Companion planting is the very simple, yet age old, technique of grouping together plants that benefit one another, in a setting that echoes what we see in our natural surroundings. Nature doesn’t plant in rows, but rather, groups different species together, all in the same place. Conventionally cultivated crops, where one crop is sown along one row, tend to be a magnet for pests and disease. By bringing nature’s pattern into our gardens, we can create a system that is much healthier for us and our surroundings.
My week has been a little topsy-turvy, so today I’m skipping a podcast and instead showing you bits and pieces of our (very in-progress) garden. I’m considering this our first real garden since we moved from California in 2006. Two years ago, we gardened with friends and last year was kind of an experiment — but this year, we’re really doing how we want to do it. I’m excited and look forward to God’s bounty!
Please welcome my good friend Raine Saunders (pronounced Rainy) from Agriculture Society. She’s an expert at finding and sourcing health-supporting foods from both local sources and online merchants. In this post, she shares what sustainable food is, why you’d want to eat this way, and three ways to get started. Her brand-new book, The Savvy Shopper’s Guide to Sustainable Food, is just one of the products included in the Extreme Health Digital Library, where you can get 53 health products valued at $835 for an incredibly low price of $39.97 (75 cents each) through Thursday, March 7, 2013.
Today, we’re going to talk about backyard farming and how it can help all of us answer a growing food crisis. My guest is Angela England, the author of the new book, Backyard Farming on an Acre (More or Less). Angela is giving away a signed copy of her book, too. Be sure to listen to the podcast so you can answer the question to get a bonus entry!
Please welcome Chris Kerston from Chaffin Family Orchards. I asked him to be a guest because I wanted to learn more about what they’re doing and I wanted you to hear it, too. Their 300 acres of orchards (olive, citrus and stone fruit) are “mowed” and fertilized by cattle, sheep, and goats who are followed by chickens who debug (natural pest control). Since adopting these methods, they’ve been able to use 85% less fuel, plus they’re building soil fertility and taking higher-quality foods right to the consumer. Chris and I visit about his family, his role as managing partner at Chaffin Family Orchards. We talk about the olive/olive oil industry, what’s wrong with conventional olive growers and convention olives… And tons more. Do listen!
We find as time passes that we hit more and more first experiences. This week hosted a biggie — the butchering of our first grass-fed beef. We got the local experts, Oakland Lockers, to do it for us — both the butchering and the processing. They’re very good. All in all, a milestone, and it felt like a very big deal when it was happening! So…. here are the highlights of the butchering event. This post is photo heavy, and if you’re queasy, you might not want to look.
As I type this, food freedom supporters are gathering in Minnesota at the trial of farmer Alvin Schlangen, co-owner and manager of Freedom Farms Co-op. Watch the short video to hear his story. “Alvin Schlangen, a peaceful Minnesota farmer and founder of Freedom Farms Co-op, connects people with the foods of their choice from local producers. Over the past two years, the Minnesota Department of Agriculture has illegally raided Alvin’s van, warehouse, and farm. The state has now brought 21 charges against Alvin related to food distribution; all are misdemeanor counts. Four of the misdemeanors are in trial [this week]. If convicted, Alvin faces up to a year in jail and hefty fines… just for helping to connect consumers to the producers and foods of their choice.” –Raw Milk Food Freedom Riders