Oh, we've all thought about it, we city worker folk...selling it all and moving to a farm. But I am actually meeting people who have DONE it. Do they regret it? Do they love it? Are they making money? What do you have to think about before your make such a (crazy?) leap?
Cindy and Jess Phillips did it. They were living in Peterborough and doing the usual worker thing. Cindy had a job at a little food shop and created jams along with other foodstuffs for the shop owner. Jess had frequented Belize where organic farming was the only way things were done and their collective perspective supported local and real food. When the shop was about to close, they put their heads together.
Well, looky here, our family land in Grey County, Ontario which was our retirement plan may be our present, they thought. Could they really start a farm with two small kids? Did they know enough to make a living? Ask them yourself on Facebook, at Robroy market garden.
Cindy loves nothing more than to share her knowledge. In fact, she will have a group up to the farm for the day and teach them everything she has learned about growing, selling and saving seeds. Nothing is more inspiring to her than the community of growers she meets at the Creemore Farmer's Market where she sells weekly baskets. Each season she learns something and shares her knowledge at the Chef's Forum where growers and farmers meet chefs and purveyors.
The secret, she says, is being thrifty and building everything yourself. She dreams up what they need next and Jess can build it. They grow and save seeds and swap at gatherings like Urban Tomato seed savers.
Her guru, Elliot Coleman wrote books such as The Organic Gardener, explains how to run an organic farm on five acres with only a single family's worth of hands. She says doing so creates a healthy active life and perspective for her two kids, ages four and six.
Her final words on why to make such a lifestyle change are: "The more you do what you love, the more you draw in like-minded people and that makes for a community that inspires each other"
Cindy shares her tips on how to save tomato seeds and make your garden grow for free:
1. Choose heirloom varieties and non genetically modified seeds to start with
2. Cut tomato-scoop guts set in a bowl at room temperature and watch as it forms scum after a week
3. Dump sludge and fill with water
4. Healthy seeds sink to bottom and others fall out
5. Rinse through strainer
6. Let dry-in a dry spot in the house or garage if possible (they can get a titch smelly)
7. Labelling in envelopes is very important and set aside until next spring
8. Meet up at seed exchanges all over Ontario. Creemore Farmers market (look for seed exchanges in Grey county) Peterborough does a great job! Rare-ist seeds. Seeds of Diversity.
9. The process is exactly the same with lettuces and greens. Simply let them grow until they go to seed and save pods.
Turns out butane isn't just for lighters anymore - it's also an artificial antioxidant that they put it in chicken nuggets to keep them "fresh" tasting. So instead of your chicken nuggets being fresh, butane keeps them "fresh." Eating butane probably wasn't what you had in mind last time you lit up, got the munchies, and ordered those nuggets. Try these homemade chicken tenders instead, for fuel-free fuel. Found in: Frozen, packaged or pre-made processed foods with long shelf lives such as frozen meals, crackers, chips, cereal bars and fast food. Photo by Flickr user yoppy.
Regular milk is full of hormones used by the milk industry to keep the cows knocked up and lactating all year round. Sound gross? It is. So when you drink regular milk you take a shot of hormones with it. And all you wanted was a bowl of cereal. Found in: All non-organic dairy, so organic is recommended. But don't jump straight to raw milk before you know the facts. Photo by Flickr user lfl.
Think that green sheen on your veggie snacks is giving you your daily serving of vegetables? Think again. That's just powdered spinach dust, which is spinach that has been dehydrated and sucked dry of its nutritional value. So the upshot is that green sheen is about as nutritious as actual dust. Found in: "Healthier" vegetable flavored snack foods. Photo from Wegmans.com
Antifreeze is used in cars, pills, cosmetics, deodorant, moisturizer...and, in a way, food! It keeps your car from freezing over, your moisturizer moist, and your fat-free cookie dough ice cream creamy, smooth and juicy. If it's good enough for your SUV it's good enough to eat, right? Right?? Right??? Found in: Cake mix, salad dressings, low-fat ice creams and dog food.
Vanillin, which is a byproduct of the pulp industry, is used as an artificial vanilla flavor. Ester of wood rosin, which comes from pine stumps, is in citrus-flavored sodas to keep the citrus flavor evenly distributed through the can (try these natural ones if you're cutting down on pine stumps). Found in: Artificially flavored yogurt, baked goods, candy and sodas
Castoreum comes out of a beaver's behind -- it's extracted from their anal glands -- and is used to make artificial raspberry flavoring. Try not to think about that next time you order the diet raspberry tea. Found in: Artificially raspberry flavored products such as cheap ice cream, Jell-O, candy, fruit-flavored drinks, teas and yogurts.
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