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But when you feel that the earth loves you in return, that feeling transforms the relationship from a one-way street into a scared bond.
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This issue has important information about one of my favorite things to eat this time of year: strawberries! I’m also announcing 4 events I will be hosting and which I’m very excited about. In this issue you will also learn about a Social Swipe I think is very cool; why Paper Wasps are beneficial; where to find food that has been grown on a Regenerative Farm and a movie I saw recently that I thought was just beautiful.
#1 - Strawberries
Why we should eat only organically grown strawberries
Did you know that the average American eats about eight pounds of fresh strawberries a year – and with them, dozens of pesticides, including chemicals that have been linked to cancer and reproductive damage, or that are banned in Europe.
Non-organic strawberries tested by scientists at the Department of Agriculture in 2015 and 2016 contained an average of 7.8 different pesticides per sample, compared to 2.2 pesticides per sample for all other produce, according to EWG’s analysis.
What’s worse, strawberry growers use jaw-dropping volumes of poisonous gases to sterilize their fields before planting, killing every pest, weed and other living thing in the soil.
USDA tests found that strawberries were the fresh produce item most likely to be contaminated with pesticide residues, even after they are picked, rinsed in the field and washed before eating. For these reasons, strawberries continue to be at the top of the Dirty Dozen™ list.
Buy them organically grown or if you have a garden, grow your own!
Health benefits of including strawberries in our diet:
Strawberries are good for your whole body and deliver vitamins, fiber, and high levels of antioxidants known as polyphenols, without any sodium, fat, or cholesterol. They are among the top 20 fruits in antioxidant capacity and are a good source of manganese and potassium. Just one serving -- about eight strawberries -- provides more vitamin C than an orange.
#2 - River’s Edge Farm NY Workshops!
-June 24th-July 22nd-August 26th-September 23rd-
Here I am holding two of the gourd birdhouses I grew.
At last, I’m offering 4 workshops over this summer. I’ve spent the last 6 years creating, building and growing River’s Edge Farm into a Climate Resilient, Carbon Neutral, Zero Waste, Organic Vegetable and Medicinal gardens, where every plant, grass and vine planted were chosen because they benefit wildlife and biodiversity.
For example, the grasses featured here, with cup plant in the distance and a hidden honeysuckle vine, all are loved by butterflies, hummingbirds, bees and insects, which provide food for birds.
I think it’s ok to also include special plants that may only benefit your heart and soul. I planted three favorite plants of my parents which are peonies, hydrangeas and climbing roses. If insects love them as well, even better!
The enclosed vegetable garden that includes 50 raised beds I built myself
90% of the organic vegetables grown in the vegetable garden are from seeds I save every year, and the other 10% are from seeds from vegetables I’m trying out. This year it’s fave beans, and flax. If they are wonderful, then I save their seeds for the following year.
The medicinal garden, featured below, is where I grow my own medicine. I took a medicinal plant course from Cornell, and from which I received a Medicinal Plant Certification 2 years ago. It broadened my knowledge way further than growing mint for tea! I’m still experimenting, one plant at a time, but have quite a few that have become fixtures in my year-round self-care routines. I want to tell you about them!
I hope that you will join me for an inspiring journey through my eco-friendly haven.
I can't wait to guide you through the various sections of the farm, sharing insights on the what, why, and how of everything growing here and explore the food production area, composting zone, insect house, and where I grow my own Christmas ornaments, birdhouses, sponges, and toothpicks.
River's Edge Farm demonstrates the power of sustainable and ecologically sound management practices that are both achievable and maintainable.
This enlightening tour is perfect for everyone, from beginners to seasoned professionals. I’ll share with you all that I know so you can begin your journey to creating your own haven.
Highlights of Workshops will be:
Vegetables to grow
Easiest medicinal plants to grow
Native pollinator loving flowers
Benefits of a weed pile
Seed Collecting and Storing
Hanging up in as if on a laundry line, will be information sheets to photograph of helpful lists of Native Flowers for Pollinators; Medicinal Plants; Best Vegetables; Beware of the Plants that Spread; Grasses for Biodiversity and Seeds to Collect.
You will find my workshops here
#3 Paper Wasps
-aka social wasps-
Wasps are important in the environment by providing multiple ecosystem services including pollination, but are especially critical for pest control in our gardens, public lands, and croplands.
Paper wasps, also know as social wasps, are predators and as such they play a vital ecological role, controlling the numbers of potential pests like greenfly and many caterpillars. Put simply, without wasps, we would be overrun with insect pests.
Wasp pollination and predatory efforts are signs of a healthy ecosystem!
Paper wasp nests are constructed from wood fibres collected and then mixed with water by industrious wasp workers to make a kind of papier maché capable of producing very strong and long-lasting structures. The nests start to develop in late spring, when queen wasps emerge from hibernation. Building a small nest of just a few paper cells, the queen must rear the first set of workers alone before the first batch of worker wasps can start to take over the work required by the developing colony. Paper wasps provision their nests with all manner of live insects to feed the developing larvae. It takes a lot of bugs to feed a hungry brood, and it's through these needs that paper wasps provide vital pest control services. By the fall, the nests are empty and aren’t reused the following year. Instead, they provide shelter for birds or building material for their nests the following spring.
Researchers have found evidence of wasps visiting 960 plant species. This included 164 species that are completely dependent on wasps for pollination, such as some orchid species that have evolved adaptations to attract the wasps they rely on, such as an appearance that mimics the back end of a female wasp. Many wasps are also generalist pollinators that visit a wide variety of plants, so the researchers say they could serve as 'backup pollinators' if a plant loses its local primary pollinator.
In case you are bothered by wasps when having a meal outdoors, one method to deter them that has worked for me over the years is by hanging a glass wasp catcher at least 30 feet away from the table. Add sugar water, a piece of cooked chicken or melon to the inside (only one thing at a time). This will attract the wasps away from your table and into the wasp catcher.
Source: science daily
#4 The Misereor Social Swipe
-small movement, big effect-
MISEREOR Social Swipe is the first interactive billboard to accept credit cards, making donating easier than ever before. A simple credit card swipe through the poster donated 2 euros to MISEREOR, which then triggers an interactive experience: the card cut a slice of bread from a loaf, illustrating that the money donated was providing a daily meal for a family in Peru.
All processes connected with A donation has to be synchronized. When a card is swiped, a secure process quickly authenticates it and in a split second activates a film sequence on screen.
Germany’s biggest catholic aid organisation MISEREOR works for the world’s poorest people, regardless of denomination. We develop prize-winning campaigns and new products based on the principle of ‘Playful, not pitiful’.
I would be interested to know how successful this system is and how much of the funds reach those they are intended for. In many cases, the funds that we donate to certain charitable organizations are whittled down to pay for admin costs, with only a fraction of the money reaching the people in need.
There is a research tool called Charity Navigator, which vets thousands of charities in the United States.
#5 - Regenerative Farm Grown Food Sources
Regenerative farming practices help protect farmers’ livelihoods, the global food supply, biodiversity, and the health of the planet.
Are you choosing food that was grown on a regenerative farm?
These retailers are taking major steps to advance regenerative agriculture: Sprouts Farmers Market, Natural Grocers, and Walmart, according to The Organic and Non-GMO Report. Amazon-owned Whole Foods Market is also a leader in this space.
When shopping for regeneratively grown foods, look for “regenerative” labeled products in grocery store aisles or on store websites. Some of the brands to look for are Horizon, Maple Hill, and Nature’s Path Organic.
We can also buy directly from farmers.
Learn who the farmers are in your area, and where the food is grown and where you can purchase it, because you can’t really know if something is regenerative unless you know the farmers.
Many regenerative farms sell their products online, such as flour, pasta, beef, and more. The network Global Food & Farm Community features farmers and food companies that have built a partnership with farmers who have a solid track record of regenerative growing practices.
These databases can also help you find regenerative farms and ranches in your area:
#6 Movie Recommendation
-beautifully shot film-there is no plot-it’s just visuals-
Gods of Mexico
With visually stunning landscapes and immersive sound, Gods of Mexico is a poetic survey of the vast landscapes and rich diversity of several communities of rural Mexico. Using richly saturated color and hypnotic black-and-white interludes, filmmaker Helmut Dosantos takes viewers through salt pans, deserts, highlands, jungle, and underground mines- paying tribute to those who fight to reserve their cultural identity amidst the shadows of modernization.
If the film isn’t playing in a theater near you, it’s available via AppleTV and Prime.
If you wish to browse my new store on Amazon, here is the link , or check my latest posts on Instagram or follow what’s happening at my climate resilient River’s Edge Farm, click here and visit my own online store, where you can also subscribe to this newsletter.
Wishing you and your loved ones all the best in all ways,
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