6 Simple Ways to Save Cash and Stop Climate Change

Most of us can see the impact on the news—stronger hurricanes, melting ice caps, rising sea levels, fires and drought—but many of us in Tennessee are also starting to see how climate change is making a dent in our own communities. Farmers aren’t seeing the same yields they used to, and communities near rivers, lakes, and tributaries are experiencing more frequent flooding with higher rainfall. Summers are dragging on longer—not to mention getting hotter.

 

Some people shrug off climate change. But there are plenty of reasons to be concerned—some of them center on your health and the health of your family. With climate change comes higher rates of asthma and heat stroke, which pose greater health risks to children and seniors.

 

It sounds scary—and it should—but all hope isn’t lost. We can do things big and small that can make a large dent in climate change. Plus, when you act, politicians and corporations are more likely to act, too. Living an environmentally friendly lifestyle doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. Here are six budget-friendly ideas that can help stop climate change from damaging your life, home, and community.

 

Energy-Efficient Appliances. Installing appliances that use less energy not only saves on your monthly utility bill, it also saves the environment. You can take the savings a step farther by purchasing gently used energy-efficient appliances. All you need to do is look for brands with an Energy Star label, such as Whirlpool, General Electric, Kenmore, LG Electronics, Maytag and more.

 

Community Gardens. Participating in a community garden is a powerful way to fight climate change, bring healthy, whole foods to your table, fight crime in your neighborhood, and make friends. Connecting with nature and your neighbors builds deep respect for the connectedness of people and the planet.

 

Rain Barrels. Collecting rainwater to use in your garden can save time, money, and the environment. The best part is you hardly have to do anything—one quarter of an inch of rain can fill three rain barrels. Using water for our garden and lawn watering accounts for 40 percent of residential water use in the warmer months. Collecting water in a rain barrel can also help prevent erosion and reduce runoff pollution.

 

Solar Panels. Though costly upfront, solar panels have been shown to not only reduce electricity bills, but many homeowners put extra electricity back into the grid— and get paid for it. Plus, the federal (and many state) government offer tax breaks and other financial incentives to people purchasing and installing solar panels. The cost of many solar panel systems can be offset in as little as four years. After that, it’s all profits—for you and the environment.

 

Public Transportation. Whether you take the bus, share a car, or ride your bike, reducing your carbon footprint with transportation is one of the quickest and easiest ways to fight climate change. United States transportation—from cars to trains to planes—is responsible for nearly 30 percent of all emissions released into the atmosphere each year.

 

Eat Local. Buying foods and products grown, made, and sold in your own community is a bold and effective way to make a dent in the impact of climate change. Not only do you help limit the pollution of items being shipped all over to be produced, packaged, or assembled, you also consume products that are more natural to your area. Limiting the amount of meat you eat will impact climate change, too. But carnivores don’t fret—eating locally raised animals is much better than meat shipped in from across the globe.

 

Climate change has become a political buzzword—and the concept gets many people confused, afraid, and sometimes angry. Even if climate change isn’t a major concern for you, living an eco-friendly lifestyle can save you big time—and it’s just a bonus that the environment benefits, too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hobby Farm

How to Start a Hobby Farm

If you’re looking for the sense of accomplishment that comes from working with your hands, being able to create something from nothing, and then having something tangible to show for all your efforts, then starting a hobby farm might be your next great adventure. Many hobby farmers consider the activity very rewarding. Harvesting your own produce you planted as seeds or raising little chicks into fully functioning farm animals creates an intense sense of accomplishment. We think hobby farms are so great that we decided to put together a little guide on how to start your very own.

What exactly is a Hobby Farm?

A hobby farm is typically a smaller scale farm that you start purely for the enjoyment of doing it, hence the word “hobby.” While in some cases you may sell some of your produce, financial profit is not your intention. Rather, it’s an exciting new activity where you get to create something with your own hands. For many families, a hobby farm also acts as an effective way of teaching children life values.

Hobby Farm vs Homestead

The concept of a hobby farm is similar to that of a homestead. The major difference, however, is that with a homestead, livelihood is a large part of the equation. The main purpose of a homestead is to sustain the farmer and their family through the profits generated from the sales of produce or animal products, or by using what is grown or raised to sustain themselves throughout the year. On the other hand, with a hobby farm or even urban farming, your livelihood is not dependent on how your crops and animals perform each year.

Finding the Right Space or Land

One of your first steps is going to be finding your land. You may not have to look far – chances are you could to start out in your backyard. However, you need to check with local governing agencies or homeowner associations to find out if there are any restrictions or permits required for your hobby farm. For example, some HOAs don’t allow roosters because of potential noise complaints, whereas some properties located within city limits only allow for up to 3 chickens and no farm animals larger than a certain size or weight.

On the other hand, you may choose to buy or rent a piece of land to allow you more freedom to pursue bigger farming endeavors. Where the average purchase price for an acre of land varies greatly by location, choosing good quality land can be one of the largest challenges when creating your hobby farm, but here are some key things to keep in mind.

The quality of your soil is going to be a key factor in your decision-making process when buying or renting land. This is especially important when it comes to growing crops or raising any kind of farm animal where grazing on the local fauna is expected. On the other hand, when raising chickens, almost any land will do the job.

Depending on your location, you might want to test the soil for things like its pH (how acidic/alkaline the soil is) and nutrient content. You may be able to improve soil fertility later on, but that is a lengthy process and could put your hobby farm plans on hold. You should also pay attention to the amount of sunlight the land receives (tree cover), along with things like water sources, drainage, and types of local wildlife. Depending on how informed you want to be, it might also be a good idea to hire an environmental engineer to help with the assessment. You’ll want to ensure you’re getting quality land so you’re not forced to abandon your hobby farm later on due to unforeseen environmental issues.

Growing Crops

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Eating your own crops is a great way not only to enjoy the fruits of your labor (pun intended) but it’s also a perfect way to bring the family together and share your bountiful harvest with others. Nonetheless, when starting out as a beginning gardener, there are some key factors to consider before jumping in and planting every seed you went wild for at the local feed store.

The climate in your region will have a considerable impact on the types of crops you choose to start out with. For instance, asparagus will grow nicely in the Southwestern region of the U.S. If you’re located in the Northwestern area, you might choose an easy crop such as turmeric. Many other crops, such as beans, can grow almost anywhere if you plant them at the right time. However, the most important thing is knowing when to plant, what kind of sunlight the crop requires (direct/indirect), how often to water and when to harvest.

You should also familiarize yourself with the harvest process ahead of time as each vegetable can be particular with its timing, such as with garlic. Since the head of garlic develops underground, it can be tough to tell when the root is ready to harvest. Attempting to harvest garlic like an onion (when the leaves turn brown) would actually result in an overripe harvest and the cloves of your garlic would already begin to separate from each other. The sweet spot for garlic is to harvest when the lower leaves turn brown but you still have roughly six leaves on top that are green and still standing.

Raising Animals

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Most hobby farmers would probably agree that chickens are a great animal to start with. They are relatively easy to raise and maintain and in return, you will get organic free-range eggs every day. Plus, they will help out with pest control in your garden, though they have been known to peck at vegetables as well so don’t leave them in there too long.

To get started, you will need a coop to keep them safe and secure and somewhere they can roost as they get older and begin laying eggs. You can pick up pre-made chicken coops for a couple hundred dollars, and depending on how much “free range” you want your chickens to have, you may need to think about additional fencing.

Baby chicks are relatively inexpensive. Depending on the breed, you typically can pick up baby chicks in the range of $1 – $5 each. They are extremely cute, so don’t go overboard and buy ten when you only planned to raise three.

Commit to Your Hobby Farm

As much as a hobby farm can be a source of pleasure, it is also a large responsibility. If you’re raising chickens, you must make sure they have water and food every day while also preventing their water supply from freezing during winter. Do your research and talk with local veterinarians to understand how to best take care of your animals’ needs and well-being. And get ready to roll up your sleeves and work all year round.

However, beyond the hard work, enjoy your farm. You started this as a hobby as a way to have an escape and work with your hands and create something from the ground up. Start small and expand a little each year. Attempt new crops that interest you or venture into raising rabbits or possibly a goat. Most of all, share your harvest with those who will appreciate your hard work the most.

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We're BACK in 1 Week!

They say that April Showers Bring May Flowers, But they also bring one more thing, Farmer's Market Season!!! Opening day is right around the corner and we are more excited than ever to get started this year.  Our Opening Day is Saturday May 5th.  The tradition at Nolensville Farmers Market is that Opening day is bigger and better than all previous Markets; a lofty goal I know,  but the NFM team has been working hard to make this a reality for our customers.  

Word has gotten out that Nolensville loves to shop for local homegrown and hand crafted products.  This has allowed us to attract the best Vendors in the Middle Tennessee area.  The market will be loaded with Fresh Fruits and Vegetables, Prime cuts of meat, Fresh Free Range eggs, Baked goods, hand crafted goodies and everything else you could expect from your Local Producer Only Farmer's Market.  

As I have for the past two years, I will continue to Go live on Facebook between 7:45 and 8:00am and then again around the 10 o'clockhour.  I encourage you all to log in and take a look at what the market has to offer each week.  Even better ask questions, tell me what you are most looking forward to picking up, and listen for some great contests and giveaways.  

I can't wait to see all your smiling faces on Saturday May 5th, Cinco De Mayo, as we kick off the market with a whole hog roast by Running Hog Farm and tons of Fresh Strawberries. 

 

Here's to a Healthier New Year

 

http://www.healthyway.com/a/10-hygiene-habits-its-time-to-ditch/

Here's a few of my favorite excerpts from this blog. Click the link above to see all 10!

6. Refusing to Share

Odds are, if you and a pair of friends want to share an oversized dessert at your favorite restaurant, you’ll ask for three spoons with the dish. You might assume using separate spoons is healthier than sharing. Not necessarily, say researchers. Encouraging the spread of healthy bacteria in our guts is something we need to do more of, the researchers say. Sharing saliva among healthy friends and family members—and thus introducing their microbes into your own microbiome—may actually help your immune system. Not only does sharing cut down on calories, then, but it also builds up the body’s supply of good bugs. It’s important to note, though, that you really don’t want to share food or drinks with people who are actively sick. That’s especially true of drinks, Sunny Jung of Virginia Tech explained to Popular Science. No matter how careful you may be, there’s always some level of backwash left in the cup after a sip. Yuck.

5. Over-Reliance on the Fridge

It goes without saying that some foods (such as meat) need to be refrigerated. But according to a study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology, purposefully allowing other foods like fruits and vegetables to be exposed to warm air (thereby slightly fermenting them) can actually cultivate your own homemade and delicious probiotics! Long before the invention of refrigeration (and the concept of hygiene), milk, bread starter, and vegetables were often fermented before eating. The researchers found that eating slightly fermented foods actually boosts your immune system and increases the nutrient content of the food. Who doesn’t love sourdough?

4. Skipping the Dirt

According to researchers at Cornell University, a little dirt in your diet is a good thing. Maybe you shouldn’t wash your garden vegetables so scrupulously.They say that geophagy, or the consumption of soil, has existed in humans for millennia—and it may actually help protect the stomach against pathogens, toxins, and parasites. The data shows that geophagy shows up most commonly in women in the early stages of pregnancy and in pre-adolescent children. Both categories of people are especially sensitive to parasites and pathogens, according to the study’s authors. A little dirt goes a long way.

 

Does All of My Food HAVE To Be Organic? (Guest Blogger)

Does All of My Food HAVE To Be Organic? (The Answer Might Surprise You!)

by Adrienne Neale July 27, 2017

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So you're trying to eat cleaner and make better choices with your diet... AWESOME!

Then you go to the grocery and you realize..... organic can cost so FRIGGIN much, AMIRIGHT? So you ask the question... does everything have to be organic?!

Ideally, yes. Realistically, unless you're making mad cash, or you're an organic farmer (which I can hook you up with potential in both of these areas, but that's for a later time), you can't blow every penny on all-organic. Right? The kids need shoes. You must have a house to live in. Air-conditioning and hot, running water are a must, and dadgummit, so is your high-speed Internet connection. #firstworldproblems But I digress.... No, not all of your food has to be organic, but you do have to be smart about it.

If you're overwhelmed with where to begin in eating a cleaner diet, TAKE HEART! I am here to give you some EASY tips that will save you some $$$ as you improve your health by making better food choices.

#1. Get Familiar with The Dirty Dozen. The Environmental Working Group (EWG) puts in all the hard work in testing the dirtiest, most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables and compiles them in a tidy list for you every year. It's like a virtual pat on the back, assuring you they're watching out for you and your family. If possible, buy these dozen fruits and veggies organic-only, or avoid them altogether. 2017's list can be found here, and this cute list is perfect for printing and sticking to your fridge, right next to your shopping list (OK, I'm old-school, I like paper lists... you can save and Pin it, add to your Trello board, or whatever, too.)

#2. All Hail the Clean Fifteen! Again, EWG saves the day with listing the cleanest produce of the year, showing which fifteen are safest to buy non-organic. It all adds up to some serious dough if you're making and prepping 99.9% of your meals at home like we do; you'd better believe I have this list on my fridge, too!

(Image Credit: Environmental Working Group, 2017)

#3. Eat In Season. Choose produce that's in season (read: on sale!)-- garden-fresh choices like melon, tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, berries, summer squash in the summer; mushrooms, carrots, onions, parsnips, pumpkins, cranberries, turnips, kale in the fall and winter. When you eat in season, you're going to save $ on groceries, as well as encourage sustainable farming practices by not choosing things out of season (which are more costly to import, more expensive for you, and harder on the environment to keep going year-round). There's an incredible, comprehensive guide for each season found here; just remember to adhere to the Dirty Dozen and Clean Fifteen.

#4. Go Local. Depending on where you are in the country, you may not be far from a local farmer's market or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), where you can pick up your produce for less than at the grocery, and it will be fresher, locally sourced and go back to supporting your hard-working neighbors instead of going into the pockets of big-box grocery stores. If you buy into a CSA and you aren't sure what in the world to do with your 5-lb box of squash/potatoes/corn/etc., don't let it go to waste-- cut up and freeze what you know you won't use so you can pull it out of the freezer for a quick add-in to your favorite soup/stew in the colder months that really are just around the corner. We have an amazing local farmer (what's up, Farmer Todd?!) AND an incredible Farmer's Market just down the street from us (hey-o, Nolensville Farmer's Market!)

#5. Grow It Yourself! Now I know this isn't for everyone, and not everyone wants to take the time to do this, but growing an organic garden can be a rewarding and cost-effective way to enjoy fresh produce. It may sound daunting if you've never grown anything in your life, but keep your eyes peeled- I have a friend who does nothing BUT teach others how to grow their own amazing, organic gardens and she'll be a feature on the blog in just a few short weeks with tips on how to get started! (Here's looking at you, Nina! <wink>)

Until next time, eat clean, treat yourself well, and cheers to health and wellness through natural solutions!

Adrienne

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Homemade Coffee Creamer

Thank you to  Partselect Blog for sharing some recipes on making homemade creamers for our coffee fans! We are sure you will love these recipes!

Spice Up Your Coffee:

By: Kristen Nunez

Preservative-Free Homemade Coffee Creamer and More!

or some, a hot cup of morning coffee is the best part of waking up. It gets even better when delicious creamers are added to the mix. They are perfect for savoring seasonal flavors while lightening up your java. But when store-bought creamers boast a full roster of mysterious ingredients, you might be wondering if there is a healthier option.

This is where homemade coffee creamer recipes come in. By making your own, you can have full control over the ingredients. Moreover, you can adjust the flavors to fit your preferences and dietary restrictions. And with dairy-free foods becoming increasingly popular, it is worth checking out the list of nontraditional possibilities. To top it off, homemade coffee creamers are budget-friendly, healthy, and easy to make. Read on to learn how to do it yourself.

Though She Be....

By:  Kim Abdallah

 Though She Be But Little She Is Fierce~ William Shakespeare


With the last month of the Nolensville Farmer's Market in effect, the changes in the market are evident.  The abundance of fresh produce phases into fall vegetables, handicrafts, baked and home goods.  This last weekend at the market I overheard a child say, "This is small," referring to the event.  I absolutely love the honest opinions of little ones!  I know I can count on them to let me know what they think.  


As I looked around, I agreed that this isn't the biggest farmer's market I've ever been to.  What may be a lack of quantity, is made up by quality.  


Talk to any of the vendors and you'll find something surprisingly in common with or something interesting about their story.  You'll meet people risking a lot to start a business they truly believe in.  You'll meet people working full time jobs that they aren't that thrilled about and wish and hope to become full time farmers.  You'll meet people having just moved to Tennessee and are just now meeting their Tennessee friends.  You'll also meet parents teaching their children how to start and run a business and families working together to keep their businesses alive.  There's no doubt the people at the market are high-quality, top notch, friendly, hard working individuals.  More importantly, are the quality goods and services they are offering to Nolensville!  I made a meal today from 100% NFM ingredients and I'll get to that in a second.  


Something I noticed this past week were several individuals not expecting to Holiday shop at the market and were not prepared!  Don’t let this happen to you and don't miss out on the opportunity!  There are so many unique, local, homemade items that make amazing gifts especially for the recipient who seems to 'have it all.'  Check out this next week's vendor list with upcoming birthdays and holidays in mind and you are sure to cross someone's name off your list.  Get 'er done.


ANYTIME MEAL that seems like breakfast
Fresh, local ingredients bought from people you know taste better.
Ingredients:
Bread
Egg
Bacon
Tomato
Favorite Cheese
Toast bread, prepare egg how you prefer, cook bacon, slice tomato and grate cheese.  Doesn't get any easier than this and this was one scrumptious sandwich.  

Thank you, vendors!

 

Fall Markets

By: Rena Ooi

Despite temperatures still reaching the 90’s most days, our internal and external environments are preparing for the crisp cooler weather of autumn.  It is a time when we naturally gravitate towards hearty, warming meals such as casseroles, stews, and delicious roast dinners. Choosing to use locally sourced seasonal ingredients increases the nutritional content of those meals while supporting our local farming community.  Our bodies recognize and assimilate the naturally occurring phytonutrients in food rather than their synthetic forms.  Considering approximately 80% of our immune system resides in the gut, we actually can help our bodies fend off invading seasonal threats by feeding them high quality nutrients.  By adding in some of the foods below, we can improve our health this winter.  I have included some simple recipes from Chef Jenny of Seeds of Success, a well-known face at the Nolensville Farmers market.   If you would like to try more recipes like these, you can email me at turningyourleaf@gmail.com.


1.    Apples:
Apples are nutritional powerhouses leading to the well-known phrase, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away.”  While that may not be entirely truthful, they do pack a lot of nutrients into a small, sweet package.  They contain both soluble and insoluble fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.  An apple may contain 5g of fiber which is 20% of the recommended daily amount.

2.    Carrots:
Carrots are another superior source of phytonutrients for maintaining optimal body function.  They contain beta-Carotene which gives carrots their bright color.  Beta-Carotene is converted to vitamin A in the body which is necessary for healthy skin, immune system, and eye function.  Carrots also contain fiber, vitamin K, potassium and high water content.

3.    Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are another root vegetable and one of my personal favorites.  Each one packs in an impressive amount of vitamin A and potassium.  They also contain fiber, vitamins B6 and C, calcium and iron.

4.    Mushrooms
Mushrooms are fungi and may be used in place of meat in some dishes.  They may not be brightly colored but they sure contain many micronutrients which actually survive the cooking process.  These include ~copper, potassium, folate, niacin and selenium, all of which are vital for healthy cell function.

5.    Cabbage
The cabbage plant is a member of the Brassica family which also includes broccoli, kale, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts.  This family of veggies is known for its disease fighting benefits with numerous studies showing that their consumption may reduce the incidence of both heart disease and many cancers.  They contain vitamins A, C, and K; calcium; potassium and magnesium.  Cabbage may be fermented and provides a valuable source of probiotics or healthy gut bacteria which improves immune function.

Below are 2 recipes that I hope you will try.  They incorporate some of the foods mentioned above and provide a healthy, delicious “dose” of plant-based medicine.