Menu

Food House Projectâ„¢

The Food Growing, Cooking, Preserving & Healing Self-Sufficiency Adventure

Welcome to the Food House Project

Food House Project Adventures from Our Farmhouse

The idea for the Food House Project™ grew out of our efforts to become increasing self-sufficient in our food growing and food independence. Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook is an international bestselling and twenty-time published book author and blogger for DrMichelleCook.com as well as the highly popular health and environmental site Care2.com and Curtis Cook is a long-time business consultant who increasingly became involved in food security and local food movements. We both share a passion for great food and healthy living.

We’ve watched the food supply become increasingly degraded through pesticides, additives, genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), poor agricultural practices, and industrial processing. We decided to take action by growing more and more of our own food. Starting with indoor sprouts over two decades ago, to more recently when we dug up most of our suburban lawn to turn it into fruits and vegetables, to now: buying an old farmhouse on an acreage and breathing new life into the home and land. We have big plans, a tight budget, and a steep learning curve, but we want to share the whole adventure with you. Welcome to the Food House Project™!

 

Let the Adventure Begin

Window Sill Greenhouse: Six Week Update

Window sill greenhouse with mature potatoes and peasAt the end of March, we wrote about re-purposing an old storage bin and using it for a windowsill greenhouse inside our home. As we begin planting outside, it is amazing to see how our plants fared in the window over the last six weeks.

We ended up with seven strong and healthy potato plants out of the nine potato scraps we planted.  We later added peas from sprouted peas that fell in the bin while draining water from them.  We also added some sprouting organic garlic cloves we bought at the store. You can see the peas climbing over the edge and reaching for more sunlight.  The garlic is a bit slower and has not reached the lip of the container.

About two weeks ago we added some beet scraps and the greens are starting to grow as well.  The challenge is ensuring that the potatoes don't block out all the light.  We keep rotating the bin but the potatoes keep leaning toward the light.  It might be time to bring the windowsill greenhouse outside. 

Considering the food in this bin was grown primarily from scraps that would have gone in the compost heap, we are thrilled with the results. And unless we had a heated greenhouse outside, there would not be any way we would have potatoes this far along in our northern climate.

I can't wait to try our windowsill harvest!

Curtis

 

6 Delicious Weeds that You Can Eat

Delicious edible weeds can be found in your yardThe availability of nutritionally-dense food that is free from the clutches of corporate agriculture companies like Bayer AG and Monsanto is a growing concern to many people. And, while food security is indeed something to take seriously, few people are aware of their own already-available food growing in their yards. I encourage you to start growing your own food, either sprouts, microgreens, container-tomatoes, or full-blown gardens. I also hope you’ll take a look at the food that’s already around you, in the form of wild edibles, or weeds, as most people call them. Here are some of my favorite weeds that offer delicious and nutritious, as well as free food:

Daisies: Hard to miss, these pretty flowers often pop up in our lawns if we let the grass grow a bit. While they can be a bit bitter, both the leaves and the flowers are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked.

Dandelion Greens, Flowers, and Roots: Even if you’re not familiar with foraging, finding dandelion greens should not be a problem. They’re almost everywhere. Choose the small leaves as more mature leaves tend to become bitter. The immature leaves can be added to salads, soups, or sautéed like spinach, along with a little garlic, olive oil, squeeze of lemon juice, and a bit of sea salt for a delicious side dish. The flowers can be added to salads and eaten raw. The roots are absolutely delicious when roasted, ground, and added to smoothies or steeped as you would tea. They have a slightly chocolate-coffee flavor, which is why blending them with a handful of cashews, a dash of stevia, some almond milk, and a little ice makes my favorite smoothie. Dandelion helps to boost the kidneys and liver.

Lamb’s Quarters: Not just for grazing sheep, lamb’s quarters are found in plentiful quantities in most people’s lawns and make a delicious alternative to spinach. Add them raw to salads or saute them in a little olive oil and sea salt for a tasty plate of wild greens.

Nettles: You won’t miss these herbs, particularly if you try to pick them without gloves. That’s because the fine hairs along the stems of the plant will give your skin a bit of a sting when you touch them. However, when they are cooked, they lose their stinging sensation. You’re left with one of the most nutritional greens you can eat, which are great in soups and stews. They boost your overall nutrition but also help fight off seasonal allergies, which are a nuisance for many people this time of year.

Plantain Leaves: Found in most lawns, you’ve probably stepped on these plants hundreds of time without consideration for them. Yet, they are an excellent addition to your diet. Chop and add to salads, soups, or saute them as you would spinach.

Red Clover Leaves and Flowers: Easy to spot when in flower thanks to their purplish-pink flowerheads, red clover leaves make an excellent addition to salads, soups, or can be sautéed for a delicious plate of wild greens. The flowers can be added to salads or infused in boiled water to make tea.

If you’re not 100% certain you’ve identified the correct plant, it is best not to eat them. If you’re unsure, you might find an herb walk or foraging course helpful. Of course, stay clear of lawns near highways or any that have been sprayed with pesticides.

Michelle

How Far Does Your Food Travel to Reach You?

Fruits and vegetables lose nutrition when they are shippedWhen we consider ways of contributing to the health of planet Earth, we usually consider things like recycling, reducing the amount we drive, eating more organic foods, or using less plastic. While all of these ideas are certainly worthy of our effort, few people consider the massive footprint of eating meals that have traveled around the globe to reach us.

According to the Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture, the food in an average meal travels about 1500 miles to get to dinner plates. Of course, that amount varies heavily depending on what is in the meal: whether it contains seasonal food, locally-grown or industrially-produced foods, and whether it contains exotic superfoods or regional favorites.

Research conducted by Worldwatch Institute, found that the average meal traveled between 1500 and 2500 miles from farm to table, as much as 25 percent farther than food only two decades ago. If we go back farther than that to the 1800s or even the 1900ss, we’d find that food traveled only short distances to reach dinner plates. At that time, there were no large grocery stores for people to purchase their food. Instead, most fruits and vegetables eaten were grown on peoples’ own farmsteads.

While a return to that lifestyle may hold little appeal for many people, the reality is that if every person grew even a small amount of his or her own food, we’d transform the health of the planet. Growing even modest amounts of our own food could green up the planet by reducing greenhouse emissions linked to extensive transportation and distribution systems.

Additionally, doing so would reduce our dependency on Big Agricultural companies that have proven time and time again that they don’t have our best interests at heart (consider the more than 11,000 lawsuits against corporate seed and pesticide giant, Monsanto, for allegedly causing cancer in countless people). In essence, growing our own food is the ultimate revolutionary act: it involves taking the control of our food supply out of the hands of corporate giants and putting it back into our own hands.

These are just some of the reasons why my husband, Curtis, and I launched FoodHouseProject.com, where we are converting our century old farmhouse into the ultimate food house: a home where we showcase the best in many forms of food growing to demonstrate how easy it is and how realistic it actually is for everyone to grow at least a portion of their own food. To that end, we’re diving head-first into old school gardening like container-growing and plots of land for growing fruits and vegetables as well as cutting-edge vertical growing, indoor microgreen growing, and much more.

We’re combining Curtis’ extensive food security background with my nutrition knowledge and aversion for corporate agriculture giants, with our combined love of gardening and food, transforming our neglected old farmhouse into a modern-day show home of food-growing possibilities to inspire everyone to start growing their own food. And, we’re issuing the FoodHouseProject Challenge to everyone to start growing one or more of their own foods. Take the plunge even if you have never grown food before. It’s easier, and far more rewarding, than you think.

Even if you’d rather not get your hands dirty, you can choose to grow beansprouts which involve no dirt at all and only a tiny spot on your kitchen counter or a small patch of microgreens grown in hemp or coconut fiber. Or, if technology is more your speed, then consider an indoor vertical garden which takes almost no effort, only a few square feet of indoor floor space and quickly becomes a lush, beautiful and inspirational market stand of sorts for picking your own food in only a matter of weeks.

And, if you’ve never tried container gardening, you’d be shocked at how much food you can grow even on an urban balcony. Or perhaps, you can start a community garden in your area and get your neighbors out to contribute to greening up the neighborhood while also boosting the sense of community. If you’re fortunate enough to have even a small plot of land then cover up that lawn until the grass has died back and begin to plant a fruit and vegetable garden.

Growing your own food is not just good for the earth, it’s better for your body too. That’s because a huge amount of nutrients are lost in the first few days after picking fruits and vegetables. In one study published in The Journal of Food Science, researchers at Penn State found that much of the nutritional quality of spinach was gone by the time it reached dinner plates.

Typically, spinach is considered high in nutrients like folate which helps to prevent birth defects in the first months of pregnancy, and carotenoids that support healthy vision and help to protect the eyes from UV and free radical damage. In the study, researchers found that spinach lost 53% of its folate content after only 8 days of storage at 39 degrees Fahrenheit, or the typical temperature inside most refrigerators. As storage temperatures increased so did the amount of folate that was lost. And, the same is true for all foods: most of the nutrients are lost even before the food reaches your refrigerator, during transportation or while sitting on grocery store shelves.

Celebrate this great planet by recycling, reducing the amount you drive, eating more organic foods, using less plastic, and growing some of your own food. Mother Earth and your body will thank you for it.

Michelle

7 Ways to Make Your Garden More Earth-Friendly

There are many ways to make your garden earth-friendlySpring has sprung and across the land, people are pulling out their rakes and spades, filling wheelbarrows with soil and preparing for another season of gardening. In some parts of the country, gardens are well underway but I can’t wait to get my hands dirty planting a wide variety of vegetables, herbs, mushrooms, and berries as part of this exciting new venture, FoodHouseProject.com, in which my husband Curtis and I transform our century-old home into the ultimate in food self-sufficiency and share our adventures with the world. While gardening is one of the most natural and fulfilling activities available to us, it can easily become a drain on the environment. Here are seven ways to keep your gardening earth-friendly.

1)  Get fossil fuels out of the garden: Most suburban dwellers know that nothing disrupts a quiet summer day like the roaring of three or four gas-powered lawn mowers maintaining the grass monoculture. The smelly exhaust of those gas engines is equally disruptive and far more damaging to our health. If you simply must have a lawn, consider the powerful yet quiet electric mowers now on the market. Many of the big-name garden equipment manufacturers are offering rechargeable, battery operated push mowers (and even riding mowers) with all the bells and whistles of the gas models. The modest hum of the electric motor doesn’t block out every sound of nature and all you will smell is freshly cut grass.

2) Build your garden with repurposed or local materials: You may not be building the gardens of Chateau Versailles but the creation of raised beds, fencing, and pathways requires building materials. Before you head out to the local big box store for lumber or weed mats, check out what you can repurpose at home or get for free. Cardboard and old cotton sheets can provide excellent weed suppression under growing soil or on paths between growing beds. Heat treated pallets, not chemical treated ones, can be repurposed into fences, raised beds, compost bins and a multitude of other garden structures and they can frequently be obtained for free. If you do need to buy some lumber, for example, check for suppliers selling reclaimed wood (or someone giving it away!) or look for a local, independent sawmill that can fill your needs with locally-sourced wood. From my experience, lumber from a small mill can be much more affordable.

3)  Buy chemical-free plants and seedlings: If you must shop at plant nurseries, ask about the plants you are buying to find out if they are free of pesticides and herbicides. If you are lucky, you may live near a chemical-free nursery or have access to a farmer’s market where vendors are selling spray-free seedlings and plants. By avoiding dangerous chemicals like neonicotinoids, you will spare bees and other beneficial pollinating insects that not only help your garden thrive, but are essential to the global food supply. That may sound heavy, but the importance of pollinators cannot be overstated.

4) Repurpose and reuse garden supplies: Once you have those new additions to your garden planted, don’t throw out those plastic pots. Don’t even recycle them yet. Reuse them. Try your hand at growing more plants from seeds or cuttings. Keep using those pots until they are falling apart and then recycle them. Growing from seeds is very rewarding and you can use so many everyday items as starter pots. I know people who save their take-out coffee cups to start seedlings. I wish they invested in a reusable mug but they are repurposing that paper cup and using it again and again. I have used cardboard toilet paper rolls to make seedling pots, as well as food grade plastic containers (think yogurt containers).

5) Grow from organic or heirloom seeds: Speaking of seedlings, look for organic and heirloom brands if you are buying them from retailers like big box stores. I would encourage you to look for credible online, or better still, local seed exchanges where you can buy and trade seeds with other local growers who recognize the importance of maintaining a food supply free from big corporations. Local seed exchanges are often combined with workshops and seminars that provide practical knowledge from local experts you have been growing plants in your neck of the woods for years. There is no better way to learn that from someone who has been doing it successfully and is willing to share his or her knowledge.

6) Grow local: Try to grow species that are indigenous to the region in which you live. This is the best way to prevent invasive plant species from spreading and crowding out native plants that are important to the existing ecosystem. If you want to grow ornamental plants in your garden, look for wild flowers that occur naturally in your area. If you are growing fruits, vegetables and herbs outdoors, chances are you are limited to plants that either occur naturally in your area or can tolerate the growing conditions. If you harvest the food and/or cut back the plant (perennials like raspberries, asparagus, tree fruits, rhubarb or most herbs, for example) or compost it entirely (annuals like tomatoes, squashes, peppers or cucumbers, for instance) after the harvest, it is unlikely that your food plants will run wild among the other native species.

7) Grow low-water and drought-resistant plants: Unless you live in a high rainfall area, chances are good that your garden will need additionally watering courtesy of your municipal water supply or well. By growing species that naturally occur in your area, you know that they are able to survive with the usual amount of water Mother Nature provides. If you want to add other species, consider plants that require less water to grow. If you simply must have thirsty plant species in your garden, look at rainwater collection and drip irrigation solutions to minimize your water use.

Michelle

Great Foods For Spring Detox

Living in a northern climate often means a long chilly break from fresh produce. By December, produce in the grocery store is looking questionable. By February, fruits and vegetables are low on flavor and even lower in nutrients.

That’s why I love the spring season.  Fresh produce is making its return, and it won’t be long before I can get delicious food straight out of the garden or fresh from a farmers’ market. Depending on your location and climate, there are great garden and farm foods available as soon as the frost lifts, many of which give a boost to your body after a long sluggish winter.

When it comes to cleansing your body of harmful toxins, food really is the best medicine. Many of your favorite foods also cleanse the liver, kidneys, skin, intestines, and other detoxification systems. Add more of these nutritious and delicious springtime foods to your diet to help ward off the harmful effects of bad food choices, pollution, food additives, second-hand smoke, among other toxins. Here are my top six picks for seasonal spring detox foods:

Artichokes – Artichokes are a highly underrated vegetable.  They are high in vitamin C and fiber and help to increase bile production in the body, which helps the intestines eliminate toxins from the body. Artichokes also contain a substance that helps the liver break down fatty acids.  This is good news because the average diet and lifestyle creates tremendous strain on the liver’s ability to filter out toxins.

Asparagus – It is hard to beat asparagus when it is coated in olive oil, sprinkled with sea salt and lightly grilled on the barbecue.  This flowering perennial is an excellent source of vitamin K and folate, the latter of which is particularly necessary for pregnant women. Asparagus also contains vitamins A, C, B1, B2, B6, niacin, manganese, potassium, magnesium and selenium.

Garlic – Forget worrying about your breath and enjoy the potent healing properties of fresh garlic. Where I live, garlic is usually planted in the fall and the ready for harvest in late spring.  Garlic is a relative of onion and shares many of its same health benefits.  It can destroy harmful bacteria, intestinal parasites, and viruses in the body, helps cleanse buildup from the arteries and lowers blood pressure. Garlic is well known for its anti-cancer and antioxidant properties and also helps cleanse the respiratory tract by expelling mucous buildup in the lungs and sinuses. Keep in mind that store-bought garlic powder offers none of these benefits found in fresh, easy-to-grow garlic. Don’t be afraid to give fresh garlic a starring role in your cooking.

Onions – Onions are as versatile as they are health promoting.  Research on these members of the allium family has uncovered powerful antioxidant and anti-cancer capabilities. Onions also thin and cleanse the blood and lower LDL cholesterol without lessening HDL cholesterol. Rich in biotin (which aids sugar and fat metabolism) and phytonutrients like polyphenols, onions also help detoxify the respiratory tract and fight asthma, bronchitis, hay fever, and diabetes. Onions, like garlic, help cleanse the body of viruses and the intestines of harmful bacteria.

Strawberries – Still not a fan of vegetables?  Late spring is the season of nutrient- and enzyme-rich strawberries.  Eating eight strawberries (who can stop at eight?) will give you more vitamin C than an orange. Like most delicious berries, they are among the highest foods measured for antioxidant capacity. Fresh or frozen, on a salad or in a smoothie, strawberries offer a delicious treat and protect you from heart disease, arthritis, memory loss, cancer and a host of other health problems.  Detox never tasted so good!

Watercress – Not the most common leafy green used in salads but certainly one of the healthiest, this aquatic plant increases detoxification enzymes in the body and contains phytonutrients that have successfully inhibited carcinogens. In a studyat the Norwich Food Research Centre in the United Kingdom, smokers who were given 170 grams of watercress per day eliminated higher than average amounts of carcinogens in their urine, thereby reducing their numbers in their body.  Watercress has a mild, peppery flavor that enhances salads, soups and sandwiches.

Michelle

7 Medicinal Weeds Growing In Your Yard

We need to become more self-reliant in our use of natural medicines. That’s why I’ve started FoodHouseProject.com. Be sure to check out more of the content on the site. To help get you started, here are some of my favorite wild medicines growing in most peoples’ yards or gardens:

Chickweed: Often used by herbalists for stomach ailments or to improve bowel regularity, chickweed is also rich in vitamin C and found in many peoples’ lawns. It can be eaten fresh in salads or made into a tincture by packing plentiful amounts of the herb into an alcohol like vodka and then steeped in a dark, cool place for 2 weeks.

Cleavers: Used to treat urinary tract infections and promote kidney health, cleavers can often be found in lawns or gardens. The herb can be dried upside down and then made into tea using a teaspoon of the dried plant matter in a cup of boiled water and steeped for at least 10 to 15 minutes, strained and drunk.

Dandelion: You won’t have trouble identifying dandelion but you may not be aware that this much-hated weed is also a great liver regenerator, fat burner, blood sugar balancer, kidney and liver support, and anti-cancer powerhouse. According to research published in the medical journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, cancer cells began to die off after 48 hours of exposure to dandelion extract. The study also found that dandelion was effective on cancer cells that were resistant to chemotherapy. The young leaves can be eaten raw or sautéed like spinach. The flowers can be added to salads, and the roots can be roasted, ground, and then steeped in water like coffee.

Mullein: You won’t find the soft, downy leaves of this plant in every lawn but it is worth grabbing when you do. That’s because it is an amazingly-medicinal plant that can help with a host of breathing issues, including: allergies, asthma, respiratory infections, and even tuberculosis. It is easiest to spot in lawns that haven’t been cut for a while since mullein will grow to around 5 feet tall and yields a seed head of yellow flowers. Research in the journal Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that mullein is rich in compounds that seems to be particularly effective at the bacteria implicated in the lung disease tuberculosis. Hang the plant upside down. Once dried, break up the leaves and add to a glass jar with a lid. Use one to 2 teaspoons of the herb per cup of boiled water. Let steep for 10 to 15 minutes then strain and drink up to 3 cups daily.

Nettles: Most known for their ability to alleviate allergies and build strong bones thanks to their rich supply of nutrients like calcium, nettles may also be beneficial in the treatment of diabetes. Research in the journal Neuroscience Letters found that nettles reduced high blood sugar levels, reduced the symptom of excessive thirst, improved body weight, regulated insulin levels, reduced the pain of neuropathy, and even improved memory and cognition in those with the disease. Pick while wearing gloves then add the leaves to soups or stews for a delicious and medicinal addition to your meals.

Red Clover: If you ever scoured your lawn as a child in search of 4-leaf clover, you’re probably already familiar with this plant. Although most have three leaves, there are occasional 4-leaved ones to be found. If you suffer from hot flashes or osteoporosis you’ll agree that this plant is lucky. That’s because red clover can sometimes help restore low estrogen levels linked to hot flashes. The herb contains natural estrogenic substances known as isoflavones that can help boost low levels of estrogen in the body. Additionally, research published in the medical journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that formononetin found in red clover was able to help prevent the development of osteoporosis in animals. A typical dose is 2 to 3 cups of red clover tea daily.

Yarrow: The leaves, stems, and flowers of this plant make an effective remedy for cleansing the kidneys, thereby helping to regulate high blood pressure which is actually managed largely by the kidneys. Yarrow is also helpful for bringing down high fevers. Many herbalists recommend the herb to restore menstruation when it is absent. Usually one teaspoon of the dried herb or two of the fresh are steeped in a cup of boiled water to make a tea, then strained and drunk up to 3 cups daily.

Always make sure you’ve found the correct herb. Work with a qualified herbalist if you are unsure. Consult your physician prior to using these herbs if you have a health condition. Discontinue use after 3 weeks.

Michelle

Happy Earth Day! Take the Food House Project Challenge

Grow your own food to celebrate Earth Day!

We're thrilled to officially launch FoodHouseProject.com on Earth Day! It seems fitting given what our site is all about: empowering everyone to start growing at least some of their own food to help reduce the burden on planet Earth. This is why my husband, Curtis, and I launched FoodHouseProject.com, where we are converting our century old farmhouse into the ultimate food house: a home where we showcase the best in many forms of food growing to demonstrate how easy it is and how realistic it actually is for everyone to grow at least a portion of their own food. To that end, we’re diving head-first into old school gardening like container-growing and plots of land for growing fruits and vegetables as well as cutting-edge vertical growing, indoor microgreen growing, and much more.

We’re combining Curtis’ extensive food security background with my nutrition knowledge and aversion for corporate agriculture giants, with our combined love of gardening and food, transforming our neglected old farmhouse into a modern-day show home of food-growing possibilities to inspire everyone to start growing their own food. And, for Earth Day, we’re issuing the FoodHouseProject.com Challenge to everyone to start growing one or more of their own foods. Take the plunge even if you have never grown food before. It’s easier, and far more rewarding, than you think.

Tell us what you're up to and what you'll be growing, whether that will entail herbs on your balcony, sprouts or microgreens on your countertop, or tranforming your lawn into food central. We'd love to hear from you. Tell your friends. It's time to start the Food House Revolution to green up the planet and transform your health and the health of your family and friends! Happy Earth Day!

The Surprising Food that Reduces Heart Disease Risk

Let’s face it:  most of us had a parent who would command us to eat our vegetables.  I recall my mom telling me “eat your spinach, it’s good for you” fairly frequently.  And, I’m sure my childhood wasn’t that different from most peoples’ at least when it comes to the regular parental vegetable interventions.  Something tells me that few parents, if any, ever uttered the words “eat your red cabbage microgreens.”  But, maybe that’s something today’s parents could try out.  I can almost hear the parental refrains around the globe.  Okay, maybe not, but it might be a good idea.

Currently, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.  New research in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry shows that microgreens grown from red cabbage may reduce cardiovascular disease risk.  The researchers assessed the effects of red cabbage microgreens on lipids and inflammatory markers known as cytokines that are involved in heart disease on animals eating an obesity-inducing diet.  Not only did the red cabbage microgreens lower lipids and cytokines, they also blocked weight gain resulting from poor diet.  The results were so impressive that the researchers concluded that a diet that is supplemented with red cabbage microgreens “may protect against cardiovascular disease…”

Microgreens are miniature seedlings of herbs and vegetables that can be grown in a week or two instead of the typical months needed for the full-size plants.  Another study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry found that microgreen leaves can contain up to 40 times more nutrients than their mature counterparts.  This increase in nutrients may explain why the red cabbage microgreens were so effective at improving the risk of heart disease.

Red cabbage microgreens have all the beneficial nutrients of full-size cabbages, but magnified many times over.  You’ll also get all of the hormone-balancing and anti-cancer benefits of the unique compounds known as glucosinolates that are found in cabbages.

The latter study examined the nutritional status of 25 kinds of microgreens and found that among those assessed, red cabbage, cilantro, garnet amaranth, and green daikon radish had the highest concentrations of nutrients like vitamins C and E, as well as carotenoids like beta carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.  All of the caroteinoids have been linked to improved eye health as well as the cardiovascular benefits.

While the above four types showed the highest nutritional value, there are many other foods that can be grown and eaten as microgreens, including:  basil, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, kale, and lettuce, to name a few.

The other amazing thing about microgreens is their ability to be , even in a small space, with minimal effort.  Once you experience the many potential health benefits of ramping up the nutrients in your diet with microgreens, growing them may become your favorite year-round pastime.  And, regardless whether you’re growing your own microgreens, your heart will thank you for enjoying them as part of your daily diet.

Michelle

7 Ways to Eat an Earth-Friendly Diet

Since 1970, people around the globe have been celebrating Earth Day on April 22nd.  Considering the state of our planet and the political, corporate and industrial forces that seem intent on destroying it, everyday should be Earth Day. Our world needs more care and healing and, in the absence of true leadership from elected officials and the business elite, it is up to “the little people” to lead the way.

In honor of Earth Day, here are seven ways you can eat an earth-friendly diet.

1) Grow your own food: It sounds crazy, but something our ancestors did naturally for millennia has now become one of the most significant acts of revolution we can undertake. At the turn of the previous century, most American households grew all or most of their own food. As late as the mid-1980s when they passed away, my grandparents purchased staples such as flour and salt at the grocery store but grew everything else.

How did we get so far removed from this natural act? The short answer is this: we have been told for decades that buying your food in stores is a sign of affluence. Now that food production is industrialized and run by companies equally interested in chemicals, buying food in stores is increasingly associated with obesity, diabetes, heart disease and other diet-related diseases. Do yourself a favor and take charge of your personal food supply. Whether you have a balcony, a backyard or an acreage, give it a try. You’ll be surprised how easy and rewarding it is and you’ll be even more surprised at how much delicious, fresh food you can get out of even the smallest spaces.

2) Eat local: If growing your own food just isn’t feasible, consider stocking your pantry with locally-grown products from markets and independent grocery stores. Many smaller produce markets and even some health food stores stock fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and prepared foods from local producers.  Not only do you support your local businesses and keep dollars in the local economy, you cut down on the amount of food that needs to be shipped into your community from elsewhere. Less shipping means fewer trucks on the road and fewer fossil-fuel emissions into the atmosphere.

3) Buy food from local farmers: Buying directly from local farmers ensures that your food doesn’t make the lengthy trip to your grocery store, a trip which causes untold pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. You’ll be rewarded with much more nutritious food as well. That’s because food quickly loses its nutritional value after it has been picked. Those precious first days in transport causes a significant loss of nutrients.

4) Eat more plant-based foods: No matter how some people try to spin the facts, the reality is that a plant-based diet is far better for the planet than to use the extensive resources required to grow meat and poultry. Additionally, plants actually absorb carbon dioxide emissions while animals emit them. The bonus is that countless amounts of research shows that plant-based diets are far healthier for your body as well. A study published in the American Medical Association’s own online journal JAMA Network, found that eating a plant-based diet was more effective than other diets to lose weight. Another study published in the journal Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases found that a plant-based diet slashes mortality risk from heart disease by a whopping 40%. A plant-based diet is healthier for you and the planet.

5) Choose chemical-free or organic: Buying organic means that you’re not supporting chemical-based agriculture. When you buy organic, or better yet, grow your own food organically, you’re helping to ensure that many acres of land will not be sprayed with toxic chemicals—chemicals that have been linked to many diseases, including cancer.

6) Drink purified tap water: Choosing tap water over bottled water helps to ensure that billions of plastic bottles don’t end up in landfills, roadsides, or waterways. Even the simple act of carrying your own reusable water bottle that you refill can help make a difference to the level of plastic pollution on the planet.

7) Eat fewer packaged and processed foods: Making your own food from scratch isn’t just better-tasting and healthier, it reduces the amount of waste in landfills, as well as the amount of packaging that needs to be processed even if it is recycled. It’s a simple act but just choosing foods with less packaging, or better yet, no packaging at all, will make a big difference to the planet.

Michelle

Window Sill Greenhouse: Two Week Update

Those of you following our adventures remember that we took two storage bins without lids and made a window sill greenhouse for some organic potato cuttings. That was thirteen days ago and we have some good news: the potatoes are growing!

The first three plants have broken the surface and are looking good.  The one on the left could be two separate plants.  It is great to have more food growing in the house as we wait for the ground outside to thaw. 

You may notice a little green shoot in the top left corner of the picture.  That is a garlic clove Michelle added to the bin a few days ago.  She now calls it our "hash browns bin" but I think it needs onions to live up to that name!

Curtis

View older posts »

About Us

Curtis and Michelle - The Food House Project People

 

Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook is a best-selling & 20-time book author and popular blogger for DrMichelleCook.com and the world's largest health and environmental site Care2.com. Her books include: Be Your Own Herbalist, The Cultured Cook, and Cancer-Proof.

Curtis Cook is a former international business consultant who now focuses on his passion for local food movements and resilient communities. 

They share a love of great food, gardening, nature, and each other.

What's Growin' Indahouse?

May 2019

Organic Potatoes

Kale Microgreens

Basil Microgreens

Arugula Microgreens

Broccoli Microgreens

Beet Greens

Mung Bean Sprouts

Garbanzo (Chickpea) Sprouts

Lentil Sprouts

Pea Sprouts

Garlic

Peas

Lettuce Microgreens

Radish Microgeens

Broccoli and Lettuce Microgreens in the Urban Cultivator

Broccoli and lettuce microgreens after 8 days in the Urban Cultivator!