The Magic Ingredient

(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.

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!)

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What is Real Food Security?

Arriving in South Carolina the beginning of May did not give me enough time to create a yard farm before the “Heat of the Year” arrived. At one point during the summer the degrees on my car dashboard read 117…..whoa baby…hotter than anything other than watermelons wanted it to be! I had to experience all summer long that creepy feeling due to my lack of food security.

Being new to South Carolina everything is very interesting. I am aware of the sounds, the light… the sensations that are all around me, because it’s all new to me.

I am at a stage in my life that I have developed very keen observation skills and my most current observation has been my state of uneasiness because I did not have any food security. This is the first time in 16 years that I did not have any food growing outside my kitchen door. What a creepy feeling it is….unsettling at the very least.

Arriving in South Carolina the beginning of May did not give me enough time to create a yard farm before the “Heat of the Year” arrived. At one point during the summer the degrees on my car dashboard read 117…..whoa baby…hotter than anything other than watermelons wanted it to be!

I had to experience all summer long that creepy feeling due to my lack of food security. From May until the end of September…nearly 5 months, long enough to know how that feels.

Now that feeling is dissipating,. Why, because my beds are made, my plan is drawn and some seed is in the ground. When I see some germination the feeling will dissipate more and when I harvest I’m sure it will vanish the feeling completely!

That got me thinking about those who have never had food security. They do not experience those feelings but I am sure that if they were given 16 years of food security right outside their kitchen door and then not have that for five months…they would have a creepy feeling as well.

The moral of the story is this: Farm-a-Yard….it’s a Movement ….have ya heard?