Consciousness Of Economics & Urban Farm Project Blog

In Your Own Backyard…

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Yesterday the last day of September 2011 we were out late afternoon picking blackberries off a very old mother blackberries bush. I am not sure if she could be categorized as a bush, check out the photos yourself.

After returning to Nevada in July after a 3 month large urban farm internship on the northern California coast I began to look at the area in which I was living much closer. The photos are taken in the old Sparks area. In most of our older areas of towns and cities you can find many old apple trees, peach trees, blackberries bushes and much more. With in a 3 block radius here in Sparks where I am renovating a yard I have found so many food producing plants growing on their own. I harvested 3 paper bags of peaches from the neighbors tree a few weeks ago. I Shared these beautiful and i have to say tasty peaches with 4 other families across the street. I told this tree eveyday how lovely she was and felt deep kindness towards her and it paid off in the sweetest fruit.

The issues that these old neighborhoods are facing as a result of the economic systems failing us are tragic. In the old Sparks area meth addicts and drug dealers make up a large percentage of houses being lived in. Many of these houses are no longer kept up and as a direct result the old food producing plants are dieing and under large amounts of stress due to the negative energy produced by drugs and the effects on the people taking them. we are loosing food supplies!

Notice the dog in the photos? That is my Gin Gin. She is the offical Super hero of this old community. Gin is 9 months old. She was living at a meth house across the street from where I am renovating and it is also around the block from where we were picking the blackberries in the alley way.  Gin Gin never seemed to have water in her yard, she was escaping constantly in the way of cars roaring down the street, she lived off of diapers and cat shit literally. I finally rescued her over 2 months ago. She is the smartest dog I have ever known. She is now my official peace keeper urban farm dog. Gin has some how become symbolic of this old community. Gin is fast becoming the love of my life! She loves anything I feed her, she especially loved the blackberries and goobled them as we picked them.

Without going off the deep end here i think that we all need to consider being a better part of our communities in different ways than the usual thinking process leads us.

Have you ever wondered your 3 block area and looked at what kind of plants and trees ar growing there? Are they food baring plants? Do the plants need pruning, cleaning up or maybe some compost to help feed them? Could they be removed to a better location and who could help with that? Could the fruits be removed? Could the fruits be taken to places where families in need could take them home? There are so many movements in this time period that are answering many of the questions I just asked and maybe your involvement in the future could benefit not only the plants, trees, earth, but could vey well benefit yourself, others and our animals. Just looking around and noticing sometimes all it takes for a bigger picture to open up to us. Lifting our eyes to the sky can open our minds.

We have such negitive news weighing on us day in and day out, I find getting away from it, digging in the dirt, touching a plant, a tree, an animal or another person with my hand and heart can uplift me in any situation. We are all in this together, all of us together, letting go of judgement finding what makes us more the same.

A group of us picked the most amazing blackberries yesterday, I came home and made a pie, it was so tasty, pure, it had love in it from the mother blackberry bush. She loves us for sharing in what she offers us, what she has grown for us and it is up to us to give her a future to contiue to feed us.

I encourage everyone to investigate your area in which you live, take a look and see what is growing there. If you find fruit gt prmission to pick it, then find a kid to help you harvest, any kid will do. Many kids have no idea where food comes from any more, our health, our future depends on educating them and that may mean educating ourselves on the same  issues as well.

Grow Food, Be Free & Live for a Living!


Inner city Side walk Garden…

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It has been a couple of weeks since the last post. Many amazing insights have come to me. I am digesting  and allowing my inner processes to reveal all into  the blog; new videos, consulting for urban property owners in the Reno area, and an Urban Farm Project web page that should hit the net this week! Big changes here, as it all unfolds for the highest and greatest good. Just know there is more to come, my readers, more to come. I started classes on biodynamic farming and wow! wow! wow! Can I just say my life will never be the same?! I am gearing up to bring you new truths about the world in which we live! Now to the blog!

In this blog you will find before and after photos of an urban city domain that I have been renovating for 2 1/2 months.My focus has become about edible and  medicinal plants as companion plantings. The before shots were taken 2 1/2 months ago. We are going to just look at the beds outside of the fence, the front street beds, the inner part of the yard is another blog down the road!

When I began working on these beds there were many  obstacles. Reno is a desert… very demanding of the farmer. The house was built in 1905, which means a number of things: too much soil in the beds, mostly sand; no nutrient in the soil (pretty dead and lifeless); the dirt was hard as a rock and the cherry on top was that the yard sat on an old river bed full of those great round river rocks! yippeeeee

The front beds were more like enemies, they were armed and ready for battle. I was going to have to use those present moment techniques I have learned to stay in the game. My mental chant “Carry Water and Chop Wood” breath, breath, breath……..

The first tasks on the list was to remove soil? How much soil? I discovered that you can read books but in the end it is the land and you. This can lead to situations in farming that you’re lack of experience creates confusion. However, you are the only one who can appropriately make decisions it in order to grow and provide food and herbs to sustain and heal.  What needs to be done should be based on your eyes, ears, smell, feel and, ultimately for me,  intuition.

The depletion of the soil was so extreme the only sensible measure I could take was to remove 6 to 10 inches of soil. I hit those river rocks at about 4 inches, and I suspect the people across the road heard a few cuss words!

My Dad always taught me to do a job right. How I feel inside about what I am doing is how to do the job right. I see why so many people take the easy way, the short way and are angry, with an unsuccessful result. I was going  hold fast  to  ”doing the job right the first time.”  In order to do it right ,I must dig the soil all the way out. The front beds found my weaknesses, but in the end,  helped me recapture past experiences and recover energy that had been blocked. Energy blocks that I now realize had kept me repeating cycles of frustration, giving up on myself and blocking my own life’s energy.

While I am engaged in the practice of urban farming I always offer gratitude. Always thank the water, the soil, the earth for helping you to clear any energies. These energies can stand in the way of your life. Farming has given me my life back with great respect to all things, even myself. I had many a prayer smoke with the greatest thanks to the great spirit, during the renovation of the front beds.  I became  always thank you no matter what!

I shoveled the old dirt out and wagon’d it to the back into a pile. Later, when I have a chance, I will turn it into a compost,  regenerating and using it in the future on other parts of the yard. When all the dirt was out I applied a new top soil. I made this top soil from 1/2 completed compost, fir mulch and a potting soil. I mixed them all together and filled the long beds. Later on, as the plants in the beds grew, I applied another inch  of fir mulch and kelp meal. Here in the Reno area we have alkaline soils, with alkaline water. We need to add in much needed acids to get the balance so plants will grow. Just like the human body: too much alkaline and the heart will stop and too much acid and the heart will stop. We are so similar to soil and plants in what we need to grow, seed, bloom and bear fruit. Since we eat the plants, does it not make sense that they need to be perfectly balanced to give us the proper balance. Kelp meal is the most amazing nutrient! If I have time in the future I will blog just about kelp meal!

I am becoming a bit of an old school farmer. I do not want to buy what I can make or cultivate from my own yard or someone else’s. The first plants I planted were yarrow. Yarrow is my friend… what I do learn about it and from it blows my lid off! You can use yarrow blooms to create nitrogen preps for soil. You can mow it creating an herb lawn that mulches itself, thus adding nutrient in the long-term to soil. It holds water and can be planted around sensitive areas that need to be cooler. Yarrow can bring ancient nutrients up from the depths of the earth to feed and nourish other plants. You can make ales out of yarrow for stomach ailments. Yarrow gives and gives. I prefer the wild yarrow that is a non-hybrid.  It has white flowers. Yarrow grows wild!  Dig it up and plant it where you need it  most.

Next, I found a large area of penny royal in the yard. I love penny royal.  It has a great smell and bees love it. It helps, like yarrow,  and attracts bees to your yard. This is necessary for growing a deluxe garden. You can rub it onto the skin as a natural bug repellent. Penny royal grows fast and is a good ground cover, helping to cool down areas for trees and plants that enjoy cooler moist climates.

Then, I planted onions, every kind of onion i could get my hands on. There are large white and purple onions, shallots and green onions. Remember I am gathering all of these plants from other people and places. My first choice would be from a bio dynamic farm…d  plants have a vibration of love.

A serious issue of domain was the bugs. Sugar ants, carpenter ants, earwigs…….. Creating a front bed barrier to new bugs migrating in was imperative, the onions have done a master job in creating this barrier. When the onions move in the yarrow and penny royal literally sang. I had no idea what great companions onions would be and no idea what companion planting can really bring to the table until I felt the perfection.

Lastly I direct -seeded calendula, and with the right soil and the companions already the calendula has grown so fast!  It’s beauty has warmed the cold heart. I am looking forward to using it in healing balms. If there are any words I could write to express the glory of growing herbs, it is in the moment when you have a need for them and you can go pick them, your own medicine, and make it up right there. Last night our doggy, Gin Gin, came home from the vet. She had her lady parts fixed. The razor the vet used to shave her left burn marks. I went out picked a few leaves of comfry, mashed it up, added a bit of grape seed oil and applied it to her burn areas. The results were nothing short of perfection. The best is that if she licks it no big deal!

Maintenance:    I cultivate the soil in the beds once a month, water and will be putting a layer of chips and mulch and inch deep over it for winter. Everything will reseed and be big and thicker next year. The front beds have become a slice of heaven for all of us; the grower, the owner, the people walking and driving by. It is like a hope, a dream for a better day, a sigh of relief in a world of stress, pain and frustration. I have created an energy of delight to the senses…the eyes, smell, taste and touch. Peace surrounds me, from  the plants, from what I am doing, and why I choose the methods I use. People drive by, turn around and visit the yard. Maybe the real change we need has to do with the plant and tree world. It appears to me that they create life, which is love, respect and reverence .  I am finding that I just need to be aware, give them nourishment and  love.  This way the green world will teach me everything i need to know.

In the near future I am teaching classes on medicinal plants and planting with harvesting for healing as my goal. For now I am just listening to them and and allow the teaching they offer to me to make me whole.

This week the Urban Farm Project had it’s first job and is launching a traveling consulting company, specializing in edible and medicinal plants in urban areas. You never can tell where life will lead you? You never know what you will do or how you will do it? You never know until you learn to Chop that wood and Carry that water, which means to just focus on what is front of you, learn about it, immerse yourself in it, be it, and become it!

Grow Food, Be Free & Live for a Living!



The Cultivation of Earth as Self…

cultivator 002Cultivate: to promote or improve the growth of (a plant, crop, etc.) by labor and attention.

Cultivation: 1) a person or thing that cultivates. 2) an implement drawn between rows of growing plants to loosen the earth and destroy weeds.

Cultivation: 1) the act or art of cultivating.  2) the state of being cultivated. 3) culture; refinement.

This week’s post is coming a bit late. In working with spirit, whatever that spirit be named for each one of us, it can take a bit of time to listen.  Collecting information from the ethers  is like turning on the spirit computer in myself and hitting download.

This was not an easy blog to write. Within the culture I grew up I did not learn to cultivate anything. I personally had to take time to think about cultivating, what I cultivate, how do I cultivate and when do I cultivate? When I received the information that I would be writing about cultivating ( see photo of cultivator garden tool attached) I temporarily went into a place of resistance. I needed to spend some time contemplating what the word meant to me. I was generally feeling sadness inside. I had to face the fact that I am the cultivator of my life, my soil, my water and everything that exists. As I searched my inner data banks I could not recall learning much about cultivating. In the culture I live in I began to recall learning more about running from everything; cultivating was the exact opposite of how I had lived my life. When I first picked up a cultivator and used it, I could feel anger and hostility. It took me months to relate it to energy. Memories flooded me from my past that I have been out-running, pretending things never happened. I began to use cultivating to feel my resistance, notice stress and this brought me to deep breathing. Cultivating the garden became a time for me when I could focus and let go no matter what was going on around me.

Spending  time, in a peaceful place, with love in your heart cultivating your crops in a physical way is also an act of creating it within. For myself this week has brought me to a place of unraveling deep energies within. I wanted to present you with the definitions of the words, the descriptions of the act of cultivating. Cultivating has become so much more as it reaches into my areas of consciousness that have not be activated.

I recently spent 2 months on a farm in which the main work was cultivating. I began to understand early on that if the soil is not cultivated regularly,  it becomes solid, hard and the weeds can be a boxing match event to remove. On the other hand if the soil is constantly cultivated it is light, fluffy, easily absorbs water, increases oxygen to the root systems of your plants which are the respiratory system of every plant and the weeds, the little invaders, are brought into a sort of compliance that even a 2 year old could handle.

The physical act of cultivating is a peaceful experience, once you get the hang of it. I came to the realization that cultivating the earth was teaching me something about my life that had been dormant. The statement “quantity versus quality” would roll through my mind early in the relaxing phase of cultivating. Cultivating your garden and/or anything else forces you into the present moment. If you are not present moment, your attention is not fully on what you are doing. Cultivators have sharp edges can cut through the stem of the plant damaging and killing them for the future harvest if we are not present giving our full attention. Cultivating is a zen process, it reminds me of raking gravel into meditative designs.

I am spending time farming. I am moving towards becoming a full time farmer. My favorite tool in the shed is a cultivator. It was not that way in the beginning. I Actually hated to cultivate in the fields… it felt like it was never-ending, boring and too time consuming. Now i see it in a much bigger picture. Now when I cultivate it is meditation, I become present, giving my attention to the moment, in the now. For those of you more science based it is also a great workout, builds incredible hand and eye coordination. Highly recommend cultivating for people who have had head injuries, strokes to build new nerve passages.

The cultivator tool you can buy at any garden shop. I prefer the long-handled with the triangle edged style. When buying garden tools, be present, hold them, move them around, notice how you feel about the tools ,buy and use tools you love, you like, that feel good to you. Remember you will be using them on the earth and possible near your food source, never act aggressively towards our mother who cultivates all the plants, trees, air, water, soil, animals and us.

In conclusion I am continuing to learn that I have to focus my attention on that which I want and then I have to cultivate it. The cultivation must be done with peace, tenderness, like an act of love to a beloved. When you grow food for yourself and do it as an act of love, attention, intent you create an experience of edible bliss.

Cultivating any aspect of life is the magic, a life transforming tool, it can only truly be understood by doing it and cultivating the art and practice of it and what it means.

For those of you in Reno if you would like to hands on lesson in cultivating call COE and we can do a class (donation, and you must bring your own tool).

We need not be afraid anymore. You can cultivate anything you wish. Only you are the Cultivator of your creation.

Grow Food, Be Free & Live for a Living!


Nature is far less JUDGEMENTAL than Humans…

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The story begins when i met the chicken i chose to name “the crazy lady chicken.”

A few months ago i arrived at the first farming internship (there is a really long story about my intern experience in general and will be presented in a book towards the end of my old age). three days into the farm education I got my first chance to collect the evening eggs from a large cartel of laying hens. Having the farmer educate you about his/her farm is a priority on any farm. Knowing what to do at any time is essential to handling any kind of domesticated animals, including protecting them from the wild ones. A farm is a constant battle against nature!

During the evenings leading up to the moment where crazy lady and I collide, I watched the farmr basically manhandle the crazy lady to get under her to feel if there were any eggs. Back then i knew her as a mean chicken who would growl and peck aggressively. To be honest, i was scare of her. On the third evening it was my turn, egg box in hand, leather gloves on, and away I went to collect the eggs come hell of high water. I opened the door, there were seveal nests in which the hens lay their eggs during the course of the day. I did what any grwn woman would do; I searched the open nests first. Then I turned towards the crazy lady nest. I put my han under her and the batte began. I was so close to her I noticed that she had these wild eyebrows, the kind you see on older men, like giant spiders on a face. She was crazy, the look in her eyes and the way looked. From that time on I have called her the crazy lady. I am thinking you may want t know how i carried out my searches under the crazy lady, I used a broom! I slip the broom under her, lift and a clear shot for any eggs!

Turns out that she neve leaves her nest. She just wants eggs to sit on, she wants to keep them warm, take care of them until they hatch (28 days in this case) and her bottom line is just to be a mom. Because of herbad attitude the other hens avoided her and never laid an egg in her nest. I am pretty sure this made her even more difficult to deal with. Crazy lady just had hios heart felt desire to incubate and raise a family, not too mch to as, right? To make matters a little more complicated we have no rooster, so the crazy lady would have died without realizing her dream of motherhood.

Enter the turkeys.We have Turkeys and boy do I love turkeys. Though our turkeys and hens share a pen during the day (free range), they all lay eggs, they are pretty simliar besides the size difference. they all seem to get along. Turkey eggs are the same size as hen eggs and have a tendency to have a type of speckle look on the shell, this is how we tell the eggs apart.

Sometime ago, long before i moved to the farm to inten the farmer bought the turkeys in a box through the mail. We think that we can just buy animals, plants but when we allow them to undergo the natural processes ofwho and what they are not only are thre permanent flaws, but their offspring will also suffer. Generations need to exist on the same land, a farm for successful natural breeding and this also applies to plants. It is either a quick meal to fill the belly or medicine for body whic do you prefer?

We have 7 turkeys at the time of this story 6 female and one turd of a male turkey. We know for a fact that the male is fertile however he is not the brightest bulb dealing “between the sheets”. there are times when he literally cannot find th area he needs to be implanting.  I have witnessed the females turkeys get pretty my at the guy. The female turkeys were laying eggs for month, they never could hatch them. they were missing basic skills. I had no idea until i was present on the farm that these are issues animals have. If we look around we see them present within our whole society and we want to create life in a test tube? what are we thinking and what are we not taking repsonsiblity for? These adult turkeys were hatched in a box under a light, and then mailed by snail mail to the farmer. They have no identity and social skills because they were not properly sat on in a nest, cared for, managed, rotated and raised by a live care taker with love and care.  They were not protected, they were not shown how to eat, what to eat, how to care, nurture and raise off spring.  Now you would think that it would just be in there somewhere in the genes maybe? It seems not to be. These turkeys were just like so many people who basically hatch out their kids and ignore them. the results are unsatisfactory, to say the least. Our turkeys could not figure out how to sit on their nests, how many should sit on one nest (up to 3 some days which crushed many of their eggs) and where to lay the eggs. The female turkeys became so thin. Brooder animals will sit on the eggs until they hatch. the brooder is an animal who will take responsiblity for all the eggs layed even if they did not lay most of them. The brooder will sit on the eggs until they hatch; they will starve themselves, as the eggs are the most vital thing at that time for them. In the case of our turkeys they were not able to practice the basic nesting skills their eggs never hatched.  if they never have an egg hatch the do not remember to eat, they continue to sit and sit. Eggs can last a month or so before they need to be sat on to start the process of incubation.

The farmer understood what was happen to the turkeys and began collecting their eggs as soon they egg was laid. The farmer was not sure what he was going to do with them. The farmer had about 10 turkey eggs he had been saving, his desire was to come up with a solution to hatching the eggs. One day the farmer realized that there were many chickens that were brooding and that one of hem could be put on to the turkeys eggs to hatch them. The next day we rolled a big wooden box with a door into the hen pen, cleaned it, put straw in it, water and food. That night the farmer put the turkey eggs in the straw and in the dark the hen of choice was placed on top. The next day we looked in the box and the hen was not interested. What to do? What to do? The only real choice all along was  the crazy lady; her destiny was always shown to us. The very next night the old crazy lady finally got the chance se had been  waiting for. She was put in the box after dark and when we looked the next morning she was in complete bliss. Crazy lady had that nest fixed up all the eggs tucked in, her body spread as far in all directions that she coul physically manage. She was so happy, proud and doing what her hearts desire wanted to do. She did not care that the eggs she was sitting on belong to the turkeys; she just wanted to nurture them with all her heart. Crazy lady was the most comitted mother to those eggs for 28 days.

It was a Tuesday evening we heard peeps from the brooding box. The eggs had hatched. Five of the 10 eggs hatched she was very protective, she would growl at us and hide them under and behind her. The baby turkeys being very curious would try to look around her to see us and the crazy lady would just tuck them back and preparing for a battle in case we came to close. They are hers, she teaches them, they listen and watch her carefully. She shows them how to get the best bugs with patients and sometimes she even will share hers. These turkeys are getting the proper raising it will change the cycle and how they raise their offspring. they will in turn become good mothers with the skills of “how to” that the grumpy crazy old lady chicken gave them.

I know any of us have a heart felt desires that never seem to manifest. Maybe like the crazy lady we had our own agenda of how, why, when and what was supposed to arrive. A bit of advice… when spirit comes in the night and delivers not exactly what we wanted, we may need to open ourselves and treat “it” as if it is what we wanted for at least 28 days.

Grow Food, Be Free & Live for a Living!