Saturday, January 30, 2010
The region needs more than willing farmers to pull off a fully connected system. Storage and distribution have to be addressed. And it would help if there were key anchors to keep up demand, like institutions such as universities, grocers, restaurants and prisons.
On the positive side, there are more and more consumers, farmers and entrepreneurs egging this whole process on. But there needs to be so much more education and more resources directed at small and mid-sized farmers and producers for a truly sustainable food system to materialize.
I'm feeling a little pessimistic today after reading the Chicago Tribune's piece about the city's second-to-last dairy, which just closed for good.
Elgin Dairy Foods, which created the first McDonald's milkshake formula, sold out to Dean's, which isn't planning on keeping the facility open. Instead, it'll simply fold Elgin's customers into its vast dairy empire.
Here's a stat from the Trib story that even startled me: Into the 1950s, there were 150 dairies in Chicago's city limits. Today, there's a mere 42 statewide. Yes, statewide. And most of those don't produce anything, but are instead transfer points for larger players in the industry.
"Companies like Elgin Dairy became an anachronism in a market that rewards large-scale operations and demands a lower price point," the Tribune observes.
"Don't cry over spilled milk" photo from eqqman's flickr photostream.
I expect we'll trim that down quite a bit more when we start composting this spring.
But I'm in awe of this Gloustershire family of three who managed to reduce their landfill contribution to one bin of garbage a year, the BBC reports.
As the Strauss family fills a waste bag, they sift through it to be sure there isn't anything in there that can't be recycled or composted.
They also buy direct from farmers to avoid packaging. For the same reason, they bring their own containers to the butcher.
The Daily Mail had dubbed the trio "Britain's greenest family."
Indeed, their eco-friendliness isn't limited to food. Their clothes are from thrift shops, they heat their home with a wood burning stove and light their home, at least partially, with solar power.
Their goal for next year is zero waste. Best of luck to them.
I'll be watching their progress on Twitter and at their website MyZeroWaste.com.
Photo of trash, compost and recycle receptacle at San Francisco's Ferry Building Marketllace from .imelda's Flickr photostream.
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Chicago lawyer Wendy Aechlimann, who splits her time between the Windy City and wine tasting through Michigan, will make The Case For Local Wine.
Out of the gate, Wendy starts making her case for supporting local winemakers.
These will sound familiar to those who have embraced "buy local" as a mantra in their grocery shopping and farmers marketing.
So why buy Midwest wine when it's so easy to get favorites from Napa, Australia and just about anywhere else in the world?
Wendy counts out the reasons. I can get on board with all of these:
- Support your local winemaker. You experience the same sense of pride of place as when buying a local tomato or radish, knowing that it was grown by a nearby farmer.
- Environmental considerations. Less fossil fuels are consumed and carbon emitted in getting the wine to your door.
- Branching out. Because the Midwest generally plants cold-hardy grapes, you have the chance to try more unusual varieties, such as Norton, Traminette and Vidal. Just like at the farmer’s market, where your curiosity is roused by new varieties of peppers, so can it be with wine. [This is the first time I've thought of local wines this way. It'll make me pay more attention to varieties unique to or especially suited for the Midwest.]
- Support your local economy. The Midwest, like many areas of the country, is an economy in transition. By supporting your local farmers, you may be supporting a growth sector of our local economy.
- Help influence the direction of local wine market. As with any business, wine-making is, at bottom, a money-making endeavor. As more wine-making consumers buy local wine, the money will be reinvested into the wineries, and they will only improve over time.
Monday, January 25, 2010
They dot the countryside between Oak Park and The Farm, some boarded up, others succumbing to the elements.
There are homes from my childhood, meticulously maintained by grandparents and great grandparents, that are in various states of disrepair.
It can be painful to see their decline. So much so, that I've caught myself taking the long way so as to avoid driving past these once stately homes that are on the verge of tear down.
Cheryl's story has a happy ending, one less memory-filled home to face condemnation.
I'm told the teachers are receiving extra training on these days (isn't that what summer is for?), but I don't recall ever getting any reports on what they're learning or where.
What I do know is that Institute Days and half-days create havoc in my work schedule.
This time, I decided to skip the hassle of finding a sitter and took a vacation day. And I'm thinking it's an option worth taking again if I can swing it.
It helps that the kids let me sleep in...a bit. And they didn't clamor to be fed right away, so we ended up - three cooks in the kitchen - making Alvin & the Chipmunks banana pancakes. My Future Farmkids decorated their chipmunk-cakes with chocolate syrup hair, chocolate chip eyes and noses, and Twizzler mouths and bows (for the chipette).
With that lead up, we went to see the Squeakquel (for a second time), which I think should earn me some sort of good mommy badge.
My favorite part of the day was really the only thing I had planned, a late afternoon reading hour complete with snack and hot chocolate picnic in the living room. The kids draped themselves in their Snuggies, then brought the seats - a stuffed shark and pillows - spread out the picnic cloth and settled in for a riveting few chapters of Half Magic.
The best part came at supper, when we were sharing our happy things. My son picked as his happy thing, having momma all day today and our reading picnic.
My daughter's happy thing? Seeing the Squeakquel.
Sunday, January 24, 2010
Here, the idea is that everyone plays the role of host and guest, often starting at one house for appetizers, then heading to another for the main course and the final house for dessert. Sometimes I've heard about adding a fourth house for cocktails.
We had our own marathon-like take last night: Five houses in five hours.
The first four houses were appetizers and drinks. The fifth house, where all the children were gathered for a pizza party, was the final destination - for sweets and drinks.
Here's what I learned:
Pacing is important - both for eating and drinking. Let's just say that after more than five hours of grazing and sampling new drink concoctions, I'm hurting just a little bit today.
There's no need to go to a fancy restaurant to get good eats. Every house was a delight - from empanadas filled with guava from the backyard of my neighbor's mother in Los Angeles to some of the best beef wraps I've ever had. [I'm hoping we can swap recipes or post a few here. I'll have mine at the end of this post.]
Five hours is not too long to spend with the neighbors. Especially in the winter, we just don't get many chances for even polite greetings. This was much more fun and we really got the chance to get to know who our neighbors are and what they do for a living.
Menu at House No. 1:
Expanola Butternut Squash Soup
Here's the recipe. [This time I didn't have sage, so I increased the amount of herbs de Provence. I also used a little less green chili.]
Grilled Brie & Habanero/Papaya/Orange Preserves on Italian Bread
Butter outside slices of bread, slather top inside slice with a dollop of preserves, add single layer of sliced brie -rind and all, then grill on medium heat until golden brown on the outside and cheese is melted on the inside.
Alberto No. 1
We've been making this since we read about it in the New York Times while visiting Manhattan in 2000.
Here's the recipe, which was adapted from the drink created by La Caravelle's Adalberto Alonso:
Juice of 1 lime
2 ounces vodka [This time we tested out the Indiana Vodka the iFarmer got for Christmas. Very nice and smooth.]
10 mint leaves, rinsed [Easy to get in our backyard most of the year. But we had to go to the grocery this time.]
1 1/2 teaspoons extra-fine bar sugar [We've been using agave nectar, which is an excellent substitute. When I'm particularly calorie conscious, we'll sometimes use Splenda]
Champagne [We tend to try to go for a local, dry sparkling wine or a Cava if can find one.]
Mint sprig for garnish.
In a cocktail shaker, combine lime juice and vodka. Add mint leaves, and crush with a spoon. Add the sugar and a little ice. Shake vigorously, and pour into a tall stemmed glass. Add Champagne to fill. Garnish with a mint sprig if desired.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
A lifestyle farmer, according to this piece, takes on a manageable 1 to 12 acres. And these folks make up a remarkable half of the 2.1 million farms in the U.S.
The article quotes longtime farmer and Fields of Plenty author Michael Ableman, who says, "More and more people are wanting to return to basics and take control of a fundamental aspect of their lives. Farming gives people a sense of deep satisfaction and a connection to the real world."
I couldn't agree more.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
I think I know where one pan went. But the rest probably went to the trash. Oh, how I kick myself for letting go of any of those grimy, rusty diamonds in the rough.
Had I only known what Rhoda Peacher shared with Hobby Farm readers: Cast iron can pretty easily cleaned and restored to its power cooking glory.
Peacher shares a step-by-step process for cleaning and refurbishing even the most challenging rust and baked on mess.
The article makes me want to start rummage sale and salvage store hunting to add to my cast iron inventory.
For now, I have a grand total of one piece of cast iron cookware, an extremely versatile, medium sized skillet.
I got it from my mother-in-law's estate. Rust and all, this time I jumped at the chance to refurbish and re-season the piece.
It's now one of my favorite cooking vessels for everything from white chicken chili to green chili/cheddar cornbread and even pumpkin pie.
Monday, January 18, 2010
I happened into the invite because a fellow blogger wanted to go, but needed a ride back to Oak Park. I agreed to do the driving. But it turned out she had a conflict and couldn't go.
I like to think I'm pretty outgoing. But the truth is I'm pretty shy. I decided to buck up and go anyway. The dinner was at a restaurant I'd wanted to check out, Uncommon Ground (which houses a certified organic rooftop farm), and I've never been disappointed with a meeting of moms who blog.
This was no exception. I had a lovely evening, meeting some fascinating women bloggers and learning about what motivates them to share their lives online.
Of course the reason we were there was to learn about Steaz and maybe spread the word a bit about its line of organic, micro-brewed tea products.
I have to admit I was pretty impressed with Eric Schnell and his commitment to running a green, health-conscious company. He's started a blog and a Twitter feed. I'll be curious to see how this young entrepreneur connects with customers and potential customers via social media.
Unfortunately for Steaz, besides not having a huge readership (yet) at VFG, I'm not much of a fan of bottled and canned teas. I'm pretty much stuck on hot herbed teas.
Still, when I realized that I'd been given a sack full of Steaz products to sample, I decided to check them out and get the opinions of my SoCal sis and the iFarmer while I was at it.
So here's what I did: I stopped at Whole Foods and picked up similar products and conduct a non-scientific, but blind, taste test.
They weren't perfect product matches, but I got as close as I could in a single shopping trip.
I bought low cal Izze to compare with Steaz zero calorie berry soda; Tazo teas to compare with Steaz canned peach and blueberry tea drinks; and I bought a Hansen's natural energy drink to compare with Steaz natural energy drink.
Not surprisingly, I wasn't much of a fan of any of the drinks. I did prefer Steaz over Izze in the soda match up.
In the flavored/iced tea test, I much preferred Tazo to Steaz. Both were good, but Tazo didn't actually taste like tea, yet more like a peach in a Dixie cup.
I didn't much care for either energy drink (or energy drinks in general). Neither tasted particularly good, but Steaz was the least offensive for all of us.
Here are the total results from the three of us. Winners in each test were each given an asterisk.
Flavored TEA DRINK
Disclosure: Dinner and the free product were on Steaz, but I didn't get any money from the company. Indeed, I ended up spending a decent amount to conduct my quirky little taste test.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
The Trib's Kevin Pang included this comment: "Due to the production delay between the shoot at the White House and the shoot at Food Network, the produce used in Kitchen Stadium during the 'Super Chef Battle' was not actually from the White House garden," said Food Network spokeswoman Lisa Krueger in a statement to The Talk.
Lynn Sweet at AOL's Politics Daily blog had the story first.
It's too bad. That'll be my last Iron Chef. I'm a fan of "reality" shows and am willing to significantly suspend my disbelief instinct in the name of entertainment. But this switcheroo crosses a line for this Farmgirl.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
"King Corn" filmmakers Curt Ellis and Ian Cheney are beginning to screen "Big River: A King Corn Companion."
The 28-minute "Big River" traces the environmental impact of corn production in the state.
The Waterloo Courier reported on a screening at a Practical Farmers of Iowa event in Marshalltown on Friday.
According to the story, the goal of the film isn't to blame farmers, but to scrutinize the safety of farm chemicals and highlight the importance of soil and water conservation.
The next screening will be Jan. 23 at the Oneota Film Festival in Decorah.
Watch the trailer here:
Monday, January 11, 2010
Many farmers didn't know a thing about FarmVille or dismissed it as a waste of time.
But Brenda Bower, who has a 70-acre farm in Halifax, told the Patriot-News that growing crops, trees and raising animals in a virtual world is a nice break from reality.
"It’s farming I can do without going outside," she said. "It’s fun. Most farmers don’t have time for it, but I find it relaxing, a good stress reliever if I’m having a bad day."
Another future farmgirl, Holly Holchin is majoring in equine management at Potomac State College. She told the paper that playing gives her ideas about how to lay out a farm.
I'd given up on my virtual farming via Facebook. But maybe I ought to give it another shot.
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Apparently land for dairy cattle is getting harder to come by in New Zealand, so cheap American land prices and welcoming neighbors proved irresistible.
The Times notes that "New Zealanders are considered among the most efficient dairy producers in the world."
And they grass feed, which, as the Times notes, is taking many Missouri farmers back to farming practices of the past.
The story first appeared with art here from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. More on the New Zealander influence here from Marketplace.
In the end, after 10 years of experimenting with organic practices on a two-acre block of their Apple Hill Farm in Concord, N.H., the organic section of his farm was threatening the health of the rest of his operation.
So Chuck and Diane called it quits.
"[T]he trees in our organic block were the least healthy on the farm and were a source of pestilence for our other apple trees. After harvest, the trees were cut down and will serve their last purpose: keeping us warm next winter," writes Chuck.
I've heard before that turning an existing apple orchard into an organic enterprise is an uphill battle. Same for cherries, we learned last summer on our trip through Michigan.
Even Chuck notes that starting from scratch, with "disease-resistant (genetically modified?)" apple trees could be a partial solution.
But, alas, he concludes, he and his wife have to be realistic: "The time and money involved and uncertainty of success is too great."
Kudos to him though for continuing to work on ways to reduce the use of pesticides overall.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Reuters reports that DuPont, also an ag powerhouse with its Pioneer Hi-Bred International, is claiming that Monsanto is being anti-competitive, using monopoly powers to drive up prices.
"Monsanto has engaged in numerous practices that improperly seek to expand the scope of intellectual property rights at the expense of competition, innovation, and choice," DuPont said in an 18-page report for the Justice Department, which is holding a hearing on the subject in March.
Indeed, the DOJ and Department of Agriculture are teaming up this year to hold a series of public workshops to explore competition issues affecting the agricultural sector. The agencies want to know, among other things, what role antitrust and regulatory enforcement agencies should play.Monsanto didn't talk to Reuters, but the company responded in its own comments filed with the DOJ. The company said there's already plenty of competition.
According to Reuters, "DuPont estimates that Monsanto, through its branded products and licensing, has 98% of the U.S. soybean market, 79% of the corn market and 60% of the corn and soy germplasm licensed in the U.S."Monsanto put its market share at much less with: "branded corn seed at about 36%; branded soy seed at 29% share; and cotton at 41% in the U.S."
I'm eager to see who else has commented. Reuters notes that the workshop effort has so far collected an impressive 15,000 comments!
Comments were due Dec. 31.
More on the workshops:
DOJ: Agriculture and Antitrust Enforcement Issues in Our 21st Century Economy
Des Moines Register: Pioneer calls rival Monsanto 'monopoly'
St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Monsanto states its case on seed competition
I often just scan and delete messages because there's no way I can get to whatever's being promoted.
This time this caught my attention: FARMBloomington's Bison & Bacon Dinner set for Jan. 21.
There's no way I'll be able to make it to Bloomington, Ind., on a Thursday night. But the menu is extremely appealing:
Bison and Bacon FARMpies
Bison Heart Brochettes
Bison and Bacon Pate Canapes
Mini Lugar Burgers with Mariah's Peppered Bacon and Capriole Goat Cheese
Bison Broth with Bacon Dumplings and Root Vegetables
Larry's Bison Tenderloin Carpaccio with Frisee Lardon Salad and Quail Eggs
Roast Bison Prime Rib Au Jus with Celery Mousseline and Homemade Bacon
Buffalo Mozzarella with Fresh Figs and Candied Bacon, Balsamic Reduction
And for dessert:
Chocolate Bacon Truffles
Bacon Caramel Corn
Wow. The gut-busting meal is $45 a person.
While I was getting caught up about FARMBloomington's offerings, I came across a book that came out last summer. FARMFood, features Chef Daniel Orr's recipes, seasonings and tips on hunting edibles like flowers and mushrooms. I'm especially eager to see his advice on creating your own spice blends.
I'm thinking I won't be able to wait until Christmas 2010 to get my own copy. It's at the top of my birthday wish list.
Friday, January 8, 2010
And there went my evening. The blog entries and mini-documentaries show where food comes from through the lens of Brooklyn's Liza de Guia.
Her latest piece is about backyard chickens in Brooklyn. Don't miss the video. It's more engaging than many traditional news reports I've seen about backyard chickens, and gives you a better sense about what it's like for these young women to have embraced the whole chicken-as-pet concept.
Also don't miss the piece on specialty jam making, featuring Josephine's Feast, a new artisanal preserves company which uses seasonal products from farms in the New York region.
More fun than the Food Network, I promise.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
The illegal ones are being housed by a bioethicist for Northwestern University, who wants to see the city ordinance changed, according to a report by WTTW' s Chicago Tonight.
In Oak Park, Helen Standen, who started raising backyard chickens because she wanted the natural fertilizer for her garden.
Then the reasons expanded. Standen, aka "The Chicken Lady" according to the Pioneer Press, realized that raising chickens helped connect her children to the source of their food, the science involved and, of course, sustainability.
But my favorite part of the report from Rich Samuels are the clips from the movie Mad City Chickens.
Standen gets into the nitty gritty details of her backyard chicken raising experiences in Oak Park in this essay she authored for The Local Beet. And there's more coverage of backyard chickens and Standen here from ABC 7.
Yay Helen Standen. You're an inspiration!
Monday, January 4, 2010
The movie is a meld of several movies I’ve seen, making points I’ve heard a few times about the unhealthy influence of industrial and factory farming.
But this was a more polished production, easy to watch and full of emotion.
The movie had me in tears about the death of a child poisoned by E. coli tainted hamburger; angry about ammonia-processed hamburger filler; outraged at federal authorities who target undocumented workers without also prosecuting industrial farm managers who recruit and pay them; and chilled to the bone with the stories of Monsanto investigators intimidating farmers who dare to save their own seed.
I think though that what was most exciting for me was who gave us the film to watch.
Our friend, a one-time factory farm chicken house manager lent us his copy. Then he handed the iFarmer two dozen fresh eggs from his private chicken flock.
I am so delighted to see his emergence from an industrial farm environment to become one of the most knowledgeable sustainable food systems experts I know.
It says a lot that he urged us to watch this film. So I pass on the recommendation.
Watch Food Inc. It’ll change what you eat, for the better.
These last two weeks were no different. We were on the road for two 7- and 8-hour round trips, one at Christmas, the other at New Year's.
We got to do most of what I wanted to do, except see Avatar or any other movie for that matter. But we did get to do some of my favorite things, all involving spending time with our collective families in the kitchen, in front of the TV and exploring.
And apparently, these two weeks of family-intensive visiting had a big impression on the kids, especially Future Farmboy.
At the supper table tonight, when we asked about his day at school, he talked about how his teacher had each kid share and write down what they did during the two-week winter break.
He said he had so much fun with his cousins last week that he forgot to write anything about Santa's visit.
That was just music to my ears. As much as Santa worked to make his Christmas a happy one, I was delighted that he valued time with his family above the trimmings and trappings.
Photo is Future Farmboy and Future Farmgirl waiting not-so-patiently outside the door of their cousin's room in hopes that he'll finally wake up to play.
Sunday, January 3, 2010
The secret ingredient in this Iron Chef America battle? The White House vegetable garden that Mrs. Obama planted and uses to further her food and nutrition education goals as First Lady.
I'm loving the secret ingredient and the fact that the proteins -- meats, eggs, seafood -- being used on the show also were gathered from within 100 miles of the White House.
And I learned tonight that the White House even produces its own honey. Sweet.
It's also a treat to see the White House executive chef, Cristeta Comerford, in action. We've all seen Emeril, Bobby & Mario. But Cristeta is a fresh face for me.
I'd love to see a list of the farms that contributed to this momentous event aimed at drawing attention, in large part, to local food and sustainable agriculture.
[It turns out none of the veggies picked in the garden on the show were used in food prep because of production delays. See this post.]
Victory for Locavores. Obamas to Plant Veggie Garden at White House
There are 22 who earned praise from the governor. A couple include community gardening in their projects. But here are two with decidedly agricultural bents:
1. Garry Griffith "is the director of dining at Augustana College and has spearheaded the school’s Farm2Fork initiative, where students work on local farms to produce crops used in the college’s dining system. Also through Griffith’s efforts, over 80,000 pounds of food waste is composted annually into local farmland, and the school’s used cooking oil is converted into biodiesel to power farm equipment." Link added.
Some of Augustana's partners include Wesley Acres Produce, Cravers Little Red Barn (CSA), and Illinois Crown Beef. [For some reason, the websites for the last two orgs are offline or acting wonky. I can only read their descriptions on cached pages.]
More on Augustana's impressive green initiatives here: "Blue & gold make green."
2. Debbie Hillman "is a co-founder of the Evanston Food Policy Council and lobbied aggressively for the passage of the Food, Farms, and Jobs Act of 2007. She is also a coordinator on the Illinois Local and Organic Food and Farm Task Force. Hillman was a professional gardener for 32 years." Links added.
Here's the full press release at this link.
Saturday, January 2, 2010
So here goes it. In 2010, I pledge to:
- Eat In Season. This has long been a priority of mine, but I've lacked the resolve to fully take the plunge. It's also the one that I'm not likely to fully accomplish. After all...one of my resolutions is to lose weight. And since there's hardly any calories in lettuce, it'll be tough for me not to pick up lettuce trucked in from California or Florida to my grocery store. I will, however, more easily refrain from picking up tomatoes. I've already been spoiled with in-season heirlooms. So the tasteless red globes I see in my local markets just don't measure up enough to make me want to spend the dough.
- Preserve. I hope to focus more on the veggies and fruits I really value when they're in season and find ways to preserve those flavors for use during the Midwest's long post harvest to spring doldrums. Another benefit of better preservation plans will be less waste from our CSA share bounties. So look for a canning party or two this summer and fall.
- Compost. Yet another way to limit waste will be to finally start a compost in our backyard. I'm looking forward to the black gold soil that will materialize from our veggie and coffee ground scraps. My herb/veggie garden can't wait.
- Grow. What I really need to do is learn to grow more of my own food in my backyard. I pledge not to plant a single non-edible plant, unless its purpose is for pollination or, in the case of marigolds, to ward off pests.
- Buy Local. We're off to a decent start here. We've done a a pretty good job identifying the varieties of veggies, meats and cheeses we can get from farmers within 150 miles of Chicago. But we can do better. In addition to a vegetable CSA, I hope to find a good pipeline for meats and to get a bit more vigilant about buying everything from liquors to candies from area businesses who've developed relationships with farmers and artisan food makers.
- Connect. My children are getting a pretty good idea about where their food comes from. In 2009, they dug for potatoes, picked strawberries, cherries and tomatoes. And they are now acutely aware that those cute chirping chicks may some day become nuggets. But this year, I'd like them to get a little more involved in the farm-to-table process, maybe by having them play a role in some of our preservation activities.
- Strategize. This is the year for me to think strategically about my family's farm in Indiana, to consider the property as a whole and what we want to do once our tenant farmer contract ends and my sisters head off to college. I hope to spend more time at The Farm, planting, improving the property and harvesting.
Friday, January 1, 2010
We're here because the lodge added a water park. It's pretty basic, but a great escape from the 15-degree weather.
The fun for me -- besides the water slide, lazy river and hot tub -- was learning about the lodge's namesake, Abe Martin.
Martin was a Kin Hubbard-created newspaper cartoon character, who got his big break in The Indianapolis News in 1905. He was a mainstay for 25 years and enjoyed national syndication in more than 200 newspapers at the height of his popularity.
Some of his most popular quotes include:
Don't knock the weather. If it didn't change once in a while, nine out of ten people couldn't start a conversation.Just about all the quotes I've seen ring true today. Amazing how the more things change, the more things stay the same.
Nobuddy can talk as interestin’ as th’ feller that’s not hampered by facts er information.
We’d all like t’vote fer th’best man, but he’s never a candidate.
Abe Martin's tie to Brown County came early in his newspaper development, when in 1905 Abe announced in print,"I'm goin' ter move ter Brown County Tewmorrow."
The isolated backdrop provided endless material for Hubbard, who's hick-speaking character ironically helped put Brown County, Ind., on the map.
It was the last issue on the rack. And while I can't exactly tell how often it will be published, I'm pretty impressed with the premier issue.
It's filled to the brim with how-to articles, everything from starting a raised veggie garden and small-scale backyard composting to suburban beekeeping and urban chicken farming.
At first glance, I wasn't sure if I was learning anything new. But as I got deeper into the magazine, I found myself being inspired by stories about urban farm success stories. I also was picking up plenty of tips just in time for me to plan next year's backyard garden.
I'm sure you'll see the magazine referenced here more than a few times.
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