A step-by-step guide that lays out practical know-how, Fortier has done his due diligence to learn from those who have innovated in the past and compiled successful strategies into one small successful farm. In a time of “feel good stories” that may or may not be financially solvent, Fortier simply hands over to the reader the blueprints to confidently launch and run a small-scale market garden.
Growing vegetables at a high elevation can be very challenging. Over the years we have had to be flexible and creative in order to manage a small garden. We grow enough for our needs but not enough to put any vegetables up for future use. This blog post outlines some of the challenges we have faced and how we overcame them.
The blessings of the Mediterranean diet have been praised for years. The fact that a diet based on olive oil, vegetables, and pulses has significant cardiovascular benefits makes it immediately a sensible and healthy gastronomic choice. But thanks to a major scientific study, we may also have some real evidence that Mediterranean diet is a powerful and tasty way to prevent serious chronic diseases.
The ‘Everyday Living Series’ by Thyme Herbal offers a supportive guide for healthy living. The series is created by herbalist Brittany Wood Nickerson, who shares her experiences and advice concerning herbal practices and homesteading.
Got a basement “cold room” that doesn’t keep your fruits and veggies properly? You can make things better. A few simple modifications can turn that disappointing space into a reliable spot to store food without electricity and boost self reliance.
With forces and circumstances intensifying all around, this is the optimum time to take positive action for your family, your community, and your planet. CSA Signup Day on Feb. 26 gives everyone an opportunity for intelligent action by joining and supporting a community farm (CSA).
The Maine Farm & Sea Cooperative has a plan to take the local food movement to the next level. They're vying for big contracts with institutional buyers and competing with major corporations. And they're cooperatively owned and run by Maine's farmers and consumers.
Parasites catch a bad rap. Often feared and maligned, we tend to overlook the fact that they play an integral role in the ecological health of our ecosystems. Though animal and microbial parasites are most familiar, there are parasitic plants as well. What follows is a brief overview of the nature of parasitic plants.
Recent studies have begun to spark a fresh debate about whether battery-powered electric vehicles are really better for the environment than gas-powered ones. The key point is asking how much the source of the electricity that powers an EV contributes to its green credentials. This post explores that question.
Many people in the world long for a life in the country, lived on their own terms, close to nature, honest and hands-on. But too many of these people find that homesteading is harder, less fulfilling and more painful than they imagined. Learn how to thrive on the land without burnout, despair and failure.
Looking for alternatives to store-bought gifts? Check our these eco-friendly holiday gift ideas. Green your holiday season by making your own gifts, gifting experiences, or giving plants- the gifts that keep on giving.
It would seem that most people don’t pay any attention to plants unless they are pretty or useful in some way. I reject this reality outright. From the smallest duckweed to the tallest redwood, the botanical world is full of wonder. I am here to defend that.
“Smallholding” is a UK term that’s broadly equivalent to the term “homestead” in the United States, meaning farming on a small scale with a strong element of self-sufficiency in food. Despite the geographical differences, there must be a great deal of common ground between the American homestead and the British smallholding — so let’s find out!
As climate chaos intensifies, we have many reasons to cultivate resilience - the strength and flexibility to endure shocks and yet still function. Through CSA farms the quality of consilience - the linking together of principles from different disciplines - becomes a way for all shareholders to enhance the resilience of farms and thereby strengthen community.
"Solar Empowerment" is a key component behind an educational development model that does more than trade third-world problems for first-world problems. The Integral Heart Foundation combines education for the poor with environmentalism in a way that bypasses the problems facing our developed world.
After the first of the crisp fall apples have started to soften, I love to have a sip of this for dessert on a cold winter’s night. This homemade apple cordial tastes like the absolute best apple pie you ever drank! Here is how I preserve the goodness of apples laced with sweet spices.
This blog post is an introduction to the author'snewly published book, "I Am Coyote." What is essential to know when living and farming with carnivores? I would suggest that THE most important aspect to understand is WHO THEY ARE. Get to know how they live, how they think, their complex social lives and much more.
Many rural Nepalese faced persistent food insecurity even before the recent earthquakes. Now, because of the destruction of livelihood assets, the situation is substantially worse. With support from Groundswell International, family farmers in post-earthquake Nepal are learning and using ecological agriculture principles to restore their farms, become more resilient, and create a more equitable landscape for women.
Participating in clean, local community food initiatives is increasingly recognized not only as an intelligent response to reality, but also as a key civic duty. A new study from the University of Iowa underscores this truth.
Community farming (CSA) is about the essential renewal of agriculture through its healthy linkage with the human community that depends on farming for survival. CSA is also about the necessary stewardship of soil, plants, and animals: the essential capital of all human cultures.
It’s going to take more than individual efforts to meet the profound challenges of global climate change. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is one proven pathway for organizing groups of people to apply their strengths and intelligence in this essential responsibility. We need hundreds of thousands more CSA farms.
In the shadow of increasing climate chaos, human survival requires not only the intelligent actions of individuals but also thousands of communities of human beings who have had their inate intelligence awakened and who realize the fundamental link between life and land. In this regard, Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) provides a useful and egalitarian model for sustainable food systems of the future.
Spring has been slow to arrive in the Green Mountain State. But there are signs of spring in Vermont and that means preparing your Micro-Dairy for the change in seasons. Bob-White Systems' Steve Judge shares more tips to transition a Micro-Dairy into spring.
Springtime means mud season in Vermont. And on a micro-dairy, it also means preparing the cows, fields and barn for the transition to warmer weather. Steve Judge offers tips to prepare for Spring on a micro-dairy in a two-part series.
February can be a hit or miss for us here at Deer Isle Hostel - snow and cold demands more creativity to stay busy, but also provides a great chance not to do much. Planting onions from seed, shoveling snow and planning for the Hostel season 2015 are some things I do to keep the cabin fever under control.
"Numen: The Nature of Plants" is a cornucopia of intuitive wisdom, science based knowledge, and exuberant passion and reverence for plants around the world. The film opens with plant close ups and stunning time lapse photography of plants throughout their growing cycles, their intrinsic eye catching patterns and their symbiotic relationships with pollinators. Numen is defined as the spirit believed by animists to inhabit natural objects. The film describes that we sense this force the most abundantly through plants.
Storing winter squash and preserving other vegetables through the winter presents their own set of challenges to the home gardener and homesteader. We find that growing food is just one half of the equation, and it is easy to be caught unprepared or find that the space and temperature requirements for storage can be hard to come by.
Women have gathered since the dawn of humanity. Women tend to lose sight of self care because we are the caregivers. When women gather, we renew the inner fire in our hearts, we brainstorm solutions to global problems, we connect to the earth.
The Food is Free Project has inspired thousands of individuals, families and groups around the globe to start front yard free gardens to share with friends and neighbors. They are losing their teaching farm.
Finding time to make improvements on a small dairy is difficult but making a few improvements as the seasons change can often make a micro dairy or any size small farm more efficient. Here are 7 steps to help you prepare your barn for the cold winter months.
A new film called 'Behind the Water' is an engaging story of the men and women searching to find clean water. The film takes viewers on a wild ride through some of the world’s most rural and restricted areas, many captured on film for the first time.
Ford Motor Company’s electrifying presence at the 2014 Pennsylvania MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR included sponsoring the event, giving test drives, and updating fairgoers about the latest news on electric and hybrid vehicle technology.
Young, pioneering aquaponic farmers like Josh and Alicia Davis, who own and operate an aquaponics farm in the Midwest, are reshaping the future of food in the United Sates. Folks like these surely do inspire others to think differently about their food.
Solar energy solutions can reshape the future. It can help sculpt the world we live in and can help solve some of the greatest environmental problems facing the world today including climate change and our reliance on fossil fuels.
Learn how to prevent Alzheimer's with diet. There is plenty of time for people to make brain-healthy lifestyle and dietary choices to potentially delay the onset of this dreaded and devastating disease.
Cows, goats, sheep, water buffalo, camels and, even, horses have been successfully milked by hand for thousands of years. Though it's an age-old practice, milking a cow by hand is not as easy as it may first appear. It’s best to know what you are getting into before you take on this important farming task.
The flavor and shelf life of the milk you sell directly to consumers are directly impacted by how the milk is produced and handled on your farm. Here are my best practices for handling and producing the highest-quality, most delicious milk on the farm.
At a time when greenhouse gas emissions from cars and electricity generation around the world are at an all-time high, Heifer International in Cameroon is leading initiatives and programming to help reduce such emissions from livestock production there.
Silvopasture is a newfangled word for wooded pasture. Basically, all it means is that you are using wooded land with trees and forage for pasture. The trees can be managed for firewood production and/or saw logs and provide welcome shade and shelter for your livestock and forage.
1.3 billion people live without access to electricity. In the last five years, falling costs of solar technology have made solar economically viable without subsidies for off-grid communities. How can businesses keep up with this potential solar growth? Hint: it’s all about the customer.
In the Spring of 2010, I quit my job as a high school theology teacher, because I wanted to be a farmer. I am now entering my fourth year of full-time farming, even though I had almost no experience farming. Here’s how I did it, and some tips to help you on your way.
Cow manure is a key indicator of bovine health and well being. After milk, it is the most valuable thing your cows will produce. Micro-dairy expert Steve Judge explains why it pays to get comfortable with cow manure.
In Kenya, even for middle class families, much of what ends up on the dinner table is grown or raised at home. With food prices rising, more and more Americans are looking towards ways of growing some of what ends up on their table at home. Both in terms of personal health, and the environment, this is a very good trend—it's a food source as local as you can get.
Cabin Fever: noun, ‘Boredom, restlessness, or irritability that results from a lack of environmental stimulation, as from a prolonged stay in a remote, sparsely populated region or a confined indoor area‘.
The Keystone Center, in partnership with the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center, is hosting a regional food workshop called “The Traditional Winter Garden: Fresh Food From December to March.”
At the Mother Earth News Fair, I always enjoy speaking with fellow farmers and gardeners about inputs, organic standards and sound practices in the field. At the OMRI booth, we always provide free OMRI Products Lists of approved input materials, to help you find the right fertilizer or livestock feed additive and keep your farm or garden truly organic .
This divine herb has a multitude of properties – it’s a potent skin-cell regenerative, mucolytic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, circulatory stimulant, vulnerary, antioxidant, antifungal, analgesic and deodorizing agent. I use both the essential oil and the infused oil in formulas to relieve sinus and respiratory congestion, muscle tension and soreness, and headaches; to soften and fade scar tissue; to stimulate memory, creativity, confidence and mental energy; and to stimulate circulation to encourage hair growth.
From the moment of realization that the world of healing herbs was calling Susanna Raeven, to herfirst herbal class, to running a small-scale herb farm that grows medicinal herbs with organic methods, to creating artisan herbal products, and finally to working with clients to help them find balance in their lives with the generous support of the plant kingdom, the journey has been quite a ride with many joyous moments, but also doubts, insecurities, and cloudy days.
Allowing children the space to discover the beauty and wonder of plants through tending to their own garden builds character, teaches responsibility, gives insight into the beauty of nature and fosters their connection with where their food comes from.
Spotlight on Earth Stewardship pays homage to eco-conscious individuals by sharing their stories of hope, inspiration, challenges and insight into making the earth a better place for generations to come.
There’s more than one way to be an environmental warrior. And some approaches work better than others. Elemental follows the stories of three environmental advocates united by their deep connection with nature and driven to confront some of the most dire ecological issues affecting their respective communities. This isn’t only a story about plight and pollution, however. Rather, Gayatri Roshan’s and Emmanuel Vaughan-Lee’s documentary works best as a character-driven study of eco-activism’s do’s and don’ts.
Why do certain individuals care about the environment while others do not? Is it an intrinsic moral obligation? Are we born with an innate instinct to want to protect the earth and its natural resources?
Are you ready for the kinds of severe weather that could impact the area where you live? National Severe Weather Preparedness Week takes place from Mar. 3-9, 2013. This is a great time for you and your family to “Be a Force of Nature” by learning the importance of planning for severe weather events and practicing how and where to take shelter before severe weather strikes.
Cuba's bike transformation was the result of a change in context induced by external forces. It was a disruptive event that forced them to adapt. Here in America, a land of such excess, no such sudden disruption looms (nor could it be predicted, I believe). Our transportation context is centered on the car. Our culture and economy are “driven” by the car. So, how do we create a culture of transportation that is dominated by bicycles?
Green living is similar to taking yoga. It is a ‘practice’ – the more you get into, the more there is to learn. It really comes down to three simple things. Are you ready, willing and able to start living green?
This will be an ongoing series, which pays homage to Eco-conscious individuals by sharing their stories of hope, inspiration, challenges and insight into making the earth a better place for generations to come.
One of my earliest vivid childhood memories is sitting on my father’s lap as a young girl reading the magazine together in the 1980s and all throughout my childhood. He would read aloud while I studied the pictures of passive solar building, vegetable gardening, sheep shearing, building your own sugar shack and the beautiful array of topics which he read to me frequently. Those images, along with the camping trips in the mountains, the whitewater and canoeing excursions, and our family trip to Alaska, have been etched in the catacombs of my childhood memories and have sculpted the person I have grown to become.
My husband Alan’s first gift to me was Helen and Scott Nearing’s Living the Good Life. The books we turn to regularly have changed, although some we go back to again and again, year after year. A list of our top 10 favorite books follows.
OK, you’ve got a start: where to get equipment, groups to join, classes to take, and mentors to hook up with. Now’s the time, before you have bees, to take a long hard look at some of the rest of the things you need to be thinking about.
When I bought my farm, I did it to live in the woods. I would like to say I was deliberate. And intentional. But clueless is probably a better word. I should have suspected something when I bought the land and they threw the house in for free.
Are we headed into another year of drought? Already, we are behind on precipitation for this year, and for the last two years. What strategies can we implement to utilize minimal rain and resources better?
If I could only pick one season extending structure, it would be a cold frame. Incredibly versatile, a simple cold frame is the key to taking your garden from a two or three-season plot and turning it into a year round vegetable factory.
We're getting revved up for winter seed swaps, and planning our tomato plantings to account for all the great tasting events next summer and fall. Find out how to find your own local events, or host your own!
Like Thoreau and the Nearings, we feel more alive and participative in the natural world around us on our 5.5 acre homestead and organic farmstead than Lisa and I ever did walking through a corporate cubicle maze in the city.
Many of us make a habit out of complaining, when in fact our lives are pretty good. In this blog I suggest that gaining perspective -- focusing on how good your life really is -- will help you live a much happier life. Give it a try.
I don't know why, but somehow I think of myself as a lazy farmer. Perhaps it's because I know that I'm not a real farmer. Sure, we ate out of the garden all summer and I sold our excess produce at the farmer's market, but gardening is hardly farming.
Elizabeth Van Deventer has been on a quest to find the answer to sustainable farming and an ethical diet most of her life. Follow along as she discovers the impacts of producing tea, palm oil and fruit, and how she eventually settles on a lifestyle that is in tune with the earth and all of its creatures.
Change is not only possible, it’s inevitable. Within the next few decades, great change is coming, because the way things are done today literally cannot continue. America's use-it-up-and-move-on way of life is in its endgame.
I was gratified when, two weeks ago, Consumer Reports announced that the Chevy Volt was the best-loved car in the world among people who drive one – for the second year in a row. I have never loved a car like I love this one. And I have loved some cars.
Is there a more heartwarming and majestic sight than gorgeous old-fashioned cows in a peaceful grassy meadow, calves scampering by their sides? Awesome. But have you given much considered thought to exactly how those calves will come to be?
A horse trainer once said to me, 'Animals don't think, they just make associations.' I responded to that by saying, 'If making associations is not thinking, then I would have to conclude that I do not think.'
Many of us spout opinions and make bold assertions based on very little evidence. Our ignornance is often mistaken for perspective. We think we know a lot more than we do. Take time to acquire knowlede and create true wisdo. It has a settling effect.
I feel that if we want to connect to our families, to our neighbors and to the people that we love that live in the community around us, we must somehow retrain ourselves to slow down and watch, listen and share, love and care.
‘Pluck A Lotta Chickens: A Live Demonstration’ was in the Timberstone Room, which holds several hundred people. I sat second row, center. Once they started the process, it wasn’t nearly as bizarre as I thought it was going to be.
The Obama Administration releases its plans for new renewable energy sources. Ken Salazar, Secretary of the Interior, explains that the new solar energy zones span six states and keep both domestic energy and environmental preservation in mind. If completed, the power generated from these solar energy zones would provide electricity to roughly seven-million homes.
In this posting we discuss how rock weathering controls the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. We also discuss why rock weathering can't remove the excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that was generated by our use of fossil fuels.
In this posting we discuss the role global warming is playing in the planet's rapidly decreasing fresh water supply. We also discuss how global warming and the loss of fresh water is impacting building infrastructure.
Steve Judge of Bob-White Systems in Vermont offers his Micro Dairy expertise in this blog series on how to start and manage a Micro Dairy, from farm and barn planning to selecting dairy cows, goats and sheep to daily operations and being profitable.
Bob-White Systems is bringing the cows back home by providing supplies, equipment and support for Micro Dairies, Home & Farmstead cheesemakers and small-scale producers of local and farm fresh dairy products.
Dog days of summer? Yes, but there is still a lot of the grwoing season left. Protect yourself from the late summer sun with these tried 'n true items ... tested by a gardener who knows more than she'd like to about skin cancer.
How many people wonder (pun intended) about industrial white bread? A new book out by Aaron Bobrow-Strain shows that he has. It is a fascinating description of how white bread got to be where it is today politically, economically, and culturally.
Sorghum memories have been shared with me from across the nation. It has been a pleasure to connect with readers as they lend their own (or family members) connections and experiences with this wonderful community building craft.
The factory farm creates the wealth for the doctors, lawyers, government regulators, and bankers … is it ironic that these same professionals will choose a Beechnut Turkey or an Oaknut Ham from Big Horn Ranch for their family gathering?
Our minds are powerful things. The beliefs we hold and our perceptions can be dead wrong. Our minds can even create pain that doesn't exist. Questioning what we perceive and believe can help you live a more conscious, honest and successful life.
What's it take to build your own SOLAR-POWERED Electric Car? How about starting small with some hardware store parts and an old child's ride-on toy? Read how a tinkerer Dad builds a Solar-Powered Power Wheels with just basic tools and skills.
Can a civilization this profoundly removed from the visceral participation in farming and food even survive? Can the assumptions, like cheap energy, cheap grain, and processed food that can be nutritious, really continue into the future?
Even we homesteaders must decide how we interact with our animals and the environment. When we follow Nature's rules by developing old-time virtues, our lives are enriched with connection to everything around us.
Have you ever considered using lard to make soap? It is easy to locate, inexpensive, and has a long history as a soap-making staple. This recipe adds a few extras to improve the conditioning qualities of traditional lard soap.
A wedding using homegrown and local food and no disposable items. Decorations were things already on hand. The ceremony took place in a field and the reception was in a barn...and there was love-lots of it!
There are many more ways than ever to earn income without ever leaving the homestead. As energy prices rise, earning the money you need without traveling is key to success. It just might not come from the place you expect.
Alternative transportation magazine, A To B, is chock-full of innovative bicycle tecnology reviews and test drives for everything from folding bikes to E-motorcycles and all the accessories in between.