Archive for ‘Urban Garden’

February 13, 2013

Don’t Get Mad, Get Eatin’!

If you know me, you know that I’m very passionate about one thing… food. Good food. Great food. Great tasting food. Great tasting, healthy food. Great tasting, healthy food that I can grow!

And… if you know me, you probably know I’m pretty pissed at the world about the “food” that is in our grocery stores. I’m mad that the stores are jammed to the gills with processed crap that feeds the majority of the world. I’m mad that the “good stuff” is on the perimeter of the store and that the “good stuff” really isn’t all that good because it’s picked too early and selected not for its taste but for its ability to last on the store shelves for as long as possible. I’m mad that we’ve become dependent on convenience to feed our bodies rather than really good food to nourish them and keep them healthy. I’m mad that when I want to “go out” to eat there are only a handful of restaurants that serve “real” food. I’m mad that most people don’t realize exactly how bad the food is. I’m mad that most families are choosing cost over nutrition to feed their families. I’m mad that people have to choose cost over nutrition. I’m mad that the food in our stores is killing us, causing Obesity, Heart Disease, Cancer and Diabetes. I’m mad that people aren’t mad about that! I’m mad that it’s often uncomfortable for me to talk to people about food because they get defensive and think that I’m “one of those people” or that I’m cramping their style or somehow judging them when instead I’m just mad that we are even in this position to begin with.

I’ll tell you what though, being mad doesn’t do any good. But being the change does. So I decided that I’m not going to be mad any more. I’m going to do something about it. What am I going to do? I’m gonna eat. That’s right, eat.

I’m going to eat and I’m going to grow. Okay, realistically I’m done growing in the physical sense, but I am going to grow food. I already have a garden, but I’m adding on this year. I’m making another section of lawn go away and I’m going to grow as much food as I can, right out in front of my house. And then I’m going to have as many people as possible eat my food. I want them to eat it and taste how great it is and love it. And then, hopefully, they’ll want to grow great food too and share that food with everyone they know. And before you know it, we’ll all be eating food not because it’s “cheap” or because it’s quick or because it’s convenient, but because we want to eat something that tastes wonderful and that nourishes us.

And I want to share recipes for that perfect tomato we grew in our garden. And I want to learn to can my own food not from You Tube, but from my friends and neighbors. And I want to trade some of my eggs for a great loaf of bread or a jar of homemade jam. And swap my tomatoes for greens or strawberries.

I want food to be food. I want it to nourish us, all of us. I want us to be healthy as a neighborhood, as a community, as a country, as the world. Yes, that’s right, I plan on saving the world by eating… one delicious bite at a time. Starting now.


February 8, 2013


It’s Friday. Five Minute Friday. Today’s word is “bare”.

Bare. Fully exposed. Vulnerable. Out there.

Winter. Lifeless. Or is it?

When I look out the window or wander through my yard this time of year, at first glance it’s easy to think everything is bare. But it doesn’t take long for my imagination to start running. Soon I see leaves budding on trees, crocus poking up out of the ground. Then, much like the animated movies it all starts happening faster and faster, lawns green up flowers bloom and the next thing you know, the bare yard is lush.

This year I will be converting a part of my yard, which some may currently see as lawn, but what I see as bare, into a productive edible yard. That open space will bring flowers for pollinators, the fruits of berries, and veggies of every color. There will be beauty and structure. Something to look at next winter so it doesn’t look so bare.

Soon, the snow will melt and my dream will become a reality.


Five Minute Friday


November 12, 2012

I’m Dreaming… of an Urban Farm

Have you ever had something make you take notice but then once you realized what you are looking at, you disregarded it, only to find later that the information actually applied to you?

Take for example my wedding dress.  When I first got engaged, years ago, I would flip through wedding magazines trying on dresses in my mind, picturing how they would look on me.  I remember running across one dress, thinking to myself, “Wow!  That’s really pretty… on the right person…” and then continued flipping pages.  Later, after I purchased my dress, I found myself flipping through the same magazine, again stopping on the same page.  I looked at the picture and thought,  “Wow.  That’s a pretty dress.” and then started laughing.  That was a pretty dress.  That was my dress.  The dress I bought.  Funny, I didn’t even remember the dress when I went out shopping because I had disregarded it so quickly as something that I “couldn’t wear”. Yet here I was, flipping through the bridal magazine, stopping on the same page and realizing that was the dress I ended up buying.  Apparently I shouldn’t have disregarded it so quickly!

Well, a similar thing has happened again.  A number of months ago while hanging out in Egg|Plant I found myself perusing their magazines.  I grabbed a copy of Urban Farm magazine.  I kind of scoffed at the concept of an Urban Farm.  I was thinking about how people keep coming up with these names, titles, buckets for everything.  New names for the same stuff.  “Urban Farm is just a new name for gardening”, I thought to myself, but I bought the magazine anyway “because it had some cool articles”.  A couple of months later I found myself back at Egg|Plant buying yet another copy of the magazine, still not thinking of myself as an “Urban Farmer”.  Well, sometimes life has a funny way of working out.  This morning, as I awoke to a white dusting of snow in the yard and heard reports of icy roads, I stood under the warm water of the shower trying to calm my nerves for my interview at the Permaculture Research Institute (PRI) to get into the Urban Farming Certification program.  If someone had told me a year ago that I’d be doing this, I would have laughed.  Yet today, as I made my way over to the interview, on icy roads, I could hardly contain my excitement.

The interview went great and yes, I was accepted into the program.  (Woo hoo!)  I think it will be a perfect fit for me and for what I want to do going forward.  Plus, the people I met with were great!  The next step is registration.  Then the holidays and then I’ll be off and running.  I’m so excited to get started!  Actually, the only way I could be any more excited is if it started tomorrow!  But alas, I must wait until January, January 5th to be exact.  So, while some of you may be dreaming of a white Christmas and Jack Frost nipping at your nose, I’ll be dreaming of the new year and my future Urban Farm.


October 29, 2012

The End of The Challenge: Why You Should Eat Less Meat and More Plants

This past Saturday marked the last day of the 8 Weeks to a Better You!  challenge and what a journey it has been.  If you’ve been following me throughout the challenge, you know that I shifted things slightly in the beginning to make it a Mindful Living challenge for myself.  I didn’t change the rules, I just changed my focus on them, and I’m so grateful that I did.

I started off with my sights set solely on living mindfully.  My goal was to make sure I was present in every aspect of my life and every aspect of the challenge.  Well, that became a challenge in and of itself.  I started getting messages from the universe to focus on food, but that wasn’t my goal so I kept struggling, brushing it off and trying to guide myself in the direction that I wanted to go, follow the path that I wanted to learn.  I felt like I was already eating a healthy diet and didn’t need to focus on food, didn’t need to listen.  (For your information, this is not how mindful living goes.  You don’t get to choose what you learn, you need to let go of your control, stop the power-struggles and learn what is brought to you.  It took me a while to figure that out.)

A couple of weeks into this last challenge a lot of things came about that changed my focus.  I found out that a dear friend of mine has been diagnosed with rectal Cancer, another friend from our old neighborhood has been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and my mother-in-law had to have angiogram and stents put in.  Unfortunately, I’ve lost more family and friends to Cancer than I care to admit, but when your friends, people your age and younger, start getting Cancer, it’s downright scary.  If that isn’t a message from the Universe, a wake-up call to check-in on your own health, I don’t know that is.

Around this same time, I was lucky enough to have a close friend of mine, who lives in Boston, visit not once, but twice.  We started talking about our friend with Cancer.  We started talking about the other people we know with Cancer and heart problems and allergies and ADD and ADHD and more.  And when I asked “Why?”  We started talking about food.  And that’s where my journey shifted gears.

My friend and I talked and talked about food.  And we talked about movies we’ve seen.   Movies… about food.   She recommended I watch The Gerson Miracle, Forks Over Knives and The Engine 2 Diet.  I highly suggest everyone on this planet watch all of them.  They are all available on Netflix and you can even watch The Gerson Miracle for free here.  All three movies talk about what our food does to us and for us.  Some of it is literally killing us (meat and dairy), some can heal us (plants).  There is scientific research that backs up the information in all three movies and if we let go of our fear of change, acknowledge that nutrition that was taught in school in the 1950s and the food pyramid we were taught in grade school might be wrong and trust our intuition, we’ll find that plants just might be the key to our future.

Unfortunately, many of us focus our diets around meat, dairy and other animal products and add in plants like we would add salt and pepper.  Unfortunately most of the health problems we face (Cancer, Diabetes, etc.) can be tied to eating animals and processed food.  One of the films reported Cancer studies done in Norway over a period of a few decades around World War II.  In the 1940s, during World War II, Hitler invaded Norway during that time the Nazi’s took all of the animals (beef cattle, pork, etc.) from Norway for themselves to eat and left the Norwegians with nothing to eat but plants.  Ironically, prior to the invasion, Cancer was prevalent, during the time of the invasion and for a number of years after, Cancer rates dropped, significantly.  But after the war, when the animals returned, so did the Cancer.

Now here’s where I get excited (where my plant-geekiness really comes through).  In each of these films they talk about plant phytochemicals.  I know, you’re saying, “Phyto-what?”  Phytochemicals are the natural chemicals in plants that protect them from the elements, insects, etc.  and they have found that these same phytochemicals have protection and healing properties for us when we eat them.  (The more phytochemicals the darker the plant/fruit… think dark leafy greens, blueberries, etc.)  And what’s even better is that eating plants can repair damage that has already been done, even Cancer.  In 1928 Dr. Max Gerson discovered that by juicing and eating a plant-based diet that he could heal many chronic diseases, including Cancer.  Now, believe me, it makes me a little nervous to put this in print because according to our society’s standards I don’t have the right credentials to say this.  But what I can say is that it makes perfect sense to me.

I think of anything I’ve ever heard about food that was the best thing I could hear.  We often hear that if we eat this or that it will help prevent Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, Heart Disease or Cancer, but in the back of my mind I wonder, “But what if it’s already there and I just don’t know it yet?”  To learn that eating the right foods, a whole group of them, not just one or two, plants specifically, can repair damage that’s already done is incredible.  Remember as a kid when you were playing and you goofed up, but you didn’t want to lose the game so as quickly as possible you’d yell, “Do over!”.  Now we, as adults, can also yell “Do over!” to our bodies.  And you can start the repair with your next snack or your next meal!  How cool is that?!?

At one point someone told me I was trying to hit too many topics with this blog, that maybe I should just focus on one… say, gardening, or mindful living, or healthy eating.  But to me, they are all intertwined, which is why the tagline is, “Living today for tomorrow’s generation.”

Eight weeks ago I started off on a mindful living journey.  When I started paying attention to my health, the health of my friends and family, I discovered I really needed to take a harder look at our food.  Then I realized that I need to limit my meat intake to just a few ounces a week.  I need to incorporate more plants into my diet.  And what’s the best place to get fresh food?  Why our own garden of course!  If we take care of the soil, don’t use herbicides, pesticides or fertilizers, then we are growing food in a sustainable manner.  If we are being mindful of what we are doing to the earth, to the soil and what we are putting into our bodies, then we are living sustainably and mindfully.  You see… all connected.

The final part of my food and plant journey includes the next steps in my life.  I’m transitioning my diet to a primarily plant-based diet, which I will elaborate more on later.  But on a business note, I have decided to begin the Urban Farming Certification Program in my area, which starts in January.  What that means for you is that I’ll be adding more ammunition to my plant knowledge, specifically edibles, which will add more services to my business. More knowledge, more experience…  more food!

Grow food! Eat Plants! Plants heal.