Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Taming the Jungle


How do you know it is time to cut back the tomatoes?  Oh, perhaps when they grow a net of viney branches across the door to the hoop house, preventing your entry.  Lucky for me, I was prepared with a pair of sharp shears and twine.  Hacking and whacking, I made a considerable dent in the overgrowth.  It looks much better now, still lush but not quite so formidable.  I even found the first of many tomatoes, small orange cherry tomatoes that are delicious.  There were more Hungarian Hot Wax peppers, as well as the first of the jalepenos.

I always plan to do a better job of pruning, every year, and still I wind up with a jungle of a mess.  If only I followed the advice of the experts as viewed on this video!


Monday, July 30, 2012

Boogie On Down

Before you think it is all work and no fun around here, trust me when I say we know how to have a good time on this farmlette.  Last Friday night, it was Summer of the 70s live on the backstage!

Rockin' the afro to Le Freak


Duet with a young Luke Skywalker

Crocodile Rock with the most lovely aging hippie chick (and Luke, too)

"We Are Family"--girlfriends make the best "sisters"

Dolly would have been proud of this duet to Jolene

There was even the paparazzi in attendance!
Hooeee, what a good time!  The sangria was flowing, vintage nosh was snarfed up, and everyone seemed to have a hoot and a half.  Break out the costumes and the karaoke machine, and you have yourself one heck of a fine time in the back yard.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hostess With the Mostess

This week, I am hosting my mom and my nephew Ted on the farmlette.  For a near-to-six-year-old, Ted is pretty hilarious about many things going on around here.  From the visits with the cats on the porch ("They like me!  They really like me!" ala Sally Fields) to helping with the chickens in the tractors ("ROOOOOAAAAAAAR!  I'm playing with them, Auntie") to assisting in the garden ("the tree just fell apart on me, Auntie"), it is just one exciting moment after another.  This afternoon, we went to a local water park where we cavorted about in the pool during the intermittent rain showers.  Yes, I wore a swim suit, in public.  Yes, I squeezed myself through pint-sized portals into the tree-esque slide structure.  Yes, I went down that slide with a squeal and a giant splash.

Yes, the top of my skirtini came off in the process.

Thank goodness there weren't many spectators, although I think the teenage lifeguard maybe caught an eyeful, and is now scarred for life.  Poor kid.

Anyhooo....in other news, the last of the meat chickens were moved out of the car hut and into the field this evening.  They are smelly and dirty, but a few days out in the sunshine and rain and fresh grass, and they should look clean and white once more.  They always hate the process of moving, but once they get out there in the grass, they are pretty cheerful.  The rest of the herd is doing well, although the past couple of days I've had one keel over unexpectedly.  This is a challenging time period for the rapidly growing chickens, and sometimes they succumb to heart attacks or something like that.  They also get partially consumed by their brethren after they have shuffled off this mortal coil.  Now that makes for a lovely discovery during a routine wellness check, I tell you what.  Eeesh.

Chickens.  Don't turn your backs on them, because they will eat you. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Glass Jar Mania

I apologize for the high number of posts about canning.  This is the season for food preservation, as there is so much bounty being produced in the garden.  It is also the time of year that I actually have time to spend mucking about with a pressure canner and many, many glass jars.  All those jars, filled with beautiful colors and textures and delicious things...it is a beautiful sight, lining my full-to-bursting pantry shelves.

In the spirit of All Things Canning, here's what I've been working on for the past couple of days (in between trips to check on chickens, pulling a few weeds here and there, and monitoring wood stove installation shenanigans):


Yesterday, I made beef stew with local beef and vegetables from the farmers market.  I followed the recipe in the Ball's Complete Book of Home Preserving, which is tucked toward the end of the Pressure Canning: Meat section.  I think it will be loads better than that tinned Dinty Moore crap you can find at the store.  Sometimes, a girl just gets a yen for comfort food, and beef stew is one of my favorites.  That, and homemade macaroni and cheese.

Mmmmm.  Mac and cheese...drool.


 I also canned dry beans for the first time ever.  It was so easy, I kept asking myself:  Why is it that I never did this before?  Stupid, stupid creature.  All those years, buying canned beans for the "convenience" factor.  Wasted!  Not to mention BPA-laden, blech.

It is terribly simple to can your own beans.  You do need a pressure canner, but really, think of it as an investment for generations.  I fully expect some great-nephew or niece to inherit my work horse.  Anyway, set up your canner, and get ready to fill it with hot pint jars.  In each pint jar, scoop out a half cup of dry beans of your choice, a half teaspoon of canning salt, and fill with boiling water leaving one inch headspace.  Top with a hot lid, tighten the band, and you are ready to go.  Follow the instruction manual's suggested method of pressurizing the pot to 10 pounds of pressure, and process for 90 minutes.  Once you allow the canner to cool down, you will wind up with something that looks like this:


Home made canned beans!  I have plans to can up my homegrown dry beans like this.  I still have to shell the cranberry beans that I grew, but I have a pint of pea beans that I grew that just are crying out to be made useful.

On this morning's menu:  making a batch of Beef in Wine Sauce (also from the Ball book).   The kitchen smells deee-vine, I tell you.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

We've Got The Heat!


Or at least we will, once it gets cold again.

Meet my new wood stove!  Isn't it cute?  I have a whole big book of instructions to read through before I fire 'er up, and a warranty card I am supposed to fill out and mail in.  But other than that, and acquiring a pile of wood (and stacking said pile of wood), this is one project done.

Yippee!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Stormy Weather


It is a wonderfully stormy morning here in northwestern Wisconsin.  It has been raining and thundering off and on for much of the morning, but I was lucky enough to do my chores early between rounds of raindrops.  The chickens don't care if it rains, and the rabbits are happy in their bunny barn.  The only creatures that don't seem to like it are the dogs (too scary) and the cats (floods the porch which is just irritating).

I am working on some canning prep in the kitchen, and decided to bake up a batch of my favorite chocolate chip cookies.  I don't make these often, because they are addictive and when you live by yourself, that can mean sugar overload with the migraine to prove it.  I am having house guests next week, so if any of these make it until then I am sure someone else will be more than happy to help me eat them! 

I found this recipe years ago on www.allrecipes.com, where it reportedly won a blue ribbon at some state fair or other.  If you try them, you'll see why they deserve those accolades.

Blue Ribbon Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe makes a lot, so you can either (1) make a lot of cookies, (2) make monster cookies like I did, or (3) make half the batch and freeze the remaining dough--it comes back good as new when you defrost it.  When I've gone traditional size, I get about four dozen cookies.  Monster size, you'll get a couple dozen huge cookies.

You'll need:  4 1/2 cups of flour; 2 teaspoons baking soda; 2 cups of soft butter or shortening, or one cup of each depending on your texture preference (shortening makes things a little crispy); 1 1/2 cups brown sugar; 1/2 cup white sugar; 2 packages instant vanilla pudding mix (go find some at the bulk store, where you can buy a whole ton for about $2, versus spending $2 per teeny package); 4 eggs; 2 teaspoons vanilla extract; 4 cups chocolate chips; 2 cups chopped walnuts (which can be left out if you don't like them).

Cream together the butter/shortening and sugars.  Beat in pudding mix, then eggs and vanilla.  Slowly add the flour and baking soda.  Fold in chips and nuts.  You can either drop by rounded spoonfuls onto cookie sheets, or go hog-wild like I did and scoop out cookies with an old fashioned ice cream scoop.  Don't overcrowd your cookie sheet if making the big boys, as they will melt and merge together.  Monster cookie mating, eeek!!

What is the point of a teeny cookie?  If you're going to have "just one", make it a big one, dang it!!

Bake at 350 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown and flattened out nicely.  Allow to cool on the cookie sheet for 5 minutes, then move to a cooling rack to finish.

Try very hard not to eat all of them.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Mess of Greens


Today is hot and muggy, so between forays out in Lucille Laverne to check on my chickens in the field, I am working on indoor projects.  Housecleaning is among them, but I am most excited about cooking.  I have plans to bake some cookies and after a trip into the back garden, I have a whole pile of kale to soak, rinse, chop and saute.  I love to cook it down in a hot skillet laced with olive oil and some garlic.  After its all nice and wilty, I pop it into freezer baggies and save it in the deep freeze for when winter comes calling.  It's easy to add a bag of precooked kale to soups, stir fry, or a casserole.  I've even been known to heat it up with a little butter, salt and Parmesan cheese and call it dinner.

Homegrown greens in the depths of winter is such a luxury!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

I Think I am Raising Houdinis

If one more creature gets out of its designated residence, I am going to start swearing more than I usually do.

Not only has this been the Summer of the Great Rabbit Frolic, and the Bursting Brooder Incident, but apparently it is also the Season of the Tunneling Dog.  Phoebe, my erstwhile coon hound, has decided that in order to not be outside she will tunnel under the fence, hide around the side of the neighbor's garage, and when I come out and starting yelling for her, to gallop over to the fence and wait patiently (as I scold her) until I let her back into the house.  Oh yes, never let it be said that negative attention doesn't get you what you want in this world.  Deathly afraid of fireworks?  Just dig under the fence and wait until you get ordered back indoors.  Don't mind if I do, thank you very much.

Once I got the chicks out into the field, I thought it would just be a simple matter of avoiding predator consumption for the next couple of weeks.  But NOOOOOOOOOO.  The past two mornings, I have been greeted by a cheeping herd of fat legged sumo chickens running to me, Mistress of the Food Truck, as I arrive in the lumpy field that they are housed in.  They have mastered the art of piling in one corner of the tractor, thus making it shift off of a hidden hummock of lumped up earth, and giving them a strategic escape hatch to waltz out of.  Then they gaily romp about, oblivious to Death From Above Flying Creatures and Hidden Stealthy Things That Will Eat You Up, having a fabulous time waiting for me to pull in with refreshments.  Once I load the wheelbarrow with beverages and snacks, they happily follow me back to the tractor, and then refuse to go back in without force.  Dang it. So then I chase them around, falling into hidden holes and tripping over clumps of dirt, usually getting covered in chicken s**t in the process.  I wind up sweaty, hoarse from exhorting profanities, bitten by flies and dive-bombed by anxious field birds who think I am perhaps coming to tractor them, next.  They end up happy, eating their little feathered heads off and slurping cool libations, incarcerated once more. 

Chickens.

I leave you with a song related to gardening.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Salsa-fied

I had a crisis of epic proportions the other day.

I ran out of salsa.

I didn't realize that I ate quite so much of the stuff, but thinking back, I do belong to school of "wrap it in a tortilla and call it good" school of quick eats. Any thing in a tortilla deserves a helping of salsa, so combine those two little facts of how I eat on the fly and I somehow went through 8 quarts and a dozen pints of the stuff.

I seriously need to make more, much much more, this summer.  Must. Avert. Salsa. Crisis.

While I wait for my hoop house to catch up with my tomato supply needs, I searched online for a salsa that I could make with the goodies I picked up the other day at the Farmers Market.  I found a gem of a recipe on a wonderful blog called Creating Nirvana (www.creatingnirvanatoday.blogspot.com) called Corn and Bean Salsa.  I love this kind of salsa, and buy it whenever I can find it in a good brand, and since sweet corn season has begun and I have a four pound bag of organic black beans calling to me from the pantry, I thought it was time that I made up a batch.  I wound up making 9 pints, with a little extra to eat while I waited for the pressure canner to do its thing.  It's a fantastic fresh tasting salsa, great textures and just enough of a kick of heat to liven up the beans and corn.


Corn and Bean Salsa

You'll need two large tomatoes; eight ears of sweet corn; one pound (about three cups) dried black beans; eight bell peppers (I used green, red and orange); three or four hot peppers of your choice; two large onions; 1 cup of chopped fresh cilantro (I mixed flat leaf parsley and cilantro);  4 teaspoons red pepper flakes; 1 tablespoon cumin; 2 teaspoons kosher salt; and the juice of four limes.

Soak the beans overnight in water.  Drain and rinse the next day, pick out any that look odd.  Put beans in a large pot, add enough water to cover, and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Drain the beans, rinse, and allow to cool a little.  Meanwhile, chop up your tomatoes, onions, peppers (mince those hot ones finely), and using a sharp knife cut the kernels off the corn cobs.  Put all the vegetables and the beans into a large stock pot, add cilantro, pepper flakes, cumin, salt and lime juice.  Add enough water (about a quart) to just cover the vegetables.  Then bring the mix to a boil on the stove, stirring to prevent sticking.  Boil for about 10 minutes or until the onions turn translucent.  Ladle salsa into hot pint jars using a slotted spoon.  Fill jars leaving one inch of headspace, and add the "brine" (or juice in the pot) to just cover the salsa in the jars.  Cover with hot lids and tighten bands, then place your pints in a pressure canner.

**NOTE:  You really do have to pressure can this recipe.  There isn't nearly enough acidity for water bath canning, and so many mixed veggies of different canning needs, that you have a tremendous risk of nasty, death-inducing bacteria breeding in your cans if you don't. Pressure canning is pretty easy--if I can learn to do this on my own and not blow up my kitchen, so can you.  So please, stay alive and follow the directions below for pressure canning.**

Follow the directions that came with your pressure canner and process the pints at 10 pounds of pressure for one hour and fifteen minutes.  Yes, it is a really long time, but the beans in this mix require the longest processing time to be shelf-stable so you gotta go with their time needs.

You should end up with somewhere between nine pints (as I did) to a dozen pints (as the original poster of the recipe did).  Try not to eat them all at once.  You will be happy to have paced yourself come the wilds of winter February.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

I Heart Farmers Markets

This is what I found today, and I am so happy about it!


Tomatoes, peppers, raw local honey, golden beets, organic milk, tiny potatoes, dried beans, and fresh sweet corn!  And breakfast for tomorrow: a Morning Muffin (kind of like a sweet bun) from Doughville Bakery.  Yippee!

I also got this:


My supply of blueberries for the year, a ten pound box of fresh Michigan blueberries.  I'm using a quart of them to make a batch of blueberry lime jam, and the rest will be frozen in batches to savor when there isn't a fresh blueberry to be found on barren bush in the middle of winter.  I don't know how many will actually be frozen, because I keep shoveling handfuls in my mouth.  Mmmm....

Backyard Eats

I should probably title that "All Over Yard Eats", as I got some of the ingredients from the front yard, and the side yard.  Can you tell I have gardens all over?!?  There is nothing quite so satifying as deciding, "Hey, I'm hungry", and then walking outside to see what is ready to be eaten.

This time of year, it is quite a lot.  For example, this was last night's deliciousness:


One zuchinni, a few tiny heads of brocolli, a handful of spinach and herbs, a fresh onion, homegrown garlic, and last year's sundried tomatoes, all stirred up together with a slosh of olive oil.  Add some aged feta from my friend Khaiti's remarkable cheese-making magic, and you wind up with a plate full of this:


That's some couscous you see peeking out from underneath.  It didn't last very long after this photo was taken, I promise you.  Om nom nom nom....

And then there was lunch from the other day, one of my favorites that I took from a favorite blog of mine, (www.rootsimple.com).  Zuchinni Cornmeal Pancakes.  Oh my.


They are simply fantastic, and wonderfully filling after a morning working the gardens and building mighty chicken tractors.  Topped with the very last of last year's homemade salsa and a dollop of sour cream (ummm, and a sprinkle of extra cheese, too) they are superbly good.  If you find yourself with an overabundance of zuchinni (I'm harvesting one a day now, which is a lot of zukes from one plant), try these instead of just making lots of zuchinni bread or zuchinni pickles, or secretly delivering the glut of squash to convenient neighboring porches.  Your taste buds will thank you.

Zuchinni Cornmeal Pancakes
 You'll need:  one smallish zuchinni, grated (if you have kids who won't eat it, try peeling off the green skin and then grating it); 1/2 cup of sweet corn, fresh, frozen or canned; one egg; 1/2 cup or so of grated cheddar cheese; about 1 1/2 cups of milk; 1 cup cornmeal; 1 cup flour; 1 teaspoon baking soda; 1/2 teaspoon salt; ground pepper to taste.

In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, baking soda, salt.  Add milk until it is thick like pancake batter, then beat in the egg.  Fold in the zuchinni, corn and grated cheese.  Season with ground pepper as desired.  Cook as you would a pancake (I have a nifty cast iron skillet that I love), and serve warm with salsa, more cheese, sour cream, and similar condiments of your choice.  These are fairly bland, so you can spice them up by adding chopped jalepenos, but I like to have the salsa add my heat factor.  I have used some of the Cowboy Candy I made last fall to top these, and it is a really good combination.

This makes a lot of pancakes, so the good news is that you can freeze the leftover pancakes and then reheat them on your griddle when you want them.  I don't recommend microwaving them, as they get chewy-gross.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Finally, A Chicken Tractor!

It has been a regular construction zone around here, once the hot weather broke and my heel cooperated, with four chicken tractors cranked out in three days.  I am really happy with this year's design, which appears sturdy but is lightweight so I can move it easily.

It all starts with a basic two-by-four board frame, four feet wide by eight feet long.  Across the bottom, I've opted to staple some chicken wire rather than leave it open.  The chickens are going to be out in the wilds this year, and I am sure some intrepid creature could get underneath and snaffle them up...so I'm hoping the chicken wire bottom will slow them down.  Of course, I have to leave a gap to slide food and water underneath, so perhaps any creatures will be ignorant of the 12 inches they could squeeze into.


My 2012 design uses plumbers tape (metal with holes to run screws through) wrapped around the ends of 1/2 inch PVC pipe, to hold them to the base so I can create a series of roof arches:


Two supports run lengthwise, with a third in the middle.  They all get zip-tied together at the crossing points and seem to be really stable.  Then, I wrap the whole upper shebang in mesh hardware cloth.  If I were smarter, I would outfit myself with long sleeves and gloves, but I am apparently NOT so smart and I have the scratches to prove it.  Hardware cloth is ridiculously sharp and pokey, in case you've never tried working with it.

Of course, you wind up with a box of wire mesh at the end of stapling it into place, so I found that if I pleat the corners, it helps to mold the wire in place and make the tractor more smooth and svelte in appearance.


A tarp thrown over the top and stapled/zip-tied in place makes for the right amount of shade while still allowing good airflow through the tractor to help prevent overheating.  To help the tarp fit tightly, I pleat and staple (with my trusty office stapler) on the top ends like so:


These are, I think, my best chicken tractor incarnations to date.  Lightweight, stable, seemingly secure thus far, they fit into the back of Lucille Laverne easily, and they are kind of cute.  Once out in the fields, they look like pup tents!


Maybe I should call them chicken "campers", instead?

Monday, July 9, 2012

Good Advice

courtesy of rawforbeauty.com

Friday, July 6, 2012

It's a Jungle in There

The interior of my hoophouse looks something like this:


Well, I perhaps exaggerate slightly.  But you should see the tomatillo trees!  They are enormous!  The tomatoes are also becoming shrubbery, even though I whack them back with my machete (...garden shears...) routinely.  I think they like to be punished, and grow more and more suckers for me to trim away.  Yes, I may be growing masochistic tomato plants.  Wicked, wicked.

If I see one of these hiding amongst them, I'll know that I really have conjured the tropics:


Thursday, July 5, 2012

I Feel A Moan Coming On...

And I can't suppress it.

My foot really hurts.

My bum hurts where that extra large shot went in, to try and battle whatever horrible thing is happening in my foot.

I am hot and cranky and all day I have felt like I am a fish out of water.

I am still in shock over losing 27 chicks to heat deaths yesterday.

I am sad that Little Mama died from the heat two days ago, and that one of her recent kits died this afternoon.

I still don't have any new chicken tractors built.

I think I may permanently smell of chicken poop after moving twenty-five scared shitless (literally) chicks to the one large outdoor pen that I have already.

I'm losing the battle against the quack grass, and I can't stand to be on my foot long enough to weed it.  Not even with my big hoe.

I hate going to the doctor, when you know they are going to hurt your foot and they DO and then they leave you waiting for forty minutes in the room while they dither around making you an appointment for the morning, which they then can't figure out where it is, and I hate having to be kind of mean and order them about to actually make an appointment somewhere that makes sense and so that perhaps my very sore foot can get better sometime this century.

I hate volunteering for things that are important, when nobody in the community that is going to get the thing that is important bothers to show up except for the same five people who always come.  Not that I mind volunteering, but really there is something wrong when someone from another town comes and not anybody from the next block.

It is nearly 9:30 PM and I still haven't had dinner.

I had laundry hanging out all day and still needed to put it in the dryer, because it is so humid out it never dried entirely.

Did I mention that my foot hurts?

Thank you for listening to the previous whiney monologue.  A more uplifting installment will be forthcoming, whenever it stops being so hot, my livestock stops collasping and dying daily, or my foot stops hurting--whichever comes first.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Welcome to the Dog Days


Uffdah.

It is freakishly hot out.  We had a storm roll through early this morning (I woke up once, heard thunder, and promptly passed out again) that tossed a few things not tied down around the yard.  It was cooler and pleasant, for about an hour, but it has hotted up once again.

Must be the Dog Days of Summer.

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac, the Dog Days begin on July 3rd and last for forty days, ending on August 24th.  Not only are these considered the hottest days of the year, they are also the driest, most prone to thunderstorms, and coincide with Canis Major (Sirius) being the largest and brightest constellation in the night sky.  If you are out in the early morning hours, you can see Sirius rising just before dawn in the east.  It is lovely...but I try not to be up and out that early on a routine basis during my summer break.

The Dog Days were believed to be an evil time, when wine turned sour, the seas boiled, and dogs ran mad in the streets.  Hope everyone has gotten their pooches vacinated...my dogs are too tired and worn out from the heat to run madly about the place.  So is every other creature on this farmlette, including me.  The chicks are getting huge and really are ready to be out and in the field.  If only I could stand on my punctured foot long enough to get more that four bits of tractor construction done at a go.  I tell you, you never realize how much stability your heel gives you until you can't stand on it. (And yes, before you start nagging, I do have another doctor appointment this afternoon.)  In addition to a sore foot, my space to work on building my chicken tractors is at the front of the house, which gets very hot and sunny and is impossible to work in for a long time in this heat.  I've resolved to start and work for a couple hours in the morning, then come in and cool off and do inside chores (with periodic forays around to check on the animals outside and hose them off) until the front is shady in the late afternoon hours, when I can start my construction projects once again.  So for now, the chicks will have to wait, crowded into their brooder under the box fan ventilation unit.

While hot, the animals are doing fairly well.  The chickens are smart, and change where they are hanging out depending on the amount of shade to be had.  The dogs prefer napping inside to sleeping in the yard, and the chicks are no longer terrified of the big fan blowing on them.  It may not be a cold breeze, but between that and plenty of water they are hanging in there.  The rabbits always fare the worst in the heat, even though I give them frozen bottles to lounge with and have the misting system going full blast.  Yesterday, Little Mama died from heat stroke.  She never did well with any hot days, after nearly dying last summer, and I think it was just too much for her.  I feel rather sad about this loss, she was a funny old rabbit and a wonderful mother.  The other rabbits are doing okay, and I have started hosing them down (literally) with icy water from the tap.  They are not appreciative of being soaking wet, but it cools their core temperature and the evaporating water keeps them from keeling over.

I admit, I stand under that icy hose from time to time myself.  Oh yes, it is a very low grade wet t-shirt competition around here, and I win every time.  Whoo hooo!

I guess it isn't just dogs who run mad at this time of year....

Monday, July 2, 2012

"O Canada"

Happy Canada Day!  In honor of our friends to the north, whom some (myself included) in the USA view with envy, I did a little lookie-loo as to the state of urban homesteading across the border.

In Kitchener, Ontario, you could visit Little City Farm, an eco-bed & breakfast.  Based on their "welcome" information, it sounds like they offer a great place to stay, good food grown on their 1/3 acre farm, and hold 20 different workshops throughout the year on a variety of urban-steading projects.  Their photo gallery is lovely, too.  Check them out at www.littlecityfarm.ca and maybe plan your next stay to the metropolis of Kitchener.

There's a nifty online publication called City Farmer News (www.cityfarmer.info/category/canada) where you can find a raft of stories about what's happening in small city farms across Canada.  There are some lovely photos, such as this one below, showing what people have done with their small yards.  Incidentally, you can also click on links to find out what city farmers & urban homesteaders are doing in countries all over the world.

courtesy of www.cityfarmer.info



In Canada, you can join the National Farmers Union (NFU) if you farm any size farm at all, including small urban farms under one acre.  This reflects polls that have suggested that in some cities, such as in Vancouver, up to 44% of residents grow some of their own food.  44%!!  In a city!  Amazing.

In Victoria, British Columbia, the Lifecycles Project (lifecyclesproject.ca) offers a variety of initiatives to link gardeners and homesteaders throughout the community, as well as educate the public about food security issues.  Additionally, this group actively works to increase local food security by encouraging more production of food within the city, hopefully reducing areas the only food available is food that was grown hundreds of miles away.  Some of their projects include Sharing Backyards, where people with space to grow in can coordinate with urban farmers who need a bit of earth to plant seeds in; Growing Schools, which works with community schools to develop gardens and awareness of food security & production; and the Diggers project, where a team of volunteers works to construct and develop new garden spaces.  There's even a culinary garden internship available!  Gardening and eating...now there's a winning combination.  Yum.

Oh, Canada.  Once more, I am green with envy over your green gardens.


Sunday, July 1, 2012