Parents are always looking for a fun way to engage their children, especially in these times. I came across the Wild Food Homeschool Teaching Guide, by Linda Runyon, from the Wild Food Company (OffTheField.com). Linda writes: “Over my decades of teaching about wild food, I’ve noticed that people who become interested in learning it often have two reactions — one right after the other. First, there are many who had no idea that FREE, tasty nutrition is available everywhere, right under their nose. Second, wheels start turning in their minds as they realize that they have come upon information that practically guarantees that they and their loved ones need never go hungry.”
Children are fascinated with the idea of going out in their back yard, or to an open field or forest, to find that the wild food growing there can be picked, washed, and eaten. They, soon after, become very interested in finding additional wild plants to identify and harvest. They love to help prepare meals that can be served using the foods that they themselves gather. The guide includes a “Rules of Foraging” list and a fun project where you rototill a patch of ground in your yard to just wait and see what springs up naturally to identify, harvest, and eat.
Every child remembers summer-fun foods—my favorite was watermelon! When my first child was 8 months old, she grabbed my watermelon rind and started teething on it—her first food! Since then, I have watched and studied for information on these wonderful balls of Mother Nature’s purest water. Here’s a sampling.
Starting in 1979, Dr. N.W. Walker, who wrote Colon Health—The Key to Vibrant Life, states: “The cause of death is colon neglect. Flush it out! Maintain the water balance in your systems. The human body consists of 65% to 70% water. About one gallon is eliminated every 24 hours and must be replenished.”
In 1988, Ann Wigmore, ND, DD, in The Alchemy of Change, wrote: “Watermelon is a real treasure! It is classified as both a fruit and a vegetable. It is the most alkaline of any of them. It provides a great aid for overcoming any acid condition. Considering our present hazardous water conditions, watermelon contains the best natural water.
Looking out at the snow-covered garden and frozen ground, as winter lingers on, I count on my greens to provide me with chlorophyll, known as “liquid sunlight.” I recently had the wonderful opportunity to meet Sam Mascari, owner of Montana Roots in Livingston, and to tour his magical greenhouses. Right before my eyes, I saw what I had previously only read about—an aqua-ponic, recirculating, greenhouse ecosystem! It starts with the tank of fish that provides fertilizer, which is then pumped into a biological filter bed that is rich with worms and beneficial bacteria.
Montana Roots is a year-round, sustainable farm that grows a variety of microgreens, shoots, leafy greens, herbs, and edible flowers. Sam explained to me the difference between sprouts and microgreens. Sprouts, grown in a jar, are more the germinated seeds and the roots; whereas, microgreens are eaten after the first leaves (called cotyledons) emerge from a plant. It grows in soil that is a significant part of the embryo within the seed of a plant. Upon germination, the cotyledon becomes the embryonic first leaves of a seedling, before adult leafing occurs.
Yes, the temperatures are dropping, making it the perfect season to reach for warming foods. Think: Herb teas, hot lemon-ginger water, broths, soups, stews, sauces and gravies, crockpot, slow-cooked meals, and warming smoothies. Include: Garlic, onion, Mexican hot peppers, radishes, all types of sea vegetables. Use: Herbs like basil, oregano, peppermint, ginger, horseradish, mustard, paprika, cayenne, sage, and turmeric. Add: wasabi, umoboshi plum paste. Spices too: cinnamon, clove, star anise, licorice, nutmeg, allspice, and pumpkin-pie spice. Stir your rose-hips tea with a cinnamon stick!
Dr. Richard Schulze, ND, MH, is known for his natural-healing crusade. He reminds us: 1) Cayenne pepper promotes overall core warmth, circulation and heart health. 2) Horseradish root goes right to the head. 3) Ginger root goes out to the extremities and back in again internally, creating movement as a wave of warmth. There you have it—heart, head and hands!
Did you know there are both cooling and warming foods? That’s right. We eat for many reasons, yet some are less obvious. For example, we eat foods that grow in our climate zones, the same zones that we plant by, because the plants that grow in our climate have built into them what we need to also survive well in our area. So here we are, leaving summer behind, and on the threshold of winter. Autumn is a transition season, not only for the plants and animals but also for us. All gardeners know that the critters will focus on eating different plants at different times of the year. Does your diet reflect that change?
Summer’s cooling foods, like bananas, grow in warmer climates. Does that mean I never eat bananas? Of course not, yet I choose to eat them in the hotter months and know they won’t keep me very warm in my neck of the woods at 20 below! Many people say, “Well, I eat a banana a day because I was told I need potassium.” Bananas are a source of potassium, but dates, by weight, have 50% more potassium than bananas (Prevention Magazine).
There are many aspects to growing your own food, especially in the colder climate that we have here in Montana. Working with nature is the goal and that begins with your seeds. It is important to consider the way we are handling today’s seeds. So many hybrids have been developed that you actually have to seek out original, non-hybrid seeds. Hybrid plants are sterile, meaning that seeds must be purchased for every planting. They cannot be saved and shared from year to year as your ancestors did in the past! This may be good for the seed companies, but NOT for the seeds. The National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences has indicated that since many of our crops are so genetically uniform through hybrids, they could easily be wiped out by one disastrous disease epidemic.
Most of our vegetables were derived from herbs, but they no longer have the essence, the pungent tastes, or the odors of those herbs. They are increasingly losing their power and effect in the human body. These original, non-hybrid seeds produce crops with immunities to pests and blights through struggles of nature. These seeds have survived the centuries, and so did we.
Hello! We are Baked in Montana—a farm and business based in Gallatin County. We grow hemp, extract CBD, and process our products locally. Our goal is to promote a healthy lifestyle by using natural products, while addressing some of our cultural and environmental problems. Today we would like to share our farming philosophy with you.
Creating and sustaining healthy soil is part of restoring an ecosystem. We find ways to partner with natural processes instead of working against them. This has been our passion over the last several seasons of growing. We work to heal the soil by reintroducing organic materials and microorganisms. We cut back on practices that damage natural soil systems, such as tilling, pesticides, herbicides, commercial fertilizing, and over-irrigating.
As we eagerly await the emergence of our newly planted gardens, I invite you to explore the bountiful, mineral-rich, ocean-grounding water plants known as sea vegetables. Easy to find year-round at most grocery stores, the most common sea vegetables are nori, kombu, dulse and arame. They are harvested, dried and packaged and last for years on your pantry shelf.
This extremely powerful wild food contains all the mineral nutrients of the ocean. It actually sponges up toxic heavy metals, radiation, dioxins, pesticides like DDT and many other poisons, to absorb and deactivate them through their bioactive phytochemicals. They lock onto the toxic waste, draw out the poisons, and only leave behind over 50 nutrient-packed, supercharged, ocean-grounding nutrients. These whole-food, mineral-rich nutrients are ultra-bioavailable and easily digested, assimilated, and utilized by every cell and system in our bodies.
Beautiful by nature, roses delight the senses: visual, touch, scent and taste. Yes, taste! This edible flower is used as oils, essences and food. Organic, wild-crafted rose petals can be put in salads, and in side dishes. Yet roses are best known for their rose hips in tea. (They grow in my garden and the deer love them too!)
One cup of rose-hips tea has more whole-food vitamin C in it than a whole bag of California oranges that have been sprayed, picked, stored and gassed to make them turn orange. Most recently, I have been using powdered rose hips found at my local health-food store. It is very versatile and a wonderful cell food. It mixes easily into a fruit salad, fresh juices and smoothies, and apricot-coconut-nut balls. Be creative and enjoy roses all year long!
Following the natural cycles and seasons of Mother Nature, autumn is a time of layering her debris left behind from the harvesting of the fruits of her labor. This ground debris sits under winter’s blanket of snow, which for me last year began the first week of September. The breaking-down process utilizes soil microbes, turning vegetation back into soil for next year’s plant growth. Mother Nature is very efficient—she recycles everything. (See “The Humic/Fulvic Missing Link: It’s in the Leaves!” NLND Jul–Aug ‘16.)
The dirt beneath your feet is the key foundation to future healthy plants—and for us as we eat them.
I chose this natural method of mulch gardening years ago. I then combined it with the layered, “lasagna” and straw-bale methods. (See “Straw Bale Gardens—Breakthrough Method,” NLND May–June ‘15.) The mystic Anastasia, in The Ringing Cedar Series, also agrees with the natural layering process, reminding us that our planet Earth responds well to being worked, touched and caressed by loving human hands, using small hand tools. (See “Ancient Wisdom for Planting Seeds,” NLND Nov–Dec ‘17.)