The Sustainable Couple - Marion, Iowa's Best

Kelli and her husband, John, have the most beautiful home in Marion, Iowa. They have added things like animals, produce and much more on their in-town acreage. This is one couple you want to learn from!

Lets dig in!

This family includes two dogs, Manny and Bruce, and their four backyard chickens!! (Rob I am so coming for you!) The coop sits in their backyard along with plenty of goodies growing and rain barrels collecting natures rain. Kelli has really developed a great system for her garden and understands it's ever changing needs with sunlight and using things like the three sisters gardening combinations. They also shuffle their produce locations and are very intentional with where they plant each crop.  

In Kelli's own words, "I am a former high school English and journalism teacher (turned educational mentor and blogger), and John is an electrician who spends much of his time on the road. (Read about that here and here.) We've lived a pretty traditional life for the last six years, but things changed when I quit my full-time teaching gig to do a little traveling with John. (You can read more about that here and here and here.)

You've probably gathered that life, with us, is always an adventure. 

Together, John and I love live music and live entertainment, camping, outdoor activities, and working to become a more 'sustainable couple'. I love to garden, can and preserve food, cook, upcycle, and dream of becoming a self-sufficient micro-farmer, complete with backyard chickens. John's life goal is to prevent me from getting backyard chickens. John finally agrees that I can have backyard chickens! We're getting backyard chickens!  We have four backyard chickens!

Together we enjoy making our one-third acre city lot a more sustainable place. We're building a little homestead in the middle of a large Eastern Iowa town. We believe in living a self-sufficient lifestyle (mentally and physically) and are slowly transforming our practices to encompass those beliefs. We dig simple, frugal living.

Much of what we write about on our blog relates to eco-friendly living, growing as much of our own food as possible, learning skills to make us self-sufficient, renovating our 1840s home, cooking from scratch, crafting, being cheap asses frugal, essential oils, our dogs, and our travels. Sometimes we'll throw in a good story about our knucklehead friends and family." 

Kelli showing me her lettuce and the combinations she had in this bed. 

Just looking down her rows show things like green beans, squash and corn. It was a beautiful sight and smelled lovely. So fresh!

Check out these friends that came up to say Hello! 

By using barrels from Amana they made these rain barrels that when full, one and a half barrel can water their entire garden. Each barrel has a hose up top connecting one barrel to the next. You can slightly see the white hose between the first and second barrel. When one is full it "spills" over to the next and so on and so forth. 

As I stood there talking with Kelli about their compost and scraps rotation I spy feathers amongst the growing tomato plants. These companions spend some time on the cool earth under the plants. 

Follow this incredible couple on their sustainable journey!

Food- Where to buy? Grow? Where's the money?

Where do you get your food? Where does it come from? Who gets the money?

Can you answer these questions when you look in your cupboards? These are things we often take for granted. 

Here are some great places to get your food. 

MY ONLINE STORE- Find a local credible source for produce and meats. Anything that you cannot buy locally please visit my store in the “The Home Essentials” tab of my website. Anything from seeds to books to kitchenwares. Click for link. 

IVFC -, a nonprofit coop to get local food to the neighborhood. Make an online order and pick up once or twice a month depending on the time of year at the Matthew 25 Hub at 201 3rd Ave SW Cedar Rapids, IA. 

 HYVEE- They have a growing health and organic section and sometimes buy local. There are many all around town. 

FARMERS MARKETS - It is very important to help your fellow neighbor when they grow, raise or produce items for consumption or otherwise. Keep it local and help the economy. These dollar go to their bills, not a big business. 

NewBo City Market Outdoor Vendors, opens May 3rd until weather allows. Hours are Saturday 8-1 and Sunday 10-1. 

Cedar Rapids Downtown Market, 2014 schedule is June 7th & 21st, July 5th & 19th, August 2nd & 16th, September 6th & 20th from 7:30-11:30. 

Noelridge Farmers Market, open May 2nd through October 18th every Monday, Wednesday and Friday 4-6pm in the Greenhouse parking lot and every Tuesday and Saturday at the 8th Ave SE parking lot. 

Hiawatha Farmers Market, open April 27th through October 26th every Sunday 11-2 in the Guthridge Park parking lot. 


FRESH MARKET - This will be in the old Kmart by Lindale. I have snooped online and find they carry diverse items. I am currently speaking with them about their community involvement. 

NEW PIONEER COOP - This market exists in Iowa City and Coralville now. They run off of memberships and non membership and are very integrated with the community, have a wide variety of health foods and offer membership work which means a member can work there and get credit for the store. 

Visit my "Community Page" for other offerings locally. If you want to add something to this page message me! Click for link.