Page 1

What is an eco village?

ECO VILLAGE magazine Issue 01 | May 2013



Everyone should have a garden



Chicken breeds for tropical climates p.4



The Art of

Earth bag

Twelve reasons to



start homeschooling




May 2013



04 Sandor Katz Interview



08 Organic Gardening is for Everyone


12 Step by Step Earthbag Constructions


18 Chicken Breeds for Tropics


i everyone, thanks for joining us for the inaugural

ents don’t spent the quality time we need to with our families.

issue of Eco Village Magazine. My name is Tim

Our family is beginning to change that scenarios for ourselves,

ONeill, I am your publisher. Our goal with this

this publication is targeted to those who have already changed

publication is to serve as a resource to the myriad

or what do change as well.

of people who are interested in finding out about intentional

I believe that there is an inherent value in people. An Eco

communities also known as eco villages. The information we

Village in my view is much more than a group of like minded

bring you will be written from a perspective of one becoming

kindred spirits carving out a place to live and work. Slowing

more self sufficient and resilient and changing from a con-

down and learning to enjoy work and enjoy community while

sumer driven lifestyle to one of minimalism and sustainability.

living lightly and preserving the resources we are blessed with

That doesn’t mean poor. Many people I talk to associate Eco

is a large part of Eco Village living. There are many topics to

Village living with poverty, it is anything but. There is wisdom

write about from governance, business ventures and monetary

and wealth in most Eco Villages. Food security, a higher quality

systems, food production, waste management, green building

of food than one is likely to find anywhere else, homes that are

techniques, animal husbandry and the list goes on. We will have

unique, comfortable and not mortgaged to the hilt and friend-

the opportunity to cover a large variety of interesting and use-

ships are just a few of assets associated with the Eco Village

ful Eco Village living topics. It is not our goal to be everything

lifestyle. In the majority of neighborhoods across America for

to everyone. I am a lifelong learner and I am excited about the

example one doesn’t even know their neighbors. Front porches

new discoveries that lie ahead. We will learn to eat healthier

have given way to perfectly manicured expanses of green that

from our own backyards and gardens, secure food, water and

are sprayed with high levels of toxins to keep them “weed” free

housing for potentially troubled times in the future, build a

and looking perfect.One has to work an outside job just to pay

home or outbuildings with natural materials and how to serve

for the mortgage, taxes, utilities and maintenance which leaves

our neighbors. If you are looking for a resource that will help

precious little time for growing food and families. The net

you facilitate change in your lifestyle you are in the right place.

result is other people raise the bulk of our food and we as par-

Pura Vida,

Neque porro quisquam est

17 Using Stinging Nettle (Urticadioica) as Chicken Feed

ECO VILLAGE magazine


22 Twelve Reasons To Start Homeschooling This Fall

Tim ONeill Publisher Eco Village Magazine World Institute for Sustainability and Ecology (WISE)

Publisher • Tim ONeill

Contributing Writer • Sandor Katz

Contributing Writer • MaryAnn Gaver


Eco Village Magazine

Contributing Writer • Sally Cunningham Contributing Writer • Ute Bohnsack Contributing Writer • Dr. Owen Gieger

Eco Village Magazine


sANDOR KATZ INTERVIEW Sandor has a pretty busy schedule with lectures and workshops. We were able to catch up with him after he completed a workshop in Ireland. Tim ONeill


read that you grew up in New York City; were you in a family of foodies? Was there a high level of interest in healthy cooking and eating in your family?

Did you develop recipes on your own initially or were there recipe books and guides that you started with? I learned how to make sauerkraut from The Joy of Cooking. Once I got

Both of my parents liked to cook, and

obsessed I started consulting all sorts

were experimental, at least some of the

of books: Bill Mollison’sPermaculture

time. We ate lots of salads and fresh

Book of Ferment and Human Nutrition,

vegetables, but they did not subscribe

William Shurtleff and Akiko Aoyagi’s

to any particular dietary ideology. Other

The Book of Miso and The Book of

than baking bread, which my father did

Tempeh, AvelineKushi’sComplete Guide to

sporadically, neither my parents nor my

Macrobiotic Cooking, and countless cook-

grandparents were practicing any fer-

books on the cuisines of different regions

mentation, although in our home (as in

of the world. But I have never been one

generally do not describe rotting food, or

What are some of the health benefits of fermented foods?

even a compost pile, as fermenting. So

Fermentation transforms our food

ganisms. Yet this is too broad, since we

really, we reserve this word to describe microbial transformations that are intentional. People have harnessed the power of fermentation to create alcohol, to preserve food for storage and transport, to make it more digestible, and for the compelling flavors it creates.

nutritionally in a few different ways. First, the fermenting organisms predigest our food, in many cases making it more easily digestible, making nutrients more available to us, and breaking down and thereby removing toxic compounds.In addition, fermenta-

to follow recipes exactly, and always used recipes I found as rough guidelines from which to depart and experiment.

most homes) we ate products of fermentation all the time, including cheeses, pickles, salamis, sauerkraut, olives, soy sauce, vinegar, and many others.


Eco Village Magazine

rural Tennessee and started keeping a garden. Faced with an abundant cabbage crop, I decided to learn how to make sauerkraut. Then I started learning how

What exactly is fermentation, most of us probably think of cheese, beer or maybe the nasty canned sauerkraut we ate as kids at the park with hotdogs? Cheese, beer, and sauerkraut are all prod-

What was the catalyst that started your interest in making fermented foods at home?

to make country wines from elderberries and blackberries, yogurt and simple cheeses, and found myself obsessed with all things fermented and investigating

ucts of fermentation, as are vinegar, soy

In 1993, I moved from New York City to

how to ferment all sorts of things.

is the transformative action of microor-

sauce, salami, bread, chocolate, coffee, and many other common foods and beverages. Broadly speaking, fermentation

Eco Village Magazine


tion enhances certain nutrients, notably B

soybean ferment, are quite perishable

Fermented vegetables, on the other

vitamins, and in certain cases the meta-

and except in a freezer will only remain

hand, may be done in a simple jar, using

bolic by-products of fermentation have

fresh for several days.

any vegetables and salt, require no

specific beneficial effects. For instance,

Is it dangerous to do at home?

special cultures or equipment, and can

fermented vegetables have isothiocyanates, regarded as anti-carcinogenic, and the Japanese soy ferment natto contains a compound known as nattokinase, which helps to regulate blood clotting and dissolve fibers that can build up in blood vessels. Finally, certain fermented foods, specifically lactic acid ferments that are not heated after their fermentation, contain live bacterial cultures that are probiotic and can help to replenish and diversify our intestinal microbiota.

How long can one store home fermented foods?


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Fermentation is generally a strategy for safety and is not particularly dangerous. When fermenting meat or fish, it is essential to understand the parameters for safety. In the realm of raw plant material, there is little potential for dan-

be enjoyed in a matter of days or a few weeks. But all of them are ancient rituals that our ancestors have done for centuries or millennia without the benefit of the latest technology; we can learn to do any of them in our home kitchens.

Agriculture, there has never been a single

Finally what types of foods can you ferment?

documented case of food poisoning in

There is no food I know of that cannot

the U.S. from fermented vegetables, sug-

be fermented.

ger. According to the U.S. Department of

gesting that fermentation makes vegetables safer than they are raw.

Is it complicated to do at home?

Because ferments are so varied they do

Again, there are many different types of

not all have the same storage potential.

ferments and some are more compli-

And generally it depends upon storage

cated than others. For instance, soy sauce

conditions, most specifically temperature.

involves many different steps and takes

In a refrigerator, or even an unheated cel-

months to complete. It may be done at

lar, many acidic ferments can be stored

home, but it requires a specific culture,

for months or even years. Certain other

some exacting temperature manipula-

ferments, such as tempeh, the Indonesian

tion, and monitoring over a long period.

Sandor has some great resources on his website at His book is much more than a primer; it is encyclopedic in volume and hosts hundreds of creative possibilities for fermenting foods at home. If you want to understand the how’s and whys of fermentation this is the book for you. Once one has a conceptual grasp of technique there are recipes everywhere.

Eco Village Magazine


Organic gardening is for everyone SALLY CUNNINGHAM

Editor’s note: Sally Cunnigham wrote this article specifically referencing the Buffalo New York area. It is my belief that the ideas and philosophies presented in the article are pertinent for not only anywhere in the United States but anywhere in the world.

Q: What difference does gardening make? A: It depends on how you do it.


nly a few decades ago, organic gardening was regarded as the domain of idealists and hippies.

Urban farms were unheard of and front yard flower gardens belonged to San Francisco. A discussion of endangered natural habitats and invasive species produced eye rolling among all but a few environmentalists. We know better now. Young parents favor organic foods and their first gardens are pesticide-free. Many Western New

habitat for most of our species to avoid

of all that flowering acreage on birds

guidelines will help you sustain and sup-

extinction.” So garden—the right way—we

and butterflies, compared to the barren

port a healthy eco-system (and do no


grass-and-yew landscapes of the past.


Food security issues are another reason

Then add the environmental impact of

to put seeds in the ground. Buffalo has

our urban agriculture projects such as

In the garden

areas that have been identified and

the Massachusetts Avenue Project (MAP),

• Protect and continually replace topsoil

studied as food deserts. Health problems

the Wilson Street Farm, Farmer Pirates,

by adding in organic matter (compost,

gardens matters—a lot.

such as obesity and diabetes are directly

and innumerable grassroots gardens and

manure, leaves, straw, grass clippings);

Why we should garden

related to a fast food, vegetable-deprived

other community garden projects. Our

plant cover crops (green manures). Use

and inactive lifestyle. We need gardeners

urban farmer pioneers remediate the soil

raised beds to avoid stepping on soil.

and their produce, whether it’s Grandma

and salvage trashed land, create jobs,

• Mulch exposed soil to prevent erosion,

and her backyard cucumbers or commu-

and grow food where it is needed. These

retain soil moisture, maintain even soil

nity gardeners on the corner lot.

efforts, quantitatively and qualitatively,

temperature, and protect plant roots.

Fortunately, Buffalo and its neighbors

make a difference.

• Water efficiently, to deliver water to

don’t need a kick in the pants to get

plant roots and avoid waste, using in-

week National Garden Festival, more

Gardening/landscaping for good results

than 1,000 gardeners welcome tourists

In your city flower bed, suburban four

• Group plants for mutual benefit (com-

to their intensively planted front and

acres, or country vegetable plot, you will

panion gardening). Consider above-

back yards, and thousands more are rec-

make many choices about how you gar-

ground space, root space, light and shade,

ognized by Buffalo In Bloom for their

den, the landscape you plant, and how

physical support and deterring pests.

floriferous efforts. Imagine the impact

you care for your piece of land. These

Interplant flowers and herbs among

York nurseries feature native plants and homeowners fill seats for native plant classes and tours. Buffalo is famous nationwide for flowering front yards, and the urban agriculture movement is burgeoning. We have collectively absorbed the lesson: what we do in our yards and

Looking at the very largest picture—the state of our land use—we can make a case that we are obligated, even if we own just one lot, to garden on it using specific native plants. Since natural habitat is rapidly, alarmingly, disappearing, ecological systems and species survival depend upon what happens in the next couple of decades on suburban and urban properties. As Doug Tallamy (Bringing Nature Home, 2007) states: “We simply have not left enough intact


Eco Village Magazine

gardening. During Buffalo’s own six-

ground watering systems or water wands directed toward plant root systems.

Eco Village Magazine


In the community • Buy locally grown, organically, and humanely produced food whenever possible; support farmers’ markets and stores that buy from area farms. Buy only locally grown honey. • Join, tour, or participate in neighborhood food co-ops, community supported agriculture (CSAs), urban farms, or community gardens. • Teach children, grandchildren, or adults within your circle of influence to grow plants, appreciate nature, think about diversity, respect pollinators and other beneficial creatures, and prepare and eat fresh food. • Speak up regarding legislation that discourages urban farming, native plantings, vegetables to encourage beneficial

• Use the maximum number of native


plants (suitable for the soil and other site

• Prevent or contain disease. Choose


healthy plants, inspect the garden fre-

• Learn to identify, avoid, and eradicate

quently, intervene and rogue sick plants

non-native invasive plant species; don’t

early, avoid evening watering, and do not

use plants that are likely to become inva-

move among wet plants.


• Avoid pesticides. Manage pests by

• Compost yard and kitchen waste; bury

lowest-input methods such as hand pick-

compostables when composting is not

ing, hosing off, fences or covers or traps,


and timing of crops. Learn Integrated Pest

• Practice xeriscaping; group plants by

Management (IPM) practices in cases of

their water requirements.

severe pest or disease infestation.

• Dedicate a portion of your landscape

• Harvest and use the produce; offer

or property to provide wildlife habitat

excess to neighbors and food pantries.

(including water sources); establish cor-

• Fertilize with organic products as

ridors that connect with other properties

needed; avoid fast-acting fertilizers. Use

for shelter and breeding.

compost for soil fertility.

• Grow the lawn organically; let grass

In the landscape

grow to three-point-five inches before

• During construction projects, establish

• Prevent water runoff to lakes or

a large root protection zone around trees,

streams; don’t plant grass to the water’s

protect and preserve topsoil, and avoid

edge. Instead, plant a buffer zone for pro-

soil compaction.

tecting water quality.

• Design diverse landscapes. Keep lawn

• Use landscape décor, furniture, and

only where you want it for recreation or

hardscape materials that will last rather

aesthetics; increase planted areas; devel-

than contribute to glutted landfills.

op layered plantings using trees, shrubs,

• Use permeable pavers and stone paths

grasses, perennials, and groundcovers.

to permit water penetration and avoid

Add flowers to front yard and foundation




Eco Village Magazine

cutting; let it grow dormant in winter.

or front yard gardening; support politicians who support this movement. • Encourage recycling and repurposing programs such as Christmas tree and leaf pick-ups, plant pot recycling, etc. So much of good gardening, landscaping, and citizenship already assumes these guidelines, yet new gardeners and homeowners often just don’t know what to do (or not to do). If that describes you, learn more—garden classes and fine books abound. If you’re already gardening sustainably and responsibly, pass it on. Our gardens and landscapes indeed make a difference.

Sally Cunningham is author of Great Garden Companions (Rodale Books), that promotes an organic, bio-diverse gardening system that attracts and fosters pollinators and other beneficial insects. Sally is also a garden speaker, columnist, TV garden expert, and Director of the National Garden Festival in Buffalo, New York.

Eco Village Magazine


Step by Step Earthbag Construction Dr. Owen geiger


Fill bags approximately 90% full, leaving just

enough to sew the bags closed. This technique ensures a.) each bag is filled to capacity to save bags, and b.) each bag is the same size, which helps keep walls level. Bag stands are not needed.


o illustrate just how easy earthbag building can be, this article shows


Tools and materials (listed left to right): woven polypropylene

bags (about 18” x 30” ), bucket chute

each main step of construction for building vertical earthbag walls.

(4-gallon bucket with bottom cut off),

Follow these steps and you and half-dozen friends can build the walls

4 or 5 heavy duty 2-gallon cement

of a 625 square foot (58m 2 ) house in about 5-10 days. Videos on my

buckets, stringline, metal chisel and

YouTube channel demonstrate the process.

scrap. Fill the bags: use 2-gallon

The following instructions assume you have cleared and leveled the site, removed

cement buckets to measure the fill

topsoil, positioned fill soil around the building site to minimize work, dug a trench

material. Use the same number

to stable subsoil, put about 12” of gravel in the trench, and added corner guides and stringlines.

of buckets for each bag.


Sew or stitch the bags closed: fold the bag end over;

use 15 gauge wire about 9” long with one end cut at a sharp angle; make one stitch on one side and bend the end over; make a stitch in the center and pull the corner over; make a stitch in the other corner and pull the corner over; poke the remaining wire into the earthbag. This technique facilitates handling, prevents spills and enables bags to be filled to capacity.


Eco Village Magazine

Eco Village Magazine



Lower courses: place gravelfilled bags (double bagged)

working from the corners and openings to the center. It helps to tilt the first two bags against each other. Align bags to stringline; tamp


Use a sheetmetal slider to place additional courses so

bags do not snag on the barbed wire: fill the bags on the slider; sew the end closed; tilt the bag into position and push it against

the bags solid and level after the course is com-

the previous bag; after the bag is aligned,

plete, working from the center of the bags out-

hold the end of the bag (it helps to lift it

ward. Always put tops of bags (the ends you’ve

slightly) and jerk the slider out. Continue

sewn closed) butted against other bags (never facing outward on corners or ends). Maintain a running bond as

with gravel-filled bags until you are safely above grade to avoid risk of moisture damage.

in masonry.


Add barbed wire: use two

strands of 4-point barbed wire in-between each course of bags; bricks or stones temporarily hold the barbed wire in place.


Repeat the process using earth-filled bags,

but with a few minor changes: turn bags inside out to avoid protruding corners; use lightly moistened soil; tamp the contents slightly after each bucket load is added; pre-tamp each bag after it is aligned in position. This last step lengthens each bag to ensure good overlap.


Eco Village Magazine

Eco Village Magazine


Notes for ‘speed builders’:


Make customsized bags to fill

odd-sized spaces: measure the opening; fill the bag to the approximate level; cut off excess bag material; fold each side of the end toward the center and tuck under the bag; place the bag in the wall.


Tamping: Tamp earthbags solid

and level after each course is complete. Tamp the high points first. Then evenly tamp the entire wall several times as you continually move the tamper. This last step avoids creating low spots.


Eco Village Magazine

Here’s a recap of important points, along with a few other comments to maximize production. - First of all, get ‘clean’ (mostly free of rocks, roots, and large clay chunks) sandyclay soil delivered to the site and dumped in piles around the building. - To minimize handling, fill the bags in place on the wall. - Gravel could be shoveled from the truck directly into the rubble trench foundation. - Work in teams -- say, two teams for a small house -- and try a little friendly competition. - Bag size is important. Even a slightly larger bag than 18” x 30” uses more materials and requires extra work. Bags much less than 18” wide will be unstable for 8’ high vertical walls. - Refine your technique for making custom-sized bags - they tend to be a real time killer. One idea is to hold a partially filled bag next to where it will go and eyeball how much soil to use. Add more than you think because it will compress quite a bit. - Let go of perfectionism. There’s a middle ground between high-precision work, such as masonry, and careless work. Use reasonable care and no one will notice minor imperfections after the plaster goes on. And if you want, it’s relatively easy to tweak and flatten the wall with a tamper before plastering if the wall hasn’t dried. (But don’t be careless. We’ve seen some very poorly built walls.) - There’s no need to tamp the bags excessively, just tamp until they’re solid. One minute per bag should be plenty, maybe go two minutes if you’re slow and tired. There’s a change in tone when they become solidly compacted. Owen Geiger, Ph.D. is a TLS Correspondent, Mother Earth News Green Home Adviser and the Director of the Geiger Research Institute of Sustainable Building. www. Photos and videos by Got Chankamol Visit Owen’s EarthbagBuilding Blog where we provide all the latest earthbag news and answer reader’s questions.

Eco Village Magazine


Chicken Breeds for the tropics Tim ONeill


aising chickens is one of the urban homestead or backyard food production areas that I think everyone should take

part in. Chickens have a variety of uses from a permaculture point of view other than just eggs or meat. We will write about why we should have chickens at a later date, today I want to focus on breeds that might work well in a tropical environment like Serenity Gardens Eco Village in Costa Rica. You may already know that all chickens are not created equal. There are a variety of breeds and like any other livestock some work better for some things than others. So let’s assume I want a good laying hen primarily for eggs. We will cycle our hens maybe every three years to the broiler pot and help them lay as well as they can before that time. While many experts may disagree, I have found that the first year of egg production is not as


Eco Village Magazine

productive as the second then productiv-

range, if that is not feasible the Leghorn

ity levels off in the third year and begins

also adapts quite well to confinement.

to fall slightlymore after that. By rotating

The Malay arealso very tolerable of

stock in the manor described we can keep

heat but they prefer to free range. Also

our egg production fairly high and still

the Malay breed is not nearly as high a

use the meat in the stew pot although

producer usually coming in around 100

three years is not going to be your abso-

eggs per year. While there are a number

lute best broiler chicken.

of breeds that will work for us in a tropi-

Chickens that tend to do better in a hot

cal area I want to maximize production

environment are Leghorn and Malay.

of eggs and other input but not at the

Leghorns would be my first choice as they

expense of flocks health or happiness.

tolerate warm weather very well and are

Certainly one would not want to raise

high producers, as much as 300 eggs per

Cornish or Hollands which are very com-

year. While I prefer my chicken to free

mon breeds for colder areas.

Eco Village Magazine


Using Stinging Nettle (Urticadioica)

as Chicken Feed

So here’s a quick way of making nettle “spinach” that can be incorporated into your chicken feed. Put on a pair of tough gloves and strip the leaves from the bottom of the stalk upwards; the soft tip will break off. Don’t use the tough part of the stalk as it will be hard to puree the tough fibres. Fill a suitable container that can take boiling water. I usually fill the container below, tightly packed, resulting in about a pound of leaves and tips to add to the feed for around 50 birds. It only takes a few minutes. Fill the container with boiling water and let it sit for 5-10 minutes at least. Using a stick blender blend until it resembles a course puree. CAUTION: I

Ute Bohnsack


s I cruise various internet sites in research I often times come across a piece that I have been contemplating. Nettles are a controversial plant. While my personal beliefs side on this plant being beneficial in a variety

of ways it also requires caution. The medicinal properties of nettles have been known for centuries. I have read about using nettles as a food source for small livestock before but never followed up with how that would work. The article that follows was written by Ute Bohnsack and shows us exactly how to this awesome plant for chickens. Thank-you for your contribution Ute. How to make use of this super-nutritious “weed” for your birds Stinging nettle is one perennial plant we have more than enough of on our smallholding. It likes damp soil - a constant in the West of Ireland - and elevated levels of phosphate and nitrogen which it finds in and around livestock paddocks and wherever significant

ruined a 400W stick blender (well, maybe I didn’t and it would have broken anyway but it gave up when I was making this feed) so I moved on to a 700W one. It might also be possible to break the nettles down using manual implements such as those used for making wheatgrass and adding boiling water after but I have not tried that. Add it to the ration. I mix it into the

to the nutritionally important ones such

plants contain 4% protein and fibre, 50

morning mash of organic pellets and

as iron, calcium and potassium: iron (13

microg/g carotene, 4 microg/g riboflavin


mg/100 g); zinc (0.9 mg/100 g); copper

and 10 microg/g vitamin E. By incorporat-

It gets Clara’s approval. ;)

(0.52 mg/100 g); calcium (853 mg/100 g);

ing nettle into poultry feed it is possible

So what benefit do the chickens derive

phosphorus (75 mg/100 g); magnesium

to increase protein intake by 15-20% and

(96 mg/100 g); manganese (3 mg/100 mg);

vitamin intake by 60-70%, also green feed

sodium (16 mg/100 g); potassium (532

requirements can be reduced by 30%.”

mg/100 g); and selenium (2.7 g/100 g)


from nettles? Here is some nutritional info gleaned from the net (my emphasis).

amounts of nutrients accumulate such as near compost heaps or

“Wetherilt (1992) found the fresh leaves

underneath nitrogen-fixing trees such as alders and alongside

to contain 76.9% water, 1.6% fat, 6.5%


protein, 4.1% nitrogen free extract, 5.3%

I used to merely tolerate it in some areas as it is an important

fibre and 5.6% ash. This protein level cor-

foodplant for the larvae of several butterfly species, with the Small

responds to 28% on a dry matter basis.” [...]

Tortoiseshell and European Peacock being fully dependent upon it.

“Wetherilt (1982) found 100 g fresh leaves

But then I realized just how nutritious this plant is and that it can be

(as is) to contain 0.015 mg thiamin, 0.23

recycled into an excellent feed supplement for our chickens. Some

mg riboflavin, 0.62 mg niacin and 0.068


old poultry books make reference to using nettles as a feed supple-

mg vitamin B6. Analyses also revealed 238

“Nettle is nutritionally high in vitamins

sting out of the cost of poultry feed, you

ment and indicate improved health, more eggs, larger eggs, and bet-

mg vitamin C, 5 mg -carotene and 14.4 mg

A, C and D, also minerals iron, manga-

can take the sting out of nettles and

ter-coloured yolks. But even though nettles grow in the chicken runs,

-tocopherol in 100 g of leaves. These are

nese, potassium and calcium. It contains

use this free and often abundant, highly

the birds very rarely touch them, even if there is nothing else green

remarkably high values for these antioxi-

21-23% crude protein and 9-21% crude

nutritious resource to replace a part of

left for them to pick, presumably because of the stinging hairs.

dants with vitamin activities. [...] Nutrient


the proprietary feed.

Boiling however tames this defence mechanism, as anyone who has

analyses showed the leaves to be rich in

As a feed component the quality of nettle

But don’t forget to leave some for the

eaten nettle soup or nettle puree can confirm.

minerals as well, especially with respect

plants is valuable. At the vegetative stage



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(Wetherilt, 1992).” Source: Wetheril, H. 2003 Nutritional evaluation of Urtica species, In: Urtica, The genus Urtica, Edited by GulselM .Kavalali CRC Press 2003 (

nettle.htm It is of course also possible to dry nettles when they are in season and save them for the winter and indeed nettle hay is also a valuable feed supplement for other categories of livestock. So even though it is difficult to take the

Eco Village Magazine


Twelve Reasons To Start Homeschooling This Fall MaryAnn Gaver


ave you ever wondered what

Homeschool? Way To Go!

learned along the way.

it would be like to teach at

#1 - You can definitely homeschool!

Having homeschooled for eleven years,

home? Are you new to the

You’re a natural teacher - you’re a mom.

I can assure you that although it takes

whole idea of homeschool-

You have your own style, your own

a big commitment on the part of the

ing? Maybe you’re in the information-

approach. Plus, you’ve already been

parents, it’s 100% worth it! For an inter-

gathering stage, or perhaps you’re

teaching at home! Moms and dads are

esting perspective, see Fact #1 About

already planning to begin homeschool-

perfectly suited to teach their own kids.

Homeschooling. Now, I’d like to share a

ing after summer.

That’s exactly what I talk about in the

few reasons we chose to homeschool.

Maybe you and your husband are ready

blog, You’re A Natural Teacher.

• Family Unity - You can cultivate a spirit

to start teaching your kindergartner,

Each homeschooling family has its own

of cooperation, appreciation, and team-

or maybe you’re just curious about the

unique story and reasons they decided to

work as you spend time learning, laugh-

whole idea. Perhaps you’re taking your

teach at home. I love hearing why, when,

ing, and growing together. Bad attitudes

kids out of the public school system. If so

and how parents became interested in

and habits can be dealt with right away.

-- fantastic! You won’t regret it.

homeschooling. If you have the opportu-

Your children learn how to serve, love

Well, whatever your particular scenario,

nity, I encourage you to ask people what

and help one another.

or wherever you’re at -- I’d love to offer

they like about home teaching. Ask them

• Spiritual Growth - It’s absolutely

some encouragement. When you have a

to share their overall impressions -- chal-

wonderful to be able to talk about the

chance, check out the blog, Decided To

lenges they’ve faced or lessons they’ve

Scriptures -- to teach what’s in the Bible.


Eco Village Magazine

lessons at a time that suit your family’s

Exercise of Choice For Busy Moms.

schedule and rhythm.

It’s easier to teach good eating habits

• Individual instruction - Public schools

when you’re there to reinforce, encourage

and large private schools simply can’t

and guide your kids about good choices.

offer the one-on-one training that’s so

Healthy, Wholesome Homeschooling, Pt.

unique and beneficial in the home set-

1 talks about family nutrition.

ting. You can speed up when necessary,

• Grammar & Conversation -

or -- if your child struggles with a con-

Homeschoolers regularly and consis-

cept, you can slow down and wait until

tently read to their children which helps

he or she is ready to move on.

instill proper grammar and speech.

• Music - You can expose your children

Homeschoolers eat meals together,

to beautiful music and teach the great

which means we talk to our kids a lot!

hymns of the faith. If possible, your child

The result is that they learn how to

can study an instrument. This is an excel-

speak clearly, hold a good conversation,

lent opportunity! 1,976 Empty Seats, Life

and interact with others. I talk about this

Lessons Learned From Telemann, and

in Conversational Competence and Good

An Early Christmas Gift are three blogs

Communication. (Note: I’m not suggest-

where I share experiences of my own life

ing that non-homeschoolers don’t read

as a music mom.

to their kids, eat meals together or hold

• Physical Fitness and Nutrition -

conversations around the table! I’m just

Whether it’s hiking, visiting the park, or

saying that homeschooling provides

enjoying a game of badminton with the

excellent and frequent opportunities for

family after dinner, there are plenty of

growth in all of these areas.)

opportunities for homeschool kids to

• Work - When you spend so much of the

be active and to increase coordination,

day together, it provides a great opportu-

strength and agility. When (and if) the

nity to teach the kids how to contribute

time is right, you might consider an orga-

to a well-functioning household -- how

nized sport. As for our health, see The

to do chores. We can teach them to work

It’s a joy to impart our faith and live out our faith day-to-day in front of our children. See the blog, All For Prayer. • Academic Excellence - Whether it’s emphasizing the 3 R’s, making sure the kids learn true History, or taking advantage of the ability to do fun science experiments -- you can delve deeper, interact more, and aim high when you oversee your child’s academic progress. After all -- who wants a child to succeed more than his or her parents? • Flexibility - Spend more time with subjects your kids love -- the sky’s the limit! Example: Your eight year old is absolutely enthralled with the globe, so you spend extra time on that. Dentist appointments tomorrow? Catch up on

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ing, it gave me peace of mind as a member to know that the Homeschool Legal Defense Association was there to back us up, and to help us if we ever had legal issues. I told of an incident a few years back when an unfriendly neighbor showed up at my door one afternoon during school. Please see: The Unannounced Guest. Although it was more of a neighborly issue rather than a homeschooling one -- the fact that I knew this man was adamantly against homeschooling rattled me . The last blog I’ll recommend is The Apricot Tree & The Little Garden because I tried to really capture the essence of my homeschooling experience -- the joy, growth, and delight of teaching at home. Enjoy your family today! love, MaryAnn This article has been reproduced in its entirety with the permission of HSLDA. It was originally published at http://www. Copyright 2013 HSLDA. hard. In Order In The House, I talk about

mean that we’re never in the van -- it just

my own struggle to keep things orderly.

means that we’re not running around so

• Service - Whether your child helps a

much. Things are simpler and calmer.

younger sibling, or your family helps the next-door neighbors in some tangible

Our children are wonderful blessings, not

way, there are countless, creative ways

burdens. We value the short time that we

children can look to the needs of others

have with our kids as they grow up. Time

as they homeschool. And the best thing

together is very precious -- and home-

is that we can model what it means to

schooling provides a tremendous oppor-

serve people. Check out: Teach Me To

tunity to tell (and to show) our children,

Serve, Part I.

“I love you!”

• Field Trips - Talk about a natural way to

Also, I highly encourage you to join

learn! This is it! For example, we don’t

HSLDA! Not only do they protect our

just talk about airplanes and airports

constitutional right to homeschool, but

-- we go to the local air field and find

they’re there to offer help and assistance

out more about how planes fly, how an

should those rights be threatened. And

engine works, or exactly how long a

they’re working to advance homeschool-

standard runway needs to be. A hands-on

ing, too. Give them a call at 540-338-

approach to enhance book learning --

5600 with your homeschool questions,

that’s what we’re talking about here.

and definitely consider joining before you

• Less Time In The Car - This is a great

start teaching.

benefit to homeschooling. It doesn’t

During my eleven years of homeschool-


Eco Village Magazine

Eco Village Magazine



Eco Village Magazine

Eco Village Magazine  
Eco Village Magazine  

The premiere issue of Eco Village Magazine hosts articles on organic gardening, backyard chickens, fermintation and more.