Five Steps to Farming With Your Fork

We are living in times of created scarcity.

Each reveal spots our vulnerability.

Food is essential – and we all know why.

Food can be used as a weapon – and we understand how.

Food is a tool to awaken us.

Food activates power.

Food is a gift that is shareable.

– Dovanna Dean

Are you looking to start a garden from scratch, re-thinking your current garden, or realizing you need a long term plan to keep food on the table and in your pantry?

Farming with your fork is creating a demand with each bite for the crops and livestock we want on our table but most important HOW they are raised.  It’s a powerful and simple action that bonds families and communities and solidifies self-reliance.  Farming with your fork also becomes part of your self-care regiment.  I’m applying these actions into my daily “to-do chores” and it has become a lifestyle. By sharing these steps my goal is to inspire you and yours to become activated at your own rhythm.

Let’s begin this beautiful journey.

Photo Credit: Kim Mendoza

EXPLORING THE 5 STEPS OF FARMING WITH YOUR FORK

1. IDENTIFY YOUR GOALS FOR YOUR SPACE.

Create your site plan to get clarity about what you need from your space.  Ask questions like do you want to compost? Should you invest in an irrigation system?  How can you extend your growing season? Is it best for you to start a garden in containers or in beds? Do you have space to store the bounty of your harvest?

Asking questions provides direction and focuses your energies towards reaching your gardening goals.

2. COLLABORATE.

Look around… You may be surprised at the under used spaces you have access to use. Talk to family, neighbors, and community groups who may have unused spaces along with resources and develop partnerships. Work out mutually beneficial relationships. Look into tool sharing collectives, seed saving groups, and start reading to expand your knowledge and build your confidence… I enjoy reading seed catalogs because seed companies want you to thrive so they offer an abundance of tips and resources.

With more space there is no limit to what you can nurture and learn to grow.

Photo Credit: Kim Mendoza
3. CHOOSE YOUR CROPS & LEAVE NO SPACE EMPTY YEAR ROUND.

Resist the urge to start a massive amount of seeds at one time. Instead get on a schedule to start seeds every two weeks for a staggered harvest. Most important is to always plant in season – do not start tomatoes at the end of summer and expect successful growth as the weather gets cold. If plants are started out of season much of their energy is used up working to combat unseasonable weather like cold, heat, rain, or drought. The plants are left with less energy for balanced growth and can become prone to diseases and insect attacks. There are many products and tips to extend your growing season. Grow a vast variety of veggies and herbs. Plant fruit trees and berry bushes. Grow all kinds of potatoes. Try growing grain crops like amaranth and beans you can dry and eat past the harvest.

This strategy ensures you are eating garden fresh year round.

Photo credit: Krista Sherer
4. REACH OUT TO LOCAL FARMERS, RANCHERS, AND FOOD PRODUCERS.

While you are setting up your garden and realizing your “green thumb” support the work of small scale farmers, ranchers, and food producers.

Next time you get to a farmers market start collecting names and numbers and keep connected. Also ask if they need help harvesting or planting in exchange for yummy farm grown goods.  Another priceless bonus from this action is that you get to take a day trip with the family and experience farm life. 

Keep in contact with small scale/local food producers like bakers, cheese makers, bee keepers, prepared foods, etc. In the event farmers markets are stopped you maintain a line of communications and you keep their passion of producing local foods alive.

Supporting the works and efforts of these small businesses creates a strong demand for their goods.

5. START A BUYERS CLUB WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS. 

In a buyers club, you work as a group to share the expenses of bulk items and yield buying power for good prices. Being part of a buyers club takes organization and a commitment of your time. In one buyers club I was a part of, we rotated responsibilities to give everyone the opportunity to know all the jobs associated with running the club. To avoid being charged delivery fees we worked out meeting the delivery truck at one of its super market stops.  To make it extra fun we had pot lucks on delivery days so we could try new items. This was a great opportunity to experiment with new ingredients before buying.

Forming a buyers club puts you in direct contact with suppliers and enables you to be an active participant in the supply chain. You become a link in the system.

Photo Credit: Kim Mendoza

5 steps to farming with your fork becomes a starting point towards food security and solidifying access to healthy foods. It does take work and collaboration.

Be creative and do not give up. You are on the path to farming with your fork!

Dovanna Dean is a practitioner of Permaculture. She is also a lover of animals, plants, house music.

Hal’s Sourdough Lemon Pancakes Are Yummy at Home! Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner

Seriously good, and crazy inventive, you make your own starter on top of your fridge with flour and water. You let the yeast find you. After a week of feeding the beast, you’re ready to make pancakes.

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Hal added two eggs, lemon zest, baking soda and baking powder and almond milk to the sourdough. we grabbed all the fresh fruit we could find. Nothing makes me happy like Hal’s pancakes for dinner.

 

Pair your pancakes with syrup, lemon curd, yogurt or whipped cream. Whatever you decide, it will be yummy at your home. Stay safe. There’s still no cure for Covid19.

Yummy at Home: Farfalle with Chicken Apple Sausages and Veggies

 

We still need to stay home as much as possible. We do not yet have a cure for COVID-19. Cooking gets my mind off all the many things that make me sad and mad as we witness our own pandemic. You’re invited to try this staple recipe from our table.

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This dish takes 30-40 minutes total time to prepare. Boil and salt water and follow cooking instructions for Farfalle or whatever pasta you have in the pantry. Slice precooked chicken apple sausages or other flavor. (For fresh, raw sausage, add about 20 more minutes cooking time.) For vegan pasta, skip the sausage. Heat the sausage in olive with onions, garlic, basil and herbs on high. Add sliced fresh veggies or add frozen/canned veggies, including but limited to green beans, peas, asparagus, broccoli and or carrots. Just make it pretty! Once the veggies are tender, add balsamic vinegar, red-pepper flakes, sun-dried or fresh tomatoes. Drain pasta and put in a large serving bowl. Add a little salt and pepper along with sausage, vegetables and pot liquor on top of the pasta. Sprinkle with cheese, and serve hot!

Pizza and Salad Are Yummy at Home!

Okay, people, get out your frozen pizzas! We got our frozen pizza from from Trader Joe’s, and added garlic, shaved cheese, oregano and cherry tomatoes before putting it in the oven. Yummy!

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For salad, we had mixed baby greens with carrots, peppers, walnuts, red peppers, apples, tangerines and olives. The trick with salad is to make sure it’s as colorful as possible so that it starts to satisfy your hunger as soon as you see it. Add fruit, nuts, and leftover noodles for texture and depth. Keep it simple and fresh!

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Arroz con Pollo is Yummy at Home! Dominican Fusion #2

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If you haven’t tried one of these Yummy at Home recipes yet, it’s not too late. We’ll be here for a while. In truth, many of us will not return to our “normal lives” for a very long time, even after COVID-19 is done with us. It’s an opportunity to make changes or start a new habit, like cooking! All of my recipes take about an hour or less and can be modified any which way from Tuesday. Try it while you’re at home.

My Arroz con Pollo is made with marinated cubed chicken breast. You may use boned chicken which will need more time to cook and will even more tender than mine. No matter what I make, I always start with side vegetables to go with any food I serve. Broccoli is my favorite for obvious reasons! (Tee Hee) But whatever is fresh will do!

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Start with your spices: salt, pepper, garlic, onion (which I didn’t use), oregano, basil, cilantro and bay leaf. Get the oil nice and hot in a large pot where you will brown the chicken (2-4oz. per person). Once the meat is brown on all sides, about 5 minutes, keep the heat up and add rice (2 cups for 2 people add one cup for each additional adult). Add orzo for a pilaf style, which I didn’t have so I put in stars, of course. Stir that around a bit, and add water as you would for cooking the rice. Add a tablespoon of tomato paste. Bring it to a boil, cover it and turn it down to simmer for 2-40 minutes.  Add turmeric powder or annatto for yellow rice with anti-inflammatory properties. You may also add peas, corn, olives and some sliced tomato.

Serve hot with wedges of ripe avocado or maduros. Enjoy!