Books to Get You Started Living Simply

Are you looking for inspiration on your dream to live a simple life?

This book genre has exploded in the past few years, and it’s no surprise. The ideas of eating seasonally, supporting local farmers and artisans, and becoming self-sufficient are all very much a part of pop culture right now. But where to begin? We have two book recommendations from friends of Blue Moon to get you started.

The Good Life by Helen and Scott Nearing
Recommended by Marc Kline

Scott and Helen NearingThe book is actually a compilation of two works, Living the Good Life and Continuing the Good Life, which detail the decision and story of the Nearings’ leaving New York City for a rural life of self-sustainable homesteading. It contains as much philosophical discussion as it does documentary tale, and while the book is not about organic farming per se, it helped to spur the “back to the land” movement and is on many a bookshelf of farmers young and old. In fact, Eliot Coleman’s Four Season Farm is not coincidentally located just down the road from Helen and Scott’s final and longest standing homestead in Harborside, Maine. He often cites his early experiences with them as crucial to his farming career. I visited this homestead in Harborside while I went to school about an hour north of it. While Helen and Scott have both passed, their homestead still hosts an individual or couple of apprentices who use the property much as the Nearings did and provide tours to the public.

Leda Meredith

The Locavore’s Handbook: The Busy Person’s Guide to Eating Local on a Budget by Leda Meredith
Recommended by Erica Evans

“A GREAT book that I love when I first got into a more “locally minding way of living” is Leda Meredith’s The Busy Person’s Guide. She is fantastic, and has a great blog as well!” Leda Meredith coverings gardening, simple food preservation, cooking with odds and ends, foraging, and food storage in her book. The book is presented as a guide to living locally while living in New York City (where to get the best vegetables, shop for goods, etc), with a straightforward tone and lots of practical advice. Check out Leda’s blog here.

By |July 25th, 2014|News|Comments Off on Books to Get You Started Living Simply

8 Tips on How You Can Live Locally

living local

Wondering what steps you can take to become more aligned with your local community and environment? Erica Evans, Beginning Farmer Program Coordinator at NOFA-NJ, shares with us 8 ways you can live locally.

1. If your municipality allows, raise your own chickens. In my own hometown, I participated in many town council meetings advocating for residents raising hens.

2. If you have space available, grow a garden, it can be as small or as large as you can handle. It can be in the ground, in raised beds, or pots. 1 or 2 tomato plants on your back patio is better than no tomatoes. Even a windowsill herb garden is better than nothing. Community gardens, roof gardens, porches, patios, windowsills, front and back yards are all great places to start your own garden!

3. Join a CSA! There are vegetable, meat, and fruit CSAs available. In my opinion, for lots of people this is a great option, especially those who don’t have time or space for their own garden. It’s fun, social, educational, and more! If a full-share is too much for you (if you have a small family or are single), choose a half-share option if available, or split a share with a friend, neighbor, or co-worker!

4. Eat with the seasons. Learn what’s in season. Knowing what’s in season means knowing if it is local. Some people like to organize their recipes by season. Having a reverse approach to recipes where you see what looks good at the whole animal, eat the organ meats (super nutritious!), and my favorite part: cooking fats for free from melting down fat into lard or saving the fat from a roast duck!

6. Preserve produce while it’s in peak season by freezing, drying, canning, or fermenting. Get friends, neighbors, or family together and make an event out of this! It’s always a memorable experience – especially for the kids.

7. A way I like to taste the seasons is by foraging for wild edibles. Each season brings something new you can forage for. However, do not do this unless you are 100% sure of what you are foraging, and make sure it is in an area free from chemicals (I’d be wary of those tasty looking dandelions that grow in every suburban yard where chemical fertilizers are used regularly) and not near traffic. Also, you must be sure not to deplete the entire stand of plants.

8. The most important concept to keep in mind (for me) and what I used to tell members of North Jersey Locavores is that a little bit is better than nothing. Maybe you can’t buy ALL your food from a local farmer or you can’t grow all of it yourself, but even just a little bit is better than not at all.

chickens and a beet

By |June 27th, 2014|News|Comments Off on 8 Tips on How You Can Live Locally

Living Local: Find Your Community

living local

How can you make an impact on your local community?
What impact does community have on the local food system and sustainability?

Chuck Minguez of Door to Door Organics and Jeanna Kane of the Doylestown Food Co-op explore what it means to live locally.

Chuck encourages people to go out and join in the change happening in their area. “Get involved with local organizations that support the local foodshed like Bucks County Foodshed Alliance or your local Buy Fresh, Buy Local chapter. Go to meetings and meet the people directly involved in creating change.”

Jeanna also believes strongly in the power of community, like-minded individuals joining together, to affect change. Her words follow.

“This now brings me to Community. This could be one of the most important items to address as we move through climate change. All of the things we need to do as humans living on a changing planet we will need to do together. We are all great at coming together in a tragedy. Just look at how people came together during the aftermath of Sandy. People offered their homes for sleeping, showering, or just a hot cup of coffee or soup. So let’s take that community spirit and use it before the catastrophe. We can help each other plant gardens, we can have better public efforts on getting more alternative energy into peoples homes – subsidized solar panels perhaps. We can get together and help each other learn how to can or cook a seasonal meal. We can support community efforts on getting local food onto the tables of people who can least afford it.

Cathy Snyder of Rolling Harvest picks up a donation of greens and vegetables from Blue Moon Acres in Pennington, NJ

Cathy Snyder of Rolling Harvest picks up a donation of greens and vegetables from Blue Moon Acres in Pennington, NJ

“I do many of these things now through my Ladies Homesteading group that I meet with on a monthly basis in person and almost a daily basis online, as we share tips and tricks for gardening, preserving, holistic health, and other general homesteading ideas.

“I read and read and read lots of books so that I can learn more ways to lower my footprint. But I don’t just read, I also put many of the things I learn into action. I share with others what I have learned through educational efforts.

“I have worked hard to bring about a food co-op in Doylestown that will support the local farmers– and I’m happy to say that we have a location and a targeted opening date of November. [The Doylestown Food Co-op is now open and operating.]

“I support organizations such as the Rolling Harvest Food Rescue that works with local farmers who donate excess harvests to go to local food pantries. They now have about 13 or 14 farmers in their program and are on target to surpass the 48,000 pounds of fresh food that they delivered in 2012.

“Get up each day and see what you can do that day that would lead to a more sustainable, less resource wasting life. I didn’t do all of this overnight.”


By |May 30th, 2014|News|Comments Off on Living Local: Find Your Community

Living Local: Know Your Producers!

living local

What does it mean to live locally?
How can you be a local citizen?

Alex Jones of Fair Food Farmstand in Philadelphia suggests that getting to know your food producer–literally, the source of the food you are eating–will strengthen your civic pride.

In her words:
My suggestion would be to not only give your dollars to local businesses and food sources, but to think of food that you purchase in terms of knowing the producer, not necessarily looking for a certification on the label.

If you’re able to access food from a grower directly, or from an organization or business (such as Fair Food!) that provides transparency and information about its sources, that’s worth a lot more than buying something from a large retailer just because it has an organic label.

I also get really motivated to look for things locally because it deepens the connection I feel to my part of the world — my region, my city, my own neighborhood — and sometimes the history of that area, too.

Farmer Jess Niederer of Chickadee Creek Farm in Pennington, NJ

Farmer Jess Niederer of Chickadee Creek Farm in Pennington, NJ

By |May 2nd, 2014|News|Comments Off on Living Local: Know Your Producers!

Living Local: Buying Local, and Knowing from Whom You Buy

living local


Wondering how you can support your local community? Try committing to buying local, and buying from people you know.

Lisa White, President of the Doylestown Food Co-op, really encourages people to buy local, as much as possible, as a way to ensure the continued vitality of your community. “I love where I live and I would love to be able to help assure that I, and future generations, have everything we need to live comfortably right here in our own area…. and to know that it is the tastiest, healthiest, and best it can be. To live local, you need to commit to buying local for everything that you possibly can!!”

Jamie Hollander, owner of Jamie Hollander Gourmet

Jamie Hollander, owner of Jamie Hollander Gourmet

Another element of buying local is getting to know the people behind that business. This is, after all, one of the biggest benefits of being locally-produced goods: the producers are your neighbors.

Ashley Lyons Putman, Sales Manager here at Blue Moon Acres, believes that a large part of living local is connect with small business owners in your local community. She recommends seeking out the mom and pop shops and patronizing those stores. These are the businesses we want to stay a while. And that’s not the only benefit- “You get quality, too. Someone that is really sticking their neck out for you and providing you with a quality product- staking their life on it.”

By |April 4th, 2014|News|Comments Off on Living Local: Buying Local, and Knowing from Whom You Buy