Sustainable Lifestyle: 3 Easy Practices for Managing Stress On-the-Spot

Sustainable Lifestyle: 3 Easy Practices for Managing Stress On-the-Spot

A sustainable lifestyle is more than just integrating slow fashion and zero waste practices into your routine. Just as our material resources need to be managed in a way that allows us the joy of slow living, our inner resources, such as our mental and emotional energy, need tending as well. A key aspect of slow living is to bring your intentions of sustainable living inward, by slowing your mind and body down.

Here are three ways you can help yourself regain emotional balance when the going gets rough.

sustainable-lifestyle

First, let’s talk about the time honored practice that works so well with our modern, on-the-go lifestyles, the two finger breath trick, or sometimes called alternate nostril breathing.

  1. Using one hand, place a pinky finger on one side of your nose and a thumb finger on the other side of your nose. Gently push your fingers so that your nostrils are closed, kind of like you’re blocking an unpleasant smell.
  2. Now let the thumb finger go, breathe in through the open nostril, and press the thumb finger back down.
  3. Hold your breath for 3 seconds.
  4. Let the pinky finger go, and let your breath loose through that nostril.

And then start over. Do this slow breathing practice a few times. You’ll start to notice your heart rate slowing, and your mind letting go of your worries to focus on your physical movements.

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Another quick de-stressor is to sit up tall, breathe in and out, and wiggle your toes. This combo of small body movements won’t disrupt your metro seat buddy, or startle your co-workers. It’s pretty discrete and it provides a quick mind and body reset. You can use a free app called Aloe Bud, which sends reminders for small actions like this, or you can set reminders directly on your devices.

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Thich Nhat Hanh, a well known Vietnamese monk and peace activist known for his many writings on mindfulness also believes in quick, do-anywhere practices. He even published a pocket meditation book called How to Relax. In it, he says an easy way to slow your brain and catch your breath is simply to smile. “A smile can relax hundreds of muscles in your face, and relax your nervous system. A smile makes you master of yourself.” Now what could be easier than that!

You can do these simple practices anywhere or anytime you find yourself in need of a quick moment to re-center.

Quick and easy tricks are useful, but as sustainable living advocates we believe in building a practice that helps us maintain (or regain more quickly) a state of calm. That’s why we try to practice yoga as often as we can. Yoga allows us to move in intentional ways, and invites our minds to let go of our worries and focus on our bodies.

Yes, we’ll be offering morning yoga sessions during our Slow Living Retreat in November, led by DMV area yogi Jackie Horstmann Didio! She’ll also be hosting a workshop entitled “Living Life Through a Yogic Lens,” during which attendees will learn how to integrate yogic practices into their daily lives.

You can find out more about Jackie here: @jacquelynanneyoga
And more about our Slow Living Retreat here. We hope you’ll come join us!

Comment below with your go-to mindfulness practices, and when you use them!

Five Easy Plants to Grow for Delicious, Healthy Summer Drinks

Five Easy Plants to Grow for Delicious, Healthy Summer Drinks

Nothing says summertime like having a cool drink in the shade. We enjoy a lot of iced drinks here on the farm, especially when the chores keep us outside on hot days. Despite the hundreds of beverage choices on the market, however, there are several reasons we choose to make our own. Not only is it the sustainable choice (we like to skip the plastic jugs and juice boxes) but we avoid numerous additives like sugar, artificial preservatives and food dyes. And we save money as well!

To keep our cool beverages flowing, we grow five plants in our garden that ensure a constant supply and a pleasing variety. These herbs aren’t finicky—they can be grown in a country garden or a city balcony. All they need is soil, water, and sunshine! Want to try growing your own? Or if you want to start making yummy teas right away, you can can order all of these in dried or powdered form from Mountain Rose Herbs, a reliable source of sustainable herbal products. (not affiliated)

Tips for Growing the Herbs

grow-herbs

The first three are all in the mint family and will spread all over the place, so unless you have a lot of garden space to spare, plant these in their own pots!

  1. Peppermint: A very familiar garden herb, cooling, refreshing and helpful for digestion. Yes, it grows like crazy but we use LOTS of it!
  2. Lemon Balm: Known to be soothing and calming to the nervous system, great when you need to relax.
  3. Tulsi (or Holy Basil): Known in India as “the queen of herbs” where it is used as an herbal remedy for many common ailments, including stress relief!

These two will mind their garden manners a little better by staying within their boundaries. If they like their spot they’ll bush out and grow to be about three feet tall.

  1. Lemon Verbena: Fragrant and delicious with a delightful lemony taste, good for congestion, inflammation insomnia, and weight loss.
  2. Stevia: Nature’s healthy sweetener. You can make any of these drinks as sweet as you like with zero sugar or artificial ingredients!

Where can you get these plants? You’ll most likely find peppermint and lemon balm at your local nursery or any place that sells starter plants in spring and early summer. In recent years, I’ve begun to see stevia starts in the nurseries as well. Tulsi is often found at places that sell herbs. You can order the seeds for both stevia and tulsi at Mountain Rose Herbs. Lemon Verbena is often sold as a starter plant in nurseries as a natural insect repellent.

Creating Your Own Delicious Summer Drinks

homemade-herbal-tea

Basic Herbal Iced Tea

  • Choose any one or any combination of the mint, lemon balm, tulsi or lemon verbena leaves and pack a half gallon mason jar* about ⅓ to 1/2 full (with fresh leaves) or 2 ounces of the dried. If you want it sweet, add a handful of crushed, fresh stevia leaves or powdered stevia to taste.
  • Pour boiling water over the tea leaves to fill the jar. Place the lid, tighten slightly and let sit until cool (4-6 hours).
  • When the jar is room temperature, pour the tea over a strainer into your container of choice and compost the leaves.
    Refrigerate.
  • When chilled, serve over ice with a lemon slice and a whole peppermint stem if desired.

*Avoid pouring boiling water into a cool jar or likewise, trying to rapidly cool a warm jar as a sudden temperature change could cause breakage.

make-herbal-tea

Variations

  • For a more traditional iced tea blend, add 5-6 black tea bags in with any combination of the herbal tea leaves.
  • For super hydration, add ¼-1/2 cup apple cider vinegar!
  • For extra flavor, add fresh berries, honey, or a whole cut-up lemon (if organic, include a tsp of zest) to the jar before adding the boiling water.
  • For a delicious lemonade, add ¼-½ cup apple cider vinegar, the juice from two whole organic lemons plus a teaspoon of zest, a handful of crushed stevia leaves, a whole, fresh peppermint stem with leaves or 1 oz of the dried.

Whether you’ve got a garden plot or a few pots on the balcony, having these plants on hand will provide you with a whole summertime of delightful, healthful beverages. And of course, having the dried on hand will ensure you tasty iced or hot teas all year round!

Get ready for everyone to say, “Hmmm, this is sooo good! What’s in it?”

make-herbal-tea

 

The Sustainable Holiday Easter Basket

The Sustainable Holiday Easter Basket

Many of us are seeking a more sustainable approach to our holiday celebrations. Let’s take a slow living look at one our favorite cultural symbols of spring, the Easter basket. It’s a tradition to fill baskets to the brim with neon plastic grass, small toys and individually packaged candies. And we wouldn’t want to forget the glossy chocolate bunnies, stuffed animals, and loads of rainbow-colored jelly beans. Then, wrap it all up in an enormous sheet of cellophane and your kids will have the perfect Easter morning. Right? Sure, if you look past the enormous amount of waste replicated millions of times across the country on this one single day.

Sustainable Holiday

Rethinking Sustainable Holiday Celebrations

Transitioning beloved holiday traditions towards sustainable holiday practices can be a challenge, given our consumerist society. According to the National Retail Federation, Americans will spend $18.11 billion on Easter candy, clothing, and gift-giving this year.

So what’s a sustainably-minded Lady Farmer to do? Our slow living mindset guides us to pause, ponder our desires, and move forward with greater intention. It encourages purchasing sustainable products that last, so we can love them longer. And it reminds us that no holiday tradition is more valuable than the time we spend connecting with ourselves, our loved ones, and our community. With a little mindfulness and effort, we can create sustainable holiday celebrations that preserve the meaning and enjoyment of our traditions. Here are some suggestions for one of our favorites.

Ways to a Better Basket

  • Look for baskets made from materials such as willow, wicker and bamboo. These can be used year after year and if cared for properly, passed on from generation to generation.
  • Skip the shredded plastic filler! Opt for biodegradable shredded paper available at your local craft store or online, get the kids involved and cut strips of craft paper, or run some leftover wrapping paper through your office paper shredder, like Martha Stewart. Want something even more natural? Fresh hay or straw work perfectly and smell amazing. And as long as fresh green grass hasn’t been sprayed with herbicides, it’s a colorful and sustainable option, too.
  • Opt for organic and fair trade brands of chocolate, such as Newman’s Own, Dagoba and Theo . Keep an eye out at your market for those made locally and with low-waste packaging. For online delivery, naturalcandystore.com has an impressive selection of vegan, organic, fair trade, and low-waste packaging options — including chocolate bunnies and other Easter treats!
  • Stuffed animals are not typically made from desirable materials – many contain synthetics, plastics, and toxins like flame retardants, BPA, PVC, lead and phthalates. Swap in books, wooden blocks, and soft toys made from sustainable materials and slow living companies. (Take a look at these adorable squishy stuffed animals knit by fair trade artisans over at Fair Indigo, and this collection of sweet little stuffies and blankets at Oompa!)
  • You don’t really need those brightly colored, non-biodegradable plastic eggs. They have nowhere to end up but the landfill and filling them with candy treats is a bad idea. Plastic storage containers can leach hormone disrupting and carcinogenic substances into foods.
  • Dye your own eggs! Food-grade dye kits do the trick. Or go one step further and make rich, rustic marbled eggs with dye from common vegetables, teas, and spices-our how-to guide to sustainable Easter eggs takes you through every step.

Spring is a time of refreshment, renewal, and celebration. And, we don’t have to buy anything at all to know and enjoy that! But for the things you do decide to buy, remember that sustainable options are out there for all of your sustainable holiday traditions!

Sustainable Holiday

Sustainable Easter Gift Ideas:

This delicious soap.

Our favorite travel mug that keeps your bunny’s coffee hot for so long!

An organic, sewn-in-DC Lady Farmer designed and approved apron.

American-made socks.

Plastic free hairties. The pink ones are especially for Easter.

Sustainable Fabric: The Quick and Dirty about Cotton

Sustainable Fabric: The Quick and Dirty about Cotton

Often when we think of sustainable fabric with natural fibers, we think of cotton. It is grown in America and marketed as one of the softest and most useful materials for our everyday needs. Many consider it a sustainable fabric choice for clothing and will choose it over synthetics and other blends. So, a label that says 100% Cotton might instill consumer confidence in the product. And it may communicate to the consumer that the product is safe and reliable. But, that’s a dangerous assumption to make.

What You Need to Know About Conventionally Grown Cotton, the World’s Dirtiest Crop

Despite it’s reputation as a natural choice for sustainable fabric and clothing, cotton is highly contaminated. Yes, you read that right! Cotton is NOT the product it is marketed to be.

A report by The Environmental Justice Foundation reveals the routine use of harmful chemicals, including nerve agents and neurotoxins, on cotton crops. And, according to the Organic Trade Association, as reported in an article by Dr. Joseph Mercola, “Cotton is considered the world’s ‘dirtiest’ crop due to its heavy use of insecticides, the most hazardous pesticide to human and animal health.”

He also reports, “Cotton covers 2.5% of the world’s cultivated land yet uses 16% of the world’s insecticides, more than any other single major crop. Aldicarb, parathion, and methamidopho, three of the most acutely hazardous insecticides to human health as determined by the World Health Organization, rank in the top ten most commonly used in cotton production. All but one of the remaining seven most commonly used are classified as moderately to highly hazardous. Aldicarb, cotton’s second best selling insecticide and most acutely poisonous to humans, can kill a man with just one drop absorbed through the skin, yet it is still used in 25 countries and the US, where 16 states have reported it in their groundwater.”

It’s Not Just the Crops

However, the problems with toxins in the cotton industry are not limited to just the cultivation of the crop.

The Organic Consumers Association (OCA) explains, “As an aid in harvesting, herbicides are used to defoliate the plants, making picking easier. More chemicals [are used] in the process of bleaching. Stain and odor resistance, fireproofing, and static- and wrinkle-reduction. Some of the softeners and detergents leave a residue that will not totally be removed from the final product. Chemicals often used for finishing include formaldehyde, caustic soda, sulfuric acid, bromines, urea resins, sulfonamides, halogens, and bromines.”

Our skin is our largest organ and absorbs what we put on our bodies. It makes sense that we would want to avoid this kind of toxic exposure for ourselves and our children. So, what can we do?

Sustainable Fabric

Organic Cotton is a Sustainable Fabric and Safer Alternative

According to the Organic Trade Commission, “Organic cotton is grown without the use of toxic and persistent pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. In addition, federal regulations prohibit the use of genetically engineered seed for organic farming. All cotton sold as organic in the United States must meet strict federal regulations covering how the cotton is grown.

It’s true that clothing made from organic cotton will most likely cost you more. The cultivation of sustainable crops require investments and methods outside of  conventional industry practices.  This means greater costs and lower margins for the producers. Organic cotton farmers are using sustainable practices in their efforts to protect the environment and avoid chemical use. They are also maintaining soil fertility, preserving biodiversity and conserving water.

Always Choose Organic Cotton for Babies and Children

Consumers seeking more sustainable options might take these factors into consideration when making purchasing decisions. Some think it’s worth the extra cost to avoid the health and environmental problems that come with conventionally grown cotton. But, you might be limited in your ability to afford sustainable products in all of your clothing purchases.  If this is the case, please consider organic cotton over conventional for your babies and young children. Because of their developing brains and organs, they are more susceptible than adults to the harm of these toxins.

We’re committed to guiding you in your sustainable lifestyle journey. Click HERE to get free information, resources and updates from Lady Farmer.

Sustainable Fabrics

Sustainable Shopping with Lady Farmer

Slow Living: Sowing the Seeds

Slow Living: Sowing the Seeds

What is slow living?

slow living

You might be hearing this term more and more lately, along with slow food and slow fashion.  So what’s with this slow movement? What does it mean, and do we need it? If so, why?

At Lady Farmer, our understanding of slow living comes from making conscious choices about how we live our lives. It’s about paying attention to how we spend our time, money and resources. And, in doing so we take a step back from the industrialized systems that provide our daily needs. In observing  our own consumer habits we can evaluate our own quality of life.

Slow living

Front Porch Days

It’s not difficult to recognize  how quickly our society has left slow living behind.  Some of us only have to look back a generation or two  to recall a different era. We hear about a time when people whiled away the hours sitting on the front porch. Yet it wasn’t that they had less to do. People  weren’t dependent on factory farms thousands of miles away for their food. Nor did they require chain stores for cheap clothing made overseas by impoverished workers. It has been less than a century since many Americans fed and clothed themselves for the most part.

Fast forward to now, when practically every single thing we use is bought from a store. Most of these things are used up or broken in a relatively short period of time. Then they are tossed into the land of “trash,” that place society assumes is the endpoint of our concern.

In the Name of Sustenance

Our food supply, too, has long left the realm of self-production.  It now has much more connection to a factory or a lab than the land. Food today has been sprayed, machinated, wrapped, frozen, fortified, processed, sealed, flown around the globe, clam-shelled and shelved. Then we come along and happily pull these things from the supermarket aisles in the name of sustenance.

As for clothing, almost everything available today has been produced at a terrible cost to the environment. In addition, millions of  overworked and underpaid laborers work in deplorable conditions to fuel the toxic apparel industry. This broken system perpetuates our manic, throw- away habits while barely making a dent in our pocketbooks.

The Slow Living Choice

Slow living might have a different feel or  pace, but it is not the same as leisure. The slow living  choice to feed and clothe ourselves closer to the source might not take less time, work or money. In some instances it might take more. Those that have made the conscious decision to eat more locally know this. It takes effort and organization to seek out local sources and very often requires us to pay more. Growing your own is a wonderful option but there is a great deal of effort and energy involved. Yet, this is the choice we make over driving to the megamarket and buying packaged and processed food.

slow living

Likewise, sustainably sourced and produced clothing certainly will cost more in terms of dollars and cents. Yet this is the choice for the land, our water, our fellow humans and our own health.  Many people aren’t able to buy clothes made from responsible sources and well paid workers. The prevailing fast fashion system has squeezed the life out of this model. The availability of ethically produced apparel is extremely limited, putting the many consumers in a position with little choice. We encourage slow living practices such as buying less, buying thrift and participating in clothing swaps. It’s a great way to have fun and encourage others to dress sustainably.

The Hand that Feeds Us

Our goal in exploring the idea of slow living is to identify where we have become separated from “the hand that feeds us,” so to speak. In embracing slow living,  we want to see ourselves apart from mass production and consumption.  Our desire is to hear our own voice inside the noisy torrent of information, and seek out the things we truly value. In that space is where we reclaim our allotted time on the planet and create our truly authentic lives.

slow living

To help you in your own exploration of slow living, we provide information, resources, videos, courses and products. We also have our own, in house designed, responsibly and locally manufactured apparel line. We hope you’ll use these only in ways that seem helpful to you, remembering that you alone are the one true expert on your own life. So come join us in whatever way feels right.

It’s good to be waking up.

Mary Kingsley

Sustainable Lifestyle: The Lady Farmer Way

Sustainable Lifestyle: The Lady Farmer Way

What is sustainable living?

We most often think of sustainability  in terms of protecting rather than depleting our natural resources.  Reducing  our trash and avoiding plastic are positive steps towards living a more sustainable life. Eating local foods, driving less and choosing responsibly sourced clothing and household products are key as well.

Yet sustainable living is also about reducing the stresses and demands that deplete your energy and vitality.  It requires balance in your personal resources, your personal time, energy, creativity and passion.  Having respect for your spaces, your home and work environments are all part of it as well. It’s about creating the systems that work for you in living the life you want.Sustainable

 

Sustainable Simplicity

We live in a consumer economy, so that we generally have to buy everything we use. Yet as a culture, we have taken this behavior far beyond our basic needs for food, clothing and shelter.  Much of our time and space are taken up doing and acquiring things that are beyond our needs. Consequently, we feel we never have enough time in the day and our surroundings are cluttered and chaotic.

Sustainable simplicity means having everything you need for your safety, comfort and well being without all the excess. When we’re willing  to pay attention, we can make choices that enhance rather than deplete our quality of life. Local food, responsibly sourced clothing and carefully chosen home and lifestyle products can shift our lives towards sustainable simplicity.  When we’re willing to honestly observe our own consumer decisions, we can see where change is necessary. Sustainable living has to do with making conscious choices every day.

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A Sustainable Earth Home

As for this earth we all share, sustainable living means waking up to the impact of our human behavior.  

A healthy, balanced life necessarily includes some degree of cleanliness, order and respect for where we live. Most of us don’t dump nasty things in our living room or poison our own wells. Nor do we  burn things that create bad air in the house, drop trash wherever or destroy things that happen to be in our way.

Yet that’s exactly the way humans have behaved on the planet.

A Way of Life

Sustainable living was once a way of life for our ancestors. It was the way of survival.  Yet somewhere along the line, we began to think, act and live as if we are separate from nature.  As the dominant species, we have behaved as if it all exists for our own use and benefit, that resources were there to be used up for our immediate gratification and that it doesn’t matter what mess we leave behind.

I like to take a hopeful view of this. Perhaps humanity is moving closer to a tipping point when our unconscious behavior is no longer the norm. We’ve all seen pictures of the plastic waste island the size of Texas.  Or, heard the news that Cape Town is out of water. And, we’ve all had friends or family taken way too soon from some cancer that was once rare, but has increased exponentially.

Real Food Doesn’t Come from a Box

Maybe more of us are teaching our children that real food doesn’t come from a box and that single use plastic is not a sustainable option.  Maybe we’re all learning to get our hands in the dirt more and sometimes walk barefoot, look at the sky instead of our phones, consider what we put in and on our bodies actually does make a difference.

We created Lady Farmer to demonstrate, educate and inspire you in your personal expression of sustainable simplicity. We also offer sustainable choices in clothing and lifestyle products. Please visit our website for a wealth of resources and information, and our online shop for  sustainable shopping! While you’re there, sign up for our newsletter so you can stay updated on all of our latest news and offerings, including the print edition of our soon- to -be- released book,  The Lady Farmer Guide to Slow Living; Creating Sustainable Simplicity Close to Home.

7 Days of Easy “Real Food” Winter Meals

7 Days of Easy “Real Food” Winter Meals

Healthy, hearty winter meal preparation is simple with these “real food” staples on hand.

hearty-winter-meal

What is “real food”?

Real food is organic, seasonal, fresh, non-processed ingredients. Local is best, of course, but getting things fresh from closer-to-home is more of a challenge in winter, so when our neighboring farms are in low supply we do okay at small organic markets.

Here’s a shopping list* of things we try to keep in stock for a week of deeply nourishing soups, stews and suppers that keep us going through the cold months.

Real Food Shopping List

  • Whole pastured chicken
  • Beef Stew cubes (grass-fed)
  • Soup Bones (grass-fed beef, foraged pork, pastured chicken feet)
  • Pastured Eggs
  • Fresh root vegetables–carrots (purple or red for more nutrient density), parsnips, turnips, beets, rutabagas
  • Other seasonal vegetables-sweet potatoes, orange and purple varieties, white potatoes, cabbage (red and green)
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Greens (kale, chard, dandelion, spinach, lettuce)

*Some Real Food Shopping Tips

  • Look for “pastured” eggs and chicken, if possible, as opposed to organic, free range, or cage free, all of which are misleading labels.
  • Choose the loose vegetables over the ones in plastic bags, boxes or containers.
  • Choose the carrots with the tops still attached. This usually indicates they are more fresh.
  • Resist the urge to place all of your produce into separate plastic bags. Just put it all directly into your shopping bag and you’ll love not having to deal with the annoyance of all that plastic when you get home.
  • Check out this blog for a lot more information on real food shopping, and optimizing nutrition when buying from the supermarket!

Below are meal suggestions for the week using these ingredients. You may of course want to supplement with bread, rice, pasta, cheeses, etc. as desired.

Real Food Daily Menu Suggestions

hearty - roast- chicken

Sunday

Roast the chicken (basic recipe here) with carrots, potatoes, garlic and onion. Add beets, turnips or other root vegetables tossed in olive oil if desired. Serve a fresh green salad with your meal. Remove all meat from the bone and whatever is left over from your meal refrigerate for later use. Place the chicken carcass (and the chicken feet, if you have them) in a slow cooker, cover with water, add with a quartered onion and two celery sticks cut in half, salt and pepper. Cook on low for 12-18 hours.

Monday

When cooled, strain the broth removing the bones and vegetable matter for the compost. Cut up onion, celery, garlic, carrots and chopped cabbage, cook in the bottom of a soup pot in plenty of grass-fed butter until tender. Add the broth and let it cook on low for 2-4 hours. Enjoy your soup dinner and store leftovers in the refrigerator to eat later.

Start your beef broth by placing the bones in the slow cooker just covered with water and adding onion, salt, celery and any other vegetable scraps. (Here’s the authoritative book on broth!) Set on low and let it cook for 24 — 36 hours.

Tuesday

Chop up mixed greens and add the leftover chicken for a light supper.

Wednesday

Strain your beef broth early in the day and let it chill. Save the bones in the refrigerator. 2-3 hours before your meal, brown the beef stew cubes in butter with onion, garlic and a little flour. Stir in chopped celery, cabbage and any root vegetables such as parsnips, rutabagas or potatoes and allow to cook for a few minutes. Remove the beef broth from the refrigerator and take off the fat that has formed on top .When vegetables are softened add the skimmed broth to the pot. Cook it all together slowly on a low temperature a couple of hours or until meat is tender.

Thursday

Serve leftover beef stew or chicken soup with a chopped slaw using the red cabbage, what’s left of the green cabbage, chopped celery, onion and a grated carrot. Mix together and dress with olive oil, apple cider vinegar and salt to taste.

Friday

Early in the day, start another batch of beef broth with the bones you used earlier in the week. For your evening meal, saute several cups of fresh spinach, kale or chard with some chopped onion in a skillet on the stovetop and whisk 4 eggs in a separate bowl. When the spinach is nearly cooked down, add the eggs to the skillet and stir until they are cooked and blended with the spinach. Season as desired, sprinkle fresh cheese on top and serve.

Saturday

Cool and strain your beef broth. You’ve already removed the fat so you don’t need to chill it this time. Start your dinner by using any leftover vegetables you desire and slow cook them in the broth. When the vegetables are tender, take an immersion blender and partially puree the soup so that it’s thick and chunky. Serve with green salad if you still have greens left from the week or any leftover slaw.

Wrap-Up

So there you have it, a full week (or more!) of fresh, nourishing meals made from simple ingredients straight from the earth! Whenever you’ve eaten through all of this you can go shopping and repeat the menus, mixing them up or varying them in any way you want, or of course adapting your own favorite recipes to real food ingredients.

You get the idea. No plastic, cardboard, cellophane, preservatives, additives required–no factories involved and ideally, minimal distances traveled from ground to table. In our way of looking at it, eating locally and simply is an important aspect of slow living because it’s supporting better health, less waste and a more sustainable food supply.

Interested in learning more about slow living and the sustainable lifestyle?

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Real-Food-Winter-Meals-and-Shopping-List

7-Days-of-Easy-Real-Food-Winter-Meals

Slow Shopping

Slow Shopping

The season of celebration and festivity has begun, and with it a blast of cultural messaging telling us that it’s time to get busy and buy lots of things! Meanwhile (here in the northern hemisphere) the light is waning, the plants are shifting into dormancy and animals are going into hibernation. Nature– our nature– tells us it’s time to go inward to seek respite and restoration while the voices of commerce would have us believe that peace and joy come with going out and shopping. While we know that’s not true, avoiding it altogether usually isn’t practical.

Celebrations and gift giving are true expressions of the heart — but the real and meaningful behind it all is too often entangled with consumer habits that drain our energy, our resources and our joy. We experience this conflict in our minds and our bodies and end up exhausted. So how do we navigate this season where nature, our traditions and our consumer culture are pulling us in so many different directions?

In recognition of Black Friday and all that it stands for, here are some suggestions for keeping the buying in balance.

A Guide for Slow Shopping

  • Think about the holiday traditions and activities that bring you the most enjoyment such as planning gatherings, cooking, baking, gift giving, traveling, attending special performances, listening to seasonal music, etc. Make it a point to plan your time around these as much as possible.
  • From the above, make a list of  which ones actually require purchases.
    • For instance, if you’ve having people over, take a good look through your cupboards to see what you already have before making your list. Challenge yourself to use things you already have to reduce what your have to buy. Consolidate your shopping trips and plan them during a time when you aren’t as likely to be tired or rushed.
  • For gift giving, consider giving experiences rather than material things.
    • This is a great idea for anyone of any age. Promise tea with a friend, an evening of Netflix with your teenager, an afternoon of making cookies with a pre-schooler. If the presentation is important to you or the recipient, you can cleverly gift -wrap a note of explanation!
  • Be conscious of who and what you are supporting with your purchases.
    • Think about materials, sourcing and labor practices and seek alternatives for those things that you feel don’t deserve your dollar.
  • Try to observe when the outside noise of advertising and false expectations are draining your energy and joy.
    • Focus again on the things that you know you love about this season and center your activities around those.
  • Remember that The gift of kindness is free to everyone!
  • Look for the beautiful, peaceful, and joyful expressions of the season and you will find them!

We’re intentionally having a slow holiday week with family, but we’ve curated some lovely sustainable, responsibly sourced lifestyle items  as “slow shopping” choices for you. Look for them to be up in our online store by Wednesday. In the meantime enJOY this special time of year.

Lady Farmer Love,

Mary and Emma

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Summer With Lady Farmer – thoughts from our Summer Intern, Vanessa

My Summer With Lady Farmer – thoughts from our Summer Intern, Vanessa

I feel like I’ve blinked and the summer has passed completely. With one day left at my internship with Lady Farmer, I thought I would share a little bit about what I’ve spent my time working on and what I’ve learned as I walk away from Three Graces Farm.

Lady Farmers Vanessa, Mary and Emma enjoying a little front porch time

My excitement for Lady Farmer began months before I started working with Mary and Emma; I found LF on instagram and absolutely swooned over the Persephone dresses and every beautifully edited photo they had posted. As an environmental leader on my college campus and a two-year employee at my school’s small, education-focused organic farm, I totally aligned with LF’s purpose of shifting consumer culture through well-sourced and responsible clothing.

During my time here I’ve filmed and edited the product videos you’ve been seeing around (more to come!), written blog posts, and helped wrap and ship out your orders. Emma has shown me how to use software that manages LF’s social media platforms and given me access to online classes that have helped me pitch the brand to magazines, draft the perfect instagram caption, and more. All of which is immensely marketable experience that’ll likely help me find work after I graduate; I couldn’t be more thankful.

On the other end of things, Mary has given me advice whenever I needed it, taught me about backyard herbalism, shown me how to ferment vegetables, make kefir, explained the importance of raw milk and foraged foods, and been a real-life example of how a busy person (a mother, author, and business owner) can actualize Slow Living. She’s given me life skills that I will be able to take with me wherever I go in the future, and for that I’m incredibly grateful.

My favorite part of working with the Kingsleys was their ritual lunch; no matter where we were in a project, at 11:30 one of us would set a table in the shade of a walnut tree while the other two would bring out an inevitably delicious combination of foods from the fridge or garden: toasted sourdough, fresh tomatoes, raw cheese from the Tuesday afternoon markets, pesto made with sweet basil and lambsquarters, fermented beets and cucumbers, sauerkraut, boiled eggs, dandelion salads. With Mary’s tulsi tea in hand, we’d eat and “talk shop,” discussing the fashion industry, influencers we admire on instagram, the Slow Living Conference, new discoveries about the benefits of such-and-such. The ever-present thread that connected our conversation, us, the company, and everyone who follows Lady Farmer was the question: How can we live slowly, consume consciously, and work to better the planet  while still going through the motions of “normal” life?

I don’t know the answer, and I doubt any one person does–even Emma and Mary. But another value they’ve impressed on me during my time here is community. And beyond just selling clothes, I believe that Lady Farmer is working to foster a community of women who are equally baffled by the above question and want to come together to discuss it, whether that’s through social media or in person.

I’ll be studying in Madagascar this fall, and while I’m there I hope to interview the women who head households, work in agriculture, and heal their communities–meeting the Lady Farmers of another culture! One of the few drawbacks about my upcoming trip is the fact that I’ll not be here in November for the Slow Living Conference. After hearing so much about it, writing about the speakers, food, and location, I’m very disappointed that I can’t go myself. What the conference seeks to accomplish is to start answering that lifelong question, even if it’s only in select areas of our lives. It will provide people with new tools to achieve the life that we all dream of, while introducing the unique and inspiring Lady Farmer community to meet and love and learn from each other, as I have been fortunate enough to do with Mary and Emma for the past two months.

I’ve loved this summer, loved my wonderful bosses, and loved getting to know you all! Thank you for reading and watching my work. I hope the descent of autumn brings you closer to the communities of inspiring women you have already in your lives.

Signing off for the last time!

Vanessa Moss

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lady Farmer Slow Living Conference and Retreat 2018: Looking Ahead

Lady Farmer Slow Living Conference and Retreat 2018: Looking Ahead

It’s still mid-summer, but the wheel of the year is turning, my friends, and it’s not too early to be thinking about fall plans. It’s so easy to get caught up and let time just fly by without slowing down to notice your life. That’s why we’re here, and we’ve got something very special planned for you!

Our Lady Farmer Slow Living Conference Retreat  is November 9th-11th at Zigbone Farm in Sabillasville, MD, a beautiful mountain retreat less than 1.5 hours from DC/Baltimore and 30 minutes from Frederick. Our participants will be treated to a lovingly curated weekend of amazing workshops and awesome speakers, helping us all go deeper into the things that have called us into this community – sustainability, slow living, self care with journaling and affirmations, learning to live into your own inner seasons and cycles, and self discovery through nature immersion – preparing ourselves for the full and often demanding season that follows. Get an introduction to our presenters and what they’re offering here. In addition to an abundance of learning opportunities, the weekend will be a wonderful experience of friends old and new coming together to be nourished, restored and inspired by all things slow living, including ample time to enjoy this peaceful rural environment.

As for the meals, our vision of this event includes exceptional food that meets our standards of delicious, nurturing and sustainable goodness in every bite. We welcome Green Plate Catering to our gathering, a “Green America Gold” certified business which shares our passion for locally sourced, nutrient dense foods and zero waste. Remarkably, they are fully on board with our goal for a single-use plastic-free weekend! All of our meals will be farm-to-table (sourced from the farmer down the road!), organic, seasonal, and lovingly prepared with the utmost care for your enjoyment and well-being as well as the sustainability of the land, and shared communally in the green-built event hall.

In order to maintain a relaxing, community atmosphere where people can get to know  and enjoy one another during this shared experience, the number of participants will be limited to less than one hundred people. So if this opportunity is speaking to you, please visit the Conference and Retreat page for everything you need to know and then sign up to join us!

We are so very much looking forward to seeing you there.