Keeping It Real With Food and Farming
EAT REAL !!!!! EAT LOCAL!!!
Don’t we hear this a lot lately? I don’t intend to be the Food Police, but it is such a good idea for our general well being and for the local economy.
For the past 9 years we have been striving to grow our own food and source out the rest from the local natural farmers. Living in the country and being 1/2 hour away from the nearest healthy grocery store, it is almost a given that we need to do it ourselves as much as possible. Utilizing No-Till farming on our 12 acre land , we have been doing it all by hand ( partially due to lack of equipment). Wheel barrows, shovels and many hands ( 9 in our family ) make up our farming methods. Instead of joining a gym, we head out to our local recycle center armed with pitchforks and buckets to load up on all the free mulch we can manage. From there we pile up all this good organic matter onto recycled cardboard to cover up the existing ground we intend to plant in. This mulch breaks down slowly into good soil, blocks out the weeds and keeps the moisture in the ground. From there, after a season of sitting, we break into the mulch to plant the seeds or starter plants. This No Till method is elaborated in the film Welcome to Back to Eden Film and in a film called The One-Straw Revolution. And then there is the organic gardening guru’s Rodale that can show the way: garden mulch | How—and Why—to Mulch the Heck out of Your Vegetable Garden | Rodale News. Farming in this way is practically free and so beneficial to the soil. The top soil is not intended to be exposed, turned over or tilled. The amazing micro organisms are there to supply the vast nutrients to the plants. The more we dig into and mess with the dirt, the poorer the soil becomes. Look at how nature behaves with out human intervention. The forests and grasses all drop back their dead leaves to be composted in place to become healthy soil. Only in natural circumstances ( mud slides, floods, tornado’s ) would that land be disturbed. All of creation grows just fine with out our intervention. Learning to work with nature instead of against it is the key. You can see more about our small farm on our in-the-works web site Grow In Grace Farm. and on facebook as Grow in Grace Farm
Make it Your Self !
In our home, if we need an ingredient, we enjoy trying to make it from scratch. Mustard, mayo, cheese, kombucha., kale chips, crackers, salsa and yogurt. Besides making home cooked meals as healthy as we can ( and by using all that we grow ) , for the items we don’t have ( livestock, milk, eggs, deer meat) we head to the neighbors farms and local farmers markets. Bread is hand made here by our 18 year old with freshly ground ( and local ) wheat. The corn meal is fresh ground and we can even roll oats to make fresh oatmeal! We are omnivores and enjoy eating a variety of foods as long as they are natural. For the past 6 years we have been eating Kosher , so that rules out all things piggy and bottom feeders ( not that we think that we will be struck by lightening if we eat bacon or shrimp : ) A nearby Jersey Cow is our milk source ( and for yogurt, cheese and butter ). We own a cow share of this content bovine..and I like to say the part we own is her cute face . Local pasture raised chickens supply our eggs and even our beef is from a Black Angus that we knew by a first name basis. We can get our honey nearby ( and the bee pollen that I eat a spoonful of each day to prevent allergies) and wild deer meat is given to us by the community hunters. This winter we got the opportunity to slaughter our own chickens for meat..out in the natural elements on a farm. Talk about fresh! There are many who can not and do not want to grow there own ( or even cook ) This is where the innovative and hard working local producers can help. One awesome business in our region brings the farm to you! Farm to Family The Farm Bus from Farm 2 Family. The husband and wife owners of this mobile farm stand support all the local natural farmers by purchasing from us and stocking the goods on their buses and driving it in to cities and heavily populated ares that don’t have much access to fresh local foods . All people should have access to healthy foods and be helped out by teaching them to cut back on the junk foods and replace it with substantial nutrient dense foods.
Farming , Fresh Air and Food Freedom
For many years now we have been advocates for freedom in farming and local food sourcing. Before moving to the Virginia Countryside 9 years ago, we lived in New York. For 10 years I pounded the pavement of Manhattan for my career in Fashion before we had our 7 kids. My husband was a manager in one of the New York City Burroughs. Many miles and years later, we are now partially living off the land. The satisfaction of having our own home grown food right off of our own land is truly rewarding. Throughout the years we have had many trials and made mistakes. These experiences only helped us to learn more for the next season. A failed attempt at owning a Country Store taught us how some of the public ate. Beer, BBQ, Bologna, Pork Rinds and Pepsi were our biggest sellers! Some customers I believed only ate beer and Tylenol! Not intending to ever tell anyone how and what to eat, my heart just went out to those who came into the store with so many diseases and illnesses. Folks on dialysis, dependent on a barrage of meds, suffering from diabetes, obesity, emphysema and gout and many on thyroid medicine for the rest of their lives. Yet they only bought sticky sweet donuts, Mountain Dew, hydrogenated fat laden snacks and candy bars to go with their potted meat. We had two rows of healthy foods that most customers ignored. But we did see many new faces who appreciated the organic and natural food choices. And I really loved sharing what we knew to help others ( and we learned so much from all of the old time farmers ). This is a work in progress and we get excited about what we discover and encounter along this journey into healthy eating and living.
Taking a Stand for Our Food Freedoms
VICFA ( Virginia Independent Consumer and Farmer Association). This group stands strong in leading the fight to protect our food and farming freedom rights. They have tirelessly lobbied at our Nations Capitol to ensure our rights as producers and consumers. Because of the members in this group ( that was co-founded by Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms Polyface, Inc.. ) so much of what you and I are able to enjoy today comes in part due to them. One of their objectives is to enable the ordinary person to bake granola, make fresh jam from their kitchens and gardens and to be able to sell directly to the customer ( friend, neighbor, farmers market patrons). For many years this has been illegal. But because of VICFA ,VICFA – Virginia Independent Consumers and Farmers Association. we now have this ability. This is how things have always been done in American history. Picture this: A young mother grows a 1/2 an acre of cucumbers with no chemical fertilizers or pesticides, harvests them with her children’s help, cleans them, dices them and makes hundreds of mason jars of raw and delicious sweet and sour pickles. Along with her family she can make some money by selling the pickles to her friends and neighbors to help support her family. It empowers her and her family and benefits the grateful friends and neighbors who may not have time to do all the work to enjoy fresh canned pickles. Well no longer..it is illegal to do this now. What has happened throughout all these years that we now depend on foods in colorful cardboard or plastic boxes that contain processed foods from 1000’s of miles away? Filled with unidentifiable ingredients and taking away from a good local economy! How can we get that all back? Human beings thrive on fresh healthy REAL food! All of this fake food is making us ill and distancing us from where food really comes from. If we are all eating this unnatural stuff, what is going to eventually happen to our bodies, minds and spirits?
Here is an article that I wrote in a VICFA newsletter on the conditions of livestock and the impact it has on the animals and on the people
Kombucha and Kale Chips
Eating Whats Around You
Growing your own food is so rewarding. Not only is the hard work involved good healthy exercise, it is so important to us for our children to know where food comes from and how they can be a full part of the production of it, from seed to stomach! It helps that most of us like to cook and bake. Most all of our recipes include something from our garden. The difference in taste can not be beat when it comes to fresh picked organic. Right now our strawberries are just about ready and the blueberries are not far behind. The arbor my husband built has grapes on one side and hops vines on the other ( beer and wine garden ; ) Having certain crops and herbs ready at different times helps us become creative cooks. If it is ready to be harvested now, you should eat it now! I really believe in indigenous eating..not that it is really practical, but doesn’t it make sense? Where ever we live on this planet should have all the foods we need to supply our nutrients ( can’ quite get the Arctic parts of the globe though..no thanks, I love to be barefoot all year long). Just because we can buy a banana in the winter in New England, does that mean we really need it? God has actually supplied us with all we need in the various regions of this earth. Mankind though, has made a mess of many things. So we do depend on stores to get most of our food. But if you have some land or some space for a small garden, try and grow some basic vegetables and herbs to enjoy. Living in a skyscraper would be a challenge, but in most cities there are incredible farmers markets and natural grocers that carry local food goods.
Food For Thought
If you are interested and want to try and implement some of these ideas into your lifestyle, please comment below. We believe in keeping it real. Eating things that make sense..close as possible to the original source. God designed our bodies to function on the real foods that He gave us. The Industrial Revolution changed much of what was originally intended for our optimum health. We are grateful in this country to have access to clean food and water and I am not complaining. We just need to know that we can make choices that can make a difference. Skip the high fructose corn syrup soda and have a glass of Kombucha or water with lemon, bite into a fresh picked watermelon ( with seeds) instead of a glazed donut , savor a juicy pasture raised beef burger instead of a fast food fake burger and smother real fresh butter on your ground wheat biscuit instead of putting margarine ( plastic) on your glue like, zero nutrition, slice of white bread! Some great books I can recommend are The Makers Diet by Jordan Rubin of Garden of Life. What the Bible Says about Healthy Living Cookbook by Hope Egan and Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary Enig – Weston A Price Foundation. This foundation based on historical human diets , stresses the need for all of our ancient heritage diets to be restored. Lets all think about what exactly it is we are gobbling up and what it may mean for us in the future. For more info on what we are doing on our small farm please visit our new ( in the works) blog/website Grow In Grace Farm