The movement to sustainable, organic, and hyperlocal food is prompting a complete reenvisioning of what a farm is. Today, a farm means a small patch of living greens tucked away in your garden, on your balcony, or in your spare room. There are multiple benefits of growing your own produce; from controlling the growing process and what pesticides are on your food, to eliminating the struggle of finding trusted healthy, organic food at your grocery store.
KEEP A BEE HIVE
Starting an apiary is relatively easy and there are many reasons to keep your own honeybees. Honey is probably the most obvious answer! A single bee can produce 1/2 teaspoon of honey in her lifetime (about 6 weeks), and with a colony consisting of thousands of bees, that can add up quickly. Raw honey is not only a great sweetener, but has many wonderful antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal qualities. It’s been used as a potent healing agent for thousands of years and has recently been scientifically proven to treat a wide variety of ailments, wounds and burns. Because of its chemical makeup, honey is a great long-term food storage item that can be preserved for decades.
Wax is another popular product of bees. In ancient times the importance of beeswax often overshadowed the production of honey.
Today, beeswax is used in a wide variety of products and applications including candles and cosmetics, lotions and lipbalms. Beeswax candles burn brighter, longer, and cleaner than typical wax candles.
On top of learning the ins and outs of beekeeping, you may not get a large amount of honey from your first couple of yields. Be patient with yourself and your bees, speak to local beekeepers and beekeeping organizations or communities. Go out with an expert a few times before raising your own bees.
GROW YOUR OWN VEG
Growing your own produce is all the rage nowadays; and it’s a simple, easy practice the whole family can enjoy. The most significant reason to grow your own produce is the price; stocking up on herbs from your local grocer can be an expensive endeavour when you compare it with the price of purchasing herbs or seeds to grow on your own. Your home-grown herbs can last for months, and some herbs, like rosemary and thyme, can even last for years.
THE SECURITY OF KNOWING HOW YOUR FOOD IS GROWN AND WHAT IS USED IN THE PROCESS IS REASON ENOUGH TO GROW YOUR OWN.
By growing your own produce, you can control what goes into your food and you can make sure your produce is totally organic without harmful chemical pesticides or fertilizers. The security of knowing how your food is grown and what is used in the process is reason enough to grow your own.
If you’re a first-timer, it’s best to start with herbs; the gateway plants to gardening. Rosemary, thyme, parsley, and basil are common choices and compliment a great many dishes. Home-grown tomatoes are another great choice because of their exceptional flavour. They can be a bit temperamental, so if you’re a beginner, it’s best to start with cherry tomatoes. Zucchini, squash, bell peppers, and lettuce are also good additions to your vegetable garden. Remember to plant the vegetables you use frequently; you don’t want to bite off more than you can chew.
Peat moss or compost is essential to successfully grow heavy-feeding plants. Making your own compost is not only cost-effective; it’s environmentally friendly and easy, too.
Here’s how to make your own compost in six easy steps:
1. Procure a 3.5 litre trash bin with a tight-fitting lid.
2. Poke holes evenly along the sides for drainage.
3. Set the new compost bin outside on bricks or cement blocks.
4. Start composting. This means starting with shredded paper and cardboard to make a bed, followed by adding food scraps such as eggshells, potato peelings, lettuce leaves, and other leftover foods.
5. Continue to add compostable materials in this pattern: paper products followed by organic products, paper followed by organic.
6. Be sure to turn the compost bin on its side and roll it around on the ground a couple of times
TRY HOME BREWING
Home brewing is a fun and rewarding hobby that anyone can do – and who knows, you may get so into it, you’ll start your own micro-brewery! It’s probably wise to make your first batch with a pre-made kit – it will contain all the ingredients you need to brew your desired drink from home.
Brewing at home also affords you the freedom to adjust recipes according to your preference, create beverages that are unavailable on the open market or beverages that may contain fewer calories or less alcohol. One of the most common forms of home-brewing is beer. Beer has been brewed on a small scale for personal consumption thousands of years prior to its commercial production.
Another form of home-brewing is making wine or mead. Mead is wine made from honey and the type of honey you use determines your flavour profiles just like the variety or blend of wine grapes does in traditional wine making. It’s not just about grapes and honey though. Fruit and vegetable wines can also be made by the adventurous brewer. They can range from a crisp strawberry wine, to a floral dandelion and clover wine.
Rice wine is yet another type of wine that can classify a home brewer. It’s made simply from cooked rice, yeast, and special bacteria. You can get the supplies you need online or in a Chinese food market. Like all the wines above, your type of rice will determine the flavour.
Turning apple juice into a hard cider can become an art form. The goal is to blend juices or varieties of apples to get the perfect match of sweetness, acidity, and tannins. You could also try your hand at home-brewing Kombucha. It’s made by fermenting tea with a ‘mother culture’ also called a ‘SCOBY’. SCOBY stands for Symbiotic Culture of Bacteria and Yeast. You can buy the culture from various outlets and sometimes you can grow them from a commercial bottle of Kombucha.
DID YOU KNOW?
President Obama released the recipe for his White House Honey Brown Ale. Brewed on the White House premises, it’s believed to be the first alcohol brewed or distilled at the White House. The honey was harvested from the presidential hives on the South Lawn. The Honey Brown was such a success, the president had his team concoct a honey porter and a honey blonde as well.