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Monthly Newsletter

An ongoing series of informative entries

Our Latest Blog Entry

May 2021


May 2021

Welcome to The Veteran Farm Project’s monthly newsletter! What can you expect to see in our newsletter every month? We’ll be sharing tasty recipes that include some of the ingredients grown here on the farm. We hope to keep you up to date on the daily goings on, upcoming events and introduce you to the hard working team.

We wrapped up the 2020 season last fall and quickly jumped right into our plans for 2021. The Veteran Far​m Project had an amazing season, providing farm fresh produce to over 40 families between Turo to Bridgewater/HRM and 22 families in the Valley with help from the Nova Scotia/ Nunavut Command of The Royal Canadian Legion . We provided fresh flowers for Camp Hill and assisted in helping them get their gardens ready as well.

What do we have planned for VFP this year? More fresh produce for more families, as well as a larger variety of fresh farm vegetables and flowers. We’re also happy to announce we will be opening our farm stand at the farm every Saturday morning (weather permitting), selling produce, flowers, beautiful art by Emily and dog collars and bandanas from Mr. D’s Slobber Stoppers.

Make sure to sta​y tuned and sign up for our newsletter so you know what is going on and where we’ll be.


Recipe of the Month

As prepared by our own Angela, here’s a quick and tasty recipe for CHICKEN VEGETABLE PASTA​

Serves 4

Ingredients

3 chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces

4 cups of your favourite cooked pasta

1 cup chopped Swiss Chard

10 diced mushrooms

1/2 onion, chopped

3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Basil for garnish

1. Preheat skillet medium high

2. Coat chicken breast in olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper

3. Bring water to boil and add a pinch of salt

4. Cook pasta to desired consistency

5.Saute chicken until 3/4 cooked add vegetables, balsamic vinegar and spices to flavour. Continue cooking until chicken is fully cooked

6. Plate and season as desired.


Coaches Quarter

Hello and welcome to The Archer’s Quarter, a monthly archery info article to be included in our newsletter where I will write about archery styles, tips and upcoming events. Jessica and I are pleased to offer the sport of archery as an additional activity here at The Veteran Farm Project Society. Archery takes many forms - be it pleasure, competition, hunting, or as an activity for physical fitness – we have the facilities, equipment and coaching expertise to set you up for an enjoyable experience. Please email theveteranfarmprojectsociety.com to reserve your spot as space is limited due to COVID. We are practicing safe protocols by maintaining social distancing, cleaning equipment regularly and wearing masks too. Hope to see you soon!

Steve Murgatroyd-Co Founder VFP,

Former Invictus Games Competitor in Archery and Warrior Games and Soldier On Team Canada Shooting coach


Growing Healthy with Cous.

Good day Veteran Farm Project Supporters!

To all those who are assisting my dear friends Jessica and Steve with their mission to provide the best organic veggies, thank you. Your efforts have had a direct impact on my health and wellness. Last growing season we were "beta testers" for the market box concept. We loved it and the freshness and quality unrivaled. But you already know that.

Jessica has been watching my "transformation" as I regain my health and wellness. A long story short, I tripped down a very dark rabbit hole in 2014 that just made my PTSD worse. My health failed and I had pretty much given up. 6 years and more than 100 lbs later you can say "Houston, we have a problem." The problem was me. I had to get out of my own way and start taking charge of my wellness. Thankfully I have an amazing support team who have been assisting and guiding me.

Before I go any further, I must ensure that everyone is aware that your "nutrition plan" is 80% of your progress. I refuse to use the word diet. It is a negative word anchored to alot of failures and negative connotations. I choose to follow my nutrition plan.

Jessica has seen some of my training stuff and asked if I would share some of it. So what will be following over the next few months is some training ideas and tools you can employ. You will notice I did not say "workout". Another negative anchor word that has no clear point.

I train to meet certain specific objectives.

No gym? No problem. What we are going to be discussing are some low impact, low cost or no cost options to help you step up your game.

Walking. Walking has huge physical and mental health benefits. Step trackers are everywhere. Measure an average week and then set a daily step goal that is 5 to 7 % more than what you are doing. Slow and steady incremental increases.

But how do you ramp up your cardio? Climbing stairs help build leg strength, core strength and increase your cardio. No running. Single steps up. Use the railing on way down. Last November I was sucking wind with 3 flights. The third of March I summitted the Virtual CN Tower. However I needed to give my knees a break while stepping up my cardio.

I tripped across a lady on YouTube named Carolyn Jordan. She introduced me to chair cardio and chair cardio boxing. Holy snotballs. The first few sessions near finished me. Equipment required? A chair. Stream some of her videos and get after it. 3 sessions a week. That's it. You are on your way. Walk and stairs, walk and chair cardio. Simple. Start at your own pace. Keep track of your time. Increase volume and intensity slowly.

Next time? Intro to strength training with resistance bands. I will attach an Amazon link to a great "starter" kit for building your home training arsenal. (Sub $50 bucks

Remember, take care of your body. It’s not like we have anywhere else to live.

Medric Cousineau

Ret. RCAF. Co-Founder Paws Fur Thought, colour and more by highlighting part of me and selecting the options from the toolbar.


Vegetable of the Month

White Icicle Radish.

Icicle radish has a thin white skin and offers a mild radish flavour and crisp texture. This long rooted radish is typically about 4-6 inches in length and capped with edible greens. The pure white flesh of the Icicle radish is less piquant than the common red radish. Roasting the Icicle radish will bring out a subtly sweet flavour. Icicle radishes contain vitamins C and B6, ascorbic acid and calcium. Like many radishes, Icicle radishes contain active enzymes that aid in digestion. The edible leaves of the Icicle radish are rich in Vitamin C, beta carotene, calcium and iron as well. Diced, sliced or slivered, raw Icicle radishes add crispy texture to salads and relishes. Use to add a peppery accent to tacos, sandwiches, and soups. They can be grilled, braised or roasted. Shred or grate and use as a condiment for sushi and sashimi. Serve whole as a crudite along side dips. 


Announcements

Veteran Farm Project Farm Stand

We are very excited and pleased to let you

all know that our Farm Stand will be opening

Saturday June 5th

- 10am-2pm and will be

open every Saturday through the end of

October.

There will be fresh produce, locally baked

bread, flowers, veggie plants and much more!

We accept cash, credit, EMT and digital

payment.

Covid-19 protocols will always be observed.

All monies raised through sales go back to

The Veteran Farm Project and supporting

Veterans with food insecurities. 

Our Second Blog Entry

June 2021

Welcome to June!

Hopefully everyone is enjoying spring so far. Things are ramping up pretty fast here on the farm and the veggies, herbs and flowers are looking so good.

Our farm stand opened on June 5th and was a great success. Our little stand managed to pique the interest of many local folk who were anxiously awaiting our opening. We had a $1 plant blow out sale on June 9th and it was busy to say the least.

Thank you to everyone who has visited us and continues to support The Veteran Farm Project and helping to ease food insecurities in the veteran community.


Recipe of the Month

Sauteed Japanese Turnips with Turnip Greens

INGREDIENTS

• Kosher salt

• 1 1/2 pounds (675g) Japanese (Hakurei) baby turnips, with green tops

• 3 tablespoons (45ml) extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

• Freshly ground black pepper

DIRECTIONS

1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut greens from turnip bulbs, leaving a small portion of stem (less than 1/2 inch) attached to each bulb. Wash leafy greens and turnips well of any sand. Peel turnips. (You can also leave the turnip skin on, as it's edible, in which case, just wash and scrub them extra well.) Slice each turnip pole to pole into 4 to 6 wedges of 1/2 inch thick each.

2. Add leafy greens to boiling water and cook just until tender, 1 to 2 minutes. Using tongs or a spider, transfer greens to cold water to chill, then drain, squeeze out excess water, and chop into small pieces.

3. Heat oil in a cast iron, carbon steel, or stainless steel skillet over high heat, just until the first wisps of smoke appear. Add turnip wedges, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring and tossing occasionally, until well browned in spots, about 3 minutes; lower heat if turnips threaten to burn.

4. Add chopped greens and toss to combine, cooking just until greens are warmed through, about 1 minute longer. Drizzle with fresh oil, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

Coaches Quarter

Welcome Back to the Archer’s Quarter, This week I want to briefly discuss the 11 steps to archery success. Now it may sound complicated, but the key to success is to focus on only one of each of these steps per shooting session. Keep a shooting journal to keep track of what you have focused on. Here they are:

1.) Stance (positioning of your feet); 2.) Nock (putting the arrow on the string); 3.) Set Draw Hand (placement of fingers on the bowstring or linking the release device on the D loop); 4.) Set bow hand (positioning of bow hand on the grip properly and consistently is crucial); 5.) Pre-draw (preparing yourself physically and mentally to draw the string back); 6.) Draw (should be smooth and with a consistent movement pattern); 7.) Anchor (where you anchor your hand on your face to enable sight picture must be the same every time); 8.) Aim (let your body settle after the stress of draw, take in the sight picture and observe movement pattern until it slows); 9.) shot set up (allow the movement to settle, begin to apply back tension and be aware of how everything “feels” mentally and physically); 10.) Release (should be natural, a surprise and smooth); and 11.) follow through and reflect (allow the bow and your body to move naturally without “dropping” the bow immediately after the release, then reflect on how the shot felt. take note of anything that seemed right and repeat those things on the next.

 shot). In future articles, I will provide more detail and insight to each of these steps, until then, happy shooting!

Steve Murgatroyd-Co Founder VFP,

Former Invictus Games Competitor in Archery and Warrior Games and Soldier On Team Canada Shooting coach.  



Growing Healthy with Cous

Welcome back to Growing Healthy. There was a very deliberate reason that I chose "Growing Healthy" for this column. Obviously, the entire raison d'etre of Sweet Squish is to grow the freshest and healthiest veggies on can get.

But the drill down is important. Why are we bothering to consume nutritious, Healthy whole foods? To quote our "grandmothers"?

"You are what you eat."

Sadly for too many of us, self included, we have adopted some "bad" eating habits that will not support our long term health and wellness. Science had proven this. Cleaning up your "Nutrition plan" is paramount as you cannot out train a crappy diet. I cannot stress the importance of this enough.

Many of us are products of a military system where our physical fitness was emphasized. However, post military, many of us find ourselves struggling to stay fit and healthy. (Definitely me.) I was a gym rat and metal head (weight lifter) and I lost all desire to train. I really got into some dark, nasty headspace and it was a hell of a fight to get my head out of my ass. But I did.

I rekindled my love of training and I got back at it and have been pushing myself to get fit.

So with the Pandemic and gym closures, some folks are at a loss for what to do. Last column, I shared doing some chair cardio to get started. I mentioned walking. Next is? Climbing Hills and stairs. Stair climbing (real stairs) is both a cardio workout and will help strengthen your core and legs. These are both important. Do not neglect your core. It truly connects your upper and lower body and is necessary for strong movements and your overall fitness. The good news is you do not need to do endless situps. In fact, that can lead to lower back injuries. But there are great rotational exercises that can be implemented at home. Google RIP Trainer on YouTube. Amazing rotational functional Strength exercises. You can MacGyver up a Core Band trainer for under 25 bucks. Wooden Handle, eye bolt, Carabiner, anchor point and a couple tube resistance clips and you are off to the races.

A "simple" 6 movement circuit will show great results. Push & pull, both sides, High, medium and low. 10 REPS per side, 3 sets. 2 -3 times per week.

1. Axe Chops

2. Pitch forks

3. Power Punches

4. Power Pulls

5. Slapshots

6. Paddling

This will help you strengthen your core and help you move better and enjoy your time in the gardens more. 

Remember, we need to take care of our bodies. It is not like we have anywhere else to live.

Medric Cousineau

Ret. RCAF. Co-Founder Paws Fur Thought


Vegetable of the Month

Like all turnips, the Hakurei, or Tokyo, turnip is a member of the Brassica family. This Japanese variety is sometimes referred to as a salad turnip, due to its crisp, delicious raw flavor. Unlike other turnip varieties, hakurei do not need to be cooked. They have an even-textured density and the flavor pairs well with a variety of different food items. Eat them raw (just whole, or chopped/grated in salads), make a quick pickle, or cook with their greens to enhance their natural sweetness.

Handling: Wash and peel the turnip root. Turnips should not be overcooked, or they will become dark in color and strong in flavor. The summer turnip, when sliced, can be cooked in thirty minutes, the winter turnip in from forty-five to sixty minutes.

Storing: Turnips should be stored unwashed in plastic bag in hydrator drawer of the refrigerator. Store greens separately wrapped in damp towel or plastic bag - use them as soon as possible.

Freeze turnips in cubes or fully cooked and mashed. Cut off tops, wash and peel. Cut in cubes to blanch or in large chunks to cook and mash before freezing. Cubes blanch in 2 minutes. To mash, cook in boiling water until tender. Drain, mash or sieve. Cool. Leave ½ inch headroom for either.


Partnership Recognition

Each month we will be featuring an organization, group or individuals who, without their support, we couldn’t make all this happen.

We want to recognize the Royal Canadian Legion Nova Scotia/Nunavut Command for everything they have done and continue to do that keeps this endeavor growing. Vice President Valerie Mitchell-Veinotte and myself (Jessica) knew there needed to be more support for female veterans. That small suggestion sparked the idea for the Veteran Farm Project Society and we have only blossomed and grown from there.

The team at Command identify those who are facing food insecurities or could use some help and pass along the family composition to us. It is completely stigma free as we only know the make-up of each family.

On the farm we grow the produce and prepare all the We Care packages and the dedicated team at Command help ensure the food reaches the families we are all supporting.

We hope you will consider joining your local Royal Canadian Legion Branch. When you support your local Legion, donations and funds raised are able to support a wide variety of organizations that support veterans and their families, including us at the Veteran Farm Project Society. 

Announcements

Veteran Farm Project Farm Stand

We are very excited and pleased to let you all know that our Farm Stand is now open every Saturday 9am-1pm through the end of October.

There will be fresh produce, locally baked bread, flowers, veggie plants and much more!

We accept cash, credit, EMT and digital payment.

Covid-19 protocols will always be observed.

All monies raised through sales go back to The Veteran Farm Project and supporting Veterans with food insecurities.

Our first deliveries for our veteran families will be going out on June 17th.

We were gifted a lovely piece of handmade woodworking from a Veteran and we will be auctioning it off to raise funds for VFP. We’ll share more information about that in July’s newsletter.

Finally, The Veteran Farm Project was featured on CTV News Atlantic and CTV Morning Live this week. Here’s the link if you missed the show. https://atlantic.ctvnews.ca/video?clipId=2223148


Our First Blog Entry

July 2021

Happy July Everyone!

Anyone else feeling like summer is flying by? We’ve been really busy on the farm lately with all the crops to harvest, putting together our weekly We Care boxes for the families, and our weekly farm stand.

Our We Care Boxes have begun for 36 veteran families (so far). Thanks to support from the Legion, private donations and funds raised from our farm stand, we’ve been able to provide these families with fresh vegetables, bread and pantry staples.

We hope you’ve had a chance to stop by and check us out. We love seeing repeat customers.

Thank you to everyone who has visited us and continues to support The Veteran Farm Project and helping to ease food insecurities in the veteran community. 


Garlic Scapes Pesto

INGREDIENTS

• 1 cup chopped garlic scapes , in 1-in. pieces

• 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts

• 1/3 cup grated parmesan

• 1/3 cup canola oil

• 4 tsp lemon juice

• 1/4 tsp salt

INSTRUCTIONS

• Pulse garlic scapes with pine nuts in a food processor until finely chopped. Add parmesan and pulse twice. With motor running, slowly add oil through feed tube until almost smooth. Add lemon juice and salt. Season with pepper.

• Use pesto right away over pasta, crostini, salad and pizza or transfer to a glass jar, seal and refrigerate up to 3 days. It can be • frozen in ice cube trays for future use up to a month.


Coaches Quarter

Hello again from The Archer’s Quarter! Last month, I introduced the 11 steps to archery success, this month, I want to begin to discuss those steps in more detail. First, we are happy to announce archery workshops are back on! There will be archery at the farm on Saturday the 17thand 24thof July, space is limited as we are still observing Covid safety measures, please sign up from the VFP website at www.veteranfarmprojects.society.com.

Although the 11 steps may seem obvious and self explanatory, some may be a little tricky or have additional sub-steps that I would like to discuss further. Step 1 is Stance, which includes placing the feet at a 90-degree angle to the direction of fire towards the target. The lead foot (closest to the target) can be placed a little behind, equal with, or a little ahead of the trailing foot (-_ or = or _-) this is partially personal preference, but there are several functions as well. Foot placement can adjust the natural orientation of the body (and the bow) to the target, can orient the body so as not to hit your body with the string as it is released, and provide a solid platform to shoot from. It is imperative NOT to move your feet until all arrows for that “end” have been shot. Be sure to place your arrows so that you can reach them easily, either in a ground quiver or a quiver on your belt. Also, always have more arrows in your quiver than you need – should you drop an arrow, rather than move your feet to retrieve it, you can leave it lay and draw another from your supply. Next month we will continue with the 11 steps, and I will begin to detail the many competitions and shooting styles, until then, shoot straight, shoot often!

Steve Murgatroyd-Co Founder VFP,

Former Invictus Games Competitor in Archery and Warrior Games and Soldier On Team Canada Shooting coach.


Growing Healthy with Cous

We are now getting into the heart of the summer and the Bounty from Sweet Squish is growing exponentially.

How many folks find themselves wishing that their overall health and wellness were better than they currently are. (This was me last fall.) However it is a tad disingenuous to be upset about the results you did not get from the work you did not do.

If you want to take charge of your wellness you need to make a decision and then start. But the million dollar question is "What to do next"?

Perhaps the 2 most misunderstood principles are nutrition and movement, both of which are natural medicine. On the nutrition front, start by eliminating "CRAP" from your nutrition plan. No Carbonated sugar drinks, no Refined Sugars, no Aspartame and no Processed foods. Focus on real whole foods that do not come prepackaged and full of unhealthy additives. This step alone will help your body to begin to repair itself.

The other step is to use movement as medicine. You are not a tree, so move. Do not get me wrong. Not advocating ultra marathons, triathlons or any other activity that you do not enjoy. Nope. Find a couple activities that are outdoors and get you into the sunshine and fresh air. Natural Vitamin D from the sun is healthy. So what kind of things work? Pretty much anything that you enjoy. Obviously there is gardening. But there are others. Birdwatching. Go for a gentle hike and observe. I enjoy fly fishing as well. Nature photography. Biking. Walking. Yoga. The list goes on.

I can guarantee you of one thing. No matter how motivated you are, that will wane. Then you need discipline to keep at it. But you are more likely to continue any activity if you enjoy it. Rather than "dread" your workout, reframe it so you are doing something you like that involves movement. Add some stretching and breathing exercises and you are off to the races.

If you have a fitness tracker/ smart watch, use it to monitor your activity levels and twice a week, do some "sprints". You can do Spin Intervals. Then once a week, go for a longer walk about. Toss in a little bit of strength training and you got the basis of your activity Plan. Support that with a proper nutrition plan and you will be surprised at your result in a few months. Note: I said a few months. No quick fix. No magic pills or potions. No insane unsustainable "diets". No endless hours of chronic cardio.

Eat properly and move. Sounds simple and it is if you are willing to commit to your wellness.

In closing, I want you to think about this:

"If you do not take time for your wellness you will be forced to deal with your illness".

Medric Cousineau

Ret. RCAF. Co-Founder Paws Fur Thought


Partnership Recognition

Each month we will be featuring an organization, group or individuals who, without their support, we couldn’t make all this happen.

The Flower Cart Group have been an incredible help to the Veteran Farm Project over the last 2 seasons. From their incredible bread products to donating an entire building to us, we certainly couldn’t fill the food packages without them. We look forward to working with them for many seasons to come.

The Flower Cart Group, based in New Minas, provides opportunities to adults with intellectual disabilities and complex barriers to employment. Participants develop new skills through training in areas including woodworking, baking, and product packaging. The organization also supports members who join the workforce with job skills and finding employment. The organization is in the late stages of a $5.8 million capital campaign to raise funds for a new social enterprise and vocational training facility to be built near their current 50-year home in New Minas. More information on The Flower Cart Group and the Building Opportunities Capital Campaign can be found at flowercart.ca


Announcements

We are excited to announce we have started our free workshops at the farm.

Tuesday July 6th & 13th- Yoga on the farm with Jessica Lyne Wiebe 10-11am. This is an all ages/all ability class.

Saturday July 17th & 24th- Archery with Steve. 10-1pm. Learn the basics and familiarize yourself with the sport. We can provide the bows or bring your own.

Sunday July 18th- Soap making 11-1pm.

Sunday July 25th- Bees Wax Wraps 11-1pm

We are following all Covid protocols.

If interested, please email [email protected] 

and stay tuned to our Facebook page for updates.