The future of food security belongs to our children. Many of which believe their food comes pre-washed and packaged from the grocery store. It is important now more than ever, to educate both children and adults about where their food comes from. Agricultural education is a key factor in providing future generations with quality and sustainable food sources.
As we begin to remove ourselves further away from our roots, ignorance is beginning to negatively effect today’s farming community. Bills are passed by officials that have inadequate knowledge of the intricacies of farming and of our environment. Marketing knowledge and regulation is so sporadic that consumers have no clue what they are purchasing to nourish their families. Lack of education and transparency by our schools, government, and agricultural companies have people grasping to ideals about food that they don’t fully understand.
The wide world of agriculture was an obscure part of my life growing up as well. When we moved to a small farming community and I started high school, I discovered a little club that some of my readers may know about. This group, along with it’s accompanying classes changed my future as well as cultivated my interests in agriculture.
The Future Farmers of America or The FFA, provides endless outlets for students to inquire and pursue interests in all fields of agriculture. It also gives young adults the chance to lead, speak, and volunteer in local communities. Though agriculture programs are not offered in every school, I believe it should be part of all school curriculum. In the interim, there are other outlets to gain knowledge about food and where it comes from. Many communities that don’t have an FFA program offer out of school 4H programs, community gardens, and cooking programs. So if you or someone you know might be interested in learning more, ask your school or city council about programs that involve our youth in learning where their food comes from!
As we turn the corner into the summer season, we are beginning to see yields on our little farm. The chickens are days away from laying, and our garden is producing delicious fruits and vegetables. Here are a few photo updates of how the summer is panning out this year!
How is your summer going so far? Let me know in the comments!
I have been slacking in recent weeks with blog posts as the spring season has got our little homestead abuzz with chores! We had a short break to wander around local markets last weekend, and a trend within the beef industry in our area has become apparent to me. So I decided to crack open the laptop and make a few comments.
In the past few years, Wagyu beef has been in foodie news and articles because of its unique fat marbling qualities. If any of you have heard the term Kobe beef, you know what I am talking about. However, just because a product may advertise having Wagyu beef does not mean it is to the same standards as Kobe. The term Wagyu consists of four strains of cattle with breed origins from Japan. Kobe beef comes from a specific breed of Wagyu cattle in Kobe, Japan. These cattle are raised in a very specialized manner in order to earn the status of Kobe beef. If anyone is interested in this process let me know in the comments!
So, back to the markets. As we were strolling, shopping, and tasting our way through the city center, I encountered niche market products with the labeling, “Wagyu Beef”. This discovery, along with other observations such as farmers buying up more and more of these animals, made me realize the popularity of this strain of cattle is on the rise. My prediction is that the term, Wagyu, will soon be on the same level as the term, Angus, in the U.S. beef marketplace.
This post is about my personal observation. Please let me know if you are interested in more information like breed details, requirements, meat market niches, etc. There are a lot of rabbit holes to go down on this topic so tell me which way you are wanting to turn!
In a soup pot, add oil and chopped onions and fry until clear
Add minced garlic and Italian seasoning and fry for another minute or so
Add chicken broth and tomatoes and bring to a boil
Spoon bite sized portions of raw sausage into broth and simmer until cooked through
Add tortellini and spinach and cook until pasta is al dente and spinach is wilted.
Serve hot with Parmesan cheese on top
I am taking a break from my Toaster Tuesday recipes for awhile as spring chores have been stealing my time and zapping my ideas! I hope you all appreciate this quick easy meal as a substitute! This meal takes about 30 minutes from start to finish and is a great solution to dinner during a busy week. I love to serve it with fresh hot dinner rolls or with garlic bread.
Who remembers our girl Sequoia from a few weeks back? She had been at the rescue since fall of last year and has recently been adopted! Congratulations to Sequoia and her new owners!
Adopting animals can be as rewarding for pet owners as it is for their new companions. If you are looking for a new friend please consider this route as an option. Longmeadow Rescue Ranch has so many wonderful candidates for adoption it is crazy! If you are interested in browsing their adoptable animals feel free to visit their website. Please be sure to read their adoption requirements as these animals will only be adopted out to responsible and committed owners.
As spring begins to warm the ground, my winter planning sessions are finally coming to fruition. We have begun our gardening adventure on our little farm! My wonderful husband fenced in a triangular portion of our yard. Though our fence is not pest proof, it is toddler proof. I can let my little girl run and play in the dirt while I work the beds. He also lined the fence with flower beds to give our garden a finished look. I planted several varieties of flowers that attract pollinators and supposedly deter pests. We have quite the variety of wildlife here on our little piece of land so I will take what I can get!
The layout of our garden is as follows, one small vegetable bed as you walk through the gate, a container of herbs directly to the right side of the gate, and a tomato plot as you move past the herbs. When you come to the end of the tomatoes the fencing comes to a point as you round the corner. If you continue along the fence you will see three berry bushes: One blueberry, one blackberry, and one raspberry. And finally as you come full circle you will run into the peach tree we planted last fall. All of my fruit producing plants are self pollinating so I don’t have to worry about planting more than I can handle. I decided to plant the tree near my plots in hopes of left over fruit falling into the beds and fertilizing future garden plants. I left plenty of space if I want to expand my beds in the future, but as of right now it makes a wonderful play space for our daughter!
I have done several container gardens over the years but have never singled handedly managed an in ground garden. With this in mind, I consulted with a few experienced gardeners within the family and decided to start small with things we eat every day. My initial grow list consisted of romain lettuce, basil, tomatoes, okra, and sweet banana peppers. Now, after a couple of impulse buys and some gifted starter plants, that list has grown to include golden bell peppers, cabbage, and broccoli. I also purchased a small hanging strawberry plant for my daughter that now resides on our back porch. I am slowly adding plants to the beds as the days warm and frost becomes less of an issue.
I placed our plants directly into tilled soil and used a spray attachment that waters and fertilizes for the initial water session. I have plans of repeating this fertilizing method weekly. I also plan to use the compost I make from our kitchen scraps to spread over the garden. I have not needed to worry about pest control at this point, but I do see issues with moles in our future. They are all over our yard and it is a matter of time before they figure out where the good stuff is.
And thus concludes the most recent updates to our gardening adventures!
This week’s Spotlight features Truffle the pig! She is a sweet girl currently residing at Longmeadow Rescue Ranch.
Here is what Longmeadow’s staff have to say about her:
“I am a spayed female, black Pot Bellied. Shelter staff think I am about 3 years old. I have been at the shelter since Dec 16, 2020. Truffle was surrendered to Longmeadow when her owner could no longer provide the care she required. She is a sweet pig that enjoys spending her time napping in a pile of hay or playing in her water bowl. She is a very laid-back piggy that is mostly litter box trained! In her previous home she lived inside but had access to outdoors! She even lived with dogs and got along with them very well. (although pigs should never be left alone with dogs) She does not know any tricks, nor is she trained to walk on a harness. However, like most pigs, she is a quick learner and could easily pick up the skills!”
If you are interested in Truffle or in checking out the other wonderful animals looking for homes at this ranch feel free to visit their website.