No fancy pumps or flood tables required!

Image for post
Image for post
A large-scale NFT (Nutrient Film Technique) system. Photo by Harits Mustya Pratama on Unsplash

If you’ve ever tried sprouting an avocado pit in a glass of water or appreciated the beauty of water lilies in a pond, you’ve seen the magic of hydroponics in action. Hydroponics is rapidly gaining popularity as an alternative growing method that works wonders, particularly in food and herb production. But despite the technical-sounding name, hydroponics is a sustainable (and manageable) form of gardening, no matter what your experience level is.

The basic components of any hydroponics system are water, nutrients, and air (typically circulated via a water pump or bubbler). Of course, like any garden, the environment needs to be conducive to plant growth. That means plenty of light, protection from the elements, and a plant-friendly temperature (usually between 70–80 degrees Fahrenheit). One of the best parts of hydroponics is the ability to grow year-round, but in order to do that, the temperature and light may need to be manually controlled via grow lights, heat lamps, insulated grow chambers or temperature-controlled greenhouses. …

I wasn’t traumatized into becoming a vegetarian. But I was truly worried about the health of our planet.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by John Kakuk on Unsplash

I grew up on a small cattle ranch in southern Arizona. In 2015, when veganism had just started to become “trendy”, I decided to give up meat.

I wasn’t traumatized into becoming a vegetarian — I’m the daughter of a third-generation cattle rancher, and I’m very proud of my family’s ranching background. But I was starting to notice a disparity between the way my family and other ranches raised our cows, and where these cows ultimately ended up.

I had watched my father and grandfather strive to be good stewards of the land and animals they were entrusted with. They rotated grazing pastures, closely monitored our wells, and routinely provided the cattle with salt and minerals. Our cows led a good life, but a ranch is a business just like any other, and so eventually we shipped our calves to the livestock sale. Here, they were bought by feed lots and packed in with thousands of other cattle to spend the remainder of their days carb loading. …

I didn’t metamorphose into Gwyneth Paltrow, but it did cure my writer’s block.

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash

At the end of July, I decided to embark on my first cleanse. I blame five months of quarantine eating and exercising — I was eating way more sugar and carbs than I was used to, running the equivalent of 2.5 marathons every week, and generally feeling awful. At any other time in my life, I would’ve been vehemently opposed to the idea of a cleanse. But lately, I was becoming desperate.

Let’s get this straight right off the bat: In general, I am opposed to cleanses. Not the concept, which stems from ancient Ayurvedic healing traditions, but the way they are used today as a thinly-veiled attempt at unhealthy weight loss in the name of “increased well-being”. …

Image for post
Image for post
Photo by Andrew Neel on Unsplash

In the last three weeks, I have scrolled through countless lists of ways to stay occupied while being cooped up inside, and even more posts about the latest TikTok video a celebrity posted. It’s not that I don’t have anything better to do — the junk drawer in my brain labeled “Things I will do when I have time” reached full capacity somewhere between making my own kombucha and finally uploading those photos from my family vacation to a hard drive so my phone will stop telling me I’m out of storage.

Instead, I found myself mindlessly diving deeper and deeper into the interweb, vacillating between depressed boredom and life-sucking apathy. While I’m not against puzzles or experimenting with a few catchy dance moves, all those cliched boredom busters just made me feel more de-motivated than ever. If you’re in the same boat, then maybe it’s time you made a new list — of things you won’t only want to do, but that will also benefit you (and your mental health) in the long-run. …

“Take a deep breath, and feel your hips sinking into the floor. Now curl your toes under and press each one into the ground, stretching up to the ceiling.” Amy Orchard guides a class through a hip-opening sequence while in the background, a man chanting “Om” hums through the speakers of her phone. This is yoga.

In a nondescript Hindu temple in downtown Tucson, Arizona, Parixit Modi meditates in front of a statue of a sacred Hindu deity. This is yoga.

Tanja Bungardt-Price prescribes some gentle stretches, pranayama breathing practices, and chakra-related color therapy to a client who is experiencing back pain. …

In a one-horse town just north of the Mexican border where African-Americans make up less than one percent of the population, Arleen Kennedy stands out in more ways than one. She’s bold, confident, and not afraid of change — even if that change is packing up and moving 2,300 miles across the country.

Despite being thousands of miles from home, Kennedy is a southern belle at heart. She’s refined (yet animated), courteous and kind (she gives hugs, not handshakes) and loves sweet tea, even if she’s had to sweeten it herself since she moved out west.

“I consider myself to be a southern belle because I am very gentile in certain ways,” Kennedy said. “I don’t drink, smoke, party, or do any of those things that could create [a] negative aura. I think a female should always hold herself to the highest standard.” …


Hannah Dahl

Freelancer from Arizona, USA. I write about health and wellness, agriculture, science, travel, and lifestyle.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store