Food challenge 2017 – 2 weeks in!

We proved that we could homestead away depression and 150 pounds for the farmer–and keep it gone for going on three years now and turn her into an inspired permaculture farmer. We proved that we could rewild away incapability and fifty pounds for the forager–keep it gone and turn her into an empowered wild woman. We proved to ourselves that we could learn to impact our environment in a very different way than we used to when we cut our power usage, began to implement wild permaculture, and radically change our diets. We proved that you can skill up, learn about living in the real world, and connect with nature when we stepped out of our cubicles, left the city, and landed in an owl’s nest atop panther mountain…. even if we didn’t have any experience with doing so. We’ve proved two people can sustain it, for over six years now. And, we still love it…are still so passionate about it… every single day. Even on the hard ones.

So, back in the fall of 2016–we realized we had another challenge brewing in both our minds. Realized that even though on some days these two homesteaders feel SO different from one another… we had one thing in common. We realized that, in our opinion, we have no business teaching about organic farming, foraging, primitive living, wild ways, and permaculture if we aren’t providing something pretty important. For ourselves. And doing the work to get it ourselves too.


It’s what we two have in common. It’s what we think everyone has in common. And, since this is all about getting real this year, even if it offends some folks…. we think it is what is hurting us all. It sure appears to the two of us like it is making a lot of people overweight, sick, and unhappy.  That is certainly what it used to do to the two of us. The way food is bring grown and raised these days is a big part of what is making our environment a disaster. So, we talked about it for a few months and decided to go for it.

We wanted to answer the question that was burning in both our minds–can two women with not many years of experience farm, forage and trade their way to providing 80+% of their diets? For a full year? On steep, marginal land with poor soil? What will happen to our bodies if we try? How will it impact our world and acreage? And…. Could we share our journey and hope to inspire other folks to try to grow more of their own? To impact their environment in positive ways? So that we will all have a planet left to practice permaculture ON? (We have a new youtube channel we are just starting to build up, so if you haven’t subscribed yet and are interested in hearing more of our stories – please do! We’ll be sharing a lot on it this year!)

Well, we are two weeks into finding out… and guess what – we are still alive!! And have been eating great. I’m not starving to death. In fact, also in the sake of being honest… I’ve actually gained a pound! Hysterical! (insert laughing to tears emoji here, because for once… in the face of this food challenge… I’m thrilled about this!!)

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For the last few days, we’ve actually eaten all our meals from 100% farm, foraged, and traded for food. And we took it to another level too–almost all of it has been fresh, in the dead of winter, and not even pulled from our food stores. I’ve been able to get us fresh salads from the garden, the forager has been finding mushrooms and adding chickweed to our salads, and we’ve both been snacking on many a black walnut.

We are also doing and documenting this thing better too, than we did the first time when we lost all the weight. We went to our doctors and did a check in on where we were at… and we will continue to do that once a month all year. (If getting your weight in check via whole lifestyle changes is something that interests you, head over and check out the amazing support you can get from Drs Marty and Glenn Ingram from Through the Woods Natural Health. Those folks have provided us some great service over the last few years we’ve been seeing them! And they are homesteaders too, so you can ask Dr Glenn to show you his “chickshaw” pictures or ask Dr Marty about how she manages her homestead with an amazing little human in tow!) 

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We’ve been tracking everything we eat on a spreadsheet–so that we have hard facts data on exactly what percentage we pull off.


We’ve navigated obstacles and picked battles too… like when friends come over for dinner that we are cooking for them–we’ll accept a trade of their delicious spicy pickles and a bottle of wine. Because they made a great point… if we are feeding them our food, they want to give something back to us. And we don’t want to make this challenge suck or make our friends and family not want to visit us. This farmer certainly does not want to stop cooking her homegrown food for folks she loves. This is supposed to be fun and we sure intend to keep it that way. It’s all an experiment after all–one we just want to try and share with you. We’ll all see how it shakes out…. together. We’ll see what we can grow.

Because I’m sure you’ve noticed a common theme on my posts lately… and that is, that I sure feel like it is time for us all to do so. In my opinion, we have to all come together and connect to each other like never before. It’s strange times out there in the world–but we people, we can do such amazing things. We can repair our environment, by just doing what we can do–by just doing our best and taking less from it. We can build soil by learning how to step on it in quite different ways. We can empower and educate each other. We can connect our communities and not come apart. I just KNOW we can, I grew the faith in that right here on this farm too… when I, someone with no experience, turned a fat, sad lady into a permaculture farmer. 

The Forager read the other day in an article that most people give up their New Year resolutions by January the 15th. Today is the 14th. That’s why I’m writing this post now, at 7am. To say we’ve not given up ours yet, and no one else has to either! We’ll continue to do our food challenge and share with you about it. I’ll continue to embrace my word for 2017–GROW. I know I can do it, and I can do it organically. I am fully aware this whole food challenge thing was an interesting choice. Ballsy. Bad ass. Insane. Awesome. Or at least these are just a few words our people have been telling us over the last couple weeks! But, it’s also fun, neat-O as all get out to the two of us, and we are so excited to see how it shakes out. We’ve grown the resolve to at least try and not give up right here too. And right now, that feels so dang good I could just about squeal over it!

-the farmer


We got our donation from Sow True Seed for 2017 last week and this farmer is over the flipping moon about it! I just know I’ll grow with this awesome seed. If you are doing your seed orders for the growing season now…. geeking out on the farmer porn that is seed catalogs in winter–I sure do hope you will check out the seed from Sow True. I’ve been using it for years now and I swear it stands taller and does better than anything else I’ve tried.

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The Forager helped me forage some snow for snow cream this last week – homegrown ice cream, I’ll take it! And, she keeps foraging this amazing venison steaks from the freezer too. So dang good. 😉


We also got gifted this sprouting box from HoneyTree Permaculture to do some off grid field testing. It took a couple rounds to get sprouts and a system that would work for us – but we sure are loving having fresh sprouts to add to our meals these days! Thanks HoneyTree! For all that you do!! (Everyone has been asking about this sprouting box when i post pics, I’m going to try to make a video in the next couple weeks. Stay tuned to our youtube channel!)


Another big thanks to Drs Marty and Glenn from Through the Woods for our monthly check ins. We are so glad we are doing them–because we both found out our blood pressure was high when we went in for our appointment. EEP! Stress management – it’s SO REAL. We were both totally wiped out when we went in, working too much and not sleeping enough. IT SHOWED. So, they hooked us up with this custom tincture for stress management and blood pressure. We took a few days off. We’ve been monitoring our BP for a couple weeks now and are well back within normal range. Thanks again guys, for supporting our health care with plant based medicine, diet suggestions, and giving us stern looks over our stress levels! 😉 You’re tops!! (And, as someone who used to only be able to survive her life with a anti-anxiety Rx — I’m super grateful to have not taken one in six years and have my tinctures instead!)


2 thoughts on “Food challenge 2017 – 2 weeks in!

  1. I love, love your posts!
    This 51 year old woman quit her corporate gig last year and decided to GROW! I’m planting a 1/2acre garden to grow for our local food banks and my family. (I live with my hubby and our menagerie of pets in the Pacific Northwest in USA).
    Doesn’t sound like we have much in common, right? I live in a rural/suburban area, I’m growing a small garden, but…
    We have 2 adult and sons who are morbidly obese, at the ages of 23 and 25. They are both college graduates, and our youngest just got married in Oct. our oldest has sleep apnea and will have to use a CPAP machine. This is actually a good thing because I’m hoping that it’s the beginning of getting him healthy! Both of our sons left our home for college a little heavy, they were always a little heavy and we kept them in sports even though they weren’t athletes. They are computer/game “nerds” (self described) and this has always been the battle! They never go outside or enjoy any outdoor activities! My prayer is that this change in my life, which I am COMPLETELY OVER THE MOON GRATEFUL FOR, will impact our community (which there is great need) and our family—to save our kids! —-Now you can see how what you’re doing, though quite different from the journey I am just beginning, impacts me in the most profound ways!!! Thank you for sharing your journey!
    Keep up your posts!! You inspire me and keep me going!!

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