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

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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.

001 – The Seedy Story

001 – The Seedy Story

With host Linda Borghi

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?

Seeds are very small, yet mighty! It is so easy to overlook the paramount importance and power of seeds. There is a worldwide seed diversity crisis today.  In this podcast episode, Linda reviews the movie, Seed: The Untold Story.  

Warning: listening to this episode could change your relationship with seeds forever!

  • 00:52 – Linda’s personal story about her relationship with seeds
  • 09:50 – Movie review: Seed: The Untold Story

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.

000 – Welcome to Farm-A-Yard

000 – Welcome to Farm-A-Yard

with co-founders Linda Borghi and Criss Ittermann

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?

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.

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.


 

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.

 

 

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?

 

 

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?

The Mowing of the Lawn

Did you know that it take 40% of the drinking water on the east coast to satisfy the needs of this fossil fuel, chemical and time robbing beast.

The Mowing of the Lawn- by Linda Borghi

Very interesting that I have now had the experience of mowing the lawn three times in the past month and a half and before then, never.  I am here to report that I made it through the dreadful experience all three times although there were moments during the last go around that I thought I would have to throw in the towel.

Lawns and I have never seen eye to eye to begin with but now having to personally interact was a bit over the top for me. You see, we have forty and a half million acres of lawn in our country, a terrible habit we brought over from England. We have had plenty of time now to have become independent thinkers when it comes to this unworthy entity but alas….we have yet to do so.

Did you know that it takes 40% of the drinking water on the east coast to satisfy the needs of this fossil fuel, chemical and time robbing beast. Now the flip side, the benefit, where and what is it? I am far from an experienced lawn mower but thus far for me I see no b
enefit  other than the color……I don’t get it.

Instead of mowing we shoud be eating, we should ditch the grass and feed our families, I swear it would take about the same time and we’d get to eat. Isn’t that true food security?  Besides food security we are given the opportunity to reconnect with the awe inspiring energy that only working with the Earth can give you. There is only one Earth, stop mowing her and start dining with her.  Bon Appétit!

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