Practical and Personal.
Taking better care of our Selves, our Families, and the World around us.
Practical & Personal.
Taking better care of our Selves, each Other, and the World around us.
You value ethical living, real food, and healthy families. You want to live in ways that don't keep unraveling life on earth so your kids and grandkids can get a fair deal.
AND, you need to do it in ways that are manageable for you.
You need affordable steps that make your life easier, not harder.
And you need to hear ideas and concepts that bring a sense of relief and hope, not guilt and despair.
Is that how you feel?
Hi. I'm Kate.
I’m a homeschooling mother of two. I'm an advocate for real, local food and simple, natural living. And I'm a writer and teacher.
I’m deeply interested in health. Not just physical, but also mental/emotional and spiritual health. And not just my own and my family's, but also the health of the social and ecological systems we are part of.
For more than 15 years, my mission has been to learn to care for myself and my family in ways that re-build and regenerate all these aspects of health.
Yes, that's big. But it can be broken down into small, simple steps. I've found that the simplest ways are the most effective ways and that the smallest steps are the most sustainable.
I don't expect ever to get it all entirely figured out. But I’ve come a long way, I feel confident in my direction, and I’m ready to help you out if you're heading in the same direction and feeling like you could use some support.
Hi, I'm Kate
I’m a homeschooling mother of two, an advocate for real, local food and simple, natural living, and a writer and teacher.
I’m deeply interested in health. I believe that “health” is not only physical but also has social and spiritual dimensions, and that for individuals to be healthy our families, communities, and environments must be healthy. And vice versa. It’s all connected.
That’s why for the last 15 years my mission has been to learn to care for myself and my family in ways that build and regenerate all aspects of health.
It’s complex. I don’t have it all figured out yet, far from it. But I’ve come a long way, I feel confident in my direction, and I’m ready to help you do the same for yourself and your family.
A Real Green Life is about being able to...
- rely less on supermarkets, pharmacies, and the whole industrial complex -- so you can live a healthy life that doesn't cost the earth
- grow some of your own food and feel a sense of accomplishment and improved health
- meet your family's food and basic healthcare needs more economically, using simple ingredients with less toxins, less packaging, less waste, more meaning, and better ethics
- parent yourself compassionately so you can be more effective at taking care of what matters to you
- feel connected and comfortable in the relationships, communities and ecosystems that hold you, knowing you're supported by them and also accountable to them
"Food for thought...
I subscribe to quite a few homestead/green lifestyle newsletters. Yours is so relatable, informative, and gives excellent food for thought; Get Off the Bus is a great example. Thanks so much for your work. Cheers from a Nova Scotia!"
Raven's Ridge Permaculture
I write about two broad topics on A Real Green Life:
Practical Skills and Personal Skills. Here's a bit more about each.
1. Practical Skills
This is about practical skills to help you decrease your dependence on industrial foods, pharmaceuticals, and toxic cleaning products. I write about how to:
- grow some of your own food (One Small Serve is my new book about how to grow and use 7 beginner friendly plants to establish a home-grown food habit that's easy to maintain).
- gradually replace packaged convenience foods with real, whole, foods and wise, frugal kitchen strategies, without taking as much of your time as you might be thinking (check out my free guide as a starting point, or these free posts)
- ditch the two most toxic aisles in the supermarket—the cleaning aisle and the bathroom aisle—and replace them with simple, healthy alternatives that you can make at home from basic ingredients for a fraction of the cost
- make some of your basic healthcare needs cheaply and simply, to reduce your exposure to the health threats hidden in pharmaceuticals
2. Personal Skills
In this category of writing I explore topics like these:
- how our ways of perceiving and relating shape our lives and our world
- why tending to our inner world is critical if we want to make a positive difference in the world around us
- how we can develop our ability to live a self-directed life as opposed to a life directed by the consumer culture that surrounds us
I share stories and ideas about empowerment, perspective, and hope. My goal with this part of my work is to examine the stories we've been living in--about who we are, how our world works, and our role in it--so that we can make a conscious choice about whether we want our lives to extend these same stories or tell different ones.
"Well researched, honest and inspiring..
Kate is a regular contributing author to Permaculture News and I always look forward to receiving her articles. They are always thought provoking, well researched, honest and inspiring. Kate's articles either present different perspectives (Personal Skills) or share valuable knowledge, hints and tips (Practical Skills). I know the wider Permaculture community also appreciate Kate's contributions; many comments are shared on her posts. Thanks Kate."
Permaculture News Editor - PermacultureNews.org - 2023
About the "real" and the "green" in A Real Green Life
I use the word "Real" in the sense that it's focused on what's real and important to you. It's living according to your values, as opposed to allowing your life to be driven by capitalism and consumerism.
I use the word "Green" in the sense that it's about
making choices that are as regenerative as possible, or at least that do as little harm as possible. Industrialization and colonialism have conditioned us to live in ways that are extractive and destructive. A Real Green Life explores ways to undo that conditioning.
When you sincerely commit to simply caring for your self and your family with a focus on your truest values, you are indirectly taking care of the Whole because you and your family are inextricably connected to the Whole. This is what I call living a Real Green Life.
"Business as usual" vs "a real, green life"
Business as usual
Real and green
Industrial farming and food manufacturing, supermarket food, fast food, people eating in a rush or eating alone
Real food, grown in healthy ecosystems, local, seasonal, slow, homemade, people eating and sharing with enjoyment
Giant mono-culture farms, depleted ecosystems, shrinking biodiversity, disappearing top soil and dwindling indigenous knowledge about food and place
Small diverse farms, cottage industry, stable farming communities and ecosystems, room for indigenous people to continue their traditional lifestyles and ways for them to share their wisdom and perspectives
A growth-at-all-costs global economy dominated by a few giant corporations who sell to the entire world
A steady state economy dominated by millions of small businesses who serve local communities
Low-quality mass produced products, poorly paid workers, world-wide distribution, a linear progression from raw material to disposable products to landfill
Locally made, fair trade goods, designed to last, a circular economy recycling and re-using materials
Dependence on supermarkets, superstores, government institutions, and experts; loss of personal autonomy
Increasing self-reliance, learning/remembering how to think for ourselves, re-building the skills of self-sufficiency and interdependence
People living lives of quite desperation on the up-sizing treadmill
A meaningful life, with fewer possessions and richer connections to family, community, and nature
On HOMEGROWN FOOD (Practical Skills)
Sweet Violet (Viola odorata), is a shade-tolerant, ground-covering edible plant with a long list of nutritive and medicinal uses.
The success of your food garden depends on the connections between the plants and each other, and between the plants, you, and your kitchen (and also your medicine cabinet).
The best way to get more effective at growing your own food is to make it super easy to eat something directly from your garden on a daily basis. Here are 5 categories of low-maintenance food plants (or plant parts) you might have been overlooking, and strategies for using them to build more food sovereignty into your life.
Once you know how to tell a male pumpkin flower from a female one, it’s a simple matter to hand pollinate your female flowers and be sure of more pumpkins, especially in rainy weather when pollinating insects aren’t on the job. (Or your pollinator population has been decimated by pesticides.)
7 small ways to start growing your own food, improving your nutrition, and lowering your grocery costs – even if you’re short on time, space, or confidence.
If we make our food gardens as much like natural ecosystems as we can, full of diversity and interconnections, they’ll be more vigorous and productive with less effort on our part.
Recent PERSONAL SKILLS Posts
The Inner Critic is here to stay. But it doesn’t have to be a source of anxiety and overwhelm. Here are 4 steps for making it your ally.
“REAL” – genuine, authentic, true; not artificial, imitated, or virtual. “GREEN” – regenerative/doing as little harm as possible. If all you do is take this approach to caring for your self, your family, and the places and things you love, you’ll be making a difference.
It’s uncomfortable to be around someone who is suffering because it wakes up all that’s untended to within our own selves. We can’t stand that, so we hurry to put a band aide over what-ever is hurting in the other person, to quiet things down again, so we can get back to pretending we’re fine.
Science is when someone asks nature a specific question and receives a specific answer. Science is ALSO when a bunch of fallible human beings all interact with each other in complicated ways to finally agree on what scientific theories they will then present to the rest of the world.
Choices are like coins – they always have two sides, and both sides stack up in terms of the direction we’re going.
A short post on how we use our time and those uncomfortable feelings of “not enough time,” and “not good enough.” Turns out, they might all be connected.
Our “story,” of how the world works and who we are, is like a script that prompts our choices and actions. There is a new story available to us that prompts cooperative and life affirming behaviors rather than competitive and exploitative ones. Indigenous peoples and eastern spirituality have been indicating it, and the newest sciences are finally now “discovering” it. It’s a story that would put us on an entirely different trajectory.
Sometimes change asks more of us than we have to give, and we break. Sometimes we recover, but whether we recover or not, there is no going back to what we were before the change. We’re transformed us, forever, into something different than we were before. Here’s why I feel that this degree of change is upon us collectively now, and why I feel hopeful even in the midst of all that’s happening around the world.
The “bus” I’m talking about is entire populations of people all gabbling without listening to one another and without thinking clearly. The bus is hurtling toward a cliff, with no-one in the driver’s seat. The opinions, the conflict, the angst, are all fueling the bus. Here’s how to understand what’s going on, and how to disengage from the insanity.
"Honest, genuine, thought provoking...
As a homeschooling Mum pursuing a more meaningful life for my family, ARealGreenLife supports me in questioning and expanding my existing world view."
"Love your non-threatening, easy to read, commonsense style. Reading A Real Green Life offers people the opportunity to question why they live the way they do."
"Insightful ideas and concepts...
I love your stuff - you come up with very insightful ideas and concepts. For example, I never realized that essential oils had become such a big industry that it was impacting on the environment.
"Realizing how numb we are...
Dear Kate, Thank you for posting such deep and thought provoking blog posts. ... I think you are doing a great service to make us all aware of the consequences of our actions. It makes me realize how numb we are, and how comfortable it is to be numb, just doing what everyone else does and not questioning the real, true and deep impacts of our lives."
So much interesting and important info, neatly packaged, no fluff. "
Thank you Kate. You express your insights and understandings lucidly...
I appreciate the broad perspective you share on subjects that are meaningful to you—social, spiritual, environmental, economical—and the research and reading you do to inform your writing."