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In order to offset their financial struggles, Barb and Tink have found a way to survive and minimize all of their expenses by growing their own food, bartering with neighbors and extreme budgeting with their small income.


Source: Garden Guides

Most people consider milk thistle a pesky weed because it can grow tall and thorny, making it hard to even get near. However, it is loaded with medicinal benefits. The U.S. National Cancer Institute reports that milk thistle contains the active ingredient silymarin, which is used to treat liver and gallbladder problems and is an antioxidant that protects the cells against damage. The silymarin from milk thistle is in the seeds, which are used to make extracts or tinctures for medicinal use. If you have milk thistle growing near you, you can harvest your own seeds. You can also cook and eat the leaves and flower heads.

Step 1

Put on heavy gloves and protective clothing.

Step 2

Take your scissors and cut the flower heads when they are young if you wish to eat them. Simply boil or steam them until they are tender.

Step 3

Cut the young leaves from the stalk and steam them as you would spinach. If you simply want to harvest the milk thistle seeds, go on to Step 4.

Step 4

Wait for the seed heads to turn brown.

Step 5

Cut the seed heads off the milk thistle plant and place them in a paper bag. Store it in a cool, dry spot for 48 hours.

Step 6

Lay a window screen on a counter. Take one seed head at a time and carefully brush the seeds out of the head and onto the screen. Remove any debris from the seeds. Place the cleaned seeds in a glass jar or sealed plastic container.

wood-fired_oven_breadAn article by April Mc Gregor found HERE explains what has happened to the grain industry, and how small farmers and bakers are beginning to understand that localization is the answer to health and survival in the days to come. April owns the Farmer’s Daughter in Carborro, NC. Here is a statement from her site:

Farmer’s Daughter seeks to promote the value of sustainable, small-scale agriculture as well as traditional, handmade methods of preserving.

By moving forward with industrialized farming, we have actually taken a huge step backwards towards dependence on multinational food processors and nutritional genocide. It is time to reclaim our lost heritage, promote life, and get healthy. Here is an excerpt from April’s article:

A loaf of bread made of locally grown and stone-ground grains requires a certain kind of infrastructure that disappeared almost completely from our national landscape in the 1880s, with the introduction of the steel-roller mill and the rise hard Midwest-grown wheat. The steel-roller mill could efficiently remove the perishable germ and bran from wheat berries, creating a shelf-stable flour that could easily travel long distances.

Before this development, local mills had been necessary because flour had a shelf life of approximately one week. After, flour could be stored for months. Scalping the bran and the germ from wheat, however, meant stripping away key nutrients and fiber. This technological advance represented a nutritional step backward. READ MORE…

Here is a statement from the Farm and Sparrow in Marshall, North Carolina. This bakery is committed to food localization, and changing the way we eat, one loaf at a time.

Farm and Sparrow is a wood-fired craft bakery located in the hillsides of Marshall, NC that produces rustic breads, pastries, and other specialty products. We aim to respect the integrity of the foods available to us through seasonal menu rotation, hands-on methods of production, and a strong commitment to our local food and cultural economies. LINK TO SITE.

As demand for a healthy and ecologically sound alternative to industrialized farming becomes greater, I believe that more people will start returning to the skills that have been all but lost in the quest for grocery store convenience foods that have long shelf lives artificially induced by stripping them of nutrition and pumping them full of chemicals.

Become part of a growing trend of backyard growers and fight the industrialization of our food by supporting food localization one person, one plant, and one meal at a time. It can be done, and we can do it.