Gardening To Provide Fresh Foods To My Family In A Literal Food Desert #Gardening

FoodDesert.jpg

If you live in a populated area, chances are you don’t know what a food desert is.  Most people assume that I live in a big city due to my profession, however the complete and polar opposite is the truth.  I live in a very rural area where there are more coyotes and mountain lions than human neighbors.  It’s a 25 mile drive (one way) to the closest grocery store, doctor, clothing store…anything.  There are 5 miles of dirt roads between my house and the main hwy that runs through our town.  I live in Arizona, in the middle of nowhere, and I’m not only living IN a desert, but a literal food desert.

food-deserts.jpg

So…what is a food desert?  The USDA’s definition of a food desert is: “parts of the country vapid of fresh fruit, vegetables, and other healthful whole foods, usually found in impoverished areas.  This is largely due to a lack of grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and healthy food providers.”

Drive2.jpg

Just to give you an idea of how long of a journey it is to find fresh foods, I took some pictures along my drive to the store yesterday.  (Don’t worry, I was the passenger, not driving and taking pictures!)  Can you imagine having to drive 50 miles round trip through this desert terrain just to get dinner, fruits, vegetables, milk…anything?  Because it’s such a long journey into town I try to keep my shopping trips at once a week, but the climate I live in makes it hard to keep fruits and veggies fresh for even a one week span.  After going on a weight loss journey last year and really starting to care about my health and the health of my family, I started getting more and more bothered by how far it is to just have healthy food.  There are a number of gas stations throughout the 25 miles that offer options like fried chicken and pizza…but come on guys…that’s not even really food!  The ‘food’ options that I have without a long drive are empty calories, completely void of nutrition for my family.

Plants.jpg

So, what else is a mom to do besides take things into her own hands?  I have over an acre of property and decided that since there is no access to fresh foods, I will just grow them myself.  I have a variety of foods in various stages of growth and I can not wait for my first harvest…it will be such a sweet success (literally)!  Our crops for this year include: pumpkin, honeydew, canteloupe, cucumber, strawberries, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, habaneros, banana peppers and bell peppers.  While I think it’s a great start, I plan on doubling or tripling the garden space and variety of crops for next year.

From time to time I will be posting updates on our garden’s progress, and once it’s harvest time I will be creating recipes that are made from home grown, FRESH ingredients from our own little garden.  I hope I’ve inspired you to create easier access to fresh foods and maybe try out growing some of your own foods too!  Follow along this journey to ending the fresh-food-drought in our food desert.

Advertisements

Our 30 Day Nutro Ultra Dog Food Adventure…First Thoughts and Hopeful Expectations #Review #Giveaway

NutroUltraLogo.jpg

NutroUltraSenior.jpg

I’m sure all of you know by now that I am an animal lover, and have a house full of furkids.  When Chewy.com offered me the chance to try out Nutro dog food for 30 days I was absolutely ecstatic!  I have a recently adopted senior pet that could really benefit from Nutro Ultra Senior dog food and I’m super excited to share this little experiment with you all.

Nutro11.jpg

If you’re a frequent reader of my blog, I’m sure you’ll remember back in January when we added a new furbaby to our family.  When a local “rescue” was closed down by the county, there were 200 dogs needing immediate homes which is a big task to accomplish especially in our little tiny town.  I just knew that we had to help out, and although we could only adopt one, at least it was something.  I sought out the senior dogs as they are the most overlooked in adoption situations, sadly.  After my husband, myself, and my three children spent a couple hours meeting all of the dogs, we knew that “kennel #52” was our dog.  No dog should live without a name so before we even signed the adoption paperwork we named him Hermes…the perfect compliment to our other dog, Venus.  This sweet 13 year old has quickly become a great family dog, but I just haven’t been able to find a good food for him.

Nutro104.jpg

I’m sure you can imagine that at 13 years old, there are a few issues with our handsome guy.  He’s got dander, he can’t see too great anymore, and he has a hard time going to the bathroom sometimes.  I can’t wait to see how the next 30 days go using Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food and Nutro Ultra Senior Wet Dog Food.

NutroUltraDryFood2.jpg

I am pretty impressed with the quality of ingredients in Nutro Ultra Senior Dry Dog Food.  REAL CHICKEN is the first ingredient…what dog or pet-parent wouldn’t appreciate that?  This Nutro Ultra Holistic Superfood Blend contains the perfect mix of premium lean proteins, antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains and healthy oils to help your dog be at his/her best.  Combined protein sources from high-quality natural and holistic ingredients ensure optimal Amino Acid levels and great taste for your dog.

NutroUltraWetFood2.jpg

It should be no surprise that the Nutro Ultra Senior Wet Food is full of greatness as well.  Nutro’s natural wet dog food tastes great and helps provide the nutrients every senior dog needs.  You can clearly see the whole vegetables in the wet food which means you know exactly what your dog is getting.

Nutro12.jpg

Hermes loves his wet and dry food served up to him mixed together and doesn’t like change much, so I decided that I will keep with his routine and mix the wet and dry together.  You can see that the new food went over really well with Hermes…he even licked the bowl clean which he never does, he lets my other dog do for him.

Today is day 2 on the Nutro Ultra Senior food and so far, so good.  Hermes is a little gassy today, but that’s something any pet parent should anticipate with a diet change.  I’m pretty confident that his gut will adjust in the next couple days and hopefully we’ll start seeing some benefits from the new food.

Key Benefits of Nutro Ultra Senior Food

  • Three lean animal proteins from farm-raised chicken, pasture-fed lamb and salmon provide unique and complementary Amino Acids that work together to promote strong, lean muscles. Precisely formulated with targeted levels of protein and fat to support the high energy levels of large breed puppies. Whole grains are nutrient-dense foods that nourish a healthy digestive system for proper nutrient absorption.
  • Premium natural diet made for senior dogs which contains just the right amount of protein, fat and carbohydrates. This product is also formulated to promote joint health while also helping maintain a lustrous coat and healthy skin.
  • This is a specially made natural diet made for senior dogs. Naturally sourced glucosamine and chondroitin, the nutritional building blocks of healthy cartilage, helps keep joints healthy. The right fiber balance from whole ingredients promotes an ideal digestive environment to help absorb available nutrients.
  • Made with absolutely no artificial colors, flavors or preservatives. This is a high quality product that is produced in the manufacturer’s own facilities to ensure safety and quality.
  • Nutro’s dedicated team of experts tailor their formulas to your pet’s life stage and health condition. They only use natural ingredients that they directly buy and can trace back to their suppliers.

Chewy.com has also been generous enough to offer a giveaway as well!  The giveaway will run through the end of the month so you can follow along with our journey and have new chances to enter to win!

***GIVEAWAY***

Thanks to Chewy.com, one of you will have a chance to win a bag of Nutro dog food in your choice of formula.  One lucky winner will be able to chose the formula they’d like to try and have it shipped to them courtesy of Chewy.com!  Giveaway will begin 04/02/17 at 4 PM EST and will end 04/30/17 at 11:59:59 PM EST.  Winner will have 48 hours to claim their prize or another winner will be chosen.  All giveaway entries will be validated.  Winners are randomly selected.  Click the link below to enter:

Click here to enter the Nutro dog food giveaway!!

 

***I did not receive any financial compensation, simply the product free to me in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion***