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2012 challenges update: The Urban Farm Handbook

Did you notice my two challenge buttons on the sidebar? I mentioned the Urban Farm Handbook challenge a while back, but I want to share more information about how it’s going; I will discuss the other Get Real 2012 challenge in a separate post. You might think I’ve over-challenged myself, but I look at these challenges as inspiration. When I feel like taking steps forward and pushing myself, I look to them as my guides, and when I’m too busy, I simply ignore them. There are no deadlines or consequences, only rewards in the form of positive life changes!

imageThe Urban Farm Handbook is an educational, enlightening read so far. I’ve been waiting over a month to get it from the library reserve queue, so I’m only a few chapters in, but I can already tell I love it. In fact, I went ahead and added it to my Amazon wish list to purchase my own copy. It is an excellent reference book that I can see going back to time and again for recipes, reminders, and inspiration. One of my favorite parts about the book is that it is written from the perspective of two people with individual philosophies on urban farming and different methods for feeding their families. One author, who rides the metaphorical self-described “Crazy Bus,” is raising a family completely outside of the modern grocery store. She shops at farmer’s markets and barters with friends, and the rest of her food is produced at home via gardening, canning/preserving, and even grinding her own grain. The second author takes a less extreme approach, choosing to create a small roster of homegrown meals.

The challenge was inspired by the book and will take place over twelve months, including eleven challenges and one month for reflection. Here’s what we’ve been up to so far:

  • February focused on soil building and included tips on creating a compost bin and making fertilizer, among others. I erected my own compost bin in January, so I was feeling good about this aspect of the challenge. I also started seedlings in February, which isn’t covered by the challenge until April, but I was enthusiastic about getting the garden ready. Plus, I have an idea for how to incorporate our seedlings into Vivi’s April birthday party, but I’ll let you in on that plan later. 
  • March is dairy month, and I am gearing up to make my own yogurt and cheese. My friend Emily has been making yogurt for a while and makes it sound easy; recently she also posted a recipe for yogurt cheese I’m going to try. My kids eat cream cheese like it’s their mission to be made of only cream cheese. Next I think I’ll dip my toe a smidgen further into cheese-making with this 30-minute mozzarella recipe. Do you make any homemade dairy products?
  • April will be about gardening, which is a topic I’m both excited and nervous about. I have a lot of thinking to do on this topic before the month begins in a week.

                                        Source: via Justine on Pinterest

Are you taking this challenge? Or, are you pushing yourself in other ways to explore new methods of healthy living? I’d love to hear more about your experiences!

Editor’s note: This post is a part of Sunday SchoolSeasonal Celebration Sunday, Fresh Bites Friday, Freaky Friday, Your Green Resource, Simple Lives Thursday, Works for Me Wednesday, Real Food WednesdayFrugal Days, Sustainable Ways, Book Sharing Monday, the Homestead Barn Hop, and Monday Mania