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/

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.

004 – Evolution of Organic Standards & America’s Urban Farming Movement

004 – Evolution of Organic Standards & America’s Urban Farming Movement

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?

with host Linda Borghi and guest Liana Hoodes

Liana is an expert in America’s food history and the importance of being an advocate for  organic standards. We all need to take personal responsibility for the sustainability and safety of our food supply. Learn from the Cuban crisis and their shift to urban farming for their survival. America’s urban farming movement is vital for food security.

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:

Liana Hoodes’ Bio

Liana Hoodes has worked since 1994 on a wide range of organic and sustainable agriculture policy issues, and is currently  Policy Advisor to the Northeast Organic Farming Association – New York, and the National Organic Coalition where she was the Executive Director from 2003 until 2015.  She has worked extensively on Farm Bills, annual appropriations, as well as on the implementation of the Organic Foods Production Act at the USDA National Organic Program and on organic standards at the National Organic Standards Board. She currently works on a variety of federal, state and local policy issues to support and advance organic and sustainable food and agriculture.

Liana  was the organic policy coordinator for the National Campaign for Sustainable Agriculture from 1994 through 2006, where she was the facilitator of the successful effort (led by many organizations) to garner hundreds of thousands of comments to repeal and re-write the first organic regulation.  

Prior to that she was the founding Director of Orange Environment,  a local environmental advocacy organization in Orange County, NY, and also worked for a  law firm specializing in civil rights and environmental law.  In 2001 Liana co-founded the Pine Bush Farmers Market  to support agriculture in the Pine Bush region, as well as to promote downtown economic development in the hamlet.

Liana grows organic food and  lives with her family in Ulster County, New York.

 

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

003 – Save Our Soil

003 – Save Our Soil

with host Linda Borghi and Farm-A-Yard founder Evan Folds

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?

Transform the way you think about the soil under your feet to seriously revolutionize your growing results.

Evan Folds, the “Soil Doctor” as we call him, does not give standard soil advice but shares proven methods that unleash soil regeneration.  Evan is a Farm-A-Yard co-founder, owner of Progressive Farms & manufacturer of the Microbe Maker compost tea system, and his passion about nurturing microbes, healing the Earth through carbon sequestering, producing nutrient dense food, advocating for personal agriculture, and healing people through vibrant local food economies will change your focus from the stem to the soil.

Through his consulting work, Evan has developed BioEnergetic Agriculture, which seeks to increase the life force of living systems through physical, mineral, biological, and energetic influence.

Favorite Quote

“…our food is not nourishing us to allow the expression of our humanity.”

1:00 – Linda introduces Evan Folds, owner of Progressive Farms and shares how they met.

5:50 – Evan Folds talks about regenerative agriculture and what biodynamic/BioEnergetic methods are all about.

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.

002 – Biodynamics, Demystified Part 2

002 – Biodynamics, Demystified Part 2

with host Linda Borghi and guest Abby Porter

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?

Abby Porter from the Josephine Porter Institute for Applied Biodynamics shares the history of Biodynamics, organics and the relationship between Rudolph Steiner & Dr. Pfeiffer, a scientist, who proved the the science behind biodynamics. The establishing of Demeter, the international biodynamic certification organization. Abby also talks about her mother Josephine Porter’s history in the making of the biodynamic preparations.

Get Part 1: http://farm-a-yard.com/p002-1
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.

Microbes Are Microscopic

For the most part, the soil is a mystery. Based on the rate of discovery it is estimated that only 5% of bacteria and 10% of fungi have even been identified. As Leonardo da Vinci said, “We know more about the movement of celestial bodies than about the soil underfoot.”

What we do know is that soil is alive with, not just the animals and arthropods that we can see, but trillions upon trillions of microscopic organisms with names like fungi, bacteria, actinomycete, protozoa, and nematode.

Think of microbes as the plankton of the soil. They are the base of the “soil food web”, working to recycle the waste of the world into plant food. They make compost, and beer, cheese, kombucha, bread, mushrooms, and so much more.  

There is another universe in the soil that is completely out of sight without a microscope. Here are some statistics:

  • Up to 500,000 bacteria can fit in the period of the exclamation point at the end of this sentence!
  • There are literally billions of microbes and miles of fungal hyphae in a couple tablespoons of good compost.
  • A teaspoon of colloidal humus has the surface area of a football field!
  • The average bacterial cell is 1/25,000 of an inch in length and even smaller in diameter. In other words, one could place 25,000 bacteria cells, side by side, on an inch-long line.
  • By contrast, if 25,000 people were lined up shoulder to shoulder, they would make a line over 18 miles long.
  • Microbes are everywhere, there are more microbial cells in and on a human not taking antibiotics than there are human cells.
  • The book Secrets of the Soil says that a single microbe reaching maturity and dividing within less than half an hour, can, in the course of a day, grow into 300 million more; and in another day, to more than the number of human beings that have ever lived.
  • According to the book Microcosmos, bacteria, in four days of unlimited growth, could outnumber all the protons and even the quarks estimated to exist within the universe.
  • A typical bacteria would be something like 0.003 mm long and it would weigh only 0.000000000001 grams.
  • Recently nanobacteria called archaea a hundred times smaller than common bacteria, have been found.  
  • At the other end of the scale, giant bacteria are known.  One, Epulopiscium fishelsoni is 0.06 mm long and 0.008 mm wide.
  • True diversity cannot be understood in a lab or with a microscope. It can only be established through DNA testing. Even then, how do we even know what we’re looking for?
  • The best indication of diversity is whether the inoculant was created in a natural setting, preferably a farm, and in the how well the product performs when growing plants.  
  • Lab-based inoculants lack the strength of microbes from Nature. Microbes from Nature have more life experience.

BioEnergetic farming is soil-centered. Feed the soil, not the plant. Organic fertilizers are the baking ingredients, and compost tea is like the yeast that makes the bread. Conventional farming is drowning, “organic” farming is treading water, and BioEnergetic farming is swimming where you want to go.   

The last 50 years in agronomy has been dominated by a mineral, and mostly artificial, approach to agriculture. Big Ag is a result of the misguided business model of large corporations selling artificial chemicals, pesticides, herbicides, etc. that value profit over farming and work to kill soil microbes. The soil is no more than an inert sponge.   

It doesn’t take much to turn dirt into soil. And it starts with soil microbes.


 

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.

Linda Borghi- “Women Who Farm” Interview 2016

Through online webinars, I teach, encourage and empower others to convert lawns into food production areas

Linda Borghi- “Women Who Farm” Interview 2016

What was your earliest memory of taking part in the local food system?

My earliest memory of taking part in the local food system was in 1978 in Bogota New Jersey which is located 5 miles from Midtown Manhattan.

I was a newlywed and we purchased a home that had 67 stairs to the front door, no driveway or garage but the front of that house look like a farm to me. I even grew some corn. At that point Burpee must have thought I had a palatial mansion because every square inch of that property that was capable of growing, was.

Please explain your project and work.

Years later I established Abundant Life Farm, located in the state of New York and I grew bio-dynamically in two locations for 12 years. I practiced an urban farming model called SPIN farming (small plot intensive) which I discovered while combing the internet. It was the only business model that I could find for someone who was growing on small plots of land like myself. I have a business background so I was looking for how to make small scale farming profitable.

Over the years I have taught this model in Africa and Australia and throughout the US. Last season I realized that I could not continue to farm well and teach well at the same time so this grandmother decided to take it on the road. My project is a movement and it’s called Farm-A-Yard. With 40 and a half million acres of lawn in our country that’s consuming 40% of the drinking water on the East Coast, we need to change our ways and that’s what I’m determined to help accomplish.

Through online webinars, I teach, encourage and empower others to convert lawns into food production areas

How has your life changed since you started growing food?

I’ve been growing food for 34 years I can’t even imagine how it was before I grew food. Now that I am not farming I’ve relocated to Beaufort South Carolina in a residential area. The first thing I did was cut out 500 square feet of the lawn to get some food in. I felt very jittery without having food outside my kitchen door.

What has your largest challenge been?  Have you found a way to overcome it? If so, how? 

My largest challenge has been getting others to pay attention. Because I’ve seen so many changes in the past 35 years, right before my very eyes, I feel a responsibility as a 61 year old grandmother to share with others the knowledge that I have. The way I have found to overcome it is to teach, in person, universities, online. That’s my plan.

How can men be allies to women farmers? 

Men can be allies to women farmers through participation, collaboration and taking action.

What made you want to take up this way of life? And how did you get started? 

This way of life was gifted to me from my grandmothers, both my father’s mother and my mother’s mother. They made such an impression on me from such a young age.

I can remember when I was at the tender age of seven saying to myself (about my father’s mother) when I grow up I’m going to be just like you Nonna. Getting started just came naturally.

What has farming/growing food taught you? And how has it changed you? 

Farming and growing food has taught me the art of observation. The most important of all of the skills farming has given me is the skill of observation. Because it’s one of the skills that I’ve honed in on I’m able to apply it in all of the aspects of my life. It’s been quite a blessing!

What is your ten-year vision for yourself? 

My 10 year vision would be at the ripe age of 71 I would be able to drive down suburban neighborhoods and see zucchini growing and lettuce growing and food growing that is my ultimate vision.

What skills have you learned? Can you explain and teach some of those skills to our readers?

I have learned how to make “value added products from growing garlic.  Also how to ferment and  how to grow amazing tomatoes. From growing food and earning money right down to talking about the microbes, I stay on top of the cutting edge information for my students.

What does permaculture mean to you and how does it work in your farm/garden? 

I find permaculture extremely interesting. I’ve taken some course work online in reference to permaculture and what I realized is that it was exactly the way I have been in relationship with the land.

Are you a mother that farms? Can you share your story and experience? 

I’m a grandmother who farms and it’s my intention to reach all of the mothers out there so that they can have true food security.

Are you a first generation farmer, or has farming been in your blood for generations? Please explain the difficulties and victories of whichever perspective applies to you.

I am the oldest of eight in a family of fine art dealers. I had no background in farming within my family.  It’s disturbing that my family would rather I introduced myself as a gardener then as a farmer.

Linda Borghi
Linda@farm-a-yard.com   www.Farm-A-Yard.com   It’s a Movement, Have You Heard?