Sunday, November 10, 2013

Give to Dancing With Thoreau & receive a Garden Insects DVD--a great Christmas gift

Hi all!

We are so excited that we have over 40 donors, and we are 1/4 of the way on our goal of raising $20,000 to help fund Dancing With Thoreau. Many people have contributed offline, so our total is actually approaching the $5,000 mark!

Did you know that a $25 gift you will receive a copy of Chris’s -- DVD Garden Insects -- this would make a GREAT Christmas gift for a family (kids love it) or your favorite gardener.

$50 you receive both DVDs -- Garden Insects and Frost Flowers -- great gifts!

Support this important film, and check someone off your Christmas list at the same time!

Thank you!

Christy and Chris

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

If our economy should grind to a halt...I’ll still plant beans for the winter

Chris finally finished shelling our beans--fresh shelled beans filled the freezer, and dried beans will be for seed, and also for eating. Big white creamy Italian cannellini beans, and Rockwell, a 100-year-old purple and white heirloom, native to Whidbey Island, that cooks up similar to a pinto.  

"For the past several nights I’ve been shelling black beans. Hours of my time have been spent snapping these brittle husks to try and fill what seems to be a bottomless bowl. It’s not like I’m creating any economic stability for my family here. Lets say that I could shell three pounds of beans in an hour (which I can’t). I can buy organic beans for $.80 a pound. That would give me a net worth of $2.40 an hour and that doesn’t include spreading compost, planting, cultivating, and harvesting. So why waste my time? Several reasons really. First, it feels right. Work the ground, add some seed, water, light, work, and love, and I’ve got nourishment for my family though the winter. Second, beans are an important rotation crop for the fields, as they build fertility. Third, I don’t believe that I can even buy beans of this quality. Besides the biodynamic preps, I’ve known and tended them their entire life. Fourth, it’s real, or I should say it grounds me. It brings me closer to reality. If we run out of oil, if our economy should grind to a halt, if the lights of the city flicker and are extinguished, I’ll still plant beans for the winter. And fifth, I have rarely seen the true correlation between the actual value of real food and the work that it takes to create it reflected in its actual price.

Some things cannot be expressed in terms of monetary value. Their worth actually transcends it. It is both priceless and free, depending upon the circumstances."

Excerpted from Awakening to Nature: Gardening and Nature Observation as a Path of Spiritual Development, Chris Korrow

Rockwell Beans, heirloom native to Whidbey Island.  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Autumn Reflections and East Coast Interviews/ Dancing With Thoreau

Does time in nature increase generosity?

Hi everyone--

I'm about to head out and plant some garlic--but, first of all, thank you for your generous, generous contributions to Dancing With Thoreau. I've just returned from doing three interview on the East Coast. I thought you might enjoy this clip from Richard Ryan, PhD on how even an unseemingly insignificant encounter with nature can have quite an impact on us.

Peace and Blessings, Chris

His Holiness the Dalai Lama to appear in Chris Korrow's new documentary, Dancing With Thoreau

We just received in writing permission from the Office of Tibet New York, an official agency of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Administration-in-Exile, based in Dharamsala, India, confirming that I have permission to use the footage I filmed of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Portland this year.

While I was granted a media pass and was able to attend and film both the press conference (and ask His Holiness a question), as well as the two-day environmental summit, I was told I would have to go directly through the Office of Tibet in New York to obtain permission to actually use the footage. After many emails, and submission of film clips and other documentation, today we received the note from Ngawang Yonten granting the permissions. It will be a tremendous honor, to say the least, to weave these clips of His Holiness speaking on nature and the environment into the film.

Thank you and stay in touch!
Peace and Blessings, Chris

New Film: Dancing with Thoreau!

About the film

Dancing with Thoreau is an upcoming feature film about our connection with nature, and specifically the benefits of a connection with nature. The film will explore how and why we, as a Western society, can and should reconnect with our environment.

How does a connection with our natural environment strengthen our spiritual, physical, creative, economic, and intellectual pursuits? How can the cultivation of a spiritual outlook and practice support a healthy and balanced natural environment?

Dancing with Thoreau will weave Chris's film footage and photography from dynamic natural environments across the country together with commentary from leading edge teachers, naturalists, farmers, scientists, spiritual leaders, and representatives of major religions as we explore these questions.
Climate scientists tell us we might be heading toward irreversible climate change, and so many of us do our best to “go green.” Through this film, we will define a different kind of environmental activism, one where we are “optimized through our encounters with nature” and our lives become more compassionate, successful, balanced and interesting as a result.

Some of the key subjects in the film are:

Perception and awareness.
The effects of nature on our mind and well being.
Laws of nature. (For example: sustainability and balance are not simply concepts, but actual laws that govern our existence.)
How color, sound, touch, and smell affect us.
Techniques to develop a deeper connection with nature.
Religious leaders who are embracing nature and its effect on our spirituality.
Gardening and agriculture as a way to reconnect with nature.
The importance of children spending time in nature.

From the filmmaker: “I’ve been helping people to connect with nature for over thirty years. This work is one of the main reasons I became a farmer, since the care of the soil and the raising of vegetables is one of the easiest pathways I’ve found by which we can all come into a closer connection to this beautiful world in which we live. Dancing With Thoreau is the culmination of my life's work thus far.”

Why I need your help:

While most feature documentaries need budgets of $100,000 or more, I am mostly self-funding this project because of the positive effects I’ve seen in people that have developed a stronger connection with nature and subsequently the importance of strengthening our society’s connection with nature. In the past, all of my projects have been self-funded, mostly through a farming income, a lot of creativity, and simple living.

My first two film projects were very successful. Garden Insects showed on PBS nationally for three years and Frost Flowers has shown for two years on PBS and is still being broadcast. PBS estimated that Garden Insects was viewed by about 2.5 million viewers.

I am raising $20,000 for overall funding for the film. Your contribution will be put toward travel to conduct the remaining interviews, post-production costs, stock footage for clips I could not possibly film, film festivals, and promotion. I have never really asked for monetary assistance before, but I cannot continue to support this work simply on my farm income.

This is why I’m asking for your help.

Who will appear in the film?
His Holiness The Dalai Lama
 Jon Young (Author of What the Robin Knows, Coyote’s Guide to Connecting with Nature, and founder of the Wilderness Awareness School.)
David Suzuki (Author, activist and host of Canadian public television’s The Nature of Things.)
Stephan Schwartz (Senior Samueli Fellow for Brain, Mind, and Healing of the Samueli Institute, and a research associate of the Cognitive Sciences Laboratory of the Laboratories for Fundamental Research and a columnist for the journal Explore.)
Gunther Hauk (Author, and biodynamic beekeeper who appeared in the documentary Queen of the Sun.)
April Blair & Matthew Bibeau (Founders and teachers of Mother Earth School, a Waldorf-inspired all-outdoor preschool and kindergarten in Portland, Oregon.)
Denis Hayes (National coordinator of the first Earth Day when he was 25, one of  Time magazine’s “Heroes of the Planet,” and president of the Bullitt Foundation, founders of the Bullitt Center—the world’s greenest commercial building.)
Sister Adrian Hoftstetter, OP (Dominican Sister of Peace and author of Earth-Friendly: Re-Visioning Science and Spirituality through Aristotle, Thomas Acquinas, and Rudolf Steiner.)
Jeffrey Cramer (Notable Thoreau scholar and author of many books, including, The Portable Thoreau, Viking/Penguin, 2012.)
Richard Ryan, PhD (Professor of psychology, psychiatry, and education, University of Rochester. Lead author of “Vitalizing effects of being outdoors and in nature,” Journal of Environmental Psychology.)
Elizabeth K. Nisbet, PhD
(Psychology Department, Trent University, Ontario. Researcher on individual differences in subjective connectedness with nature--nature relatedness--and the links with health, well-being/happiness, and environmentally sustainable behavior.)

So, how does nature connection benefit us in our everyday lives?

Here is some of what the film will explore:

Most of us look at our relationship with nature simply in terms of environmental issues. But our connection (or disconnection) with the natural world goes far beyond a material relationship.

Someone once said that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Gaining a new and different point of view is where a nature connection can really benefit us.

Concerns we face in society revolve largely around money, time, scheduling, reputation, and fulfilling a myriad of material desires, whereas what matters in nature is balance, living life in the moment, understanding one’s place in the surrounding environment, and finding satisfaction and fulfillment with what already exists.

April Blair of the Mother Earth School in Portland explains how, when a child climbs a tree, there is nothing uniform in the tree. Branches are at different angels, strength, and distances, so a child's brain-body connection has to deal with this in a much more creative way than when he or she is on a playground, where the jungle gym is uniform and of consistent strengths. Nature connection triggers a different creative process, which is why so many of the great thinkers spent time in nature for inspiration.

By increasing our relationship with nature, we double our ability to problem solve. We already have access to the knowledge and wisdom that our society has to offer, and as we increase our connection with our natural environment, we add to that the vast amount of knowledge and wisdom available in nature.

The scientific community is discovering that spending time in nature reduces stress and aggression, improves self esteem and creativity, and strengthens community.

Nature transcends religion and politics—nature is nondenominational and has no ties to a political affiliation. As Jon Young stated when he was interviewed for the film, “It’s purely a matter of ergonomics, this body was meant for it, a connection with nature optimizes us.”

About the filmmaker:

Chris Korrow is a farmer, naturalist, photographer, filmmaker, and author. His film Garden Insects won three film festival awards and premiered nationwide on PBSFrost Flowers has aired on PBS Kentucky for several years. Most recently, he has collaborated on a series of short films on food and local economy for the Whidbey Institute’s Thriving Communities effort, a series of conferences on community resiliency.

He has a new children’s book called The Organic Bug Book (SteinerBooks 2013), and is based on his award-winning film, Garden Insects. He is the author of The 30 Square-Foot GardenA Guide for Observing Nature and Awakening to Nature.

For over 20 years, Chris and his family lived on a rural Kentucky farm in a solar-powered home and ran an organic/biodynamic vegetable business. They lived a sustainable lifestyle, growing most of their own food, with no phone, no electricity, and no hot running water. They are now based on Whidbey Island, Washington, living right in town. He grows vegetables on a one-third acre market garden inside the city limits of Langley, within walking distance of home, and the produce is for sale through an honor system farm stand.

Chris and his wife Christy have embarked on a new project to create an affordable, green, co-housing neighborhood on 10 acres of woods and meadow in their hometown of Langley.

He explores the intersections between nature, agriculture, community, and spirituality through his media company, Breathe Deep Productions. 


To find out more about his work, visit
View additional film trailers and clips of Chris's work at his YouTube Channel, here.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Beaver Dam Western Adirondacks/ Dancing With Thoreau

This one is amazing and beautifully crafted

It's hard to see with the reflection, but the water is right up to the top on the entire dam, with a couple of small spill overs.

Pointed ends are anchored into the ground.

You can see how the water is right up to the top for the length of the dam.

habit created by the beavers

Second dam.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Niagra Falls and Ginko Photos

While out interviewing Richard Ryan, PhD (Professor of psychology, psychiatry, and education, University of Rochester. Lead author of “Vitalizing effects of being outdoors and in nature,” Journal of Environmental Psychology.) and Elizabeth K. Nisbet, PhD, (Psychology Department, Trent University, Ontario. Researcher on individual differences in subjective connectedness with nature--nature relatedness--and the links with health, well-being/happiness, and environmentally sustainable behavior.), Chris stopped at Niagara Falls and fell in love with a ginkgo tree. 

Look forward to more of his amazing images in his new film--Dancing With Thoreau!


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Eat your greens--Six ideas!

Here are our suggestions for how to use the greens which are now being harvested and are for sale on the farm stand!


Considered a bitter green, don’t let that deter you. This is a mild green with FLAVOR. Chris’s mom was Italian, and she always made a traditional in Italian chicken soup, just chop the escarole and cook well. OR--slice head down the middle lengthwise, braise in a skillet with hot olive oil, serve with lemon, garlic, chopped walnuts and parmesan cheese.

Great substitute for spinach in cooked dishes. Chop the stems and stalks, cook until soft before adding the greens to cook until tender.

Like kale, it holds up well in hearty soups and stews. Delicate brassica flavor and nice texture. Cook well in a little water, drain. For a southern favorite drizzle bacon grease and a splash of vinegar or California style with olive oil, chopped garlic, and salt.

Surprisingly light, but with a wonderful extra zing. Great in stir-frys combined with other veggies. Try adding a scoop of black bean paste. We like them well cooked in with a pot of beans (with ham or vegetarian).

Smoothie and massaged kale salad are our two favorite ways to eat kale. It holds up well in hearty soups and stews.

Great in salads, or substitute for basil in your favorite pesto recipe then serve fresh on baked winter squash!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Front Yard Farm Stand or How Farming Followed Us to Whidbey Island

This is the fourth day of our new Front Yard Farm Stand. It has a nice ring to it. The table is filled with garlic, green beans, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, beets, and kale.

Two years ago when we sold our farm of twenty-plus years, and chose village life on an island in the Puget Sound, I thought we would leave farming behind. We would become the prosperous supporters of local farms, the city dwellers who turn their front yard into a garden, living a life of urban semi-self sufficiency. This felt like a relief to me, after an entire adult life committed to rather radical self sufficiency, including putting two children through cloth diapers with no washer or dryer, no indoor toilet, really living off the grid on the food grown by us and our neighbors. It was a good life. Nevertheless, our daughters grew up and Chris and I decided it was time to move to “town.” I am now a five minute walk from the best latte in the world, Yes, it’s true, many people who have traveled through Europe say they have not had a better espresso or cappuccino than that served by at Des at Useless Bay Coffee Company. But, I digress, such are the distractions of lively village life.

No sooner had we arrived, and in fact before we rented our first house in Langley, Chris had secured a plot in the local Community Garden at the Anderson Farm, turned the soil, planted seeds. My mind traveled back to the first weeks on our farm; we were living in a tent. The first work project was planting pecan trees, and the first structure built was a green house. Priorities.

And now, twenty-five years later, here we were, planing a garden before we had a home. Word spread that Chis had been a farmer, and a few people started to offer him land on which to farm. A minute later, he was on a plane, returning home to Kentucky retrieve his tractor and other farm equipment.

So, here we are again. Drying onions and garlic are strewn about the yard, our extra bedroom served as storage for a bumper crop of squash. The fridge is filled with goat milk, wine, local sausages, and cheese, all “purchased” from neighbors or local merchants in exchange for Chris’s vegetables grown just up the road a piece, at his market garden on the Anderson Farm.

We still puzzle with the real-number economics of farming—fully embracing the ideal of local food production, but also too experienced to ignore the reality that a $3 head of lettuce probably took $20 to produce. A young couple we know puts in 60 hours a week each on their CSA farm. Maybe they gross $30-40k? We wonder when the social and environmental value of local food will catch up with the economic value.

But, we keep at it. It turns out, farming followed us here.

And thus we have the new Front Yard Farm Stand. Please stop by and pick something up for dinner!

—Christy Korrow

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Organic Bug Book Has Arrived!

44 pages, full color
$16.95 ($11.95 plus $5 shipping and handling)
To order multiple copies, please do so through our publisher, SteinerBooks.  

The Organic Bug Book is a richly illustrated children's story by farmer, Chris Korrow. The book is an intelligent and entertaining resource for encouraging children to become involved in a garden or simply to help them understand and appreciate common backyard insects. 

There are about 1,600,000 different species of plants and animals on Earth. Almost 900,000 of those are insects! In 2001, expenditures for pesticides worldwide for agriculture was almost $32 billion U.S. In his “Resources for Parents,” Chris Korrow suggests,

“Begin by considering that there is a reason for every creature and every process in an organic garden. More than just growing something, the gardener is managing an entire ecosystem. The gardener must have an awareness of what is happening in his or her garden. How to do this? It’s simple—spend time in the garden, watching and observing. If you notice insect damage, check under the leaves of the plants, poke around in the soil at the base of plants. You’ll be surprised at how much you can learn about insect pests.”

In colorful pictures and simple text, Chris Korrow helps children (and adults) better understand the place of those small neighbors in our world. He identifies, illustrates, and describes dozens of insects, explaining what they do and how they are related to people and their gardens—and how bugs can help or frustrate organic gardeners!

The Organic Bug Book is based on Korrow's award-winning film, Garden Insects (as seen on PBS). 

After two decades of living off the grid, and homeschooling his two daughters on a biodynamic Kentucky farm, he was inspired to create this book with the hopes that it would inspire gown-ups to get outside and into their gardens with children.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Chris Tills the Ground for School Garden

Chris drove the tractor down Maxwelton Ave. to spade up some new beds for a school garden! Children will learn about science and sustainability while growing vegetables for Good Cheer Food Bank. Read all about it here!

Monday, March 18, 2013

In Search of Comet Panstarrs

We packed up the car and headed to Eastern Washington in search of Comet Panstarrs.

The trip took us over Steven's Pass and several feet of snow.

Finally arriving in Wenatchee, home to the dry wheat fields and extensive apple orchards of Eastern Washington.

Waiting for sunset in 32 degree temperatures, camera poised and ready....

...Finally she appears!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Birds!

Chris has decided to become better friends with the crows in the neighborhood by tossing them peanuts while we go for our daily walks. These shots give you an idea of how things are going so far.