Community, Farming, Uncategorized

Come Together: Lets build community

Here at Dare 2 Dream Farms, we have been pondering new ways to get involved in our community and support some of our local organizations. Because we are an organic produce growing farm, with an abundance of chicken eggs… we decided last fall to start a Farm Stand here at the farm! This gives our customers and members of the community an opportunity to come and visit the farm and pick out fresh produce, picked that morning!

We have decided to reach out to 12 local organizations this year, 2017, to support and donate proceeds from the farm stand. Every First Thursday of each month we will be donating to a different Lompoc club, non-profit, or community outreach program. Between November and January we donated to Planting a Seed, the LHS Girl’s Basketball Team, and the Boys & Girls Club. For the rest of the year we will be partnering with:

  • February: Planting a Seed Foundation
  • March: Lompoc YMCA
  • April: Lompoc High School’s FFA (Future Farmers of America)
  • May: Supportive Services for Veterans & their Families (SSVF)
  • August: Children’s Resource Network of the Central Coast
  • October: Lompoc Food Pantry
  • November: Lompoc 4-H Chapter

It is rewarding to be able to support some of these community organizations that are out there helping so many others in our community. Please feel free to join us on any given Thursday to support our local Farm Stand. Look for the sign at the end of the road with an arrow pointing our direction!

farm-stand-sign

Lastly: If you know of any organizations that would greatly appreciate local fundraising, please urge them to reach out to us!

Written by: Kelsie Crane

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Uncategorized

The Benefits of Eating Local, Organic

Globally

There are so many reasons to eat local, but one that many seem to oversee, is that it saves our planet! When we purchase produce at the grocery store, most of the produce is in packaging, shipped from states or countries away!

When you think about all that goes into getting a bunch of bananas from Costa Rica, you must remember that they have to get here somehow, either by boat, truck, or train. Each of these modes of transportation uses fossil fuels to motorize and is a big carbon footprint on our environment and natural resources that sustain a healthy planet. The emissions also pay a tax on our atmosphere, diminishing the amount of healthy air for our plants to continue growing healthily, without chemicals and additives.

A banana tree that has to be fed chemicals just to sustain the atmospheric chemicals that are threatening it’s health, makes a cycle of destruction in our ecosystem.

Did you know bananas can grow in the Central and Southern parts of California and in some other southern states as well! We can also grow an abundant of vegetables and fruits in this area all year round. YAY!

Community

Eating locally, by visiting farm stands, local farmer’s markets, and growing in your own backyard, is a great way to support our community. When you support local farmers, you are supporting a cycle of regeneration in our ecosystem and environment around us. By keeping business in the community we are able to build a much greater network of resources. You may trade your plumber weeks of fresh produce for replacing your bathtub.

This way of support allows for a growing local economy. We can grow a small business and sustain it by visiting often and sharing your experiences with your community. When we outsource our goods, household items, and foods, we are giving our money to a much larger group of people.

The money used for a purchase of a grocery basket is distributed to the person at the check out, the store location, the driver who brought the produce to the store, the business growing the produce, and then the gas company who supplied the gas, and the electric companies who supply lighting for the stores. This may be an extreme way of looking at it, but if you dig into discovering all that is affected by outsourcing food, it is a rabbit hole of many forgotten factors.

By supporting our farm, you are supporting our local Lompoc community and the central California coast.

Health

Above all, eating local, organic produce and eggs will provide you a healthy life which can sustain you through trials and tribulations, as well as support your vitality to be available to your community.

When we eat healthy, we are giving our bodies the nutrients it needs to make clear decisions, be successful in our chosen field of work, and also support our futures!

Organic produce does not contain any added chemicals, pesticides, fertilizers with additives, or any added hormones. These can cause long term damage to our bodies.

To eat organic is the best way to get the most nutrients out of your produce, meaning you don’t need to eat as much! The energy and life force from our sun gets entangled in the cells of fresh produce that grow out in the garden. When you consume these crops, your body has access to all of these amazing benefits to make you feel good and live happy!

Also, by eating local, you are consuming the fruits of your local land, which will contain different elemental components than food grown in other regions of the world. You can get better connected with your local environment!

 

Written by: Kelsie Crane

Backyard Chickens, Farming

Top 5 Vegetables for your Chickens – Each Season of the Year

Chickens will love what your growing in your garden, just as much as you do!

You may be wondering what is good (and maybe not so good) to be feeding your chickens from the garden and kitchen compost.

Do I feed my chickens pumpkins all year round?

Should I avoid onions and avocados?

Are there some greens that are better than others?

The answers are actually very easy to find. NATURE PROVIDES! Each season, there are a variety of different vegetables that are able to be grown and they differ based on temperature, climate, sunlight, and precipitation. In the Summer, the garden is full of fruiting vegetables and juicy berries. In the Fall, summer squash, corn and beans begin to grow. During Winter, there are pumpkins and root vegetables. And in the Spring, greens, celeriac, and avocados! During these seasons, it is a fantastic idea to plant a little more for your chickens, feed them all scraps, and make sure they are getting an abundant amount of leftovers from your garden. Whether it be just the weeds and vines, or the seeds of your squash, or the tops of your root vegetables. If you’r not using them, your chickens will love the treat!

Spring Vegetables

-Lettuce and Leafy Greens – All are excellent to feed to your chickens and are full of nutrients and water, creating a great treat for the dark orange egg yolk!

-Flowers – Nasturtium and rose are excellent for Vitamin C, Chrysanthemum helps boost immunity, and Marigolds have the ability to heal skin.

-Asparagus – This dainty vegetable has a cleansing effect to maintain good health and immunity as well as properties to raise serotonin and dopamine which can improve mood and overall well being!

-Herbs – Oregano can be used as a natural antibiotic; Bee Balm can aid in respiratory and digestive health; Mint can help repel mice and bugs in the coop; Thyme acts as a natural bug repellent; and Parsley is high in nutrients and can boost blood vessel health.

-Avocados – These delicious tree fruits will be enjoyed by chickens! It is best to avoid feeding chickens too many though, because the flesh is high in fat and can then pose health problems. Skins and pits are fine in moderation; they will be avoided if not enjoyed.

Summer Vegetables

-Beans – Best if feeding only as a kitchen scrap after being thoroughly cooked and a good source of protein for eggs and healthy feathering.

-Tomatoes – With so many varieties available, it is safe to feed chickens the fruit of a tomato plant. They are an excellent source of Vitamin C, especially picked right from the garden.

– Bell Peppers – Peppers contain a high amount of Vitamin C and some Vitamin B that is great for chicken skin and system functions. Hot Peppers can alter the flavor of your chickens eggs and should be fed in moderation.

-Strawberries – It may be hard to share these with your girls, but they are a good source of Vitamin C and sugar, boosting energy and happiness!

-Melons – High in antioxidants and great for a hot summer treat during the long days in the sun, melons are a treat and also a great source of sugars for happiness and energy. Cucumbers are similarly beneficial for chickens!

Fall Vegetables

-Carrots and Beets – Along with many root vegetables, both contain anti carcinogen properties and are so loaded with Vitamin C! They will turn your egg yolks that dark orange, indicating a nutrient rich egg.

-Zucchini – Zucchini flesh and seeds act as a natural dewormer, a great way to assist in preparing for the winter deworming treatment. Worms can tend to be more of a problem in the Fall and Winter.  Feeding zucchini, onions, garlic, and pumpkin insides is a great way to naturally treat any load of worms.

-Sunflower Seeds – When the sunflowers start falling over and drying up, feeding chickens the seeds and shells is good for egg production and healthy feathers, preparing for a winter molt.

– Green Beans & Peas – Great to feed cooked or raw. Can be fatty and should not be fed in too much excess or as the only treat from the garden.

-Onions and Garlic – Although they may alter the taste of your eggs, both onions and garlic will work as a natural dewormer. If they are changing the egg flavor too much to your liking, just lighten the amount your giving them.

Winter Vegetables

-Cabbage – A great “toy” to hang from the roof  with a string, chickens will peck at it until it’s gone. Cabbage also provides a good source of nutrients when the summer veggies are out for the season.

-Broccoli – One of the favorites, broccoli is an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium, which acts as a natural disinfectant for chickens and can aid in fighting off winter illnesses.

-Pumpkins – Also full of delicious seeds and flesh, you can bet that the only thing left will be the outer shell. The seeds are a great dewormer for your chicken during the winter and a good source of protein for hardy eggs and feather production when coming out of a molt.

-Kale – Like most dark leafy greens, Kale is an excellent source of nutrients needed in the winter months. Just like its dark dense color, kale is dense in nutrients making great eggs.

-Celery – This vegetable is fine to feed your chickens, as long as it is not the only thing they will be eating. It is super fibrous and should not be fed without chicken feed or other garden treats.

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This is just a touch of items that you can grow in your garden to supplement your flock. It is very important to feed your chickens the correct feed, first and foremost. If they are getting the runs from eating too much of the supplemental garden goodies, you can give them milk or some dairy, which will help harden up their poops and keep things from getting too messy.

You can plant a portion of your garden just for your chickens and they may just come some excellent garden helpers!

 

Written by: Kelsie Crane

Uncategorized

Fill me up Buttercup

The holiday season has passed, and the sweets and grand meals cannot last all year…

That goes the same for chickens! There are differences between chicken feed and chicken “snacks and treats”.

There is a long list of things you can give to your chickens for munching and pecking. Aside from the extras, it is very important that chickens get regular chicken feed daily. Chicken feed is formulated to provide the correct amount of nutrients for healthy digestion, egg production, and immunity from illness. There are different stages of feed for different ages and this is based on what the chicken needs during different stages of development. Chicken feed is the most important part of a chickens diet.

In addition to feed, there are always kitchen scraps to give your chickens. You can give them endless kitchen scraps, as long as they  are getting their food still. The things you may want to avoid are onions and garlic, which can leach flavor into the eggs, and avocados and corn, which are too high in fat to have consumed often.

You may also give your chickens bugs that you find in your home or garden, as they are fun to catch and chase after. Weeds from the garden are also always great! There are some to avoid. Grains, such as bread, crackers, cooked rice or pasta are all great but should be fed sparingly to prevent them from over eating them. Dairy, such as yogurt, is also great for chickens digestive tracts.

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Drum roll please… brrr brrrrrr brrrrrr brrrrr brup

Scratch. A chickens favorite treat, yet one to avoid over doing.. Chicken scratch, found at feed stores, is a Snickers bar for chickens. It can cause morbid obesity, and other health issues that go along with obesity, such as stroke and fatty liver disease.

Please don’t give your chickens scratch as feed. It can make their eggs unhealthy and your chickens will surely not have a very long life indulging in the cracked corn, whole grains, and seeds. USE SPARINGLY.

 

Written by: Kelsie Crane

Uncategorized

The Happy Home for a Chicken

A chicken house, aka chicken coop,  is very important for a healthy, happy flock.  Chickens need a place to sleep, to have clean food and water, to lay eggs, and to be sheltered from any harsh elements. Although we are located in Central California, there are many chickens who live in the driest desert landscapes and who also survive foraging for little leftovers in the snow. Chickens are highly adaptable to their environments and can live long lives in a clean and comfortable living space.

The size of a coop is best determined by the number of chickens, or visa versa. If you have a coop in place, it is best to measure the dimensions before determining how many chickens your coop should house. Not all chickens are the same size. With Bantam breeds, you may be able to consider two Bantams for every one Standard sized.

It is suggested that each chicken have four square feet inside the coop itself, to maintain a positive environment for the chickens to get along. As you may know, with every flock, chickens tend to have friend or foes and with a proper amount of space for each chicken, you will allow them each to have an ample amount of space to feel content.

For coops with an outdoor run, it is suggested to provide 10 square feet per chicken. This allows room for each hen to rummage through the dirt, sand, and grasses that are inside the run for them. This will also allow for your chickens to find the right place for a dust bath to lay and bathe in. If you have ample room outside in a run or free ranging, you may be able to make up for having a slightly smaller coop, though it is still important to have as much space as possible for the coop.

Chickens who will live happily in a coop and run with be more likely to lay their healthy amount of eggs and also be less likely to acquire illnesses.

In addition to the space within a coop, it is important to have enough nesting boxes for egg laying, roosts for chickens to sleep on, and windows, doors and vents for air circulation within the coop. Four chickens can share one nesting box! You may always supply more, but with a smaller number, your hens are going to be less likely to use their nesting boxes as a place to sleep.

Roosts supplied need to be eight inches long per chicken. This gives each chicken room to stand and sleep throughout the night. This is the most common way chickens sleep.

For windows and vents, it is important to make sure you can close them if you end up with some rough weather. It is also recommended to cover any holes greater than 1/2 inch with hardware cloth to keep rodents out and keep chickens in.

Make sure you are not using hay or straw in your coop, because these things can house bugs such as lice and mites, which can infest in your chickens feathers and cause problems. Dirt or pine shavings are great ground covering and bedding for your chickens! They will be happy and healthy for years long.

coop

 

Written by: Kelsie Crane