Flash Mob? Crop Mob!

July 24, 2011

Farming is traditionally a physical and labor intensive endeavor. In the past, community efforts were often necessary for planting, harvesting, processing, including barn-raising and house-raising. Modern day farming has become mechanized enabling  farmers to “do it alone”. A lonely career. Through resurgence of smaller farming initiatives a wonderful community spirit has emerged. People are participating in CSA’s and organic and local farmers are recognized in their communities and are well-received at local farmer’s markets.

Enter the Crop Mob movement. A group of 19 farmers, apprentices and friends in the Triangle area of North Carolina (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill) began to work together to harvest sweet potatoes at the Piedmont Biofarm. They have made it a tradition and out of that tradition has grown to over 50 groups throughout the US. Find your local group on the map.

From the Crop Mob website:

“Many crop mobbers are apprentices or interns on these sustainable farms. The need for community participation matches a desire for community among young people interested in getting into farming. The crop mob was conceived as a way of building the community necessary to practice this kind of agriculture and to put the power to muster this group in the hands of our future food producers.

Any crop mobber can call a crop mob to do the kind of work it takes a community to do. We work together, share a meal, play, talk, and make music. No money is exchanged. This is the stuff that communities are made of.”

For more information, please send an email to info@cropmob.org. And check them out on facebook.

 

VIA: Kay Carroll, Market Master, Litchfield Farmer’s Market


I have just learned the easiest way to freeze blueberries. In the past I washed the berries, drained them, laid them out on cookie sheets in the freezer to freeze individually, then put the frozen berries into freezer bags. LONG PROCESS.

Recently, T and I picked berries at Evergreen Berry Farm in Watertown, CT. We picked on the bushes that were NOT sprayed- as there are areas of the field that never seem to need protection from insects and some that do. Interesting permaculture conundrum there….

As we were leaving T noticed a sign with freezing instructions as follows (so easy):

Put your fresh-picked berries into freezer bags and put in freezer. When you want to use the berries remove from freezer and rinse.  

Transition Town Movement

July 21, 2011



 OR

There are communities all over the world who are coming together with optimistic and infectious energy to create vital and lasting change for the good of all under the umbrella of The Transition movement. Transition Towns is about communities around the world responding to peak oil and climate change with creativity, imagination and humour, and setting about rebuilding their local economies and communities. It is positive, solutions focused, viral and fun. You can find out if there is a town in action near you from the US-based website or the global website. Or, you can start your own group!

These slides are from the film: Transition 1o1. Check it out.

 

Chamomile Harvest

July 9, 2011

This year the chamomile just volunteered and the plants are putting out so many flowers I can’t keep up with the harvest. I really need a harvest rake from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, I have always harvested by hand. I dry the flowers on screens and then store in a tight-lidded jar out of the sun. It is wonderful to drink chamomile tea any time of year, with local honey. It is a relaxing bedtime tea, can help with baby’s colic, and other digestive issues, is used as a hair rinse to lighten blond hair, is known for its anti-bacterial properties and considered a universal remedy by the Egyptians. There is great chamomile trivia at teabenefits.com including the fact that chamomile has high amounts of quercetin which is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-histimine properties.

The time to pick the flowers for drying for tea is when the petals go behind the yellow center- see above.

In this next photo you can see the different positions of the petals. The flower in the foreground, to the right is ready to be picked.

Motherwort Tincture

July 2, 2011

It is time to harvest and tincture one of my herbal allies, motherwort, Leonurus Cardiaca, also called Lionheart. This herb grows where she wants in my garden and I never know from year to year where she’ll show up – here is motherwort with the day lilies.

Years ago this tincture was recommended to me by Susun Weed to help me with sleep issues. Over the years I have used it to calm menstrual cramps, calm anxiousness. It can be dried and used as a smudge along with sage and mugwort. It makes a bitter tea- so sweeten with honey and use it for a stress-diffuser. Livestrong.com has a good article listing other uses for motherwort. Also, more good information at Herbalist.com where it mentions that motherwort is well-known and used in Europe:

The sedative (nervine) action of the herb, claimed by the herb’s historical use was demonstrated scientifically well enough for the Commission E, the official German herbal pharmacopaea,  to recommend it to the public………Older scientific data on the herb’s neurological and cardiac properties are based on studies by Chinese researchers of an extract called leonurin from Leonurus sibiricus, an herb very closely related to Leonurus cardiaca.   

Susan Weed has a wonderful 3 minute video on how to tincture this herb.

To tincture: you will need a jar with tight-fitting lid, scissors and vodka. Cut the top 8-10 inches of the flowering tops. Then cut the plant material directly into your jar. The flowers are prickly, be cautious. Put enough flowers and leaves to tightly fill jar, pour in vodka to very top. Put on lid, shake, turn over a few times to make sure most of the air bubbles are dislodged, maybe you’ll need to add some more vodka. Then label, leave in dark place for 6 weeks. Strain, put in smaller dropper jars.  Voila.