1) Eat local, organic and seasonal fruits and vegetables- know your farmer!
2) Join a CSA Farm
3) Shop at your local farmers market regularly.
4) Grow a garden. Try growing and preserving at least 25% of your own food. Growing a garden can be super easy and highly rewarding. Container gardening is an option for those who lack space.
5) Shop at local mom and pop businesses in your area instead of big box stores.
6) Get thrifty: Shop at thrift stores. There are so many amazing treasures just waiting for a good home.
My ten year old son Luke just returned from his first solo-overnight trip in the wilderness. He wanted to sleep in a debris hut by a local wild river, make a fire on his own, and catch fish and gather plants for food or else go hungry. Luke is a little competitive, and his two years older brother had accomplished his first overnighter a year ago.
The morning after his night out alone, Luke returned to our backyard. His steps had a little swagger to them; the steps of a boy who just pushed himself to his edge and succeeded. The buckskin shirt he and his father made together a few months before was streaked with mud. A black smudge ran across his cheek.
“So you made fire?” I asked him, pointing to the charcoal on his cheek.
I pulled with all my might. It’s harder than you think, pulling on two goat legs covered with slippery amniotic fluid. The fact that there were two feet instead of just a little head was marvelous. Ideally, goats are born in a diving position – two legs, and the head on top of them, often with a pink tongue sticking out.
An hour earlier, I realized that the goat giving birth had strained and strained without making progress. I knew I had to “go in” to straighten out the baby’s position. The problem was that my own baby, 11 months old Eva, had just woken up from her nap, and my husband and neighbors were all gone, so I had no help. “Going in” can be nerve wracking work, but I had no choice. So I strapped Eva onto my back with my Moby wrap, a long piece of cloth slung around mother and baby to securely attach baby to the mother. I called for my sons, five-year-old Lukas and seven-year-old Kai.
I live on five acres in the magic Skagit Valley at the entrance of the North Cascades National Park wilderness in Washington state, together with my husband Steve and our three children. We raise dairy goats, pigs, meat chickens, layer hens, ducks, and a dog and cat (but we won’t eat them). We grow a huge organic vegetable garden and a good size orchard with many different fruits and berries.
Within weeks of our daughter being born, her father and I realized that she was instantly pacified and tuned in the moment we went outside. She could be inconsolable inside, but even getting our coats and shoes on to go out would sooth her. At 15 months, it’s exactly the same, she can be having a tantrum inside, but get her shoes on and cross the front entrance and she’s all smiles. This is great for us as edible landscapers and permaculture consultants; working outside is our livelihood and our passion. We spend multiple hours in the garden most days, and having our daughter beside us is an incredible feeling. Watching a tiny human growing alongside plants we grow and eat is a powerful experience.
“65 is the average age of farmers, and there are not enough young farmers to replace them. How did we get here?”
A genius, natural way to get your kids excited about being outdoors.
In a time before live media broadcasts and video games, everyone was raised free range. Our parents were all raised free range – it was the only way of being raised. It was the good ole days of riding a bike to the park, to a friend’s house or the store when penny candy was only a penny. You could build forts, scrape legs and be pre exposed to a slew of forbidden activities without anyone being sued, just as long as you were back by dusk.
A farm in upstate New York is dedicated to addressing the painful history of farmwork to Black people in the US, while also growing fresh vegetables and community surrounding it. The Laura Flanders Show visited Soul Fire Farm this winter.