Live Green!Be Kind to the Earth
I thought I’d died and gone to heaven… or at least gone back in time. I was at the Goshen Community Market on a typical Fall Saturday, filling my bags with great food, when I spied this large basket of pears—big green speckled pears like the ones I picked with my grandparents from the side of a country road or in a neighbor’s yard (With their permission, of course!). The Family Garden from over in New Douglas, IL was selling them, harvested from their front yard. I had to make two trips on my bike to get them all home.
If you ask Michael Turley to define “a farm”, he smiles in a way that makes you think you’re going to find his answer a little weird. It’s a hesitant smile, suggesting he is already aware that you are most likely a skeptic. But he answers anyway:
“Remember the opening scenes of the movie The Wizard of Oz? Remember the farm Dorothy lives on in Kansas—there’s Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, barely getting by with a few hired hands to help them, a cow, a horse, some hogs, a few acres of field crops in the distance? Well that’s what I think of as the American farm.” Then he waits for the inevitable response that politely calls his vision “romantic,” “quaint” but in the end “highly impractical” by today’s agricultural standards.
Overall, I’d say I’m a pretty stable and balanced person. Of course, a survey of family and friends might reveal a slightly different opinion, if I’m caught at the “right moment.” And, I’m guessing you have had some of those “right moments” too, when everything in your life is in overdrive, when every box on your little calendar is full. Sometimes it is just the simple and natural change of seasons that can push me a step past coping, especially if all the other factors are in play. And this pretty much describes my September 2019. But still I try to be strong, soldier through, resist help.
Can you say “stubborn”?
Autumn is the season of BIG harvest. It’s as if Nature put on a fireworks display all summer and September and October mark the grand finale, when the world is literally lit up with abundance. All the winter squash is coming in by the wagonloads at my market, while the end-of-the-summer produce makes one last HUGE BOOM. And the question becomes: “What do we do with the wealth?” Waste not, want not. Here are a few ideas to move us in smooth, non-wasteful ways into Autumn.
While I’m not a milk drinker, I am an organic dairy user—there’s always whole milk, heavy cream and full-fat Greek Yogurt in the frig. I’m also a believer in dairy farms—when they are organic or regenerative, humane, and sustainable, with a cautious eye to carbon mitigation. Yeah, I have a lot of qualifiers when it comes to dairy. But, really, you should, too, especially if—like my honeybun and me—you and your family enjoy milk daily.
Okay, here is a not-so-happy idea: the older I get, the more unwelcome changes my body presents. Perhaps, you’ve had similar ideas as the years have passed. We can whine and pout, but I think it would be more productive to face maturity head on—embrace the wisdom of age with gratitude and don’t let those growing-old cliché’s get us down. Because, while aging is inevitable, growing “old” is not. My grandma was a young—very young—97 when she left this world for a new one.
Heather promised to help me start a native plant garden. She and her dad did the grunt work in the fall, removing turf, turning soil and establishing a well-mulched patch that would get me started in the spring…all I had to do was fill it.
I let a lot of things go in Summer: the garden is happier with native weeds; just ask it. The house is usually empty because we are outside, so if no one’s there to see the dust fall, is it really dirty? The kitchen is due for a rest, too, I think, though there is the issue of healthy food and market goodies. OK, not everything is “let go.” But my grip is certainly more relaxed.
Success begins with a sound foundation. How many times have you heard that sentiment? Whether we are talking architecture, education or parenting, a strong foundation is the common denominator to success. This is also true of one of my favorite places on Earth: the Goshen Community Market.
I was at Dayempur Farm near the end of April, learning about this self-sufficient Sufi community’s sustainable spin on farming and living in Southern Illinois. The journey took me to the edge of the Shawnee National Forest, onto 60 acres of pristine land, some cultivated, some left wild and wooded, but none sprayed by pesticides and herbicides that mar most modern commercial agriculture.
Last December, we talked about the new wave of CBD oils that have hit the market in a HUGE way, highlighting one of my favorite companies, Barleans. Since then, the CBD conversation has only grown because of hemp’s change of status within the 2018 Farm Bill from a controlled substance to an agricultural product.
As I came to the end of the Confluence Climate Collaborative Challenge of 40 Days of Loving What I Have, my cupboards were starting to become a little bare. Now, really there was plenty of food, but just exactly what to make out of all that stuff was the question.
My friend Sally Burgess is a fellow environmental activist—a member of my new group of comrades, the Confluence Climate Collaborative, and a student working quickly toward her PhD. But today, she’s somebody else: Today, Sally is the Green Gal guest chef for March and has developed a delicious Protein Recovery Ball, using the featured New Hope Influencer Product Natural Factors CurcuminRich Muscle Recovery & Growth Optimizer.
Home is my best way to describe the cooking class out at beautiful La Vista Ecological Learning Center a couple of Saturdays ago. We were nearly a room full of strangers when we started. There were some familiar faces, but many people I’d never met. I just knew right away that I belonged.
It started with two requests: I was asked by a Sierra Club member to bring my Grandma’s Pumpkin Pie to the next meeting, which happened earlier this month. Having one beautiful blue pumpkin left in my basement, I thought it was a great idea. Then, my sweetie asked for tuna casserole, not his typical ask. I guess he was in the mood for comfort food, and anytime he asks for a fish dish, I try to oblige. And then, of course, I realized that I had stumbled upon the perfect opportunity for a pot pie. What else was I going to do with that second pie crust and the last little bag of market peas waiting in the freezer?
Remember Project Drawdown— and the Eco-challenge issued through the Northwest Earth Institute to take small everyday actions that were proven to mitigate climate change? Well, I’m happy to report Project Drawdown continues and is gearing up for another round of challenges this spring beginning April 3 and running through April 24. You can register your team or just join as an individual to begin your own drawdown on climate change. But why wait! I have an immediate suggestion….
How homemade can you go? If we are really committed to eating a diet of REAL food and promise to know exactly what is in our food and how it got there, we have a lot of work to do before breakfast, don’t ya think? Is there a simple approach to health and wellness that includes sustainable decisions and foods we actually like?
Well, OK. Don’t we all love real food, especially when our favorite dishes are on the table? Mmmmm….what are those dishes? Did you prepare them or did you open a box of stuff prepared by someone unknown…in a laboratory…for a major corporation?