 peas in a pod and share the firm conviction that everyone, everywhere, needs good healthy nutritious food, every day.  Marsha supports the grow-your-own local food movement in her area, teaches healthy cooking and eating classes, and since she lives in an apartment, Marsha has negotiated with others in her area to grow in public spaces.  Both grandmothers share the firm conviction that grass is a waste of gas, and that everyone has something better to do with their time than mow a lawn.  The Farm-A-Yard movement wouldn’t be the same without our balance of Linda’s East Coast Chutzpah and Marsha’s West Coast Mellow.  Welcome Marsha, co-Founder of Farm-A-Yard.

This podcast is made possible by funding by our Patreon supporters.  For extra free content or to become a patron please see us at https://www.patreon.com/FarmAYard

Links:

Music credit: “Insomnia” by John Sheehan.  Used with permission.

My Freckled Farm: Urban Postage Stamp Front Yard Garden

You’re not going to believe what my beautiful, red headed, very busy daughter did in her corner of a big city neighborhood!

Sara started out a couple years ago… carving out some of the grass in her front yard to begin to grow some heirloom seeds she got from her family in Mexico.  That little tiny patch gradually grew and transformed.

They are a family of 6 (4 of them are hungry growing men & boys!) She is able to supplement fresh fruits and veggies for them right from her front yard.  In her backyard she has mature citrus trees for the best oranges, lemons, lime, tangerines and grapefruit you’ve ever tasted! One son even has a small business selling the citus to a local juice bar!

Well, the neighbors have been watching and the relationships in the neighborhood are growing too!  🙂

Sara’s creativity didn’t stop with farming her yard.

This entrepreneurial gal hosted a “Sister’s Supper” for her entrepreneurial friends who had cottage businesses. They were invited to set up small tables in the garden with some of their unique creations to sell.

    

    

Late afternoon summer breeze, music, tablecloths, picnic blanket, sundresses with patio chairs scattered around was so inviting!

Sara prepared fresh delicious produce from her garden, invited friends and neighbors and added wine!  What a night to remember enjoying great company until the sun went down and many lingered when the garden turned magical with lights illuminating the space.

One of Sara’s many talents is that she is an amazing photographer, capturing the vitality and diversity that a little nurturing can accomplish.  She has had a pair hummingbirds nest and grow their young and bees and other pollinators just love her yard!  

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 and let  us know what you are doing in your yard farm 🙂

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

009 – Time For Food Ownership: Germinating the Neighborhood With Food!

009 – Time For Food Ownership: Germinating the Neighborhood With Food!

with host Linda Borghi and guest Diana Pieri

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?

Diana Pieri has been farming her yard for just 1 year and she is already infecting her neighborhood with food!  Diana’s enthusiasm for growing food is infectious; she has had amazing results, changing her life after cancer, and now changing her neighborhood, and absolutely loving it.  She was introduced to Farm-A-Yard as a fan of Evan Folds and his “Compost Tea in a Box”.  Now she’s spreading food and compost tea everywhere!  This is the one “bug” we hope EVERYONE catches.

This podcast is made possible by funding by our Patreon supporters.  

For extra free content or to become a patron please see us at https://www.patreon.com/FarmAYard

Links:

Music credit: “Insomnia” by John Sheehan.  Used with permission.

006 – Biodynamics…It’s What’s for Dinner

006 – Biodynamics…It’s What’s for Dinner

with host Linda Borghi and guest Stewart Lundy

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?

Stewart Lundy, of Perennial Roots Farm in eastern Virginia farms, is serious about applied biodynamic agriculture and has created a rich fertile farm with his partner Natalie. They heard about Biodynamics on a trip to Italy and returned to the U.S and began to practice on their farm in 2010. Bringing Biodynamics “down to earth”, Stewart shows how it works for him. Unique tips on saving seeds.

This podcast is made possible by funding by our Patreon supporters.

For extra free content or to become a patron please see us at https://www.patreon.com/FarmAYard

Links:

Music credit: “Insomnia” by John Sheehan. Used with permission.

So What’s with Water? You Can’t Learn This Anywhere Else…

I LOVE WATER… especially clean flowing river water.  I actually crave it and must make my way to get in a clean river every now and then, which is not an easy thing to find these days.

Like Linda Borghi and Evan Folds, I’ve been very concerned about water quality for a very long time and have chosen not to drink tap water for at least 40 years.  It is shocking at how little respect is shown toward water’s protection and management.

For the first time, after listening to Evan Folds as he broke down some concepts about water, I made a new connection on a very intuitive level.

Water is alive.  It is a nutrient.  It’s not just wet.

Water is an unbelievably complex subject.  There are more than 90 different parameters of water that can be measured & manipulated.

What surprised me the most is that there is an undeniable fact that water implosion is one of the most powerful components in the practice of Bio-dynamic/Bio-Energetic Ag.

I can’t tell you how intrigued I was with this new understanding!

The information that Evan will explain in his upcoming free webinar is not taught anywhere else. (get on the mailing list to be notified)  We all owe it to ourselves to learn how to really take care of the soil and how to leverage the wonders of water if we want to benefit from true nutrient dense foods.

You will learn about minerals, microbes, life force energy, the truth about typical soil management practices that only make challenged soil worse. 

Evan’s free webinar also sets the record straight about NPK, PH and nitrogen.  No where else will you find a clearer understanding as to why the emphasis on these is only creating more problems.

It will be an eye-opening time to say the least.

It has been some of the best time I have ever spent in the farming realm and it has revolutionized my path for sustainable growing success.

What you didn’t know to ask about soil health…  

This information will unlock sustainable practices and teach you how to release the life force energy that grows and matures your soil, produces truly healthy plants and heals the environment including people!

You will not just get tips here, but a foundation that will be awe inspiring and that will give you a new found respect for the intelligence of the soil and of water.

 

 

Do you have the courage to walk out your door and rip up your lawn? Make a plan!

Just because you are on this website is evidence enough that you’ve got what it takes to grow you’re own food.

It’s a smart brave move on your part to take control of your food and where it comes from.  To know that it’s safe and truly nutritious.

Join the ranks of the grassroots garden renegades that are popping up everywhere!  When we grow food, we are making an impact on our health, the community, the environment and helping to localize our food system for food security. AND yard farming can be a real income generator.

If you are serious about growing food, this is the place!  It pays to get started learning everything you can so that you can have the success you’re looking for sooner than later.

WARNING….once you get started you’ll be hooked.

Record numbers of people are growing food in pots in the window, on the patio, plots in the backyard, front yard, curb sites, public parks, schools, businesses…food can grow almost anywhere!

Where do you want to grow?

Here’s what you need first:  Make a Plan and Get Organized

  • Evaluate your life and what time you can make available for the project.
  • Plan for the size garden you can realistically manage.
  • Assess your growing space options.  Make sure you consider:
    • Do you have permission to use the space? Short or Long Term?
    • Does the area have at least 6-8 hrs. of sunlight daily? Make a sun map (google “sun mapping”)
    • Does it have a safe, convenient  water source?
    • Will it need fencing to minimized wild life distrubance?
    • Get a calendar to use just for the garden to schedule your plan.
    • Get a folder or large manila envelope so you can attach receipts for all your garden seed, tools, investments. You can record and date each oneon the outside of the envelope.  Data is important and will help you get the most from your garden adventure with less waste and cost.  Attach pages that keep track of garden notes, like: Garden map plan, yields, pest problems, budget…

    Equipped with the right information you can get to your goal much faster than most.  This planning can help you save money too!

    We’re with you every step of the way, so get on the Farm-A-Yard email list so that you don’t miss the announcement of our next FREE course. (check your spam folder too to make sure out emails are not getting lost!)

    Click Here to Subscribe

Grow Your Own Herbs for Merry Mulled Wine

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

Ingredients

  • 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
  • 2 oranges

Instructions

  1. 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.
  2. Warm over low heat at least 1 hour. DO NOT allow the wine to boil or you’ll cook out the alcohol.
  3. Ladel into mugs, garnish with sliced orange and serve warm.

 

A Personal Food Revolution

plant-grow-eat-signWe at Farm-A-Yard invite you to take action for a personal food revolution.

So what does a personal food revolution look like?

For some people it means becoming a more conscience mindful eater. Learning to listen to their body and noting how different foods affect their energy, positively or negatively and whether they get bloated or have joint pain, etc. They take note of the kind of relationship they have with food and if that is working for them.

For others it’s about making mindful choices of where their food comes from. Is good food accessible to everyone in their community?  How was it was grown or raised?  Mindfulness like this along with a desire to support a local economy and local farmers who are fair and mindful also of good working conditions for their farm workers.

The ultimate personal revolution for me, is learning to grow my own food, getting back in touch with the vibrant life force of the earth and learn from the quiet, invisible, dynamic wisdom under my feet.

It’s important to me to learn how to best grow my own chemical free food in a way that nurtures and supports the earth that is feeding me.

So why else is this so important?

Our nation’s health crisis is not joke.  We’re the top country in the world for chronic diseases, obesity and diabetes.

So, what is the reason?  It is widely accepted that it has everything to do what we are eating and drinking, the drugs people are taking and generally the soup of environmental toxins surrounding us, not to mention the impact of other life stressors and anxieties.

Our healthcare system today is more accurately described as being focused on the management of “sick care”, not “healthcare”.  We spend billions of dollars to try and find “cures” (and the crisis has only worsened),  but we continue to lack getting to the “root” of the problem and only treat sympthoms.

We have to trace it back to our management of our soil and water, on which our very existence depends.  If we don’t get that right, then all our other efforts, though they are vitally important to the overall solution, all will be in vain because without healthy soil, nothing can be sustainable.

That is why I made the decision, as an urban farmer, to grow BioEnergetically/Biodynamically.  Though I have grown without pesticides and herbicides, and chemical fertilizers, it’s not enough for the poor lifeless dirt that is the norm in America. The soil organisms need to be fed.

Biodynamic farming actually farms the soil, the air and even people.  The Biodynamic preparations are food for the microbes in the soil and the whole eco environment.  The human gut and inner ecosystem is a mirror of the soil web. Our life depends on the health of the invisible microbota of the earth and our connection to it.

So, this is what takes our educational webinars to another level.  Get on our mailing list for more information, you’ll be glad you did.

 

 

What Really Matters in 2017?

What Really Matters in 2017?

 I’m glad you asked…

For me it’s food freedom….and having fun with food makes that happen!

My urban farm handle is Freedom Farms.  My farm is indeed a bit different than most. I farm here in North Carolina in several small plots around the city. Some are in public places, some at businesses, some in pots, some in other people’s yards.  I have found out how easy it is to grow food anywhere.

I specialize in keeping it simple, working with the resources at hand and adapting my plans to nature’s ways.

Why?

Because it means less work!

I’m a permaculture practitioner…that means I am practicing…

yes, practicing and learning how nature does things and then working to copy that.

What’s Permaculture? It’s amazing how many different answers you can get when you ask that question.  Permaculture for me is all about relationships and observing the dance of nature and learning to dance with her!!

Permaculture involves a lot of observation in order to design permanent foodscapes that mimic nature’s synergistic relationships, which will, over time, nearly take care of itself.  Also, BioEnergetics has made my efforts much more productive because the more you feed the soil, the more the soil will feed you!!

This week I went on a foraging treasure hunt, while walking my neighborhood for the free pecans that litter the lawns and streets.  I was dancing with the squirrels!  I got all I needed for the winter!

I also got a bag full of Muscadine grapes and Kiwi from a huge vine at the local college, where earlier, I also harvested blueberries in the spring! (I also met a new permaculture friend!) I even got to sample a burst of flavor from some fall strawberries in one of my public gardens.

Life is good.

Then, was I surprised, at one of the businesses I grow at, to find a delicious sweet, 2-3 inch in diameter, guava type fruit that I had never tasted before and I harvested a whole grocery size bag from 2 small bushes!

Why are we not all growing this plant??!!

(I am in the process of identifying the plant and will keep you posted!)

All you have to do is wash them and throw them whole, skin, seeds and all (no peeling necessary) into the blender and make a smoothie, or cook them down into a wonderful stewed fruit compote to top yogurt, hot oat bran cereal or use as a filling for a Thanksgiving cobbler! (can you guess what I’m going to do?!)

And guess what?  This summer, the palm trees in front of one of my business locations had incredibly sweet palm fruits!

Awe…the simple pleasures.

Food Freedom means a lot of things to me and as a Food Freedom writer, I hope to inspire you to action to grow some of your own food.

Maybe even YOU might decide to establish a rouge perennial plant that can surprise someone and offer them an experience of exquisite delight!

For me, that’s…  “What Really Matters in 2017”  🙂

Tell us in the comments below, “What Really Matters” to YOU in 2017?

 

 

Why Farm-A-Yard? Background Story

So, being that I am the kind of person who can’t just sit around complaining and lament the problem, I literally “dug” in to be a part of the solution.

I couldn’t help myself…..I never considered myself an activist, but when the pieces started coming together about why we are in such a health crisis in this country, my hair was on fire!  What we now know is only the tip of the iceberg and Titanic is going down, while some are still playing the music and saying that everything is ok.

Sometimes I feel a little bit like Noah, who day by day spent his time building an Ark even though it had never rained before.  Though he looked silly to others, he kept on building.  We need to build local food systems for real food security and to do that we need to build local food chains of small farmers, yard farmers other food entrepreneurs.

Commercial food is seriously altered, highly processed, lacking in nutrients and even produce is laden with chemicals. We have also been in a huge GMO experiment without our consent, which starting in the 90’s.

So, being that I am the kind of person who can’t just sit around complaining and lament the problem, I literally “dug” in to be a part of the solution.

I was compelled to establish a Sustainable Neighbors meetup group in 2012, right after I moved from California and discovered how difficult it was to access locally grown, chemical free food in Fayetteville, NC.

In my search for healthy, locally produced food, there came another discovery… I found very few local small farmers actually growing their own produce to sell directly to the consumer.  To add to this concern, I could not find a farmer who was not treating their land and crops with commercial fertilizer, pesticides and herbicides.

I recognized that all the processed foods being consumed and the lack of access to healthy produce was the main factor in the widespread health disparities in food deserts around the country.

I told myself that it didn’t have to be this way!  My driving force now is to see people eat well and get well.

I have been observing the evolution of the food system for a long time and I am old enough to know what real food is and tastes like.  I began to feel the urgency, for the sake of my grandchildren AND everyone’s grandchildren, to share the knowledge and skills of how to grow, preserve, cook from scratch and share other sustainable living skills and resources.  Because of this, Sustainable Neighbors Meetup was born. www.meetup.com/sustainableneighbors   www.sustainableneighborsnc.com

I was excited and inspired by the growth of the urban agriculture movement in cities around the country. We can do this and there is an opportunity to earn money too.  This is how to be sustainable and it offers entrepreneurship opportunities to create jobs.

With other concerned neighbors and a vision to build resilient neighborhoods and communities, we began working to find farmers and educate and connect consumers to where their food comes from.  When I met Linda Borghi, Biodynamic/Farmer  in 2015 and we joined forces to launch the Farm-A-Yard movement with Evan Folds of www.MicrobeMakers.com  and Melissa Jones of www.FromScratchMag.com  to teach others how to  turn lawns into food across the country.

We are collaborating with many who, like us, are also passionate to be the change they want to see in the world starting with their yard.

In the Farm-A-Yard course, our students learn critical keys to success from experts in the field.  BioEnergetics is vital for soil regeneration and recovering the nutritional value of the plants we grow. Students can get an in depth soil test so that they know exactly what to do to for their soil.  Students also are given cutting edge marketing and recordkeeping tools that save time and money. Everything you need in one awesome package with step by step instructions.

We all have the ability to make our communities food secure,   By voting with our dollars (https://slowmoneync.org/), supporting local small farmers and/or learning to grow and preserve food for ourselves, you can be part of the movement.

IT’S A MOVEMENT, HAVE YOU HEARD?

Training Yard Farmers, Recruiting Yards

headshot-marsha-copyAbout Marsha Howe

Sustainable Neighbors and the Farm-A-Yard grassroots projects were born out of the concern around the eroding of our health through toxic processed foods, the lack of access to fresh, local, seasonal produce as well as the need to build local food systems for real food security. As Director of Food Education with Guiding Wellness Institute, Marsha facilitates urban farming/local food education and training to secure and sustain local food access and economic opportunity for healthier, resilient communities.