Photo by Stephanie Staton
Our resolutions this year include, learning to can, planning meal menus and working more in our gardens.
Here in the Hobby Farms editorial office, we’ve always got a project on our to-do list (work-related or not) intended to improve our lives and the lives of those around us. As 2012 rolls in and we initiate a fresh start to the new year, we each decided to focus on two resolutions—one for our homes or farms and one for our personal lives—that we plan to see through from start to finish this year. We hope that by sharing these with you, you’ll help keep us honest and perhaps be inspired to make a farmstead resolution of your own.
(Hop over to the HF forums to share your New Year’s resolutions for your hobby farm and beyond.)
Stephanie Staton, Hobby Farms Editor
Put my composting knowledge into action.
Composting, like many things in life, is a balancing act—one that both intimidates and fascinates me. My goal for the new year is not only to begin composting at home (versus providing materials to friends who compost) but also to gain a better understanding of the process. Rumor has it that a local gardening group plans to offer a Master Composting course in 2012, and I’ll be signing up … pronto.
Support local gardening initiatives (including my own).
With harried schedules and a never-ending to-do list, the idea of cramming one more activity into my routine can seem downright exhausting. Nevertheless, I would like to become more involved in the local community and in gardening. Cooking 80 to 90 percent of my family’s home meals from scratch, it only makes sense that I grow and buy products that are the best quality with the least negative impact on the environment and the creatures living it. So while I have no definitive plan for how to do it (yet), I resolve to increase my support of local farmers and businesses and to be a better gardener.
Sarah Dorroh Sweeney, Hobby Farms Associate Editor
Freeze and preserve my harvest.
An upright, frost-free freezer has been on my wish list for years. I must have been awfully nice this year because Santa finally made my wish come true. (How he managed to fit it down the chimney remains a mystery!) So for 2012, I plan to put my new gift to work, freezing and preserving each season’s bounty. Not only can I enjoy seasonal delicacies year-round, I’m hoping this will be more cost-effective—buying and preserving items that are in season—and also help reduce food waste in the process.
Cloth (diaper) my new baby in sustainability.
My resolution is to attempt (and stick with) cloth diapering. The good news is that today there are more choices for eco-friendly diapering today than ever before. Gone are the days of safety pins and rash-inducing vinyl pants. The only pain now is in the decision-making: From pre-folds and covers to all-in-ones, from Dappis to Bummis, and everything in between, navigating the easiest, most affordable and most efficient route can be really overwhelming. Fortunately, I’ve got some friends who have traveled this path before me and have offered great advice. While this decision takes a little more effort up front (and I’ve heard a bit of resolve to maintain when you have a crying, stinky baby on your hands), I feel like it’s the healthiest one for my family and for our planet.
Rachael Brugger, HobbyFarms.com Associate Web Editor
I can learn to can!
Rather than gorging myself when my CSA box rolls in or resorting to less-efficient modes of food preservation when harvest season peaks, it’s been a goal of mine for, oh, about two years now to learn how to can. (I even have a canning kit ready to be used that’s collecting dust in my pantry!) Everyone I know and their mothers (literally) have offered to teach me one of the most valuable of homesteading skills, but I’ve yet to put that offer into action. Well, my friends, 2012 is the year, and the workshop can’t take place a moment too soon … especially if the end of the world actually is looming.
Meet the hunger need with fresh, wholesome food.
This past summer, I was fortunate enough to join an army of local gleaners dedicated to eradicating hunger and improving nutrition in our town. The generosity of people (mostly local farmers) who donated their excess produce to those in need amazed me. They made me realize that while even though the little bit I contributed helped the cause, the giving can never stop. This goal might be lofty, and I’m sure to stumble along the way: In addition to my regular gleaning rounds this year, I resolve to do more to help educate and engage our community in fighting the hunger epidemic while emphasizing the role fresh and healthy produce plays in eradicating food deserts.
Abby Tripp, Hobby Farms Assistant Editor
Make a weekly meal plan … and stick to it!
Despite an extensive collection of cookbooks and the plethora of garden-fresh produce at my fingertips during peak harvest, the menu-planning white board on my refrigerator door remains empty but for the days of the week. In 2012, I’m determined to stretch my grocery budget and make the most of farmers’ market trips by selecting recipes, making a meal plan, and devoting a few hours every Sunday evening to prepping easy-to-grab lunches and quick dinners for evenings when I’m too busy to cook.
Say “thank you” with a note.
My mother has trained me well: For as long as I can remember, I’ve followed birthday and Christmas celebrations with an evening or two of thank-you-note writing. Short, sweet and sent on handmade cards whenever possible, these remembrances are a small way to honor the gift-giver’s effort.
In the new year, I want to slip a few more cards into the mix and start sending thank-yous for less-tangible things, as well: a short note to the aunt who takes on the Sisyphean task of organizing our family’s holiday celebration each year, a pretty card for the childhood friend who put herself on bridesmaid-shoe shopping duty for my upcoming wedding, and even a thank-you note to the fantastic kitchen gardener (aka, my dad) whose hard work keeps me in fresh produce all summer, every summer.