|Kate Armstrong will be with us at 11:00 AM MDT and tell us about urban foraging. You really can eat dinner from that weed patch down the street. Find out how!|
This year, figure out how to supply yourself with all or most of one food or plant product – for a season or for the year. What can you grow within the confines of your current home/living space? What is your favorite vegetable, herbs, or fruit? What do you love to eat? What do you want to have on hand? What can you find or forage from the neighborhood close by?
I love herbs for cooking, both fresh and dried. Parsley, chives, thyme, rosemary, mint and so many more can easily be grown on a sunny window sill, counter, table top or in a floor pot. For some places vertical growing is an easy answer on a sunny wall – inside or out. When you grow herbs, you can easily dry them, save them, and give the excess as gifts to others. Start small. Look at your herbs and see which one is used the most. Plan on having a supply of parsley (for instance) that you grow for yourself – in time to replace the dried herb in the cabinet when it runs out.
If you have a wall outside or planters, think about what you can grow that you enjoy eating. Peas can climb a wall, as can green beans, squash, cucumbers, and melons. You will need some support – I’ve used a cotton 4″ square netting to grow even heavy winter squash successfully. You can even let them mature in the gutter or on the roof if you can harvest them there safely.
Green beans are wonderful fresh, frozen, fermented and pickled. They are even good dried! Figure out how many servings of green beans you want for the year and then find out how many plantings you need in the space you have. You can make a Teepee on the deck with tall bamboo poles stuck in pots with 3 beans in each pot.
Most cities have fruit trees, grapevines, and berries that have been planted by others and are still bearing. Find ones near you (an apple tree, berry bush, or grape vines for instance) and keep an eye on them. When they are full of fruit, ask if you can harvest it and offer some to the home owner if they want some. I frequently find the home owner is glad to be ‘rid’ of them because they are making a mess!
So for now start small with a favorite herb, some veggies in a pot, or a dwarf fruit tree and learn how to take care of them. Enjoy the fruits of your effort, and then see if you want to do more. Please ask a salesperson if what you are buying is free of systemic pesticides. No one needs to eat anymore poisons!
I’d love to hear from you and learn what you have decided to grow and where you are growing it. Maybe you can team up with neighbors and each person grow a different food then share. Taking charge of any part of your food supply is an important step so get growing! Happy New Year!
Here are a few comments from my time at Standing Rock Camp – November 11-15, 2016
This is a camp of ceremony and prayer, and the Sacred Fire is kept going around the clock. There is prayer all day long, and usually until late evening as well. The active call to prayer and action is before sunrise and it honors the sun and all of creation. It is followed by a Sacred Water ceremony at the Cannon Ball Rivers edge where elder women go first. Water bearers are the women in the tribes. As an elder woman, I was treated with more respect and dignity than I have ever had anywhere.
This is a place where for the first time in history over 400 Native Tribes have gathered together for the same purpose, to stop the Black Snake – DAPL, from contaminating the waters of the Missouri, and the drinking water of +/- 18 million people downstream. These warriors (both male and female of all races) go to the front line to keep the DAPL workers from working each day. The Elders also go to do ceremony for the water, and the warriors try to keep the police from them. The actions of the police toward these peaceful elders and the unarmed warriors is simply brutal. Tear gas, pepper spray, mace, batons, and dogs have been used to try to drive them away. Up to 130 people per day have been jailed, and some forced into dog kennels instead of jail cells.
The camp is preparing for a hard winter. It is well organized, full of teepees, yurts, tents – from huge army tents to single person tents – and has a large volunteer staff to sort and distribute clothing, blankets, sleeping bags, food, and wood. There are porta-pottys, recycling, garbage, composting, and kitchens.
There is also the council of Seven Tribes, and many people from around the world here to stop the further poisoning of the water and the Earth. I met or saw Catholic Monks, Buddhist Monks, Ukrainians, Israelis, Palestinians, Mexicans, Europeans from north to south, Scandinavians, Africans, and more too numerous to count.
All of us need to keep this protection of the water high on our list of things to support and help everyday. This is for us all; this is as important as anything I can think of. A spill into this water could make the whole Heart Land of America a poisoned land.
I came away with a sense that there may be divisions among the camps on the Cannon Ball River, there may be some young hot heads causing trouble, and there is a divided opinion among the Dakotas about what to do; however the tactics of the DAPL folks is horrible and barbaric, and there are other ways to go than the contamination of the Missouri river!
We all need everyone’s help to take back our Earth from the companies that are poisoning it, or we will not have a place to live safely. This is one of the lines between living healthy or dying on our Earth. This land and ALL land is Sacred. We need to treat it as Sacred right now. We can’t make any more water!
Mni Wiconi – Water is Life –
Come to Standley Lake Nature Center from 9 – 11 am this Saturday for a chance to learn about the edible and medicinal plants growing wild in our area. I will be exploring the immediate area around the Nature Center for late Spring plants and what they are good for! This is a good introduction to local wild edibles and some of their medicinal properties as well. See you then!
Funny how that word has such a different expression when applies to people rather than plants! These plants are hardy, come in the most beautiful colors, smell sweet, and are planted when the rest of the annuals are dying in the Fall, or are hardy early in the Spring. They even seed in and come up again in the Great White North rearranging themselves through hybrid seeds into new combinations of colors and faces!! With all this going for pansies, it seems strange that it is not a compliment to be called a ‘pansy’!
I brought home six very flat, dehydrated pots of pansies from a job we just finished planting this week, either to save them or compost them. I would have bet on the side of composting them. Lo and behold, in an hour or so they came back totally – a seeming impossible task!
So what does that say about a Pansy? It’s also know as Heart’s-Ease and Love-In-Idleness, however the 1905 Webster’s Dictionary has no mention of a person being a pansy! Hum-m-m-m…
It’s Spring time, time for the Urban Forager to kick into high gear and start those fascinating discussions about the wild edibles in your yard and in your neighborhoods. The wild Spring greens are very valuable for tuning up your body gently and easily, as well as being loaded with vitamin and mineral goodness. Every season brings its own delightful wild plants, free for the picking, and each walk is focused on different ones you can use for your benefit. Come join me by signing up for the First Wild Edible Spring Walk of 2014.
If you are busy this Saturday and can’t come to Sustainability Park, think about getting some of your neighbors together for a talk & walk in your own neighborhood! Contact me and we can do it on your schedule. Everyone benefits from knowing what’s edible and free! Sign up by going to the live link under First Wild Edible Walk of the Spring!