Whole Green Love » Garden http://wholegreenlove.com Real, Whole Food Recipes. Green and sustainable living. Wed, 10 Dec 2014 21:01:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.26 DIY Floral Pumpkin Centerpiece http://wholegreenlove.com/2014/11/18/diy-floral-pumpkin-centerpiece/ http://wholegreenlove.com/2014/11/18/diy-floral-pumpkin-centerpiece/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 21:10:39 +0000 http://wholegreenlove.com/?p=5853

DIY floral pumpkin centerpiece|wholegreenlove.com

Winter is in full gear here in Jackson…Brr! It went from warm fall to frigid cold with lots of snow nearly over night! That being said though, it definitely got me in the holiday spirit. I can’t believe Thanksgiving is a week away and then the magic happens with the Christmas season. I LOVE this time of year. Nostalgia fills your heart, you reflect on life and remember what is truly important…family, friends, and good food.

To get in the holiday spirit, my good friend Michelle, who happens to be a florist in town, gave me a DIY tutorial on how to make a pumpkin floral arrangement that would be perfect for Thanksgiving dining table décor. Plus, it’s just a fun project to get you in the spirit of Thanksgiving.

I can’t say I’ve ever “stuffed” a pumpkin with flowers, but there is a first time for everything. With the guidance of Michelle’s expertise our pumpkin vases turned out beautiful! They were easy to make and with a few simple supplies you can whip one up too!

Supply List:

-       Pumpkins (large or small depending on what sized arrangement you want)

-       Carving knife

-       Scissors

-       Spoon

-       Small/medium sized cup (that fits carved pumpkin opening)

-       Bucket or kitchen sink

-       Green floral foam

-       Mix of flowers and foliage (dried leaves and feathers would be fun too)


Floral Foam in place...ready to start our masterpieces!

Floral Foam in place…ready to start our masterpieces!



1) Take your pumpkin and carve a hole in the top the size of your cup rim. You want the cup to sit flush and snuggly in the opening…no wiggle room.

2) Scoop out all of the guts and pumpkin seeds (yay for roasting later!)

3) Take your bucket and fill with water or plug your kitchen sink and place your floral foam in water to submerge.

4) You are going to want to carve wedges of your waterlogged floral foam to fit tightly into your cup. A tight fit will keep your flowers in place once you get to that fun step.

5) Take your foam filled cup and place it in the opening you created in the pumpkin. It should be snug.

6) A few general rules: You’ll want to place at least 1.5-2 inches of your stem into the foam so its secure and supported. If it’s a thick stem you can whittle it narrower to secure in the foam. Also, clean the lower stem of leaves that is secured into the foam.

7) Start with your foliage around the border of where your arrangement will go. Don’t be shy!

8) Add a couple larger more “centerpiece” flowers to the top of your arrangement and then fill in with smaller flowers and a few sprigs of foliage.

9) It doesn’t have to be perfectly organized or even…get creative with your design.

10) You can add any additional décor such as leaves, or feathers at the end of making your arrangement…essentially creating “the cherry on top” of your decoration piece.


Placing the foliage around the border of the pumpkin. Loved all the different textures!

Placing the foliage around the border of the pumpkin. Loved all the different textures!


You can pick up a mix of flowers and foliage from your local florist, or even easier – stop at the grocery store and grab some flower bundles that you can pull apart and recreate into a new masterpiece. If you don’t like the way a flower is facing or which flowers it is next to, you can easily move or reposition the flower because of that foam you are placing it in.


Placing the largest flowers first, to then work around them with smaller flowers.

Placing the largest flowers first, to then work around them with smaller flowers.

Final touches!

Final touches!

Michelle's finished product! She got fancy with floral wire and added her pumpkin top to her design. So pretty :)

Michelle’s finished product! She got fancy with floral wire and added her pumpkin top to her design. So pretty :)

My finished project!

My finished project!

I had so much fun creating these and Michelle was such a great instructor to have! This was a great holiday activity and different from any flower arranging I’ve ever done. Have fun making yours and be sure to send us a picture!

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FREE New Year New You Online Conference! http://wholegreenlove.com/2014/01/04/free-new-year-new-you-online-conference/ http://wholegreenlove.com/2014/01/04/free-new-year-new-you-online-conference/#comments Sat, 04 Jan 2014 16:45:38 +0000 http://wholegreenlove.com/?p=5616

UPDATE: Since publishing this post, the dates of the New Year New You Summit have been changed to January 20-24, 2014! You can find links and information below regarding this amazing online conference, but please note that the dates have changed!



Happy 2014 everyone! What better way than to start the year with a healthy living summit. Talk about getting your inspiration in check!

The New Year New You Summit is a FREE live online virtual conference that is being held from January 13-17, 2014. You can hear from 31 health enthusiasts; including doctors, bloggers, farmers and health activists all while hanging out in your own home.

If you tune in during this live conference it it is FREE! How great is that?! You can register to listen free by clicking here.

If you aren’t able to dedicate your time to a live conference, no worries! You can preorder the download package for 50% off, if you order before January 12, 2014. This virtual conference is regularly priced at $99 and can be preordered for just $49!

If you purchase the downloadable package you will get:

-Over 30 hours of audio interviews

-Over 30 hours of video slideshows

-You can download it to your computer, tablet, cell phone, or TV

-Convenience of listening to interviews from the gym, car, or your own bed

-Lifetime access to this information.

Click here to purchase this downloadable package! You’ll also be able to see a full line up of all the great presenters.

Some of the presenters include:

Joel Saltin, Author of Folks, This Ain’t Normal : The Future of Real Food

Margaret Floyd & Chef James Barry of Eat Naked : The 14 Day Sugar Detox

Jill Winger of The Prairie Homestead : How to Homestead Anywhere

Robin Konie of Thank Your Body: How to Escape the Clutter Trap

Josh Tickell, Award-winning director of Fuel: Greening Your Ride

Robb Wolf,  NY Times Bestselling Author of The Paleo Solution

Dawn Gifford of Small Footprint Family : How to Save Money While Saving the Planet

Lindsey Gremont of Homemade Mommy: Homemade Mommy Survival Guide

Nick Wallace, Founder of Nick’s Sticks : The Future of the American Farm

Dr. Cate Shanahan, Author of Deep Nutrition: How I Transformed the LA Lakers’ Diet

Vanessa Romero of Healthy Living How To : How to Stay Fit in Your 40s

Emily Benfit of Butter Believer: The Sleep Solution

The New Year is a time when people are setting new goals and hopes for their future. If you are looking to improve your lifestyle and habits, this New Year New You Summit is bound to inspire and help get you on the right track.

In addition, if you are interested in saving 65% on this conference click here to learn about becoming a premium member of the Village Green Network. Other benefits of the membership include discounts on eBooks, meal plans, classes, and coupon codes to some amazing health food/product brands!

We hope you are able to tune in to this FREE live conference! It is going to be a good one!

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Holiday Gift Giving Ideas http://wholegreenlove.com/2013/11/23/holiday-gift-giving-ideas/ http://wholegreenlove.com/2013/11/23/holiday-gift-giving-ideas/#comments Sat, 23 Nov 2013 22:18:38 +0000 http://wholegreenlove.com/?p=5468

It is that time of year to celebrate, spend quality time with loved ones, cook amazing meals together, and at some point it usually involves a thoughtful gift or two. I must say that holidays have gotten, to some extent, overly materialistic. Not that I don’t buy presents, but it’s that so much focus has been put on presents…and LOTS of them! It’s nice to hold onto the true spirit of the holidays and share that celebration with your friends and family.  All that being said, it feels good to give someone you love something special that you know they could use and will really enjoy.

Holiday Gift Ideas | WholeGreenLove.com

We wanted to put a few items together that may help give you great gift ideas for all the sweet people in your life.

Ecojarz stainless steel small mouth mason jar lid with stainless steel straw and cleaning brush. These are awesome gift ideas – perfect for on-the-go drinks, or fresh-juiced produce. You can feel good not using any plastic materials and know that the taste of whatever you are drinking isn’t going to taste like the bottle you are drinking it out of. Click HERE to view. HERE are some Ball canning jars to go with them. These canning jars are perfect to package a gift in too…i.e. bath salts, dry baking goods, DIY manicure kit…this list could go on forever.

Green Pastures fermented cod liver oil… you need to make sure that you are getting this for the right person who will appreciate it, ha! Click HERE to view.

A Kombucha starter kit is another great idea. Click HERE to view.

Nourishing Traditions Cookbooks. Click HERE and HERE to view.

I LOVE our cast iron skillets that were my grandmas. You can do so much with them! Click HERE to view.

It is amazing how often I use an immersion blender in my kitchen. It makes blending so quick and has easy clean up. Click HERE to view.

Yaktrax are great for people who live in snowy and or icy areas. You can slip them over your shoes for a steady and non-slipping hike or walk to the store. Click HERE to view.

These Thermos‘ are the best. They keep stuff warm or cold for hours. Click HERE to view.

Succulents are so beautiful! How fun to create little succulent pots for friends & family! Click HERE to view.

Terrariums would be a great gift idea. Whether it’s a book to make them, or you are feeling crafty and design them as gifts! Click HERE  and HERE to view.

Some larger gifts may be more of a gift you give yourself and your family…

The Berkey water filtration system has been on our radar for a a while now. Click HERE to view.

A good juicer is a great investment for your health. We have a Breville Juicer that works well. Click HERE to view.

I dream of owning a Vitamix blender…from what I have heard they are AMAZING. Click HERE to view.

Speaking of great kitchen pots & pans…the Le Creuset French Ovens and Dutch Ovens are amazing. Click HERE and HERE to view.

KitchenAid mixers are great, I use mine quite frequently in both cooking and baking. Click HERE to view.

The best gift you can give is a “gift of time” as my Aunt Nancy puts it. I love that thought and it is so perfectly true. Don’t forget to tell your friends and family you love them, make the time to spend with them, and enjoy each others company…that’s what life is about.

Happy holiday planning everyone!

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Simply Salads by Season – Don’t miss out on the eBook Bundle – Save 90% today! http://wholegreenlove.com/2013/09/08/simply-salads-by-season-dont-miss-out-on-the-ebook-bundle-save-90-today/ http://wholegreenlove.com/2013/09/08/simply-salads-by-season-dont-miss-out-on-the-ebook-bundle-save-90-today/#comments Sun, 08 Sep 2013 13:03:34 +0000 http://wholegreenlove.com/?p=5278

You’ve heard us talk about this super awesome End of Summer eBook Bundle: 30 Real Food & Healthy Living eBooks for only $39 (a $650 value) and available only through Tuesday, September 10th. That is a 90% savings. Boom.

Simply Salads by Season (written by Kristen Michaelis from the blog Food Renegade) is one of my favorites in the bundle. In my opinion, it’s a perfectly put together book for quick and simple salads with a real food focus. This book is the best because:

  1. The recipe ingredients are all real food items.
  2. The book provides guidance on sourcing the best possible ingredients.
  3. Simply Salads is organized by seasonal ingredients, which makes meal planning easier and cost effective.

Simply Salads by Season

A few salad dressing recipes that caught my eye:

  • Homemade ketchup – used as an ingredient in some of the dressings or great as a condiment for anything else you are eating at home
  • Ranch dressing – no more bottled, store bought dressing or powdered “homemade” versions!
  • Dill vinaigrette – just yum.
  • Homemade Worcestershire sauce – which is super awesome because we put a dash of this in just about everything. The store bought version contains corn syrup or sugar from GMO sugar beets. No, thank you.

I looked especially close at the fall salad recipes since that is the season we are heading into. Apple cauliflower chopped salad, Avocado grape salad with pecans, and Kale & Brussels spouts salad, oh my! Just to name a few.

For just a short time, you can buy this book as a part of the End of Summer eBook Bundle – that is 30 eBooks for only $39! Less than $1.50 per book. Click here to check out the deal and the other great books that are included!


Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, we will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, we only recommend products or services we use personally and/or believe will add value to our readers. we are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commision’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Quick & Easy Recipes to Use Up or Preserve Garden Produce http://wholegreenlove.com/2013/08/23/quick-easy-recipes-to-use-up-or-preserve-garden-produce/ http://wholegreenlove.com/2013/08/23/quick-easy-recipes-to-use-up-or-preserve-garden-produce/#comments Fri, 23 Aug 2013 16:03:07 +0000 http://wholegreenlove.com/?p=5221

It’s go time. Whether you are in harvest mode from your own backyard garden or you are hoarding produce from your local farmers’ market, consuming and preserving those fresh fruits and veggies is a top priority as the summer winds down. I know for us, it can be hard to keep up with. Many different things in our garden become ready for picking all at the same time – which can be stressful! You feel the pressure to get the most out of everything you grow! The produce piles up on the counter, things ripen too fast, and you are scrambling to find recipes to use all of that produce up fast! But it’s all worth it, when you are eating your garden goods mid-winter and feel proud of what you grew yourself. It is such a satisfying thing.

How to use up and preserve garden produce | WholeGreenLove.com

If you need to find a home (whether that’s in your stomach or on a shelf in your pantry) for that mountain of produce on your counter, I have just the thing for you. Quick and easy recipes to use up or preserve all of that garden goodness. I got the hook up from my real foodie friends and I wanted to share the love. Enjoy!

Garden Fresh Tomato Sauce (with yummy secret ingredients!) – Primally Inspired

Homegrown, Homemade Pasta Sauce – Five Little Homesteaders

Grilled Ratatouille – Learning and Yearning

Tomato Palooza: Preserving 45 pounds of tomatoes (this post includes recipes for tomato sauce, bruschetta, tomato soup, tomato slices, and tomato relish) – Oh Lardy!

How to can tomatoes (with a video tutorial) – Oh Lardy!

Zucchini Stuffed with Tomatoes & Mozzarella – Five Little Homesteaders

Dehydrated Tomatoes – Real Food Forager

Dehydrated Tomatoes

Fresh Tomato Paste – For the Love of Fiber

Garden Greens Pesto – Primally Inspired

Garden Greens Pesto

Super Delicious Onion Butter – Learning and Yearning

Dehydrating swiss chard in the oven – Learning and Yearning

Jessi’s Oven Roasted Okra – Whistle Pig Hollow

How to freeze bell peppers – Whistle Pig Hollow

How to freeze bell peppers

Watermelon Aqua Fresca – Girl Meets Nourishment

Garlic Cilantro Lime Rice – Girl Meets Nourishment

Butternut Squash Potato Soup – Girl Meets Nourishment

Super Simple Refrigerator Pickles – Five Little Homesteaders

Super Simple Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Garlic Dill Pickles – Real Food Forager

Curried Carrot Soup – Five Little Homesteaders

Curried Carrot Soup

Fermented Garlic – Homemade Mommy

Fermented Garlic

Lacto-fermented vegetables – Healthy People, Healthy Planet

Nightshade-free Marinara Sauce – Healthy People, Healthy Planet

What’s your favorite recipe for getting the most out of your garden produce?

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How to Harvest, Preserve & Freeze Kale (perfect for use in smoothies!) http://wholegreenlove.com/2013/08/16/how-to-harvest-preserve-freeze-kale-perfect-for-use-in-smoothies/ http://wholegreenlove.com/2013/08/16/how-to-harvest-preserve-freeze-kale-perfect-for-use-in-smoothies/#comments Fri, 16 Aug 2013 14:50:57 +0000 http://wholegreenlove.com/?p=5203

How to preserve and freeze kale | WholeGreenLove.com

It’s that time of year when the garden is starting to overflow with goodness. The tomato plants are tall and we are starting to see some red beauties ripen up. We have already harvested and pulled out the green bean plants (and our fridge is jammed with dilly beans). Our jalapenos are taking off and our bell peppers are growing slow and steady. We have snuck a few carrots to taste test and they will be ready in a week or so. The snap peas didn’t last long with daily Lyla raids. Our broccoli is coming in quite nicely. We’ve enjoyed many, many salads from our spicy greens. Aaaaand we have some decorative gourds growing beautifully, which is funny, because we didn’t plant gourds this year. Huh.

Also, our kale. Looks. Fabulous. The only problem is that there is so much of it that comes ready at once. Our main use of kale in our house is adding it to smoothies, so I wanted to figure out a good way to preserve and freeze our kale so that it was easy to pop in a smoothie concoction. Have you checked out Lyla’s favorite smoothie recipe?

Harvesting kale is simple. When the leaves are about the size of your hand, they are ready (they are even tasty when the leaves are young and tender). Use a scissors to cut the stem or snap the stem with your hand just below the leaf. Be sure to choose bottom leaves to harvest and do not pull out the entire plant. Your kale will keep showing you love with more growth throughout the summer and into fall. It can even withstand some frost. The best time of day to harvest kale (and all greens for that matter) is early in the morning.

How to preserve and freeze kale | WholeGreenLove.com

How to preserve and freeze kale | WholeGreenLove.com

How to preserve and freeze kale | WholeGreenLove.com

I harvested so much kale that I repeated the steps above many times because it sure wasn’t all going to fit in one pot. Go ahead and reuse the water for multiple boiling sessions. I harvested a very large bag of kale and ended up with two ice cube trays of frozen kale. It definitely becomes more compact when it’s been blanched and has wilted.

How to preserve and freeze kale | WholeGreenLove.com

These small servings of kale are perfect to toss in smoothies, soups, stews, and pasta dishes. I actually think that a smoothie blended with blanched, frozen kale turns out better than using fresh – with frozen kale you lose the grittiness.

How do you use kale you’ve preserved from the farmers’ market or your summer garden?

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Receive great discounts on health and wellness products through VGN Premium! http://wholegreenlove.com/2013/06/11/receive-great-discounts-on-health-and-wellness-products-through-vgn-premium/ http://wholegreenlove.com/2013/06/11/receive-great-discounts-on-health-and-wellness-products-through-vgn-premium/#comments Tue, 11 Jun 2013 22:16:36 +0000 http://wholegreenlove.com/?p=4953

Village Green Network (VGN) Premium is a new online discount club. It’s the perfect membership for foodies like you who are focused on the health and wellbeing of yourself and your family and want to save money while you’re at it. We know all too well that healthy food can get expensive, even when you follow those trusty “5 ways to save money on groceries” lists. When you’re buying real food (the good stuff!) the costs can add up. That’s why we are stoked to be a part of a membership club like VGN Premium.

VGN Premium Membership

Why should you sign up?

  • You will get coupons, sales, and shipping discounts to use on some of the best real foodie brands!
  • Available discounted products include kitchen appliances, high-quality organic products, cleaning products, coconut oil, fermented food starters, real food supplements, and more. The list of products and companies is always growing.
  • You will get member-only discounts (at least 25% off!) on e-books, meal plans, the VGN Summit, classes, and e-book bundles from the best real food bloggers out there!
  • You won’t have to worry about tracking down a great deal for the real food products you buy. With VGN Premium, there is always a sale!

CLICK HERE to check out the marketplace! Why not continue buying the products you already do, but at a lower price?

Get discounts from these trusted companies for high quality products:

VGN Premium Membership Brands

For only $5/month or $49/year, you will have access to all of the goodies listed above with the VGN Premium Membership.

If you get in early and sign up in the month of June, you can join VGN premium for 20% off!

That’s only $3.99/month or $39/year! Offer expires June 30th.

CLICK HERE to join MONTHLY or YEARLY – it’s up to you!

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June Link Love http://wholegreenlove.com/2013/06/10/june-link-love/ http://wholegreenlove.com/2013/06/10/june-link-love/#comments Mon, 10 Jun 2013 17:57:38 +0000 http://wholegreenlove.com/?p=4969

It’s that time again to share some blog love! Nothing like a one stop shop to be able to look through some cool blog posts. We hope you like the ones we picked too!

We usually try to share some fun pictures on our Link Love posts and I think the recent ones Ryan took while in Yellowstone National Park were too cute to pass up! Enjoy!

June Link Love | WholeGreenLove

This Orange Avocado Dressing looks amazing! Not to mention the salad recipe to go with it. I’m planning on making it this week for sure!

It is easy to get lazy or even forgetful with lunches packed at home. I love nothing more then getting to work and knowing I have an awesome lunch and snacks packed for the day. Here are 10 Essential Lunch Box Packing Tips that might help you out!

A Cheeseburger Frittata?! With Ryan’s love for cheeseburgers, I think this will have to be on our menu soon!

Baby animals are the best…so stinkin’ cute! Check out this baby lamb…aww!

It never hurts to be prepared and to have any “tips” ready for traveling successfully with children. Here are 6 Simple Tips for Traveling With Kids.

I don’t know about you, but opening a young coconut can be quite the challenge! Here is a great how to, that I’ve used before & it works great.

We’ve been trying to eat more fermented foods…here are 8 Reasons to Eat Fermented Foods!

Lavender Mint Soothing Herbal Body Butter…sign me up.

June Link Love | WholeGreenLove

I hope you all have had a good weekend and have been able to get out and enjoy this nice weather we’ve been having! Maybe you’ll be inspired to make or implement something from these lovely blogs in your life this week!

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Bright Agrotech: Towards a Brighter Future of Food http://wholegreenlove.com/2013/05/02/bright-agrotech-towards-a-brighter-future-of-food/ http://wholegreenlove.com/2013/05/02/bright-agrotech-towards-a-brighter-future-of-food/#comments Fri, 03 May 2013 01:09:53 +0000 http://wholegreenlove.com/?p=4801

We are excited to share with you our first guest post! Woot Woot! Chris Michael from Bright Agrotech discusses his company’s sweet produce growing systems. It’s so cool to hear about new and innovative ways people are accessing fresh and healthy produce. We want to thank Chris for sharing this with us! We hope you learn something new!

“Towards a Brighter Future of Food”

Chris Michael

It’s hard to be optimistic about the future of food in this country… But we are!

We’re growing food that feeds our local community and we’re doing it vertically, sustainably, and profitably!

Bright Agrotech | WholeGreenLove

The Bad News:

Let’s face it. When we look at the state of our agriculture system today, it can be very disheartening. Each day we’re bombarded by headlines about E-Coli, Listeria, and other food-borne illness outbreaks from tainted irrigation water or poor quality processing facilities.

We have no idea what’s really sprayed on the fields and how these pesticides and herbicides affect the health of our families and our environment.

It’s said the average American dinner travels an average of 1,500 miles from farm to plate. Studies are also showing that our food loses nutrients as soon as they’re picked, plucked, or harvested from the fields.

Bright Agrotech | WholeGreenLove

With that in mind, how on earth are we supposed to get the vital nutrients, vitamins, and nutrients that we’re trying to glean from eating “healthy foods?”

And, when we add in increasing urban sprawl, loss of precious topsoil, and a rapidly aging farmer population, things look pretty bleak, right?

But, in spite of all this gloom and doom…  

We’re hopeful and excited.

The Good News:

At Bright Agrotech, we’ve seen firsthand the challenges of being in agriculture today. We’ve seen the farms of our family and friends suffer from drought and crippling debt. Doing research at the University of Wyoming, our Co-Founder and CEO Nate Storey, Ph.D wanted to invent a more efficient method of growing healthier, more nutritious food that also helps farmers live better.

Before you write us off as deviant pot-peddlers, hear us out!

While it has an unfortunate stigma, hydroponics merely substitutes soil nutrients for a more potent, concentrated nutrient solution mixed with water. It’s WAY more efficient at giving your plants what they need to grow up big and strong, which increases the productivity of your farm or garden.

The type of hydroponics we use is called aquaponics.

This method of growing food is a more organic type that simply replaces a cleverly concocted nutrient fertilizer solution with fish!

That’s right, we use fish to grow [lots] of food!

Aquaponics is by no means a new concept. In fact. it’s been around for a long time. As cool as it is though, it’s having a difficult time transitioning from a backyard hobby to an economically sustainable commercial venture. Until now.

Practical Vertical Farming

You read that right. We’ve developed some kick ass vertical farming technology that provides some serious value across all three levels of food production and distribution (i.e. farmer, grocer, customer)!

Bright Agrotech | WholeGreenLove

The ZipGrowTM Tower, our patented vertical farming tower that’s enabling a fresher food future, is the product of seven years of rigorous academic research.

Not only does it allow us to see some serious yields in our aquaponic greenhouse (Catch a video tour here!), we’ve designed it to transport live to market!

In the not too distant future you could be going to the store to cut the freshest produce from living walls.

Live Sales Model

About 60% of a farmer’s costs come from harvest, post-harvest labor, and packaging. Nate’s research confronted this massive cost head on and sought to eliminate it. Here in Laramie, we grow our towers and drive them a mile to the local grocer in which we have a specially designed and patented living green wall. The customer simply clips exactly what they need (helping to drastically reduce post-consumer waste), bag it themselves and take it to the checkout counter to be weighed and purchased. That means fresher food, more taste and better nutrients for the customer and the customer’s family!

Bright Agrotech | WholeGreenLove

Healthier food grown in YOUR KITCHEN

As you can see, we’ve been realizing the benefits of vertical farming for a few years now and we’re going even one step past the living green wall. We believe that growing and harvesting is so innately human that we want everyone to have the opportunity to grow healthier, more nutrient-dense food in their homes.

The Spring is our home version of our innovative vertical farming system that consists of everything you need to plant and grow delicious food in your home without taking up much space. You may have seen our Kickstarter project that we launched a few months back and we’re now in the final steps of bringing it to life.

But there’s more…

The coolest part about The Spring is that not only does it allow anyone to simply grow food in their kitchens and patios, it also enables an even fresher farming distribution model. Instead of your farmer taking their towers of living produce to the local grocer, they now take it directly to your home (like a milkman used to do!). To learn more about that, see our “Bright Future of Food” here!

The Future of Food

Relax! Do yourself a favor and turn off the evening news declaring another food-borne illness contamination. Put down the newspaper and the headlines about the skyrocketing price of corn.

The future of food isn’t all doom and gloom.

That said, it is a future waiting to be enacted and adopted by those who see the bigger picture. The fresh food revolution isn’t going to magically appear, sadly. We need advocates and early adopters with that innovative eye constantly looking out for the health of their families and their natural world.

We hope you’ll help us spread this message of hope to your friends, family, local Co-Op, or grocery store and demand healthier, locally-grown, nutritious food!

- Chris Michael

If you want to learn more about Bright Agrotech feel free to click on the links below! We hope you find yourself in your garden this upcoming growing season, whether it’s horizontal or vertical!

Find more from Bright Agrotech:

Website: www.brightagrotech.com

Blog: www.verticalfoodblog.com

YouTube Channel: www.youtube.com/user/BrightAgrotechLLC

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BrightAgrotech

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BrightAgrotech

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Register for the Healthy Life Summit for FREE! http://wholegreenlove.com/2013/03/15/register-for-the-healthy-life-summit-for-free/ http://wholegreenlove.com/2013/03/15/register-for-the-healthy-life-summit-for-free/#comments Fri, 15 Mar 2013 22:42:30 +0000 http://wholegreenlove.com/?p=4558

8549151709_24a5a3c22cWe are super excited to be a part of promoting the Healthy Life Summit, which is streaming for FREE from March 24th – 30th! This summit was organized by the blog network we are a part of, Village Green Network.

The Healthy Life Summit is a FREE 7-day, online virtual conference that features speakers like Sally Fallon Morell, Joel Salatin, Donna Gates, Daniel Vitalis, Matt Stone, Julia Ross, and Chris Kresser (and 28 more). You can see the full list of speakers here.

I jump up and down and shout “woohoo!” in my mind every time I look at the line-up of this awesome event! There are 5 tracks of topics: Healthy Eating, Healthy Body, Healthy Babies & Kids, Healthy Living, and Healthy World.

Some of the topics that will be covered include:

  • Traditional food diets
  • How to transition your family to real food
  • Techniques for making real food easy and affordable
  • Why preconception and pregnancy diets matter
  • The dangers of GMO foods
  • How to make homemade beauty products that are safe enough to eat
  • Sustainable, grass-fed agriculture and why it’s important to your health

I just did a little SQUEEEEE inside because I’m so excited about this conference. I literally cannot contain myself!

This is sweet because nowhere else could you listen to this incredible lineup of speakers and topics for FREE. If you have a life anything like mine though, you won’t be available to hang out and listen to this streaming for the full week of March 24th.

For that reason, consider preordering the download to the entire Healthy Life Summit for only $49 until March 23, 2013. By preordering, you will be able to listen to this whenever and wherever you want.

If you wait to order the Healthy Life Summit download until the conference is over, it will cost $199. Boo.

Preorder today at 75% off that price – just $49!

How does this work?

  1. Click here to register today! You will get email updates to let you know more information about when you can listen to your favorite speakers and catch all of the topics you don’t want to miss!
  2. Preorder the download package today so that you get the super reduced price of $49 (that is 75% off the actual price!) In all, the download includes 35 audio recordings and 35 video slideshows.
  3. Download the full conference package on March 24th! You can certainly listen to the conference via live stream, or just listen at your leisure!


This guy, Joel Salatin, is seriously my favorite. Has anyone else read any of his books? “Folks, This Ain’t Normal!” is so great!

The Healthy Life Summit is all of our favorite topics wrapped into one amazing event! We hope you’ll join us!

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The Dangers of Consuming GMO Foods http://wholegreenlove.com/2012/12/02/the-dangers-of-consuming-gmo-foods/ http://wholegreenlove.com/2012/12/02/the-dangers-of-consuming-gmo-foods/#comments Sun, 02 Dec 2012 16:53:36 +0000 http://wholegreenlove.com/?p=3944

Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO’s) have been all the talk in recent news, especially with Proposition 37 that was battled for in California. If you are unfamiliar with GMO’s I can give you a little background on this man-made creation. GMO’s are generally plants or crops that have been specifically created for human and or animal consumption that have had their molecular structure/make-up biologically altered. These laboratory plants were developed to enhance desirable traits in a crop such as resistance to herbicides and increased nutritional content of something that naturally may not carry certain micro or macronutrients. Sounds like a good idea, right? Not so fast.

Traditionally, plant enhancement takes place with conventional plant breeding, which is a slower process and results can be less discernable when compared with genetically engineered plants that can be quickly and accurately replicated with a desired trait. Surprisingly, genes can be transferred from plant to plant and with genes from non-plant organisms. Bacillus thuringiensis (B.t.) is a bacterium that creates crystal proteins that attack and damage/break down the cells of the gut in insects and larvae.  B.t. genes have been added to corn crops as a “natural” pesticide. It sounds like a freak science experiment. If this bacterium is harmful to insects, you have to question what it does to humans in any amount, right?!

Reasons why companies are in support of GMO’s and the biotechnology industry:

-Pest resistance

-Herbicide tolerance

-Disease resistance

-Cold tolerance

-Drought tolerance/salinity tolerance



-Phytormediation (An example is a poplar tree that has been genetically modified to clean up heavy metals from contaminated soil.)

Reasons for criticism:

-Potential harm to other organisms

-Reduced effectiveness of pesticides

-Gene transfer to non-target species (i.e. superweeds…yikes!)

-Allergenicity (i.e. gene from peanut into a soybean could create new allergens in peanut allergic people.)

-Growing concern of effects on human health

-Economic concern for small farms and/or third world countries if seeds become “patented” or if they create “suicide gene technology” and seeds will be sterile after only one growing season.

I start to sweat just talking about the potential problems. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion…but GMO’s scare me. Who are we to think we can play with mother nature? When you consider the reasons companies are in support of GMO’s it all leads back to less work, more product, more MONEY. Irreversible damage to our food supply, environment, and even health could result from the continued use of these man-made “foods”.  Many products, especially processed products, contain some form of a GMO. The FDA considers GMO foods to be Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS). The FDA views GMO foods to be substantially equivalent to the real whole food, so at this time they do not require companies to identify on a label when a GMO is used in a product.

There is SO MUCH to talk about when it comes to GMO’s, but I just wanted to do a brief introduction…I could go on and on all day. I’m sure you will be hearing us talk about this again soon, but in the meantime further educate yourself on what you are putting in your body. I don’t know about you, but I want to know EXACTLY what I am eating.  You’d be surprised at what companies (even “natural food companies”) use some form of GMO’s in their products.

The Non GMO Project has verified non-GMO companies and products you can support…along with LOTS of great information. The Cornucopia Institute also has a wealth of information to sift through. The movie Genetic Roulette is a great movie to watch about GMO’s… be sure to check it out. If you were unaware of GMO’s before this I hope you have a chance to read more about their use. It’s so important that we make informed decisions about the food we are putting in our body and are aware of the companies we are supporting when purchasing products.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and concerns regarding GMO’s.


This post and recipe was shared on Whole Foods Wednesdays, and Real Food Wednesday.


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Canned Spaghetti Sauce http://wholegreenlove.com/2012/10/15/canned-spaghetti-sauce/ http://wholegreenlove.com/2012/10/15/canned-spaghetti-sauce/#comments Tue, 16 Oct 2012 00:03:29 +0000 http://wholegreenlove.com/?p=3705

This past weekend was a weekend with no plans. Never happens. I love those kinds of weekends more than anything in the world. I even had a little time to do some canning.

Nic and I had been postponing lazy about preserving of our last batch of tomatoes from the garden. Sadly, our crop didn’t turn out that awesome this year. I thought it would be a good year because our plants had a lot of flowers that sprouted into tomatoes, but it seems like the summer went from scorching hot to chilly. My little tomato babies weren’t able to ripen.

From the tomatoes that our garden did produce, we turned into spaghetti sauce. Lovely, delicious sauce. I use a recipe that I got from Nic’s Aunt Tracy (thanks Tracy!). In all honesty, I’m not sure if this is a family recipe or if it comes from a cookbook, so I apologize for not citing it any further. In my searches, I have not found a recipe just like this. It is amazing, flavorful, and easy to make (the chopping just takes some time). Nic and I tried canning this year for a couple of reasons. It won’t overrun our chest freezer since we do buy many things in bulk and freeze other items from our garden. And also, I’d like to get away from storing as many things in plastic as possible. That said, we have made this recipe for 4 years now and this is the first year that we are canning it. The sauce freezes great! If you can find glass containers to freeze your sauce in, awesome. Otherwise, look for BPA free plastic containers.

Canned Spaghetti Sauce

24 cups quartered tomatoes, washed with no stems*

6 cups diced onions (1/2 red, 1/2 white)

5 1/2 tsp diced garlic

1 cup & 2 Tbsp olive oil

3 – 12 oz cans of tomato paste

3/4 cup chopped red peppers*

3/4 cup chopped green peppers*

6 Tbsp dried oregano

6 Tbsp dried basil

6 Tbsp salt

2 Tbsp black pepper

3/4 cup sugar

6 big bay leaves

Blend or food process (the immersion blender works great for this!) tomatoes into small chunks. Mix all ingredients and tomatoes into a large soup kettle. Bring to a boil. Then reduce heat to low and simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently. Do not let the sauce burn on the bottom of the pot. Remove the bay leaves and pour into sterilized jars. Proceed to can using the water bath or pressure canner method and let cool.

Update: If you choose the water bath method for canning, you must add 2 Tbsp of lemon juice into each quart of sauce to ensure safe canning! We added the lemon juice to the batch you see in the photo below and you cannot taste the addition. Totally delicious!


All of the ingredients have been mixed together and the sauce isn’t quite to boiling yet!

Cooked for 1 hour and ready to be canned!

I have not used a pressure canner before, nor am I familiar with that process. The notes on this recipe that has been passed on to me say you would process pints for 20 minutes at 11-12 pounds and quarts for 25 minutes at 11-12 pounds. Please use your discretion. Since we have a glass top stove, we processed ours using the water bath method for 45 minutes on the grill.

This recipe makes 20 pints or 10 quarts of sauce.

*We don’t even mess around with peeling or deseeding our tomatoes. There are a lot of nutrients in the tomato skins that I don’t want to miss out on and I don’t mind the seeds. If you are using an immersion blender to puree your tomatoes, you won’t even notice that the tomato skin is in the sauce. We grow San Marzano’s in our garden which are meatier than other tomatoes and totally perfect for sauces. If you can, find a meatier tomato for this recipe. Also, this recipe calls for green and red peppers, which are great, but I have also used banana peppers. They work just fine too. Essentially, I use whatever is available from our garden at the time I’m making the sauce.

If you try your hand at making this recipe, I hope you love it as much as I do. Not only is it the perfect way to use up tomatoes in the garden, but once you have the sauce made I love being 10 minutes away from a homemade meal. We always keep spaghetti noodles on hand and whether we have some ground beef in the freezer or not, it’s the perfect meal. We have also used the sauce in a pinch when we don’t have pizza sauce on hand. Just run a small amount of it through a fine strainer so that it is a little bit thicker than spaghetti sauce to smear on a crust.

This spaghetti sauce can also be used for a gift for the coming holiday season. Wedge a beautiful jar of your homemade sauce in a gift basket with some lovely whole wheat spaghetti noodles, a wedge of Parmesan cheese, and a gift card to your local bakery. Your gift recipient can pick up a fresh loaf of bread to round out the meal.

What goodies did you can this year?

This recipe was shared on Fat Tuesday.

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Ice Cube Herbs http://wholegreenlove.com/2012/10/04/ice-cube-herbs/ http://wholegreenlove.com/2012/10/04/ice-cube-herbs/#comments Thu, 04 Oct 2012 11:47:17 +0000 http://wholegreenlove.com/?p=3648

As our garden winds down this season, we are meticulously preserving anything that we can before we shut her down for good. It’s kind of like a full time job. The veggies dictate our schedule these days and when things become ripe, we hop in the kitchen. Today’s food preservation task was an easy one. Love that.

One of my biggest pet peeves is having to buy a full container of fresh herbs and only needing just a pinch for a recipe. What a waste. I’m pretty good at meal planning around what we have in our pantry and fridge, but I’m not that good. I had to figure out a way to not let those delicate little flavors go to waste.

We have a couple of ice cube trays that are never used because we have an ice maker in our freezer. (Click here to find BPA free ice cube trays!) Preserving small amounts of food in ice cube trays is super easy and those little cube cups are the perfect size for things like baby food, small amounts of juice, coffee cubes for iced coffee (watered down coffee is not okay), and fresh herbs.

Tonight, I plucked a few handfuls of parsley and thyme off of the big bushes that we have out on our patio. I chopped them up and filled the ice cube holes half way and then then filled them with water. Pop them in the freezer and you are on your way to preserving those fresh flavors and not letting any extras go to waste. If you don’t mind having your ice cube trays tied up, you can keep your herbs frozen right in the trays. If you want to free them up for other freezing opportunities, pop the cubes out once they are frozen solid and throw them in freezer bag and back into the freezer. Make sure you label the bags so you know the date of freeze and the contents. Little green ice cubes will likely all look alike in the freezer. Then, when a recipe you are making calls for just a tablespoon of this or that, pop the herb ice cube right into the dish your cooking. No need to defrost ahead of time.

I used ice cube trays to freeze portions of the pesto I made with our fresh basil. I also purchased a bottle of beautiful, organic prune juice to give to Lyla. We might have fed her a little too much banana a few weeks back and she got a bit backed up… I only wanted to give Lyla a tiny bit of juice to get things going but I didn’t want the rest of the juice to go to waste. I pulled out the ice cube trays to freeze small amounts of the juice to pull out a cube at a time, if needed.

Anything besides water that you freeze in your ice cube trays?

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Sunday Funday: Collins Style http://wholegreenlove.com/2012/09/18/sunday-funday-collins-style/ http://wholegreenlove.com/2012/09/18/sunday-funday-collins-style/#comments Wed, 19 Sep 2012 02:12:43 +0000 http://wholegreenlove.com/?p=3580

As I’m writing this post, it’s a lovely Sunday afternoon at the Collins household. Nic and I are out on the porch; I’m blogging away, Nic is doing some reading for school, and Lyla is down for a nap. It’s going to be a busy fall for us. Nic is going back to school for Education Administration and he is involved in just about a million things where he teaches. Because we are so busy (and have a baby now, technically a toddler!), we don’t get much time or full days anymore to spend in the kitchen. Today we accomplished making four recipes, two of which included preserving food from our garden. Love it. I guess I loved it so much and was running around like a crazy person trying to get things done, that I forgot to take pictures. Sorry ‘bout that.

I started out the day with pumpkin pancakes for us. This was Lyla’s first experience with eating pancakes and I was, of course, super excited about them because the recipe included pumpkin. It might be 80 degrees outside today, but September=Fall=Pumpkin love. The recipe was delightful and it made a large enough batch for us to have a few and freeze the rest. Breakfast for the week! Click here for the recipe.

Next on our list was canning spaghetti sauce, made with the tomatoes and peppers from our garden. We have made this sauce for the last three years. Easy peasy, just a lot of chopping involved. This year, though, our hearts were set on canning. After a lot of time on the computer researching the process, buying water bath canning supplies, figuring out we couldn’t water bath can on our glass top stove, and researching the importance of adding enough acid to our product…we had a (hopefully) successful canning day! I’d love to give you the instructions on this process, but I’m going to leave that to the experts. I’m still new at this and I don’t want botulism for you, or for me. The last time I had canned was in high school. Long time ago. I had won the Family Living Award for crying out loud! I can could sew and can cook! I should be able to can a freaking jar of sauce!

NEXT! Basil pesto. Lyla was down for her second nap by this time, so time was of the essence. When you have babies in the house and if you are anything like me, you buzz around like a busy bee during nap time. Then I can cozy up with Lyla when she is awake and enjoy that the rest of my stuff is done (well, sometimes). I followed Joanna’s pesto recipe that she posted earlier this summer. I noticed that our basil was starting to head out and I didn’t want all of those beautiful leaves of flavor to go to waste. So I busted out the food processor and got to work. I created several servings of pesto that I popped in the freezer for winter weeknights when I don’t want to spend anymore time on dinner than the time it takes to boil some noodles. I can just smell the time I’m saving already…

The other recipe I made today, which was easy and perfect for the season: Slow Cooker  Harvest Stew. By Paula Deen? What? I know what you’re thinking. Lots of butter. I am a huge fan of butter, but this recipe surprisingly had none at all. This stew is absolutely loaded with fall veggies (and a granny smith apple!), chicken broth, and apple cider. We didn’t even eat any of it today, just dished it into containers to have lunches ready for the rest of the week. Meals ready for the week? Be still my heart. One note about this recipe: either I didn’t chop my veggies up small enough, or the cooking time is way off on this one. I cooked this on low for 8 hours before the potatoes were soft and delicious. This recipe is also perfect for little mouths. The size of the chopped celery, sweet potatoes, squash, onion, Yukon Gold potatoes, and granny smith apples were perfect for Lyla to pick up and eat (I just strained the liquid from her portion). She gobbled it up!

Nic and I were just reflecting on the wonderfulness of food preservation, especially of the food that comes from your own backyard. Whether you are canning, freezing, or dehydrating, there is nothing cooler than being able to do a little grocery shopping in your own basement or pantry. The money you can save is something to marvel at and being able to run to the grocery store just to stock up on a few items, but have the makings of a nutritious and well rounded meal with the rest of the items you preserved, well the thought of that makes me very happy. Don’t have a backyard garden? No problem. Look for produce at the farmers’ market towards the end of it’s season. Chances are it will cost less and those super ripe tomatoes are the perfect candidate for spaghetti or pizza sauce.

Anything you love preserving at home? Should I plan hospital visits for when we eat our canned spaghetti sauce?

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Jalapeños Fooled Me http://wholegreenlove.com/2012/09/10/jalapenos-fooled-me/ http://wholegreenlove.com/2012/09/10/jalapenos-fooled-me/#comments Mon, 10 Sep 2012 22:26:32 +0000 http://wholegreenlove.com/?p=3555

I was so pumped the other day to make a batch of hot sauce. It was a quiet Thursday night at our house and I was sipping on a Sprecker cream soda. Love. Earlier in the week I had lined up all of my hot sauce ingredients on the counter so they would be rocking ready for when I had the time to whip it up. I had counted out 20 jalapeños and I thought that for sure this hot sauce would have a nice bite to it. Another step closer to living off the grid. Life. Goal.

Let me paint you a picture of one year ago this week. Our daughter Lyla was just two weeks old and since I was still in some serious pain and on the mend from birthing a child, Nic was in charge of harvesting our garden and prepping the goods for freezing, sauces, recipes, etc. I was sitting on the couch in our family room on my millionth round of feeding Lyla that day when I looked over to see Nic finishing slicing up the cayenne and seranno peppers. He was not wearing any gloves.

Me: How’s that going for you?

Nic: My hands are on fire.

Nic spent the next three hours whining (I’m sure it was painful), with his hands soaking in milk. Expensive, organic milk. I think he burned (no pun intended) through an entire gallon of milk that day just trying to get his hands to stop burning. Poor guy. Also, there was no passing off Lyla to Nic for the rest of the day. I wasn’t about to let my two week old baby be touched by someone who’s hands were saturated in the oils from hot peppers. Yeesh.

So you can imagine how careful I was when I went about making this recipe. I was wearing gloves to chop the peppers, was super careful about cleaning up where I cut my peppers, I practically kept my eyes closed while stirring the peppers over the hot stove, and kept a towel enclosing the bowl when I pureed the peppers into a sauce. So here is the recipe.

Jalapeño Hot Sauce

1 Tbsp olive oil

20 fresh jalapeños, sliced (do not remove the seeds)

1 medium yellow onion, minced

6 cloves of garlic, minced

3/4 tsp salt

2 cups of water

1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar

Heat the oil over medium/high heat in a large sauce pan. When the oil is nice and hot, toss in the peppers, onion, garlic, and salt. Sauté for about 8 minutes, until the onions are beginning to become translucent and the peppers are softening up. Add the water and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let this mixture cool to room temperature. I ran out of time, so I threw the pepper mixture into a bowl, tossed it in the fridge, and came back to it the next morning. I love recipes that can be done in stages when I’m short on time.

Using a food processor or immersion blender, puree the pepper mixture until it is smooth, adding the vinegar slowly throughout the blending process.

I poured my sauce into a clean canning jar and sealed the lid tightly. This sauce will stay good in your fridge for up to 6 months.

The moment of truth came when I made a delightful little taco salad and topped it with my freshly pureed hot sauce. I gave the sauce a little finger dip and lick to test out the hotness. Nothing. So I sucked down a whole spoonful. Nothing. Not even the tiniest bit of a bite. It tasted good, but it was not spicy in the slightest. My hot sauce needed hot sauce.

Nic came home that night and we dissected one of the fresh jalapeños. Even a large chomp of these peppers with the seeds wasn’t hot at all. By now I’m thinking…What is wrong with the soil in our garden? Did I not leave them on the plant long enough? Did I cook them too long? Are these not even jalapeño peppers?!?!?!

Oh, they are jalapeños. I tracked down the seed packet and found that they are called “Fooled You Jalapeños”. Yeah, fooled me indeed. Fooled You Jalapeños are apparently a type of hybrid jalapeño pepper that has virtually no heat. It’s like eating a bell pepper. They are beautiful peppers that look like their spicy family member, but they are just not at all hot.

Even though the recipe I made did not turn out as I had intended, I’m sharing it anyway. My mom loved the hot sauce just as a mild green salsa, so it’s great on tortilla chips. While this “hot” sauce doesn’t add any heat to the dish when you use the type of peppers I used, I thought that it had really good flavor anyhow and it would be a great addition to any type of mexican dish.

Lesson learned this week: If you want to make hot sauce, don’t use “Fooled You” Jalapeños. And….I’ll be taking a closer look at the pepper descriptions when I buy my seed packets next year.

Anything in your garden this year turn out different than expected?

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