Not all of us can live in the country raising chickens and growing all of our own food. Some of us more natural mamas choose to live in the city, either because we have to or we just want to. But that does not mean we don’t also value the same things and want the same things for our lives and family, it just means we have to approach these things differently. If we don’t have land of our own to plant rows of corn… we can look for a community garden where we can or perhaps we patronize the farmer’s market booth of the farmer lady who lives the next county over. We get the same thing… non GMO, organic corn on the table for dinner…the road to get it there was just a bit different, but no less important.
Here are five ways to channel your inner farm girl when you live in the city:
1. Cook from scratch – It is tempting to eat out when you live in the city. You may be tired after a long day and the idea of those vegetarian burritos from Chipotle just sounds too good. Well, that is okay sometimes but cooking from scratch is cheaper and healthier in the long run. Look up up some recipes on Sunday and maybe even do some prep beforehand.. chopping vegetables, kneading dough, making vegetable or chicken stock, letting mushrooms marinate, etc. Then when dinner time comes during the week you know what you are making and you can get it done in short time.
In addition you can also see how many store bought items you can replace with homemade. You can buy a yogurt maker and replace the plastic cups from the store. Can your own fruit for jam and avoid the preservative laden varieties at the store. Make your own milk or water Kefir, Kombucha, and sauerkraut. Making food from scratch gives you a real sense of farm girl accomplishment.
2. Set the table with vintage thrift store finds – One of the things that I loved about my grandparents farmhouse was the fact that they had old mismatched dishes, milk glass salt and pepper shakers, and the drink cups were mason jars. But old and mismatched aside, we always ate on a nice tablecloth with nice hand sewn place mats. It was so homey and perfect and that can be created in a city dwelling with minimal effort.
3. Decorate like a farm girl – No mater where you live, you can enjoy the comforts of a handmade home. Mason jars can be converted into hanging lanterns for candlelight. You can take cover at night underneath a cozy quilt, with hand-knit socks on your feet. Stop alongside the road and pick widlflowers to put on your kitchen table. Shop for vintage linens, doilies, and tablecloths at flea markets and antique stores. Personally I cannot stand the modern version of country decor.. with gaudy colors, and roosters or ducks on everything but the simple, frugal elegance of real farm decor is something you can re-create anywhere.
4. Shop Local – When you can’t make something on your own, the next best thing is to buy from a local neighbor who can. Money spent locally goes twice as far and you are helping the people who need it the most, putting your dollars directly into the hands of your community and not those of a corporation. Buy groceries locally from the farmers at your farmer’s market. Not only can you get fresh fruits and veggies you can also usually get farm fresh honey, eggs, grass fed butter, and baked goods. If you shop at Whole Foods, look for the little brown signs that say “Local” and buy those before you buy a non local brand. My local Whole Foods has those little signs everywhere because they know that the local foods sell the best. Go to You-Pick farms during the growing season and harvest your own food. The farmer did all of the planting and weeding and you get to do the picking!
5. Join a herdshare – For an annual or monthly fee you can pay a farmer for your part of the upkeep of a herd animal, such as a cow. This pays for feed and general care for the animal and in return you get fresh milk (usually raw). This may be the only way to get raw milk in your state and it is soooo worth it! You can also buy a share of a beef cow or pig and when it comes to butcher the animal you get your share of the meat. This is a great way to get lower cost, organically fed, humanely treated meat products.
City farm girls can have the best of both worlds!
Monday, July 19th, 2010