Butter: A Love Story

Butter: A Love Story

This post was originally published a year ago, and we’re reviving it because we love butter so much. <3 In all seriousness, in the spirit of slow food and slow living, and heart health (in the month of love!), we love talking about how important it is to include high-quality grass-fed butter in your diet, particularly after this staple got a bad rap for many years. 

 

is butter good for you

Is Butter Good For You?

I grew up as the “low-fat for your heart” era was taking hold in the practice and lexicon of conventional medical advice — and take hold it did. For three decades we thought skim-milk and shrink wrapped boneless, skinless chicken breasts were the answer to good health. When we dared allow ourselves a salad dressing or sauté, we chose corn or canola oil because we were told they were better for us. We eschewed meat bones and rich broth, chose only low or non-fat dairy items, and for heaven’s sake would never eat real butter! The tubs of fake, chemical -filled, artificially colored and flavored spreads were far superior — because they were low fat!

Remember Fabio? “In addition to a regular and ‘light’ spread, Unilever also uses the brand name to market a liquid butter substitute contained in a spray bottle. This product is an emulsion of vegetable oil in water formulated with a ‘hint’ of butter flavor (derived from buttermilk) and is marketed as having zero calories and zero fat content.” (sources 1 and 2)

Then, by way of a journey that included some frustrating health issues and a lot of what I call “unlearning”, we discovered — (drum roll) — Real Food! Our family’s diet has turned the USDA Food Pyramid upside down and to our immense enjoyment and good health we have reclaimed, among many other things…butter!

Healthy Butter

Here’s an excerpt from an article by Sally Fallon of the Weston Price Institute and Mary Enig, Ph.D. Nutritionist, that does a great job of explaining why we now embrace real butter from the milk of pastured, grass-fed cows as a significant part of our diet:

  • Heart disease was rare in America at the turn of the century. Between 1920 and 1960, the incidence of heart disease rose precipitously to become America’s number one killer. During the same period, butter consumption plummeted from eighteen pounds per person per year to four. It doesn’t take a Ph.D. in statistics to conclude that butter is not a cause. Actually, butter contains many nutrients that protect us from heart disease. First among these is vitamin A which is needed for the health of the thyroid and adrenal glands, both of which play a role in maintaining the proper functioning of the heart and cardiovascular system. Abnormalities of the heart and larger blood vessels occur in babies born to vitamin A deficient mothers. Butter is America’s best and most easily absorbed source of vitamin A.
  • Butter contains lecithin, a substance that assists in the proper assimilation and metabolism of cholesterol and other fat constituents.
  • Butter also contains a number of anti-oxidants that protect against the kind of free radical damage that weakens the arteries. Vitamin A and vitamin E found in butter both play a strong anti-oxidant role. Butter is a very rich source of selenium, a vital anti-oxidant–containing more per gram than herring or wheat germ.
  • Butter is also a good dietary source of cholesterol. Yes indeed, cholesterol is a potent anti-oxidant that is flooded into the blood when we take in too many harmful free-radicals–usually from damaged and rancid fats in margarine and highly processed vegetable oils. A Medical Research Council survey showed that men eating butter ran half the risk of developing heart disease as those using margarine.

Check out the entire article for references and much more about the wonderful health benefits of butter.

What is the Healthiest Butter?

So how can you make sure you get the real thing? I’m talking about the real GRASS-FED thing.  Read the labels carefully. Just because there’s a pastoral scene illustrated on the package that says “natural” or “dairy raised” doesn’t mean it’s what you want. Look for the words “from pastured” or “grass-fed” cows to be sure. Cultured and clarified grass-fed varieties are also excellent choices that offer some subtle flavor variety.

Butter is only one of the Real Foods that have been rejected for decades and now deserve a place on our plates, but since today is all about hearts I hope you’ll do yours a favor and help yourself. Why not take a piece of warm, crunchy sourdough toast and slather it on nice and thick, letting it melt in your mouth and remind you of how Real Food is supposed to taste.

Now that is love!

St. Brigit the Lady Farmer (and Inspiration for our Sustainable Overalls!)

St. Brigit the Lady Farmer (and Inspiration for our Sustainable Overalls!)

This post was originally published on February 1st, The Feast of St. Brigit, 2017. Since then we have designed, developed, and put into production a lovely pair of sustainable hemp/organic cotton overalls aptly named “Brigit” in honor of the this legendary Lady Farmer.  

As Lady Farmers, we want to pay homage to our predecessors, the women figures from history, myth and legend who embodied a powerful connection to the earth. As archetypes these personifications of the feminine are capable and independent, deeply nurturing, infinitely creative and fierce champions of nature and her cycles.

So it is with Brigit (also spelled Brigid or Bridget).  It is said she was born on February 1st, the Celtic Festival of Imbolc celebrating the cross-quarter day between the winter solstice and the spring equinox. Legend has it that her birth took place over a threshold. Fittingly, she became the patroness of transitions, literally from winter to spring, and symbolically in many aspects of nature, life and the human experience. She presides over the birth of the new lambs (the word Imbolc means “first milk”) and represents fire and light as the sun makes its return.  She is seen as the protector of the home and keeper of the fire. She tends the hearth, preserving the eternal flame. She is patroness of healing, cooking, the arts (particularly poetry and weaving), animal husbandry, midwifery–and beer making! She is thoroughly and completely a woman’s goddess, and given the wealth of evidence we feel confident in claiming her as patroness of Lady Farmer.

I am inspired by Brigit in so many ways here on our small patch of earth, as folklore tells us she presides over almost every one of our daily tasks. I think of her on these cold mornings as I get the kitchen fire going and go out to tend the animals. She inspires me in my cooking and gardening, my exploration of culinary and medicinal herbs and fermented foods, as a weaver of ideas and words in my writing and as a weaver of earth friendly materials into healthy and sustainable garments for Lady Farmer. In keeping with an ancient Celtic custom, on February 1st, I will place a square of cloth representing Brigit’s mantle outside my door to catch the morning dew of Imbolc. Thus the cloth becomes a token of her blessings and protection on our household throughout the next year.

Here is a prayer to St. Brigit, a women’s Goddess and Saint. When in chaos and darkness, may we take comfort in the return of the light, the promise of spring!

Saint Brigid Hearth Keeper Prayer

Brigid of the Mantle, encompass us,

Lady of the Lambs, protect us,

Keeper of the Hearth, kindle us.

Beneath your mantle, gather us,

And restore us to memory.

Mothers of our mother, Foremothers strong.

Guide our hands in yours,

Remind us how to kindle the hearth.

To keep it bright, to preserve the flame.

Your hands upon ours, Our hands within yours,

To kindle the light, Both day and night.

The Mantle of Brigid about us,

The Memory of Brigid within us,

The Protection of Brigid keeping us

From harm, from ignorance, from heartlessness.

This day and night,

From dawn till dark, From dark till dawn.

(prayer Courtesy of SaintBrigids.org)

Perennial Vegetables for Your Garden: Plant These Once, Eat Forever

Perennial Vegetables for Your Garden: Plant These Once, Eat Forever

What’s the Lady Farmer cure for the January doldrums? Planning the next season’s garden, of course! There’s a jumble of seed catalogs and plant guides that I keep fireside and peruse while visions of veggies dance in my head. This year I’m especially excited to be expanding my selection of perennial vegetables.

organic-seed-catalog

Why cultivate perennial vegetables in place of the annuals that comprise the typical summer garden?  The tomatoes, squash, peas, peppers, lettuce, cucumbers and the like that we consider standard home-grown produce are easy enough to grow, and even the inexperienced gardener can expect a good yield. Perennial herbs and vegetables, on the other hand, are harder to find and usually take longer to establish, so it might be a year or even longer before you get food from a plant.

kitchen-garden

Image Source: Mother Earth Living

Despite these drawbacks, the benefits of growing perennial vegetables are many. For starters, they are a lot less work! You plant them once and then you can neglect them. Once these edible perennials have taken hold they will be repeat performers year after year and establish mature root systems that not only enrich the soil and crowd out the weeds, but increase the plant’s resistance to drought and pests as well. Perennials help hold water and nutrients in the soil and create habitat for a wide variety of microorganisms that make a garden fertile and healthy. Also, because the soil around the plant doesn’t have to be disturbed every year, it’s able to capture carbon from the atmosphere and sequester it, an important process in the reversal of global warming. And if that isn’t enough, perennial vegetables are often harvested earlier or later in the year, thereby extending the season. They’re also useful in creating a permanent edible landscape. Just imagine having an established food supply from your garden that comes back every year on its own!

So which vegetables are perennial? The ones we’re most familiar with are rhubarb and asparagus, but there are many others. Here are few perennial veggies that are good to start with, some of which I have already and others that I plan to introduce this year.

Perennial Vegetables List

1. Sunchokes (Jerusalem Artichoke)

raw-whole-sunchokes

Plant these tubers in the ground and enjoy beautiful sunflower-type blooms on top of a dense cluster of 6-8 ft stalks in late summer. At the end of the season, you can dig up the tubers and eat them like potatoes — cooked in soups, mashed, baked or fried.

2. Ramps (Wild Leeks)

ramps-leeks

Shade-loving,clumping and spreading leafy vegetable used as a green in salads or as a flavoring such as a leek or scallion. The bulbs can be used like garlic and onions. (Also in the old fairy tale, it was Rapunzel’s mother who was craving ramps and sent her husband to steal them from the witch’s garden.)

3. Turkish Rocket

turkish-rocket

Also called warty cabbage, this leafy green resembles arugula but produces a small broccoli-like flower. It grows in clumps and has a slightly bitter, peppery flavor. It’s a great addition to mixed cooked greens or eaten raw.

 4. Sea Kale

sea-kale

This leafy shrub grows to about 3 ft tall and wide. The leaves can be used like collards or mustard greens while the new spring shoots are harvested and prepared in much the same way as asparagus. The flower is similar to broccoli.

5. Sorrel

Sorrel-Perennial-Garden

Can be used like spinach, cooked or raw, though when eaten fresh, the strong lemony flavor serves well in a mix with other milder leafy greens. It grows easily from seed and catches on quickly in the garden,  improving the soil around it season after season.

You probably won’t find a wide selection of perennial vegetable plants or seeds from the usual sources, but all of the above are available at www.foodforestfarm.com.

Want to learn more? Eric Toensmeier’s book Perennial Vegetables (Chelsea Green Publishing, 2007) was a great resource for this article.

Photo Sources:

Slow Living Lessons from the Season of Epiphany

Slow Living Lessons from the Season of Epiphany

January 6th marks the beginning of Epiphany, a period of several weeks in the Christian liturgical year between Christmas and Lent. The word “epiphany” comes from a Greek word which means “appearance,” or “to show forth, manifest.” As the well- known story goes, three Kings from distant lands followed a bright star to the lowly birthplace of the Saviour. His coming was foretold by prophets and anticipated by scholars, but it was the Wise Men who read the signs and journeyed far to witness the Holy amongst us. The “epiphany” in the story is not only the Magi recognizing the humble birth as the coming of the Messiah, but also their appearance before it. In other words, they showed up.

I think of those who missed it, such as the innkeeper in the Nativity story who didn’t have room, and Old Befana, the character from Italian folklore who was too busy sweeping her house to accompany the three travelers on their way to see the Holy Child. This sounds all too familiar. Is my life so filled with busy-ness that I shut the door on the Holy, or think that I can’t slow down enough to follow even when it calls?  How often do I let my days go by without a sense of the miraculous or the sacred? How often do I keep myself out of the light? I would do well to think beyond the familiarity of the Three Kings’ story, to imagine the curiosity and courage that took these three seekers across many lands and the trust they placed in that star–their guidance. Perhaps a baby in a stable wasn’t the sort of King they’d expected, but their hearts and minds were open to the truth of what they discovered.

This season of Epiphany calls us to be Wise Men and Women, to search out the Holy and appear before it with praise and gratitude. The story tells us it requires a long journey, a journey that will, in the end, bring us face to face with the truth. And when we get there, we will see how the light we sought was like that star, the very light that was with us the whole time and even showed us the way.

Originally published on Mary’s author blog in January, 2014

Photo from Epiphany Star Art

A Christmas Miracle

A Christmas Miracle

As Christmas miracles go, this one doesn’t really rate up there with near escapes, unlikely healings or sightings of celestial beings, but it’s a part of our family lore

We’d had our usual Christmas morning, the culmination of weeks and weeks of excitement. Santa Claus delivered, as always, in a big way. I got the Liddle Kiddle Village, among other things, but that was the year’s favorite. It came as a vinyl, pastel colored carrying case that opened up to reveal a little “town” where the little thumb sized dolls lived and played. It was about the size of an overnight bag. It had that wonderful plastic, new toy smell that was almost a much a part of Christmas as the scent of evergreen and candles, roasted turkey and pumpkin pie, cinnamon and citrus. I was completely delighted.

We’d had our mid-day Christmas dinner as well, the turkey, dressing and cranberry holiday feast that was a lot like Thanksgiving. In the afternoon, we all tended to go our separate ways—Dad settled into his chair with a book, my older brother off to listen to some new record, my little brother down the street with his new football.  My mother, being for most part the single handed creator of the entire holiday spectacle from start to finish, went to bed. I chose the solitude of my room to peruse some of my other loot—a collection of Noel Streatfield books (Ballet Shoes, Theatre Shoes and Traveling Shoes), the game of Clue, a deck of cards with kittens on it, a box of stationary from my friend Susan, a ceramic horse from Alison and a Lifesaver Book from Nancy.

As always on Christmas afternoon, the glow of the morning had dissipated and I had somewhat of a letdown feeling, largely due to exhaustion and excessive sugar consumption, no doubt, but thank goodness we still had something to look forward to later in the day.  At five o’clock, several of the neighbors were coming over for supper. Mom would rouse herself from a near catatonic state around four in the afternoon to get things straight and ready for another round of feeding and celebration. Having been through a few Christmases myself by now, I don’t know how she did it.

The snow started falling around twilight, which was about the time people began arriving at the house, probably ten to twelve adults and half again as many kids or more.  Dad had a roaring fire going in two rooms. The adults sat around in the chairs enjoying their cocktails while the kids sprawled out on the living room floor to begin some serious board games. For the boys, it was Risk. The girls preferred Clue or Parcheesi. For the younger set there was Operation and Rock ‘em, Sock ‘em Robots. Mom put the food out on the dining room table, a huge crock of New England style clam chowder, the white kind with potato and lots of butter, sliced turkey and roast beef, meatballs, bread, all manner of condiments, cheeses, pickles, relishes, nuts and chips, dips and sodas and the final act on all the pies, cakes, cookies, fudge, divinity, chocolate covered cherries, pretzels, rum balls, cheeseballs, candied pecans, etc. that had appeared over the last few weeks. It was a casual affair. People served themselves on paper plates and took the food wherever. Everyone was having a great time and not noticing that the snow had been falling steadily and heavily since their arrival.

Ralph Hulett – New England Snow Scene

Then the lights went out.

My parents did what I guess everybody does in such a situation–they went and got out candles. It’s just that with that many kids in the house, and it being dark and kind of chaotic with everybody groping around and all, no one got a chance to say they were only for the adults, and there was none of the usual cautioning or fire safety review, and so within a few minutes of this happening there were numerous excited, Christmas crazed, sugar pumped kids running around our house wielding open flames. “DON’T DRIP WAX ON THE CARPET!” was my mother’s plea– not that anyone heard herNever mind the flammable drapes in every room or the fact that before the lights went out, the floor had been strewn with the game players’ plates piled with mustard laden sandwiches, chips and red velvet cake, along with paper cups filled with cola, grape and orange soda.  She was focused on the candle wax.. The entirety of the situation was, I suppose, too much to take in.

I don’t know for how long this chaos reigned. All I recall is that at some point it was decided that I was going to go spend the night with Alison. I imagine that all of us were farmed out to one neighbor or another so that once my parents determined that the house wasn’t going to burn down, they could collapse straightaway. And since I couldn’t bear to leave my dearly beloved Liddle Kiddle Village, when it was time to go I packed it up in its nifty carrying case, along with my pajamas and tooth brush. Thus we headed out into the snowy night along with all the others. Everyone lived close so no one tried to drive home. They could come back and get their cars later.

The snow was deep and heavy and still coming down. There were no streetlights, but the night was glowing with the magical, sweet light of a snowy winter’s night.  The power was out at Alison’s house too, so we went straight to bed, cuddled up together under a mountain of covers, the visions of sugarplums now replaced by a pure, exhausted bliss. As far as we were concerned, the evening’s events had been the icing on the holiday cake, the makings of the greatest Christmas ever. As for my mother, she swears there was nothing on the carpet the next morning, not a smidge of mustard, a single smashed chocolate, crunched chip or drop of candle wax. She calls it a miracle–Christmas night, 1967.

—–

This story was originally published on Mary’s author blog in December 2011

The Promise of the Solstice

The Promise of the Solstice

Today is the winter solstice here in the northern hemisphere, that point in the year when the ever increasing darkness is in a single instant reversed and the light begins its gradual return. We’re scarcely able to notice this in our powered up, climate controlled lives, but sometime in the next few weeks we’ll begin to experience the afternoon becoming longer, little by little. To most of us it’s largely a matter of convenience, our routines shifting gradually with the seasons without much thought.

Imagine though, what it must have been like for our ancestors dating back before cars and electricity or insulated dwellings, before supermarkets, malls, holiday shopping and Netflix. They were cold and hungry and it was very, very dark– getting darker every day. What was there to do but build large fires and gather round with whatever food was available, seeking solace and survival in community. Sound familiar?

It must have been hard to have faith that things would get better, but they watched and waited for that miracle moment when the darkness began its retreat, ever so slightly.  They knew  what was coming because they had been observing these things for a long, long time. They built sacred sites to commemorate it, places that affirmed the ebb and flow of life and light, that gave hope for survival. They believed, in the deepest part of their being, the promise of this dance between earth and the heavens– that the light would always return.

We are not that different from our ancestors. Whatever holiday we might be celebrating this season, the metaphors of hope, faith and renewal are there for all of us.  As much as we try to separate ourselves into beliefs, traditions, politics, religion or race, we all have this in common. We are humans inhabiting a miraculous, benevolent home we call earth.

Here’s to remembering the promise of the solstice and our human connection to this beloved planet as we all begin another turn around the sun. 

Joy of the season to you and yours!

(photo via the Old Farmer’s Almanac)

Peppermint Hot Chocolate: A Holiday “Super Treat”

Peppermint Hot Chocolate: A Holiday “Super Treat”

What could be more comforting on a cold winter day than hot chocolate? This delicious winter treat has all the warm and snuggly feels WITHOUT all the sugar, preservatives and chemicals found in most prepared hot chocolate drinks. Even if you’re used to making your own, the quality of the dairy and the amount of sugar in those recipes can bump these out of the healthy treat category. Here’s how to adjust for fantastic nourishing version of this traditional holiday classic.

hot-chocolate-healthy

  1. Look for 100 % GRASS FED WHOLE milk, organic if possible. Be wary of “organic” milk that is not labeled 100% grass fed. Organic doesn’t guarantee the cows have been raised and fed according to their biological needs. Don’t fall for those sweet scenes on the side of the carton.  According to the website of one of the largest organic dairy distributors in the country, the “organic” guidelines require that only 30% of their dry feed come from grazing, leaving the remaining 70% as grain- based. There are many health and environmental problems that go along with feeding grain to cattle. That’s another discussion entirely, but suffice it to say–it’s not good!  You can get the basic idea here.  And why whole milk? Haven’t we been told for decades it’s better to limit dairy fat? New evidence supports this advice as outdated. Full fat dairy has been shown to have multiple health benefits for weight control, blood sugar management and heart health. 
  2. Buy quality organic cocoa, which has the potential of improving not only heart and brain health, but aids the immune system and may offer protection against some cancers. Read about the many health benefits of quality cocoa here!
  3. Use organic peppermint extract, or if you choose to use the essential oil make sure it’s a pure therapeutic grade (*In this article you can check out possible contraindications of ingesting the oil.) Peppermint is not only an awesome flavoring for a variety of foods, but is helpful in relieving digestive and respiratory problems, muscle pains and stress.  
  4.  Use Stevia for sweetener! Get organic Sweetleaf or Organic Traditions Green Stevia Powder.  In it’s ideal form (directly from a plant), Stevia is possibly the best real food substitute for sugar that can be found. Obviously anything that can satisfactorily replace sugar in our diets has huge potential for decreasing obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Yet with so many varieties and brands available it’s pretty confusing. Green leaf powders are my own preference for baking, but be sure to avoid the altered and processed blends such as Truvia.  Additionally, Stevia has been shown to kill the bacteria that causes Lyme’s disease! Since we live in the country and have a lot of exposure to ticks, my own doctor has recommended this product a regular supplement to my diet.

Yes, ‘tis the season, but that doesn’t have to mean overloading our bodies with too much processed food and sugar. All that does is compromise our immune systems and make us cranky, sluggish and sick. As an alternative, try this holiday super-treat and let us know what you think!

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups WHOLE 100% GRASS FED milk
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened organic cocoa powder (add more if you like!)
  • ½ tsp peppermint extract (or 5 drops high quality peppermint essential oil*)
  • 1 tsp powdered STEVIA  (adjust to taste)

Combine all the  ingredients in a double boiler or bain-marie.  Whisk (or use an immersion blender) until well blended and heat until it’s nice and hot but not boiling. Serve as is or with these easy-to-make healthy marshmallows. Then go put your feet up by the fire and enjoy! 

 

Photo credit: all images via pexel.com

A Guide to Slow “Giving”

A Guide to Slow “Giving”

image via google

Holiday time! We love it, all the family and friends, food, gatherings, music, traditions–all the warm fuzzy stuff. And yes, we also love the gift giving. We love it so much that we’ve turned it into a juggernaut of excess and waste that affects us in so many ways–financially, environmentally, mentally and certainly spiritually. How much stuff is manufactured and purchased as an answer to an emptiness of heart that cannot be filled with material things?   

It’s a shame that rampant commercialism has to be part of our winter celebrations that are supposed to be about love, light and our religious traditions–but that’s old news. It  has to be that way because it’s what props up our economy for the entire year, so everybody please just keep your wallets open and your heads down and start buying. Right?

As always, there’s more to it than that. Our excuses for participating in this consumerist frenzy ignore the lasting damage that goes far deeper than statistics about the economy. For some perspective, here’s an excerpt from an article by political and environmental activist George Monbiot (The Guardian, Dec. 2012) regarding our current culture’s holiday shopping patterns.  

“There’s nothing they need, nothing they don’t own already, nothing they even want. So you buy them a solar-powered waving queen; a belly button brush; a silver-plated ice cream tub holder;…a confection of plastic and electronics called Terry the Swearing Turtle…They seem amusing on the first day of Christmas, daft on the second, embarrassing on the third. By the twelfth they’re in landfill. For thirty seconds of dubious entertainment, or a hedonic stimulus that lasts no longer than a nicotine hit, we commission the use of materials whose impacts will ramify for generation…This is pathological consumption: a world-consuming epidemic of collective madness, rendered so normal by advertising and the media that we scarcely notice what has happened to us.”

Here’s the truth, pure and simple.  It doesn’t have to be this way. Here we offer a few guidelines to help you honor our beloved gift giving traditions with all of the love and generosity of the season, without compromising our pocketbooks, the environment or our sanity. * You can embrace these wholeheartedly if you’re ready, or merely keep these things in mind as you navigate your way through this cultural mire with awareness, remembering that the system will change when YOU, the consumers, demand it.

Click Here to access & download the .pdf Lady Farmer Guide to Slow Giving! 

 

 

 

 

A Good Price

A Good Price

What do we think when we say something is “a good price”?  

We usually take it to mean an item can be bought for less than its actual worth. In other words, it’s good for the consumer, who enjoys a net gain on a particular item. It’s an incentive, the driving force in our acquisition economy, empowering the buyer to always be seeking more. It’s exciting! Picture the throngs of shoppers pouring into the marketplace on Black Friday, answering the beacon call of the deep discount–CLEARANCE! PRICES SLASHED! BLOW OUT SALE! 

So here’s something to consider: What if “a good price” meant that the cost of the item actually reflected its true value all the way down the line, from the manufacturer to the supply chain to the producer of the raw materials?  What if “a good price” meant a decent wage for every human being involved in the production and the enforcement of responsible environmental and health standards?

What if we all thought of these things when looking at a price tag with the goal not being to spend as little as possible, but to exchange our own resources for something with meaning and integrity?  

Consumers have confronted this issue over the last several years in the context of the organic/ local food movement. The fact is that “real” food costs more– and with the emergence of neighborhood farmer’s markets and local food sourcing shoppers are given a clear choice of quality over cost. Hopefully the public is beginning to understand that as a basic daily necessity, good food is worth the extra cost and the reasons for it are valid. Our perception that the main goal of producers is to present us with the cheapest possible product is hopefully shifting with a deeper understanding of sourcing, supply chains, and the need for transparency all along the way.

This evolution in the food industry has paved the way for a similar shift in fashion. Increasingly over the last several decades consumers have come to expect a deal on every article of clothing, the cheaper the better. To that end producers have cut costs and wages and environmental safeguards to shreds all across the globe. No matter where it is from, how it was made or what toxin a garment is dyed with or dipped in, the American public has demonstrated that low cost and quantity, not quality, is the fuel for its voracious consumption. We demand rock bottom prices on fashion, while the ones paying the true costs of all of this dirt cheap clothing are exploited workers and a polluted planet. What results is an enormously wasteful throw-away clothing culture. The clothes cost less and therefore are valued less and thoughtlessly disposed of to an astonishing degree–an average of 82 pounds per American every year.  

As a company, Lady Farmer designs and produces a sustainable alternative to the mass-produced commodities that are pervasive in today’s fashion industry. Our clothing reflects the highest standards of environmental sustainability, health considerations and fair labor practices.  We also seek to provide the knowledge needed to make informed decisions about clothing because when more consumers are aware and are demanding more from producers (brands), the paradigm will shift towards a healthier system that benefits everyone.

As it is, higher quality and ethically produced goods will cost more than Americans have been accustomed to paying–but there are other ways to refuse buying into this wasteful system.

This is an ongoing discussion in our community. Thrift and consignment stores, clothing swaps, wardrobe repair and “upcycling” are all ways of rejecting the prevailing system with minimal cost. Increasing awareness of personal lifestyle and consumer habits are powerful tools in shifting personal patterns. Individuals can quickly learn that a sense of well- being is not necessarily compromised by consuming less, but can in fact be enhanced by such reevaluation. We support and encourage all of these efforts.

For those seeking the option of new, sustainably produced clothing, our goal is to offer fashionable, multi-functional garments that will fit your life for many seasons and years to come.  Be assured that the price tag on each of our garments is a truly “good price,”  good for everyone down the line, reflecting the care and well being of all involved in bringing these pieces to you–from seed to sewn to sold.

 

And so it begins…

WE DID IT! Our Kickstarter ended this morning with over $51K! We’ve been saying it for weeks now and we’ll say it again and again, THANK YOU to everyone who contributed, pre-ordered, shared, mentioned, liked, intended, or even saw what we were doing and felt inspired (inspiration is a powerful thing!) ALL of you have had a part in getting us to this point and we are immensely grateful.

I sat with my cup of coffee this morning watching the clock tick out on our campaign feeling full of gratitude, relief and amazement. But more than anything I just felt excited! It’s been quite a year of hard work, ups and downs, decisions, lots of uncertainty, finding our way in unknown territory –also plenty of fun, wonderful people, new friends and new places, LOTS of going and meeting and chatting and explaining. It’s all paid off and now here we are, not at the end, ironically–but at the very beginning!

Now we get to actually start doing what we set out to do in the first place. First up, we will start the process of manufacturing the sustainable garments that many of you have pre-ordered so that they can be in your hands by spring as planned. Hurrah for SLOW FASHION! Ideas for the Lady Farmer podcast are already in motion, and we’ve even done some preliminary groundwork for that Slow Living Conference we’ve dangled in front of you. There’s also talk of starting a fiber crop in our area for the next growing season, the first step in Lady Farmer textile production!  For us, all of this has so much inspiration and energy behind it coming from all directions that it feels like jumping into a current that’s already in motion.

After everything we have experienced over the last year, there’s no doubt that Lady Farmer has a place in the world with those who are seeking a better way to be living on this planet –and we’re all co-creating that path through the awareness of our deep connections to the earth, the building of community and the power of our personal choices. Thank you again, all of you, for being with us on this joyful, inspiring journey thus far. Stay tuned, there is SO MUCH MORE to come.

Now here we go!