May 23, 2023

How to grow your own food with Marjory Wildcraft

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Growing your own food gives you so much back in return, better health, self-sufficiency and happiness. On Episode 591 of the 40+ Fitness Podcast, we meet Marjory Wildcraft and discuss her book, The Grow System. Marjory shares tips on how to get started in a small spot with a limited time investment.

To learn more, you can sign up for Marjory's free webinar at 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/grow.


Let's Say Hello

[00:03:19.710] – Allan

Hey, Ras. Long time no see.

[00:03:23.870] – Rachel

Right. How's it going, Allan?

[00:03:24.920] – Allan

Yeah, it's going again because I'm taking the trip back to the States and there might be some disruptions of when I can record when I can't. We've decided to record two of our sections at the same time. So we were just talking a few minutes ago and now we're here again. So we're going to go ahead and jump into this episode with Marjory Wildcraft.

[00:03:45.930] – Rachel



[00:04:06.190] – Allan

Marjory, welcome to 40+ Fitness.

[00:04:09.110] – Marjory

Hi. Thanks Allan. Appreciate you having me on.

[00:04:12.120] – Allan

The name of your book is called The Grow System. True Health, Wealth and Happiness Come From the Ground.

[00:04:18.860] – Marjory

Yeah, I actually have a copy look at that.

[00:04:24.050] – Allan

What was really interesting in it is I've had other people on, we talked about growing our own food and the value, some of the value of doing that, but okay, fine. I do a little bit of herbs in my kitchen window sill and that's great. I can throw that on my food. The step of saying that I'm going to produce a large percentage of what I eat, it can kind of seem a little overwhelming. But I think your book does a really good job of breaking down that process of how we get there.

[00:04:52.690] – Marjory

Yeah, well, there's this prevailing myth. It's almost like a story that kind of like a lot of the other stories that are going around throughout the human population that are just not true. And one is that it's really difficult to grow food or only migrant workers do it or whatever. I actually had a podcast series with several dozen extremely high level, high level executives with divisions of 2000 people or high tech entrepreneurs with 25 and $50 million budgets. And the characteristic was that they all grew some of their own food and every one of them said that was the most pleasurable part of their day, every day. So it's a myth and that you, you know, or you're going to work really hard and all you're going to get is a tomato. You can actually produce about half your own food very easily in a very reasonable amount of time. So we'll talk about that some more.

[00:05:47.300] – Allan

Yeah, we absolutely will. Now, one of the interesting things you put here is you say the five keys to true wealth. And these were interesting to me because I don't think people think of farmers as being wealthy. So if I quit my day job and started farming, I don't know how far that would get me. But you have a great point. Can you talk about the five keys to true wealth?

[00:06:12.860] – Marjory

Sure. When I talk about wealth, most people immediately are thinking or stocks and bonds or gold or financial instruments, the equity in my home. And that's actually one form of wealth, but it's really the least significant form. And the number one, you're going to appreciate this with the Fitness Over 40 podcast. Your number one form of wealth is health. Your health, right? Let's say you've got billions of dollars but you're tied to an oxygen IV thing and you can't move. Like what good is money? So health I would say, is your number one form. Your whole worldview comes through the health of your physical body. So if you're sick, no matter what's going on, that overlays all of your experience. But if you're healthy and vibrant and happy so that, I would say is the number one form of wealth. The second form of wealth and people don't I think people started to realize this during the COVID experience and that is your family having people that you have been involved with all of your life or all of their life. In the case of your kids that know you from up and down and when you were married and from when you were divorced and from when you did this and then can help you through all those years and remember or piece that together or be there for you in the 04:00 in the morning when something happens.

[00:07:33.220] – Marjory

Or to share that graduation, or that you just got a blue belt in Jiu Jitsu or whatever. To share your celebrated wins and your losses. That family is a form of wealth. You can't buy that. You can't buy that anywhere, right? In fact, that is a big problem for people who are extremely wealthy. It's finding someone who can genuinely be in their life for them, right? Another form of wealth is an extension of your family and that's your community. So if you have people in your life, your neighbors one of my favorite stories is about some families that we all really hung out together and we formed a group and I was as comfortable in every one of their kitchens as I was in my own. We spent that much time together and did that much stuff together. And one time I got a big laceration on my leg and I mean it was just one phone call and we had people there to watch the kids while my husband got me to the hospital. Or one time I got a trailer full of tomatoes and I mean it was only 15 minutes and I organized a whole group where we had a bunch of us canning those tomatoes up and everybody went home with two cases of tomato sauce.

[00:08:44.710] – Marjory

And again, it's an extension of family and the birthday parties and the trading of good things. You've got extra eggs, they got extra squash, taking on challenges of like city hall says this but we're like we want that or whatever it is, right? Having community that you deal with, the fourth form of wealth is actually doing meaningful work. And this is even regardless of whether you're retired or not, that's kind of irrelevant. I think all of us want to work. There's no such thing. I think if somebody just sits around and does nothing or I don't think they're going to be alive much longer if that's what they've been reduced to, doing something really meaningful. I've one time had an acquaintance and he was an elder gentleman, and he went to work for the IRS. And I'm like, Ian, you got to be crazy. Like, what are you doing? It's a survival job. And I said, there is no ever any need to do a survival job. You are totally destroying your own dignity by doing that. I said, that's ridiculous. You should never do a survival job, right? Even if it's a job you feel like you have to do for money, there has to be some are you helping your coworkers?

[00:09:57.300] – Marjory

Is it benefiting the world in some way? And the more you have work that's meaningful that you feel you're contributing, then the more fun it is, the less it is work and the more it is why you get up every day. And that is a form of wealth. Again, that's something that just can't be bought. Sometimes that takes a lot of soul searching. Sometimes in our midlife, we lose track of one thing that was real important and then we're in this free period for a while before we find the next thing that is it. But having something that really is me. And again, I really appreciated, regardless of the COVID experience and what that really was, it was a great wake up call for a lot of people. Like my accountant, they got really shorthanded. And I said, what's up, Don? And he says, well, you know, some of our team realized they just didn't really want to be accountants. God bless them. Hopefully they're doing what it is that they truly want to do. So the fourth form of wealth is doing meaningful work. So we have health, your health, your family, your community, doing meaningful work.

[00:11:02.550] – Marjory

And then the fifth one is almost an encompassing of all of it, and that's living a life of purpose. And so, yes, we all go through changes and different things, but knowing why you're here and living purposefully, this also starts after 40 we start looking more at legacy. What are we leaving behind? What have we done? What have we contributed? And more and more we start to live a life of purpose of every day I get up and I'm like, what is my purpose today or in any situation? What can I do here to better this situation? And again, that's not something you can't buy any of those things. And I will note that growing your own food in a backyard space fulfills all the five forms of well, first of all, you're going to get healthy. Growing your own food. And it's not just eating the high quality, high nutrient, vibrant foods, but the process of growing food, I say, is even more health giving than actually eating it. Family, I've been reviewing a lot of baby boomers. I say, what's your favorite memory of your grandparents? And it was never, oh, they took me to the skating rink, or we saw a movie.

[00:12:15.090] – Marjory

It was always something of like, well, I went with Grandma and we collected eggs from the chickens. Or one of my own memories of one of my great aunts was she had an apple tree in her yard, and we made applesauce. It always involves food harvesting and preparing, gathering, collecting food, every single one of them. Community, there is this myth of the lone survivor and the whole survival preparedness movement, of which I happen to be the female leader. Oh, my God. Anyway, guys think they're going to get their guns and head way off in the hills and survive this, and that is a complete disaster. You'll never make it. We need each other. And growing food and sharing food. The holidays, they always center around food, except for a couple of places where they fast and they're not really holidays. Those people are miserable, you know, and meaningful work. I mean, what more meaningful work? When I had my kids at home, we were homeschooling, and I was growing not all, but a significant amount of food for the family. I'm going to tell you, that is some incredibly meaningful work. When I knew that I was producing food that was going to have my children and my husband have the most vibrant and healthy bodies that they could have, incredibly meaningful work.

[00:13:35.560] – Marjory

And then the purpose, it's an incredibly purposeful activity. Also, I think my father in law, Pops, he has a variety of tomatoes. We were in Central Texas. Texas super hot in the summertime. Tomatoes do not grow in the superheat. And Pops had managed to find a variety of porter tomatoes that were very, very heat tolerant that he had actually developed over the years. Now, we won't say they were super tasty, but when it's July and August in Texas and you got any, tomato is better than none. And, you know, that variety of tomato is something that I certainly keep, the rest of the family keeps. We'll be passing that down for generations and generations and talking about pots and telling stories about pops. I mean, that's something you can do in your backyard, and that is a true legacy. There's lots of other ways to achieve those five forms of wealth, but growing food is something you can start doing right now.

[00:14:30.070] – Allan

Now, you've touched on a little bit of this, but I'd like to dive in a little bit deeper about why growing and raising your own food matters.

[00:14:40.210] – Marjory

Yeah, well, the largest destructive force on this planet is commercial agriculture. There are dead zones around every coastline of every continent. The Gulf of Mexico is a gigantic dead zone because of the agricultural runoff. Let's not go into all the soil erosion. Let's not go into all the toxicity. We used to say, be a perimeter, shopper at the grocery store. And now I'm like, just don't even go in the grocery store. There's nothing in there. Over the decades, the nutrition in the food has just been dropping and dropping and dropping and dropping and dropping. Like, for example, my mom lived to 94. She was born in 1920, back in 1920. And when her body was being built, there was real food with real nutrition in it. And she kept to the old ways for most of her life, eating whole foods and sourcing the best quality food. That's why she lived in 93, 94. That's why all these centenarians that they've been interviewing, they live that long. The kids born after 2000, even the CDC is saying, like, one third of them are going to have diabetes. Now, wait a minute. One third of kids are going to have diabetes?

[00:15:49.210] – Marjory

Like, what kind of life are these? Kids are not going to live to a 90. They're not going to live to 70. If they live to 50, they're going to be miserable because they're going to have all that stuff that comes with diabetes, of blindness, swelling legs. See what I'm saying here?

[00:16:02.600] – Allan


[00:16:03.320] – Marjory

You got to be growing it's like, way past time to be growing your own food. If you're interested in your own health, which you should be, because that's the number one form of wealth that you have, you really need to be growing your own food.

[00:16:14.570] – Allan

And just another aside, and I don't want to get political here it happens for why it's happened, but with inflation just in the last few years, and my wife and I go back to the States, it's like, food is so much more expensive than when we left four years ago. And so it's a huge contrast for us. It hasn't been this slow drip, drip, drip that I know a lot of people are experiencing up there. But just to go back and realize, wait, this used to be $25, a grocery store bill. Now it's 50 to buy the same stuff, and you're like, Holy moly. But if you've managed the seeds, you've managed the animals, you've managed the things that you need to manage this next round of crop or all, it doesn't cost you a dime more. It's the same ten minutes that it was. So you're basically giving yourself a raise.

[00:17:11.530] – Marjory

It's an investment. I was telling somebody, like, look, why do you have you have these 50 gallon drums full of beans and rice. Why are you doing that? I'm like, because those beans and rice a year ago cost $300, and now they cost $600. It's an investment. We have a thing called de dollarization coming along, and there will be the inflation is only going to get exacerbated to the point where, I mean, let's talk about Weimar Germany is going to happen in the United States, all the fiat currencies around the world. We're in that time frame, and we don't need to go into that in this podcast. Here the other thing and most people are not watching global crop production because why would we? But global crop production has been down everywhere, and there's not a lot of hope about it coming back around in the foreseeable future. So we have a constraint on supplies happening. And then we also have a financial system that's imploding. I'm here because I love the positive message of it's healthy and it's fun and it's the most rewarding activity you can do. But there is definitely a survival angle to this. Absolutely.

[00:18:26.770] – Allan

My wife has always said she has a black thumb. Can't grow anything. But it's kind of actually easy down here in Panama because you pretty much plant something and it grows. And we usually get plenty of rain, so it grows fast. But how can someone think about it? I've got this little backyard I want to get started. How does someone go about just making those first steps?

[00:18:52.270] – Marjory

So I, too had a black I mean, my first degree is in engineering. Later on got into business. I wasn't exactly, like, born in some hippie commune knowing this stuff. Right? Because I learned it all right. And you can learn it all. I would like to point out people often think about growing food and they immediately think of a garden. And I would like to say that actually animal products. And there are lots of ways for this to do it for the vegans. I don't want to alienate all the vegans, but animal products by far a lot easier and more prolific in terms of calories and nutrition than gardens. So even a backyard flock of six laying hens is what I recommend people start out with. It's 1500 eggs a year, which is basically three egg omelets you have for the entire year. So you have breakfast covered, and then you'll have 33 dozen eggs left over to barter or trade or give away or use in other recipes. And you can get that up and going in just a couple of weeks. So it ends up being about 95,000 calories, which I know historically the calorie has been a bad word, but the calorie is about to become the unit of currency.

[00:19:55.630] – Marjory

But let me go also address the black thumb thing. But I did want to preface that conversation with animal products are another great way to produce food. It doesn't always get outside of the garden bumps. The secret to a green thumb is actually the soil. And I know most of us are used to like, you wipe your feet, get that dirt. I don't want that dirt in my house. It's just dirt, right? It's dirt. Get it off your clothes. We don't normally think about how important soil is and a really vibrant, healthy soil with a lot of minerals and a lot of life, a lot of microbiotics going on there with either bacteria or fungi in it. The plants will be healthy and strong. Insects and disease, just like for animals, are the predators of the plant nations. If you are weak, then you will get sick, right? It's a fundamental thing. And if your plants are weak, they will get sick or have tendencies to have insect outbreaks. The way that plants get nourished is having adequate sunlight and water, but also soil the relationship in the soil of their roots with the microorganisms, the roots of the plant can't break down the rock and get a mineral.

[00:21:13.610] – Marjory

The roots of the plants have these relationships with soil microorganisms that break down and get them the minerals that they need. And in return, the plants will make types of carbohydrates that it exudes out of its roots to feed the microorganism. There's a whole lot more going on in there. So my advice is to get the highest quality soil you can and your garden will be way more forgiving of your erratic watering schedule. It'll be able to hold water better, you'll have way more nutrients and minerals and more life. Your plants will be healthier and stronger. And really having great soil is the secret to a green thumb.

[00:21:53.950] – Allan

And then in the book you do share some other things about how you can get into composting and things like that that are going to help you keep that soil. Because you can't just keep planting and taking you've got to put back in.

[00:22:09.200] – Marjory

One of the other wonderful things about this is it's also circular. And we're used to living linear lives. And when you start growing your own food, you start becoming very much in touch with these circular and relationship, which I think we're talking about relationships with other species, which is a real broadening of your interactions. And your backyard starts to become a whole ecosystem that you're involved with and participating with and helping. That's another thing that makes it so magical and wonderful.

[00:22:39.370] – Allan

Well, right, because just two things that would come out of that. One is if you're composting, you're throwing less away, which means the landfills get less and your food is right there in your backyard. They're not having to truck this stuff in from Mexico and all the fuel and everything that that would take to get the food to you. And you don't have to drive down to the grocery store to get it either. It's like literally walk out there, clip off your greens. It's going to keep growing. Pick some tomatoes, some cucumbers and make yourself a really great salad.

[00:23:10.710] – Marjory

You'll get it at the peak of freshness and the peak of nutritional content and the peak of flavor. By the way, if I could dovetail 1 second for those that go, oh, I got a homeowners, I can, or the rules or whatever. So the city of Austin is a great example. When I moved there 25 years ago, having chickens in your yard, people were like, you just lowered the property values. It was like Bubba Bill, you can't have chickens. Hated it. And there was a group, actually, a gentleman named Selwyn Pollock really said, hey, wait a minute, these things are great. Fast forward 15 20 years, the Austin chick stuff, they go crazy. And they now have a tour called the funky chicken coop tour because people build all these crazy chicken coops and they go nuts with it. But the city of Austin also regularly has classes on how to have a backyard flock of chickens, and they will subsidize you buying a chicken coop, and you might say, why would the city do that? And it's a very practical reason is they found out that people who had chickens had like 34% less waste that they were putting into the landfill.

[00:24:22.150] – Marjory

And they did a big cost benefit analysis, and they found out that if they had everybody in the city owning chickens, they would have this way less. It made more sense to subsidize the chickens in the city than it did to keep trying to fill up the landfill.

[00:24:38.790] – Allan

So, again, we're part of this ecosystem. We just get to choose a little bit about how we approach it. Now, you mentioned earlier that it was in our best interest, if we're looking at doing this for food, is that we're going to get a lot more bang for the buck with animals. And in the book, you got specific on the laying hens, the chickens and how to go about that. And you also talked about rabbits, because, again, I think of a farm or food. I'm thinking a cow and a pig and got to live by a river so I can fish and but let's talk about chickens and rabbits.

[00:25:09.710] – Marjory

Yeah, I want to live there, too, but the truth is most of us don't live there where we can have a pig and a cow and go fishing by the river. So, yeah, the book is really designed for the average American with the resources they have. And I have by the way, I visited Cuba to interview a bunch of the people that went through the government calls it the special period, actually, economic collapse. And they raised pigs in their backyard. What's? One woman this time, she raised a pig in a bathroom, like, oh, my god, the plumbing didn't work anymore, so why not? But, yeah, you don't really want to do that. That's just an extreme case. Rabbits are great. There's a distinction between an herbivore and an omnivore. People like, why don't you raise chickens for me? And actually, my family did that for years. We'd get 100 baby chicks, and we'd raise them up as a three month project, feed them, take care of them, and then the whole family, over a couple of weekends, we process them all, and then we had organic free range chicken in the freezer all year. Wonderful project, but it requires a lot of food.

[00:26:11.420] – Marjory

Chickens are omnivores, and basically they like to eat what you like to eat, right? Grains and vegetables and fruits and they're omnivores. They will eat some greens and things, too. Absolutely, yeah.

[00:26:22.810] – Allan

But I'm not a big fan of mice, rats and insects that they'll eat. But they are going to eat some meat.

[00:26:29.590] – Marjory

Yeah, they will eat that, too. But rabbits are pure herbivores and they're easier to feed. I'm coming from a survival and preparedness background, and when the grocery stores close, the feed stores are going to close too, right? You're not going to be able to buy animal feed. Rabbit, rabbit hoods, when you can grass and landscape trimmings and in the northern climates, bark in the wintertime, so you can much more easily and sustainably feed rabbits. You can basically take a lot of greens and a lot of forage that you can't eat, and the rabbits will turn that into protein and fat for you. They breed like rabbits.

[00:27:12.070] – Allan

Like rabbits.

[00:27:14.010] – Marjory

You get a lot of them, right? You can produce a lot of them in a small space.

[00:27:18.540] – Allan

Yeah, I learned so much in this book. I didn't know you could eat acorns, and I was like, Holy crap, I can't remember how many times. It was just so many acorns. I lived in a house in Massachusetts in the trees, and it was such a pain to rake up the acorns, rake up all the leaves. Leaves are a little easier because the rake works. But the acorns were the ones you just rake, rake, rake, rake, rake. If I'd known I could eat those things, man, that saved me a lot of time.

[00:27:45.450] – Marjory

They're really good and they're not that hard to process, and they're oh, my goodness. That angema pancake stuff is complete awfulness when you've eaten acorn meal pancakes. Oh, my God. So delicious. Real food. Yeah. There's places in Austin the homeowner tell you a funny story. So she had this big five oak tree in her front yard and she had this concrete sloping driveway, and it was perfect because all those acorns would hit that driveway and then roll down to the intersection where the edge where the street was, and I was like, oh, my God, let me just see. All you had to do is shove it in a bag. You didn't even have to rake it up. And I was out jogging one morning. I was actually in Austin on a business trip at some marketing conference or something, early in the morning, out for a run and saw these Acorns, and I had a bag, and I'm like and the woman who was the homeowner comes out on her porch, and she's looking at me, and she's got her hands on her hips. And I thought, oh, no, she's going to be mad because I'm taking her Acorns.

[00:28:48.270] – Marjory

And I said, oh, hi. And she goes, you want those things? Yeah. She says, take them all. Thank you.

[00:29:06.030] – Allan

But it just goes to the fact that how much we've lost touch of food, of what food is and where we can get food and how we can grow our own and raise our own. So that's something I really enjoyed about this book and the things that I was able to learn just with this little introduction.

[00:29:22.070] – Allan

Marjory, I define wellness as being the healthiest, fittest, and happiest you can be. What are three strategies or tactics to get and stay well?

[00:29:30.580] – Marjory

Yeah. Well, of course I'm going to tell you to grow your own food because that leads you to all the five forms of wealth. And actually, pretty soon, growing your own food is going to make you money too. Growing your own food is like printing your own money. I also really enjoy being physically fit and active. And then I think for me, the other most important thing for me is just to always be following my heart. If it's time to stop doing something, I'll know, and then I honor that, even though it kind of looks kind of crazy, or if it's time to start something, just following your heart and really trusting, there's a lot of wisdom.

[00:30:05.960] – Allan

Thank you. Thank you for sharing that. The book goes into a lot of detail, but it's kind of one of those things where the more you know, the more you know, you don't know.

[00:30:15.970] – Marjory

Really. I'm not even an expert.

[00:30:18.190] – Allan

Right. But you've put together a webinar called You Can Grow Food. And what I did was I went ahead and just set up a little link for that so you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/grow. And I'll have a link to that webinar because I think that's a really good first step for folks to get out there. Can you tell us a little bit about what we would learn on that webinar?

[00:30:39.810] – Marjory

Yeah. So I'll go into a very simple three part system that will show you how you can grow half of your own food in the size of three parking spots. Like, oh, you can do this. And I'll show you the calories it generates, what it looks like, what those meals look like. And the time is really less than an hour a day. I'd say about a half an hour a day. So this is something you can easily integrate into your life. You'll come with a plan for getting those three going, which will be getting you producing half of your caloric need, and you'll have a plan of how to get started today, regardless of where you live. And then what are the next steps to take. And once you implement those first three, which are the simplest and easiest to go for anybody, then the whole world opens up to you, and we talk about all other ways to grow food or produce food and just basically go through those introductions, answer a lot of really great questions people have about growing food. And it's just a very empowering class. Again, I do have that whole survival and preparedness background, so I always have this pitch toward, you might be in a grid down situation.

[00:31:46.850] – Marjory

And then a lot of people I really appreciate this audience is probably fitter than most, but this is also targeted for people who maybe they're overweight or out of shape or older, which makes the rest of us he's like, oh, great, that's easy. So they'll come away with a whole plan of action, what to get started with today and empowered on how to grow half of their own food.

[00:32:11.480] – Allan

Awesome. You can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/grow and find that webinar. And it's a free webinar, right?

[00:32:18.800] – Marjory

Yes, it's a free webinar.

[00:32:20.290] – Allan

Awesome. Marjory, thank you so much for being a part of 40+ Fitness.

[00:32:24.290] – Marjory

Well, thank you, Allan. I really appreciate you. And we'll come on some other time and a lot of other topics. Fun to talk about.

[00:32:30.400] – Allan

There are a lot of other topics. Thank you.

Post Show/Recap

[00:32:33.330] – Allan

Welcome back, Ras.

[00:32:34.650] – Rachel

Hey, Allan. That was a really fun discussion. I would just start off with health as the first form of wealth. Even when she said it, it caught me by surprise, even though it's something that I think about all the time is how important our health is. We could have all the money in our retirement fund or all the money in the bank account in the world, but if we're not healthy, there's no way to enjoy it.

[00:32:55.960] – Allan

Well, even being on that, if you're spending money on curative health care for chronic diseases. So that's high blood pressure, that's high cholesterol, that's heart, that's blood sugar, that's all of that stuff. Every time you write that check, every time you pull off that credit card to pay a copay, every time the insurance comes out of your paycheck, that is an indication of your investment or payments that you're making to keep yourself alive. And if you don't take care of yourself, you'll be on more medications than you would have otherwise. If you're not doing the right health care things, health style lifestyle things, you'll be spending more money for health care. I think I read that a person with diabetes spends $22,000 more per year on health care than someone who doesn't have diabetes.

[00:33:52.980] – Rachel

Wow, that's a lot.

[00:33:55.240] – Allan

It is a lot. And maybe you don't financially see it coming out of your pocketbook because you have a good insurance program or something like that, but invariably the money is coming from somewhere, and it's going to be coming from us directly or as a pool, but it's still coming out. And if you notice that your premiums go up every year, maybe your employer takes on a big chunk of that that's great. But they still see that as a chunk of your compensation. And so rather than them being able to write you a bigger raise, they're now paying it out in healthcare costs. And so you're getting less of a raise if you're missing a lot of work because you're sick. I was a hiring manager, and I can tell you the person that shows up every day, I like her, I like him. Okay, they're going to get the promotions first, they're going to get the raises first. And you can say, well, that's not fair. I was out sick. I shouldn't be penalized. It's not fair, but it is what it is. You're not there. You're not contributing at that point. And it's just unfortunate, but that's what it is.

[00:34:57.540] – Allan

And so when you start looking at what you could make, what you could do, or what you are spending, your health and lifestyle, they actually are part of that formula. And you want to be healthy when you're older. You don't want to be sickly. You don't want to be put into a home earlier than you need to, right? So the things you do to take care of yourself from a fitness and a health perspective are really, really important. And so what Marjory is talking about is if you're eating good quality food, and you know it's good quality food because you raised those chickens, you raised those rabbits, and you were the one who got the soil together and planted those plants and kept them and fed them and did what was necessary. You know, the quality of what you're eating is good and so much fresher and better than what you would ever get from any store or even a co op. And so it's just this opportunity for you to have complete control over what you eat, what you and your family eat. And granted, she said 50% was a good, steady goal for sustainability, but she's talking about someone who just has a backyard.

[00:36:07.950] – Allan

It's not someone who has acres, because you definitely feed your whole family practically with acres and maybe others, but just in your backyard, because the chickens will take up about a parking space, the rabbits will take up about a parking space overall, and then the plants are just the space that you choose to plant. And the way she looks at it is, she's doing planters that are maybe 8ft long and 4ft wide, which allows her to easily manage them. They're raised beds, and so you can plant as many of those as you want. She recommends one to start and then the second one. And at that point, with just two of these planters and the chickens and the rabbits, you could be growing half of your own food.

[00:36:50.050] – Rachel

That would be so awesome. Now that we're back in Michigan, where we've been for about four years, we've been trying to work on our own gardens here. And I'll tell you, I have a black thumb. I just kill anything I touch. My husband and my daughter, they're the ones with the green thumbs. They're the one that makes it all work. But when we have our own garden, we plant the foods that we want to eat. So we'll have tons of tomatoes and we'll have lots of onions. My daughter's experimenting with different lettuces right now, and sometimes it's a process. We also have rabbits and groundhogs and deer that like to eat our food before we get it. But we have to learn. We're learning how to adapt. And I'll tell you what, when you raise your own tomatoes, there's nothing that tastes better than having your own tomatoes. And that's probably one of the easiest things to grow, too. And then if you have a bumper crop, you can can them and use them in the winter for chilies or soups or whatever else. It's just a wonderful thing to do, and not to mention the chance to be outside during the best time of year.

[00:37:53.900] – Rachel

So it's a wonderful thing to do.

[00:37:56.230] – Allan

And that's the other part of it. She's like, you're going to spend more time outside, but not a huge investment of time. I mean, she's literally talking about ten minutes for your garden. Once you get it going, you're out there for ten minutes tending to it per day. The chicken is kind of the same thing. You're out there checking their food, checking their water, just making up the eggs, and then you're out with the rabbits again, just checking their food, checking their water, making sure they're taken care of, sometimes rotating them around the yard so they're getting different parts of the yard, rotating that around. And then she did the raised beds as a way to help eliminate some of the rabbits and things getting into your garden and cross contaminating your soil. Because if one of your neighbors has been using pesticides and herbicides and fertilizers and stuff on their yard, that runoff could be in your yard over years and years and years. You don't necessarily want to use that for your food. So she encourages you to buy soil, do the raised beds, and then you have complete control over the environment that your plants grow in.

[00:39:04.030] – Allan

And she agrees to start small. Her webinar is going to be a great way for you to get a good exposure to what she's talking about. The book is great, too, but the webinar, I think, is going to be where it really will make a lot more sense, and she'll be able to answer all your questions. So if you go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/grow, that's going to put you into that webinar and you'll be able to go through that and watch that webinar, it's going to be really cool and a lot of value there. So even if you think maybe I want to grow a few things, I'm not necessarily into the rabbits and having to kill them and eat them. And maybe chickens are okay, but she says you don't have to have a rooster to lay eggs. So it's not like you're going to be disturbing your neighbors with this rooster or yourself with this rooster every morning. You don't have to have the rooster. So she talks about that, getting your laying hands, how you'd organize them, how you'd set up. She puts all that together with the resources. But I think the webinar is going to be just a really good concise way for you to get a really good idea of how her growth system works, because it is a full ecosystem, so it's all encompassing.

[00:40:12.760] – Allan

If you're doing all four of these things, basically, plus foraging and maybe hunting, you set yourself up to basically be getting almost all of your own food at some point, and that's kind of cool.

[00:40:26.100] – Rachel

That would be awesome.

[00:40:27.160] – Rachel

I love it. Might have to check out that webinar myself.

[00:40:30.120] – Allan

Again, you can go to 40plusfitnesspodcast.com/grow to sign up for that webinar and learn a lot more about Marjory Wildcraft and then her book, which is called The Grow System: True Health, Wealth and Happiness Come From the Ground.

[00:40:46.370] – Rachel

I love it.

[00:40:47.320] – Allan

Yeah. All right, well, Ras, I will talk to you next week.

[00:40:51.080] – Rachel

Take care.

[00:40:52.040] – Allan

You too.

[00:40:53.060] – Rachel


[00:40:53.860] – Allan


[00:40:54.730] – Rachel


Music by Dave Gerhart


The following listeners have sponsored this show by pledging on our Patreon Page:

– Anne Lynch– Ken McQuade– Leigh Tanner
– Debbie Ralston– John Dachauer– Tim Alexander
– Eliza Lamb

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