Have you ever planted mint in your garden? If you have you’ll know it’s a big mistake. Join me this week on The Urban Farm Podcast as I talk about my successes and failures as a farmer/gardener. Listen HERE for part 1 of the conversation (part 2 comes out on Thursday). My friend Greg Peterson, the host of the show, is a decades-long urban farmer and educator in Phoenix, Arizona. Greg has dedicated his life to learning how to grow healthy food and transform the global food system. He is a leader in the Food Revolution and I just love what he does to the make the most out of his modest yard, also known as The Urban Farm.
For those interested in learning more, The Urban Farm is offering a webinar called 3 Simple Steps To Grow Fruits And Veggies For A Healthier Life. I enrolled in his course in 2014 (while touring!) and it has since made a major impact on the sourcing of our food supply. Click HERE for more information.
Below is a post Greg wrote about a day on The Urban Farm:
There is something to eat in my yard every day, 365 days a year. Last Thanksgiving it was a wonderful salad that included: Six different greens such as Nasturtium leaves and sorrel (a surprise find growing in the back ‘wild’ area); ruby red pomegranate seeds; an incredible citrus called limequat that was sliced up skin and all for a tangy/sweet sensation; and a little bit of the herbs tarragon and fennel, with a smidge of that pretty little three-leaf clover you see growing in some yards called sour grass. The flavors were so diverse and striking that I chose not to add any dressing at all.
I have spent a large part of the past 27 years integrating edible plants into my landscape, from the Thanksgiving salad and my farm soup, to the occasional snack as I work through my weekly urban farmer tasks. All the hard work and experimentation has netted an incredible, edible yard and a hard-knock education about how and what grows best in my yard.
When I was in the eighth grade my family moved into a home with a very large yard where the back 1/3-acre became our garden. We planted, the seeds grew and a spark ignited inside of me…I decided to be a farmer. Over time, my dream became farming 200 acres out there somewhere, and when I went back to school for my bachelor’s degree I was required to write a vision for my life. In that vision, “farmer” showed up, but with a twist: Instead of 200 acres, The Urban Farm was born on a 0.4-acre property in Phoenix, AZ and I was a farmer. My gardening hobby of 10+ years was in reality urban farming, an incredible canvas on which to paint my dream.
One outlet for my passion has been to re-landscape my entire yard with the notion that everything that I grow is either edible, or supports the plants that are edible. Over the past 27 years I have planted trees that produce edible fruits, nuts and beans such as mesquite; perennial herbs including basil, rosemary and oregano that I use a hedge trimmer on periodically; along with the standard annual vegetables – broccoli, snow peas, and cucumbers to name just a few.
Because of our name, visitors to The Urban Farm have an expectation that they will see long rows of corn and beans, and a full working traditional farm. To the contrary, much of what we have accomplished lives in standard garden beds, and if a person visiting did not know any differently they would just see a nicely landscaped yard.
Magic happens when I stand back and watch the natural processes that exist in my yard. A couple of decades ago I was fighting a basil plant – it wanted to bloom, I wanted the basil leaves – as if I KNEW what was best for it. After a long battle, which I finally learned that I could not win, I gave up and let the basil bloom, and boy did it bloom. What happened next was one of those secrets that nature only whispers if you stand back and watch. The bees arrived by the hundreds, and since then pollination has not been a problem on The Urban Farm.
My job these days has become helping others transform their outdoor living spaces into edible wonderlands. Offering a plethora of classes on a diverse list of topics is the most natural way for me to express my passion. Over the years topics such as vermiculture (cultivating worms for their manure), desert gardening, edible landscaping, fruit trees, and the always popular “Keeping Chickens in Your Yard” have begun to reconnect Phoenix residents to the roots of where our food comes from.
Now I’ve expanded my reach to the global community by offering online classes, both free and paid, to inspire and empower people from around the world to grow their own healthy, organic food and join the food revolution. My latest free webinar, 3 Simple Steps To Grow Fruits And Veggies For A Healthier Life, will cover how to choose the right space to plant your edible garden, how to determine what to plant when, why soil is your most important asset and gardening hacks that will make growing your own food easy and successful. If you are excited to join the revolution and start creating your edible yard or patio but have little to no experience, this webinar was designed for you! Click here to learn more.
Farming the city spaces around us presents a whole new paradigm for growing our own food and reigniting our connection to nature. The tools are here, and the knowledge is available, you can kindle your desire by getting your hands dirty, taking a chance and spreading some seeds. The fruits of your labor are much tastier (not to mention cheaper) than what you find in the grocery store and come along with the satisfaction that YOU grew them.
I love to dream about, talk about, and sing about world peace. And I know in my own relationships and community that I am 100% responsible for how that is going. Meaning, if I know two people who don’t get along, perhaps I can offer insights to help clear the air. Or if someone is in disagreement with me, it is my duty to apologize, regardless of who is right or wrong. I personally believe the world is at war with itself over stories about right vs wrong. Just read any thread of comments on any topic shared on the Internet and you will see humanity accusing itself of what is right and what is wrong, often times hatefully or stupidly. In order for us to overcome these small hateful crimes, or even the big world wars, humanity will need to come to a basic understanding. That we are all equal. Everybody hurts. And that from time to time we all just want some gosh darn peace and quiet.
UNITY is more than a film. It provides the basic educational tools to understand the current state of the world and how it came to be. UNITY is a movement. We are constantly evolving and adapting to an ever changing world and UNITY is the message for our time. Were humanity to practice humility and grace, which after all, is what being human is all about, we would have the power to end all wars, feed all people, and as its sung about again and again, live as ONE.
“We must become experts at the intellectual management of our mental seeds… From now on, we need to be careful only to plant good new seeds, and never negative ones.”
- excerpt from How Yoga Works by Geshe Michael Roach
Last fall I joined UrbanFarm.org in their online urban farming class to learn new ways to improve and transform my yard, turning it into a more efficient and edible environment. Yes edible.
Back in January, during a break from tour, I was able to put my new knowledge to good use and improve my yard as well as my compost heap and the quality of life for my chickens. I also enjoyed getting properly chased by my new bees while busy upping the diversity in my orchard by planting 30 new fruit trees. I did all of this in little time thanks to the new insights shared by UrbanFarm.org.
Urban farming is about making the most out of a small space. It’s about declaring your yard, your courtyard or windowsill as an actual farm. And then working with the seasons, the sunlight, and local resources like discarded materials and water-runoff to bring it to life as cheaply and conveniently as possible.
It isn’t as daunting as one might think and the payoff is spectacular. Taking control of your food and water supply means reclaiming your power by saving money, saving energy, saving waste and saving fuel believe it or not. It is the foundation for the idea “think globally and act locally.”
In the coming weeks UrbanFarm.orgwill be hosting a free webinar called “SeedSavingHacked.“ This will be a fascinating class about how to save your own seeds, secure your favorite foods for the future and the interesting events that led up to the patenting and ownership of 78% of our seeds by 3 companies. In the rapidly changing world where the FDA has recently signed off on the Genetically Modified Apple, I feel more encouraged than ever to learn about seeds and seed saving.
To start, it’s important to know the difference between the 3 main types of seeds:
Heirloom – what happens naturally when a plant is left alone for tens of thousands of years; the seed always produces the same variety.
Hybrid, when two sexually compatible plants cross-pollinate to produce a new variety, making interesting food, but sometimes not great new seeds, hence the need for saving. This does occur in nature but is commonly applied by man. A hybrid seed is NOT a GMO.
Sunrise. As a time zone jumper I sleep when I can and wake up when I don’t want to. But at any hour homecoming is nice and I relish my quiet time at a kitchen table with a snoring cat as a centerpiece, some cinnamon toast, and a turmeric latte.
Try the latte! A little honey and a spoonful of turmeric, stirred in a shot of hot water, under a cup of hot homemade almond milk, or whichever nut-milk you prefer.
I spoil myself with delicious homemade beverages, an addiction that started back in 2008. “Vitamineral Green” smoothies became and still are a daily staple in my diet, but with them came a curiosity for other tasty sippers. To make it easy I travel with a second suitcase exclusively to satisfy my cravings. In this “kitchen case” you will find a water filter, a hand blender, sometimes a milk-frother and a tea kettle, and an assortment or superfood powders, tinctures, teas, and spices. Sometimes I do have to pay an extra-baggage fee when traveling, but that $25-$50 is made up by not having to purchase water, or succumb to franchises’ unhealthy coffee concoctions. I also try to carry a container of hemp-milk and a few San Diego made “Perfect Bars” which stay perfectly chilled when traveling under an airplane. Rarely do my ingredients explode but it does happen. Upon arrival in Bangkok last week, I opened my kitchen case to find everything dusted a deep algae green, but it gave me a reason to unpack and reorganize, which my OCD enjoyed.
My usual morning beverage is a dark roast Maté tea, sweetened with a dark stevia, with a splash of hempmilk, topped with Cinnamon. I started drinking Maté back in 2007 to cut down on coffee, which I still enjoy, but only on special occasions – like egg nog.
On performance evenings my mug holds a super-potent “Calli” mint tea from the Sunrider Brand, with a shot of Chinese Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa for the throat if needed. I highly recommend this blend for singers.
By day it’s all water for me, but I do add flower essences, essential oils, stevia, echinacea, and chlorophyll to keep it interesting. I’ll even add salt if I’m heading to hot yoga. When asked what I’m drinking, it’s fun to just say Organic Unicorn Tears. But sometimes it turns brown, in which case Mona refers to it as poo-juice.
Speaking of juice. The fresh juice industry is booming. Say no more other than Yes Please.
I share this in hopes of broadening your horizons on liquid intake, saving you money and keeping you healthy. For example, you’d think with all the planes, trains, and bus rides I take around the world that I would catch a bug from time to time. But I haven’t had even the sniffles in over a year. And I credit this consistency to keeping hydrated – keeping the blood happy – and avoiding sugar drinks and dairy drinks which break down poorly in the body, causing inflammation which causes allergic reactions and phlegmy cold symptoms. Yes, common colds CAN be avoided.
For more health, travel and lifestyle tips, ask me what you want to know. Good Morning!
The modern world is weird. And there’s plenty of reasons to get bummed out about it. Whether it’s war, famine, poverty, environmental negligence, or afternoon traffic, being human in this age takes courage to keep living, and calls for a lot of heart to care about it.
And, when it seems politicians are already bought and paid for, it will take the courage of our conscious communities to carry us to the polls in 2 weeks to vote on measures that matter.
Here are a few important pieces of legislature that need our support in the upcoming election:
1: Food Labeling laws. The right to know what’s in our food.
Major foods brands who make up The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) actually invest millions of dollars into anti-labeling laws nationwide to prevent consumers from knowing about harmful ingredients and genetically modified organisms known as GMO’s. The GMA has even sued the state of Vermont to overturn a GMO labeling law passed there earlier this year. Super Weird.
If you are a new parent. Do not feed your child anything made of non-organic soy. Many baby formulas are made with GMO Soy, which has led to many new cases of severe food allergies & even autism.
In addition to voting, you can also boycott GMA members.
No more fracking. No more drilling. No on anything degenerative. We now live in the age of information where we know it’s all about REGENERATIVE actions and products. REGENERATIVE power. REGENERATIVE agriculture and farming. Actions that help us sustain life! Vote against methods that diminish life. Vote against propositions that are degenerative and accumulate waste.
Today 33 states have opened their minds to medicinal marijuana and 2 states are now legal for recreational use. In those states, citizens now have a choice to combat illnesses with natural cures.
Cannabis is the origin of canvas and as a sustainable-regenerative product it has thousands of uses. Cannabis as a cellulose product has tens of thousands of uses, including bio-fuel and cancer-curing tinctures. In a world where alcohol & tobacco are celebrated, it makes no sense to ban a renewable resources like Cannabis.
For more than 40 years, the war on drugs has proven little to make the world safer against drugs. Each year 700,000 innocent people are arrested on drug charges, most of them young black men. And those arrests make it more difficult to get jobs and often limits their ability to receive an education. The police and the penal system are making a profit by incarcerating these innocent people, and society is losing. Big Time.
Do those drug laws protect us from ourselves? Addicts use drugs to treat pain and/or try to feel connected in society. Drug use is a symptom. The problem is whatever trauma or displacement causes them to need drugs in the first place. Arresting a cannabis user only adds more trauma and pain. Society needs more compassion. Not more prisons.
The time has come to legalize. Are we are the tipping point generation?
All throughout this tour I’ve had the pleasure of singing and speaking about my love for getting back to the earth, even going so far as jump-starting a few gardens before showtime, and sharing pictures of my own garden onstage. And while I passionately promote the idea of growing your own delicious edible landscape, I get a lot of people asking me how. Well, after doing a little digging, here’s the dirt!
If you seek the knowledge to easily grow your own food, here is a cool FREE opportunity to learn from one of the leaders in the Urban Farming movement. Greg Peterson, founder of the Urban Farm, university professor and author of The Urban Farms Simple Sustainability Series will host a FREE webinar on OCT 2nd & again on OCT 4th, sharing the 6 essential ingredients to growing your own healthy and nutritious food. Whether this is your first garden or you’ve been gardening for years, his unique perspective will shed light on just how simple this process actually is.
After the free webinar, there will be a chance to dig deeper as Professor Peterson will be offering an online Urban Farming 101 class starting Oct 13th. I enrolled for that too and look forward to learning from the road. Will you be in my class?