Tag Archives: farming

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Guest Post: Never Too Late To Live Your Dream


If you’ve ever had a dream of making a difference in the world…

Today I’d like to welcome a guest post by Cathy Payne, of Our Natural Life. Cathy and her husband Jon maintain this site together where they translate their love of natural living by doing weekly podcast interviews with individuals who are active in the sustainable, holistic, and health communities.

Started in June of 2008, they have hosted fantastic guests such as Dr. Thomas S. Cowan, founding board member of The Weston A. Price Foundation and author of The Fourfold Path to Healing, Kimberly Hartke, Weston A. Price publicist, of Hartke is Online!, Ann Marie Michaels of Cheeseslave, Jimmy Moore of Livin’ La Vida Low-Carb blog and podcast show, and Zachary Adam Cohen, creator of Farm To Table blog and television show.

The Paynes have dealt with their own health challenges, like many of us.  Yet, they have conquered those issues by embracing a traditional diet of real food, and turned those difficulties into experiences that have altered their way of looking at life and the world around them – and can pass testimonial on to those who might be looking for the same answers.

Recently they made a life-changing move: they left the city to find fulfillment and solace in the country. After being city-dwellers, they decided their hearts and minds were set on finding a farm and making it theirs – to become food producers in the natural way. This is Cathy’s account of what her life was like before that decision changed their future.


Gail Sheehy, in New Passages, writes that “Each of us tells our own personal life story to ourselves, every day.” I believe that our thoughts and words create our lives in powerful ways. I agree, with Sheehy, that we “create our own plot line.” And itʼs never to late to revise and rewrite it! As a woman who has lived 57 years and rewritten the script a few times, I can speak with a bit of authority.

One year ago, in October, 2009, I was a stressed-out suburban teacher living in a beautiful 5 bedroom, 4 bath house on a cul-de-sac. Why stressed? As a support teacher I worked with the students who were “challenging.” They were diagnosed with autism, behavior disorders, ADHD, asthma, encupresis (look it up), learning disabilities, and more. In meetings I heard mothers testify that their child was perfectly normal until they got a certain round of vaccines. I also heard tales of asthma, hives, skin allergies.

While it was not my place to advise parents of diet or medical care, when asked for advice I did volunteer information about decreasing sugar and adding cod liver oil to a studentʼs diet. However, the school was serving up a diet of GMO processed food, up to 3 starches a meal, and with heavy doses of HFCS, food coloring, and preservatives. In addition, the school state required parents to give their children a full dose of vaccines or withdraw them from school. Parents were not informed of their right to opt out of this requirement. Seeing children, their families and teachers suffer, having little control over the situation, and working under a heavy paperwork load became to feel like a burden. On top of that our governor ordered 3 furlough days, requiring teachers to take time off work without pay, reducing our salaries.

It was on the third furlough day that I suggested to Jon that we take a weekend off. Nature’s Harmony Farm was having a fall tour and farm celebration, and it would be a perfect break from our usual routines. We found a bed and breakfast in an historic home not far from Elberton. It would be a romantic getaway before Jon left for an extended business trip.

Jon and I had discovered the Weston A. Price Foundation in 2006. We got involved with the group, connected with local farmers, and began eating farm-to-table. Pretty soon our weekends revolved around farm visits, farm pick ups, and farm events. We made an effort to visit most of the farms that were producing our food. We were happy when a new farm, Nature’s Harmony, offered farm tours. Our first tour was in October, 2008. At that visit we did an interview with Time and Liz Young for our podcast. We were very impressed with what they had accomplished in a very short time.


Back to 2009, we enjoyed another tour along with a farm-to-table dinner and bonfire. Enjoying the fresh air and scenery at the B&B and at Natureʼs Harmony, Jon and I found ourselves saying things like, “It’s so pleasant out here. So peaceful. Wouldnʼt it be nice to live like this?” The lightbulbs went on, we looked at each other, and the conversation soon turned to, “Why not?” We had no children or dependent parents holding us back. I could retire in a year or two. Jon worked from home. We were both in good health. Why not buy land while prices were low, rent it out, and learn how to farm?

Well, things moved much more quickly than we believed they would. The Universe conspired to support us in ways we had not imagined. Within 11 weeks, we owned our small farm. I turned in my notice to school and applied for retirement June 1. We have now been farming for 4 months and learn so much each day. This is a hard, demanding, and richly rewarding life. Weʼre learning one set of routines at a time and then adding layers upon layers. Weʼve sold livestock born on our farm and made sales of duck eggs, produce, and dog treats. Weʼre now giving our own farm tours!


Whatever stage of life you are in, and whatever your dream may be, you can also turn it around. I believe that it is important to follow your passion and let your work be your play. Whatever you believe, you can achieve. Itʼs never too late to live your dream!


Words of wisdom and inspiration to live by! I am so grateful for people in the world who recognize the importance of living a simpler life, with emphasis on valuing the natural ways, and are able to go and do it. It gives the rest of  us who want to do the same something to hope for and work toward.

In the meantime, we may not have a homestead or a farm (yet), but we can see the significance of living in harmony with nature, make strides to live clean and eat sustainably, and spread the infectious message of a healthier existence amongst all the people we come into contact with..now that’s making a difference.

I’ve had a dream very similar to this for the last few years, and sometimes I think it’s very far away…but then I’m reminded of how powerful dreams are. When you make something a priority and a goal, anything can happen!

Read more about Cathy and Jon at Our Natural Life.
This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday blog hop.

Activism Green Living Healthy Living Real Food Toxin Alert!

Stop The Use Of GMOs in Our Food Supply


October is Non-GMO Month.

Genetically-modified substances and organisms are becoming more and more pervasive in our food supply in the United States.

Over the last two decades, agriculture and science technology have been using genetically-modified organisms in growing crops for food and many other uses.

The process involves the deletion or insertion of specific genes into the DNA for the purpose of enhancing desirable traits in the plant or animal. Genetically-modified organisms have had alterations made to their DNA with the use of genetic engineering techniques.

GMO foods were first seen on the market in the early 1990s. In most cases, genetically-modified foods are transgenic plant products including the following: soybean, corn, canola, and cotton seed oil. The development of animal products including genetically-modified salmon and pigs have also occurred, but currently there are none on the market.

This issue poses a threat not only to environmental and human health, but brings up questions of safety and economic concerns as well.  The rbGH, rbST growth hormone typically used in dairy cows has been banned in Europe and most U.S. dairies, you can still find this substance in “all natural” products such as companies like Breyer’s ice cream.

This problem can be stopped by the consumer, just by taking action.

The Institute for Responsible Technology, headed by spokesperson Jeffrey Smith is starting a campaign to bring their message to the the public to create enough support to push GMO foods out of our food supply and market. Already, nearly 400 retail stores selling natural products in the United States are promoting the spread of information about making healthier choices by avoiding GMO products and foods.

Please watch this informative video featuring an interview with Jeffery Smith by Dr. Mercola about the issues caused by genetically-modified organisms and strategies to avoid genetically-modified foods. We want to send a message to companies like Monsanto who produce these franken-foods and companies and food growers who support them that these substances should not be in our food supply!

Jeffrey Smith will also be speaking at the Weston A. Price Wise Traditions 2010 annual conference. Are you attending?

The problem can be stopped by the consumer – it was done in Europe without the assistance of the government. Here are some things you can do (some bullet items from the Institute for Responsible Technology)

  • Ask supermarket and food company CEOs to help us stop GE salmon! Click here
  • Tell your congressional representatives to stop GE salmon! Click here
  • Sign the petition to President Obama for MEANINGFUL GMO labeling! Click here
  • Actively seek to purchase local and sustainable foods – talk to your farmers and food growers to ensure they are not using genetically-modified organisms in their farming practices and feed
  • Avoid processed and packaged foods and make food at home from scratch from safe ingredients
  • Tell your friends and family about the dangers of GMO foods

Want more information?