Over the Fence Urban Farm

Cooperatively farming small patches of Earth in Columbus, OH


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Finding time…

Sunshine for cloudy days

This isn’t nearly close to the first time I’ve sat down in front of this screen and realized it has been a l- o-n-g while since I shared an update. My last one was over 2 months ago. I’m not sure where the time went. Like the rest of the world, we’re over here in a holding pattern waiting. We’re waiting for rain, waiting for back-to-school plans, waiting for election day, waiting for an invitation to a party, waiting for a lead on a job, waiting for a vaccine. You’d think the farm would be booming and this blog would be filled with updates with all the time I’ve had on my hands.

Big bulbs, bright spot

But time does not equal action. Action requires motivation.

One great thing about cultivating plants for food is that they need you. And they tell you want they want. Water me. Prune me. Pick bugs off me. Eat me. And those kinds of finite tasks are great when you can’t see the end of the tunnel your traveling through. Washing dishes and walking the dog helped me write my dissertation without going insane. (Thank you Thich Nhat Hanh!)

Mystery Squash

Creative and academic friends share they’re also having trouble doing work – making art, writing articles, designing rituals, wrestling around with an idea for more than 10 minutes at a time. I know this feeling. I had big quarantine plans to attend a printmaking workshop a colleague was teaching (two-week artist residency, sign me up!), to work through old writing notes that have been littering my desk literally for years, and to read some of the old professional journals collecting dust on the bookcase. None of that has happened. But there’s still time, right? We’re not going anywhere anytime soon.

Summertime views

Cultivating vegetable plants offers us multiple times to start over throughout the year. As a Jewish farmer I appreciate how this echoes our traditions of seeding, fertilizing, and pruning our life goals. We have just begun the countdown to our New calendar year, a period of time marked by deep reflection, reconnection, and redirection as we review time gone by and plan for the next round of living. It’s nice how this coincides with the time to plant fall gardens.

Seed(ling) bed

This fall I hope to have a better showing of greens than I did in the spring. Greens are usually my point of pride. But the weather is forever messing with our plans. Cold/hot/cold spring followed by dry/hot/dry/dry/dry/hot summer. It didn’t used to be like this. The climate is changing.

The fact that it was so hard to grow food in Columbus, OH this year, a year I planned to take for shmita – to give the land a rest according to Jewish tradition, it’s hard not to think I am being punished for not following through on taking a break. When the quarantine was announced, I raced to plant seeds as a sign of hope and resilience. Gardening is so powerful for us today in part because it is something tangible. It’s a multi-sensory experience that gets us out from behind these screens.

Another one lost to the garden theives

But racing to action isn’t always the best way to go about things. We know this and I think shmita is supposed to remind us of it too. As Rabbi Joshua Heschel taught,

Judaism is a religion of time aiming at the sanctification of time… Judaism teaches us to be attached to holiness in time, to be attached to sacred events, to learn how to consecrate sanctuaries that emerge from the magnificent stream of the year. The Sabbaths are our great cathedrals…

I have come to regret not leaning into this Shabbat on steroids. But next year is an official shmita year when Jews around the world will rest. Maybe I wound up growing this year so I can take off on cycle with others.

And, there’s still time to lean into this period of unknowing we are in. To embrace the uncertainty and cultivate values. And plants.

There. I wrote something.


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Spring Challenges, Maybe

I started farming again this season rather than follow through on my planned sabbatical to give myself something to do that I could feel good about. To have something to work on. To have healthy food on hand to feed my family, friends, and extended community. Sadly, it’s been the hardest start to a season I can remember us ever having.

A late freeze killed dozens of tomato and tomatillo plants early on the morning of May 9th. This was just days after we donated plants to food access programs so we had minimal backups on hand. Last week we got 4.88 inches of rain in five days (May 18-22) followed by temperatures in the upper 80s, at least 10 degrees hotter than normal. This caused major crop failure in our spring greens, just as we were getting ready to distribute them. These are the crops I usually feel the most proud of, so their loss really hurt.

The day after the freeze I was texting with my friend Bernadett (Bernadett’s Farmacy). We’d been swapping weather forecasts and plans for protecting our seedlings for days leading up to the big chill. When I told her we lost a bunch of plants despite all my efforts, she sent me a link to the story of the Taoist farmer.

The story follows a farmer who suffers a series of what most people would deem unfortunate events ending with something most would consider a lucky break. Regardless, the farmer is always hesitant to label anything lucky or unlucky. “Maybe,” is his constant reply.

After sitting on this story for a few weeks, working through more and more of what I would consider bad luck, hunting for the silver linings, today things started to click.

I had grown only three types of tomato seedlings – following my revised sabbatical plans of using only the seed I happened to have in the basement, not allowing myself to buy anything new. Upon hearing we’d lost all our tomatoes, friends, including Bernadett, offered us extra seedlings they had. Now we have a much larger variety than originally planned. It makes me think a seedling swap could be fun in the future. Like a next level seed swap. So maybe things worked out in the end. At least for that chapter of the story.

The verdict’s still out on the others. I’ll be sure to report back as I find them.


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UPDATE: Victory-Over-the-Virus Farm Report

The farm waking up. (Spring 2020)

Turns out, time flies when you’re living in quarantine, or as my friend Doug refers to it, “the Covidian era.”

It’s been six weeks since my last post. I’ve tried to write at least a dozen times, but I just can’t seem to focus. I hear that a lot these days from friends who write for a living.

While I haven’t been blogging, I have been busy. My daughter and I have led another 5 lunch and learn sessions for kids (you can see them all archived on our new YouTube channel). The farm appeared in two local news stories about increased interest in local foods and gardening in response to the pandemic. We also wrapped up another successful Pollinator Lovers’ Plant Sale, gave away tomato and pepper seedlings to families in need, and got 2 dozen Victory-Over-the-Virus Garden boxes out into the world along with video tutorials to those gardeners with advice on planting, fertilizing, and harvesting.

All of this has helped keep me distracted, feeling like I’ve been doing “something,” at a time when so many of us, don’t know what to do. But I don’t feel the same sustained energy I usually do from my efforts. I still wake wondering how long the virus will plague us and how our society will look, feel, and operate once when and if we get it under control. How will this experience change us long term? So, I’m pretty much back where I was when, filled with eco-anxiety and exhausted from years of juggling too many obligations, I decided to take the season off and reflect on the past and plan for the future.

I’m back to thinking the work I do on the farm is important and making a difference (in some small way) in my community but wondering, is it enough? Is there more I can do? What more could this project be if I focused on it full-time? Or at least more of the time? What would I have to give up in order to make that happen? What might I gain? And would that be worth the trade-offs?

I’ve read Ram Dass and know that, at least for now, all we can do is focus on today. And in some ways that’s the lesson the garden always teaches us. Over and over in lots of different ways. But it also requires planning, because it takes time to grow things. Like change takes time. And our lives are going to be changed as a result of this pandemic. They already have. So I need to make time to process that, along with all the other sh*t I planned to process this summer through my shimta (sabbatical).

While I’m glad to have the farm to focus on when focusing is so hard, I also need to find ways to let me mind wander, to slow down and work through some of the questions I have been harboring, along with the new ones we are all facing. I need to make time to face my fears, rather than distractedly hide from them among the plants. Right?

I hope you are all finding something to focus on, short and longer term. Something that gives you pleasure and feeds you, literally and figuratively. If not, at least we have flowers.

Apple blossoms. (May 2020)


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Victory-Over-the-Virus Farming Report: April 3

Morning on the farm.

Well, we’re another week into the Covid-19 pandemic response in the United States and my email is overflowing with requests from individuals to join the CSA, purchase seedlings, and come work on the farm, as well as from organizations (including Green Columbus, Local Matters, and Ohio History Connection) interested in partnering on Victory-Over-the-Virus programming. I’m literally overwhelmed by the response.

As I wrote last week, one silver lining of this horrible disaster seems to be that people are becoming more aware of where their food comes from and increasing their desire to grow more of their own and/or find local sources to purchase from. Environmental, spiritual, and culinary reasons aside, a friend sent me this image which appeals to our growing awareness of how many hands touch the things we touch and, in this case, eat.

I tried to find attribution for this but can’t. If anyone knows, please update me!

Last night, on a call with the Jewish Farmers’ Network (JFN), I learned of a national initiative to get more people planting food gardens in response to the virus. Cooperative Gardens Commission (#coopgardens) was started by a JFN member, Nate Kleinman of the totally amazing Experimental Farm Network and a veteran of the Occupy Wall Street movement. The initiative started with an Instagram post, moved to a Google Form, and within a week had 1,000 participants assigned to different teams to help convert supplies and expertise into action. The New York Times and Civil Eats have already reported on the project. I was thrilled to learn about it and I’m excited to see how our Victory-Over-the-Virus Garden initiatives might fit in.

This past Wednesday, I piloted “Live from the Farm!” a lunchtime program on Facebook, geared mostly for kids but also appealing to grown-ups who have watched and given me feedback. The first week’s theme was Seeds (click here to watch the recording), and next week we’ll be talking about Worms followed by chickens, bees, water, and compost.

Preliminary plans are also in the works for a sister series, “Happy Hour on the Farm,” in which I will answer questions from folks who purchased Victory-Over-the-Virus seedlings and others who are getting new and existing gardens going this season. Follow the farm on Facebook for more on that.

Over the Fence is quickly getting cleaned up and we have more than half the beds seeded or filled with transplants plus a few germinating spring cover crops (fava and cow peas). We moved most of an enormous pile of woodchips, but still need to clean the chicken coop which keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the list. (Sorry ladies! Totally unfair since you have been doing your part to supply us and the extended family with tons of beautiful eggs.)

Hope all’s okay where you are and that if you haven’t already, you find a spot where you can grow something to feed not just your stomach, but also your soul.


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Victory-Over-the-Virus Gardening: Sabbatical in the Time of COVID-19

“In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.”
from In Flanders Field, by John McCrae (WWI solider)

Well, like everything else in the world at the moment, our plans on the farm have been evolving day-by-day. As a reminder for readers who don’t regularly follow this blog, I was supposed to be taking a year off from farming this season. (Go back to Embracing Persephone for more on that.) I was going to give myself, and the land, a much needed rest. I was going to travel, read more books, take more walks in the woods and learn to hunt mushrooms and other wild edibles, do more yoga…

I’m taking more walks and doing more yoga, and I was reading more books until the world shut down and now I’m back to the basement starting seeds and the backyard prepping beds. 

The worldwide COVID-19 outbreak has made the mission of our little farm more clear. We need to increase food sovereignty, our power to grow our own healthy, delicious, safe food. In the spirit of the Victory Gardens of WWI and II, I am stepping back into production and trying some new strategies to promote Victory-Over-the-Virus Gardens this year, to keep our community stocked with healthy, delicious, and safe produce. [Shout out to Ed Fallon in Iowa, via local friend of the farm “Jimmy Christmas,” for introducing the term which he shared on his blog last week.]

While addressing this moment of crisis as a window of opporutnity to get more people growing, I am also trying to maintain a sabbatical mindset. As scholars use their “year of release” from teaching to pursue research, I’m testing out a few ideas I’ve been thinking about but hadn’t gotten around to. Here are a few I’m playing with.

I) Working through my seed stash
One of my shmita plans was to “clean out the pantries.” In other words, I wanted to pay more attention to the abundance I already possessed rather than buying more, more, more. Towards that end, 99% of the seeds I’m growing were already in my seed library. I will miss the things I’m out of and would have purchased – especially the wide variety of tomatoes – but missing them is kinda the point. Sabbatical time, like crisis time, needs to be marked by some difference in order to make a lasting impact on our mindset.

II) Farm stand
I have been wanting to try a weekly farm stand for a long time. I hope this will attract more folks in my neighborhood to the work we are doing. Columbus is currently working on new zoning regulations to allow on-site sales for urban agriculture, so the time seems right to give this a shot. (With social distancing and hand sanitizing enforced, of course.)

III) Victory-over-the-virus Garden-in-a-Box
Finally, after a few years of successful perennial flower and herb plant sales, aimed at increasing pollinator habitat, we will be offering a series of plant collections to get more people growing, and growing more, this season. Ongoing conversations about climate change and research on bionutrient density loss through travel have promoted sourcing greens locally for awhile, but COVID-19 crisis has brought a new sense of urgency to that work. Faced with empty grocery shelves and halts to distribution, Americans are quickly waking up to the notion that food sovereignty is something we should all be concerned with.

And now, enough with the typing, I have work to do…


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An Invitation for Change: Could COVID-19 be the Next Green Market Influencer?

[WARNING: This post is not full of sunshine and rainbows. Sorry. If you want that, scroll through our archive or go to our Instagram feed and click on just about anything.]

Holy sh*t.

What a difference a week can make. I ended my last post with a minor reference to COVID-19 and now our world has screeched to a standstill at its feet. What still seemed like a distant possibility last week—that our food system might get disrupted—seems much more likely now as borders and industries of all kinds shut down at the same time as photos on social media show understocked grocery shelves across the country.

I haven’t personally been to a store in a week so I’m not sure what the reality is like day-to-day at this point. I hope things have leveled out as the initial rush to shore up the larders has passed.

I would like to pause here to give a shout out to all the people working to keep shelves stocked and customers checked out. Without them, we’d be feeling this even harder. Also PLEASE, please support your local famers! The markets have all been shut down and they are looking for new ways to connect with customers. Be patient as things unfold, but look for updates from them on their social media feeds and websites.   

I recognize the great privilege I, and so many likely reading this, have to be sheltering in place somewhere dry and clean, with beer and wifi. For awhile now I have been cultivating a practice of taking time each day, throughout the day, to give quiet thanks for seemingly small but really miraculous gifts in my life – clean fresh air, sinks with running water, time to think. How much more are we able to notice those things when our daily lived experiences change?

Those of us who grow food have been feeling change for awhile. We have seen our USDA Hardiness Zone in Central Ohio jump from 5 to 6 in the past few years. Despite what the deniers say, temperatures have gotten measurably warmer on average. We have seen more severe weather with drier dry spells and wetter rainy seasons. We’ve been talking about this amongst ourselves and sharing with those who will listen. The government has recognized it in the form of subsidies to farmers who have suffered major crop loses as a result.

But the average American has generally failed to consider changes this might bring to their lives. Here, for example, are a few commonly referenced scenarios: Life without coffee (extinction of many varieties threatened by a combination of diseases and pests combined with warmer weather and the end of the popular Cavendish banana (succumbing to a spread of Fusarium fungus). Environmentalists also warn about decreasing fresh water supplies (already a reality in many parts of the world), a thought that terrifies me more than any other. Apples are suffering from unpredictable spring frosts. And the list goes on…

I’ve been thinking a lot and writing a little about climate change and sustainable small-scale agriculture since the fall when Greta got everyone seriously thinking about it for the Mother Earth News blog. I’ve lost sleep wrestling with guilt over wanting to do more but not knowing how or what to do. I bike or walk rather than drive when I can. I have used cloth shopping bags since the ’90s and I refrain from purchasing some things I or my family might like if they are overly packaged in plastic. I compost. I donate to environmental organizations with a wide range of missions. I keep the thermostat under tight control. I don’t eat a lot of meat and when I do it is locally and regeneratively raised and humanely slaughtered. I buy local and organic dairy and produce as much as I can for things I can’t grow myself. And when I’m feeling really hopeless, I tell myself that these, and so many other little things I’m doing, add up to something.

But then I look around me and see so many other people living differently, with seemly little concern for the things that keep me up at night. A headline last week read, “What would happen if the world reacted to climate change like it’s reacting to the coronavirus?” It’s a thought-provoking read and I encourage you to click through (once you’re finished with my diatribe…). As the author notes, “If the world was responding to climate change like it’s responding to the coronavirus—the level of urgency that the science says is necessary—things would look dramatically different.”

I don’t write this to shame people into caring about the climate or changing your behaviors. Although I hope you will be inspired to do those things. I write it as an invitation; an invitation to use our current crisis as an opportunity to pay more attention to our habits.

As we all limit our trips to the stores, take time to practice more mindful consumption. If this sounds like a fancy term for rationing, that’s because it kind of is. Most of us haven’t experienced that in our lifetimes but you don’t have to go back too far to see examples. So, consider where you might reduce your consumption. For example: What’s been sitting in your pantry for awhile and what creative way might you put it to use? What happens when you use a little less of the jam you love to make it last longer? Do you need that 4th cup of coffee? Does your child need another cheese stick or juice box?

Then consider other small steps you can take to enact change – commit to walking to do an errand when possible, find a way to repurpose your kitchen scraps, take Tupperware to restaurants for leftovers when they reopen, and of course, plant a garden or find a local farmer to grow your food for you.

During World War II, ordinary Americans grew nearly half the produce we consumed. We can do that again. And we should. The Green New Deal includes ideas about reclaiming lawns for food production. A public works program like that could help us dig out of the mess we’re in now. We’re going to have a lot of work to do rebuilding our communities and our economy. Knowing how slowly things get done in Washington these days, we might as well getting started, planting wherever we are.


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Checking In: First Tertile Shimta Report

[Quick a first note on the title. Did you know “tertile” is the name for a third of a year? Or a third of any whole for that matter. I didn’t. Now we do.]

Dormant fig tree surrounded by rosemary bushes.
Pearlstone Retreat Center( Reisterstown, MD)

Well, a lot’s happened since my last post in which I announced that I was taking this season off from growing for our CSA. Click here to go back and read all about that announcement. In short, this is the seventh season for our little farm and, according to ancient Jewish wisdom tradition, we, and the land, are entitled to a sabbatical year. Back in November, I determined to take the break, since then I have gained a lot more clarity around why, and what the year off will look like.

As I said, we’re taking the year off from the CSA. Thus far that’s meant no member signups to manage and no crop planning to fill those orders. It also means no money coming into the farm account and mounting fears that I won’t remember what I’m doing when I get back to farming next year. But I’m also enjoying getting to know myself again and in new ways – reading lots of books, practicing yoga more regularly, and working to be more present in my interactions with people. The hope, of course, is that I will make these new habits that I can carry out of the year with me into the future.

I spent a good chunk of this first tertile studying about shmita and setting the parameters for my year. Since I am not mandated to observe the practice — Jews outside of Israel are exempt per Torah — and since I’m actively Reconstructing Judaism to fit my life, needs, and desires, I figure it’s my choice how I want to mark the year. I am also finding that some of the lines I initially drew for myself are fuzzier than others. I’m erasing and replacing them as time goes on. It’s a work in progress. Which feels right.

A sabbatical is about release, but not complete rest. As the academic is freed from teaching in order to pursue research, I am free from the cultivation of food in order to cultivate values. It’s time to think about what’s really important to me in the work I’ve been doing here, where I am, and where I want to go in the future.

So far I’ve re-learned that community is key to my project. The following are a few examples.

This past tertile I shared teachings on shmita with my Jewish community here in Columbus and at an international gathering of Jewish Famers. Ironically the conference, the first for the Jewish Farmer Network, was called “Cultivating Culture.” Through these talks, I was building myself a community of support for the break.

For a few reasons, I decided to hold my annual spring plant sale. The sale brings a lot of people to the farm to see our growing space and get inspiration. The plants we send out into the word are nearly all grown to support pollinators in our community. That’s important work that can’t take a break. The bees and their friends need us. In addition, while growing seedlings requires me a bit of work, it’s not much and it’s indoors which means our soil is still getting the reset it deserves.

I also decided to have the sale because I’ve come to realize I have become addicted to having something to tend. The winter gets long, even a mild one like we had this year, and by January I was itching to put seeds in soil and watch them grow. I’m sure this says something also about my inability to be still, I’m more a walking/moving meditator than a sitting Buddha, and perhaps I should have forced myself to feel the absence of seedling season, but I didn’t. Maybe in 2027. (Incidentally, I wrote about my seedling growing practice recently for Mother Earth News.)

I will be hosting the Clintonville Farmers’ Market Kids Garden Club. For many of the same reasons as the sale. I’m happy to have the kids and their parents around and look forward to the field trips we’ll be taking as they fit nicely with my shimta goal of getting out and seeing other operations while I have the time.

And finally, I will be growing some food for me and my family and a few close friends and long-time CSA members. This was my latest decision and one I didn’t make lightly. Keeping our farm community going was part of the decision as was the COVID-19 virus which has me thinking about food security. With the threat of ongoing disruptions to all sorts of distribution channels, I just can’t justify not making plans to take care of ourselves. Just as I’m stockpiling coffee and toilet paper, I’m prepping produce for harvest. One could argue we should relaunch the CSA, echoing more loudly than ever the legacy of the Victory Garden movement. If things continue to go downhill perhaps we will. But in the meantime, if you have a patch of earth you can plant, do it. Then tend it as closely as you do your hand-washing routine.


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Embracing Persephone: My Shmita Year

Today is the start of Persephone Days in Central Ohio; we are about to dip below ten hours of sunlight per day, the darkest time of the year. Many of us feel this darkness deep within ourselves as we head towards the Winter Solstice. (For more on Persephone as she relates to farming practices and Greek Mythology, go back and read Preparing for Persephone.).

This time for slowing down seems as appropriate as any to publicly announce that Over the Fence Urban Farm’s CSA program will be on hiatus for the 2020 season. I have declared this year my shmita year.

Shmita is rooted in Jewish wisdom tradition. Various times the Torah makes mention of this as a sabbath for the land. Just as Shabbat (the seventh day of each week) offers us a day for complete rest and reflection, shmita offers year of release.  

The practice is outlined in the book of Exodus when, before Moses led the Jews into the land of Israel after their forty years of wandering, he agreed to a covenant with YHVH (aka G?d, aka the divine presence in the universe that exists within and between all things, aka you fill in the blank): after six years of growing on and harvesting from the land, farmers would be required to let their fields go fallow. It was an agreement made in recognition of the importance of the land and with reverence for its power and potential.

Questions abound as to whether or not shmita was ever observed as outlined in the Torah. Along with the year off for the land, Jews were called upon to relieve debts and release slaves. Humans, being the self-serving animals that we are – even those of us with the best of intentions – find it hard to let go of material possessions once we have them. And so, early on work-arounds were created to protect assets and income, for example transferring land possession to non-Jews for the shmita year.

Historically, Shmita was required only of Jews living in the land of Israel. (Even there, only the most Orthodox observe it.) It was deemed an undue burden on those living elsewhere and according to Orthodoxy, such requirements are forbidden. However, 21st century Jewish environmentalists in Israel and around the world are finding inspiration in shmita. As we face the challenges of climate crisis and related issues of social justice, we ask what can shmita teach us? How can it help guide us to live our lives in respect and appreciation for the land and all it provides?

For me, as a part-time urban farmer who often finds herself juggling a one million and one responsibilities, I was drawn to shmita as an excuse to take a break. After six years of racing around balancing my work as an art educator, homeschooler, non-profit board member, and urban farmer running a community-supported agriculture project out of my backyard, I am exhausted. I am ready for a sabbatical and grateful to Jewish wisdom tradition for offering me permission to take a break. I need time to reflect on where I’ve been and where I want to go next.

I am also convinced that the land needs a rest. The kind of intensive agriculture I practice—in which a single bed may host as many as 4 rotations of crops per season—is taxing on the soil. This past season was so dry the land really suffered. I hope a year off, a year in which I feed the soil with deep layers of mulch rather than demand produce from it, might pay off in the years that follow. If what the Torah says is true we’ll be set for two years if we take this one off. If not set in food to eat, re-set mentally, spiritually.

2020 is not an official shmita year. But it is my seventh season on the farm and so I’m making it my sabbatical year. Some might not find this kosher, but they’re not in charge around here. I am.

In my shmita year, I would like to explore (without working too hard and ruining the whole point of my break) the possibility of sharing shmita with others. I’ll be sure to share ways to stay connected with this project in this space as it unfolds. Feel free to also leave comments below or email me with your comments and questions.

Peace out. Namaste. Shalom.

jodiK


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A New Place to Find Ideas from Over the Fence

Last month I started blogging for Mother Earth News. If you aren’t familiar with MOTHER, it’s a lifestyle publication with about 1.5 million subscribers that’s been around since 1970. It promotes conscientious living in various aspects of life, including organic foods, country living, green transportation, renewable energy, natural health, and green building. Launched the same year as the first Earth Day celebrations, the publication became a space for provoking further thought and action around the burgeoning environmental movement in the United States. Today’s readers still include environmentalists and politically and socially progressive homesteaders but also preppers and others survivalists.

I can’t remember when I started subscribing nor who or what inspired me to do so, but it’s introduced me to many great ideas and mentors over the years: Eliot Coleman the godfather of season extension, Ann Ralph on growing small fruit trees, Ruth Stout’s deep mulching methods, backyard chicken keeping, and companion planting to name a few.

A neighbor who’s a fan of the farm and MOTHER reader has been bending my ear for a few years about sharing our work with a wider audience. He suggested I reach out to the magazine about writing for them. I thought he was nuts but I finally sent an email to the editors and received a blogger application. I’m still feeling this gig out – it’s unpaid so I’m not sure who really won since I’m now providing free content to Ogden Publications, but I’m still really excited to be part of this legacy, sharing my ideas and advice with a wider audience.

Click here for a list of my published posts.


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OTFUF Supports Local Matters

Five years ago, The Spurgeon General and I attended our first Local Matters Harvest Ball. We bought tickets to the event to force ourselves out of the house to which we’d been tethered for some years by our love children – one human, the other agricultural.

That night we learned about the organization behind the bumper stickers as we wined, dined, and danced. Each year since we have become more invested in the mission of this organization that partners with so many central Ohio organizations working on issues of food security, health and wellness.

This year, we donated $1,000, about 1/4 of our CSA proceeds, and challenged our friends and followers on Facebook to match us. While we didn’t meet our goal of $1,000 in a weekend, we got pretty darn close. Check one more box in the “Hope for Future” column. (Click through the link for another example from OTFUF history.)