MediMindful Moment Podcast: Meet Craig Floyd




In this episode of Cloud 9 Online’s MediMindful Moment Podcast, co-hosts Judith Dreyer, Jeff Nelder, and Henry Edinger interview Craig Floyd, Farm Manager of the Giving Garden at Coogan Farm, part of the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center. Tenth-generation farmer Craig Floyd talks about connecting people to nature through working in the soil and utilizing regenerative gardening practices.

Episode Highlights:

  • Judith shares that Craig is not only the Farm Manager but also the Master Gardener, and the planner along with hundreds of volunteers that provide organic food to the New London county food banks. (00:48)
  • What is Coogan Farm, and what do Craig’s people do at the farm? (1:18)
  • Craig shares that 100% of what they grow is donated to help feed the 32,000 food-insecure people in London County. (1:47)
  • Craig mentions that as of today, they have donated over 65,000 pounds of food. (2:11)
  • Jeff proceeds with the mindful moment exercise. (4:17)
  • Craig shares that they normally have 300 to 400 volunteers. (7:12)
  • Craig mentions that a lot of different people with special needs come and benefit in so many ways because they are interacting with the soil, and microbiology in the soil. (7:26)
  • Craig shares a story about two veterans that came into his garden. (7:48)
  • Henry mentions that Craig is helping people to live a mindful life. (8:42)
  • How is Craig feeling today? (9:08)
  • What does Craig feel when he’s at the farm? (9:22)
  • Craig mentions that he received an email from Hunts Brook Farm, and they wanted to donate 300 heads of lettuce, to the Gemma Moran Food Bank in London. (9:44)
  • Craig mentions that there are local farmers who have extra harvests and donate it to the food insecure. (11:21)
  • Craig shares that there are a lot of positive results, from neighbor to neighbor, and farm to farm that people don’t know. (11:48)
  • What role does mindfulness have to play in farming and gardening? (12:14)
  • Jeff mentions that Craig presented at TED Talk. (12:25)
  • Craig shares the feeling of being able to provide food to those standing in line at the mobile food pantry. (13:27)
  • What would Craig think if more people in the world could take dedicated time each day to be with Mother Nature and breathe? (13:58)
  • Craig shares another story about a young man that came in a parachute harness. (14:29)
  • Craig mentions that nature heals people. (19:29)

Key Quotes:

  • “This is not your normal garden. This is a regenerative no-till, no-spray garden, and the food is 80% better than anything you’ve ever put your mouth on nutritionally. So it’s really good, especially for those people that are in need.” Craig Floyd
  • “To be out there in that field with people, on a hot and sweaty day, watching the dragonflies, harvesting lettuce, and taking it to the food bank and seeing the smiles on everybody’s faces. Knowing that somebody was going to get some good lettuce today.” Craig Floyd
  • “You become one with Mother Nature. People don’t understand the strength of the garden, and what the garden can do for us. Whether you’re just a 73-year-old, 10th generation farmer, or whether you’re a young teenager, with special needs, unable to verbally communicate, what a garden does for us to be in the garden, and to be growing and knowing that we’re going to give somebody a meal.” Craig Floyd
  • “You need to get outside and volunteer in a garden or just put some parsley in the ground or something. Do something with the soil. You know, we are 90% better bacterial cells, what do you think the soil is? I mean, we are the soil. It just does so much good for us. You’ve got to get out in nature, people. Take your shoes off. Just enjoy it.” Craig Floyd

Resources Mentioned:

Through A Regenerative Giving Garden


Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: To Read is To Explore, Evolve, Embrace and Emerge: Part 1




Reading opens doors not only to our imagination but prods our inner worlds. We travel to unfamiliar landscapes. We explore new ideas, creative thoughts, and learn. Hopefully, we evolve within ourselves too, relating to the human condition through stories both fact and fiction. And lastly, we can emerge changed. We use our inner senses to feel and know the heart of things, the trials, and the suffering.  Some even ask us to question more.

Through the written word we can explore, evaluate, and embrace new values, connections, and maybe expand our inner horizons so that we may make a difference in the outer world. Books! I am a bibliophile, a deep lover of books, and the power of the written word.

As producer and host of the podcast series, Holistic Nature of Us, I talk to folks all over our country, Canada, and even South Africa. I come away inspired by tireless efforts to make a difference here on our planet, one action step, one community, one organization at a time. So, I thought it would be fun to create a podcast that highlights several books from so many outstanding and inspiring guests. My listeners come from all over the US but also the Netherlands, Australia, Poland, Ireland, and more. It’s truly been an exciting project.

So here goes: a podcast created in two parts. There are so many authors and books that I had to divide the list into two and create two podcasts. I hope you enjoy these summaries, why I liked them. I hope you will send us your likes and preferences too. So many of you have written comments and I am really grateful. Who inspires you? We’d love to know.  Enjoy and thanks. Judith

Listen here:

Transcript: Pod Part 1 Books Transcript

Blog: Moringa Oil And Its Top Benefits




Have you heard of Moringa oil? I know I hadn’t until my guest Dr. Jim Ken, contacted me with useful information about another medicinal and edible plant. Though it’s not native to our country (native to the Himalayan Mountain region), all parts of the tree are used, including seeds, roots, bark, and leaves.

Dr. Jim Ken: Moringa’s amazing nutritional and health benefits have been understood and used for thousands of years in India and many other countries. The uses of the Moringa tree are so broad that it still amazes me, and it can be difficult to know where to start. Basically, every part of the tree can be used and is beneficial – even crushed seeds can be used to purify water. This overview guide will give you a broad understanding of the multitude of benefits that are available from this “miracle tree.”

What is Moringa?

Nutritional Profile of Moringa

What are the top benefits of Moringa?

Where to go for more information

What Is Moringa?

Where Found: Moringa (moringa oleifera) is a plant or really a tree that likes a hot climate and originates from subtropical parts of the world like India or the Philippines. In fact, it is the second-fastest-growing plant only behind bamboo – it can grow 4-5 feet per year. So from seed, you can have a developed tree within a few years. Moringa has also been grown with some success in warmer parts of the United States like California, but it cannot survive freezing temperatures.  Fortunately, Moringa is available in a wide range of teas, oils, and supplements, which are great ways to add it to your daily routine without having to grow a tree!

Moringa’s Nutritional Properties 

Parts Used: Moringa’s status as a superfood is well deserved. The flowers, seed pods, and leaves of the plant are all edible and can be cooked and consumed in a variety of ways. The leaves, in particular, are very beneficial and include vitamins A, B, and C, potassium, and calcium, as well as a range of other beneficial compounds. 

The number of different nutrients contained in the Moringa plant is vast. Studies have also shown that even in powder or oil form, large quantities of the natural nutrients are retained. The plant’s nutritional benefits are almost as good as consuming a fresh leaf or a moringa pod. In fact, powders, in particular, have even higher contractions of beneficial nutrients on a weight basis over the natural tree, due to the concentration effect in drying. There are many supplements and forms created from Moringa’s parts, so it’s easy to include Moringa into your daily routine.

Health Benefits

Moringa has long been used in traditional medicine in many countries and especially in the Hindu system of Ayurveda (meaning knowledge of life.) Moringa has been an important part of Ayurvedic natural remedies for hundreds of conditions and some of the more notable ones being

  • Treatment of blood pressure
  • Indigestions
  • Treat diarrhea
  • Anti-inflammatory treatment

Moreover, remedies based on Moringa are also found helpful for relieving headaches and treating diabetes. 

 Moringa Oil For Your Skin And Other Uses

Moringa oil comes from the seeds of Moringa Tree. These seeds are extremely rich in phytonutrients and can create radiant skin as it’s easily absorbed.  It is really quite popular in the skin and beauty industry with many high-end spas – now adding Moringa to their treatment programs.  Plus, more mainstream manufacturers have started to include it in their products.

But the oil also has a far wider range of uses and benefits than just beauty products.

Other ways you can use moringa oil include

  • Moringa oil also contains “sterols,” which have been proven to reduce the bad type of cholesterol in our blood. [REF: ]
  • Cooking oil. Moringa oil is high in protein and oleic acid, which is monounsaturated, healthy fat. The oil also has a reasonably high smoke point, which makes it great for all types of cooking and baking.
  • Skin cleanser. Moringa oil, as mentioned, has oleic acid, and this also makes a great skin cleanser.
  • Natural Anti-inflammatory agent. Moringa oil contains many bioactive compounds that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Also, it is great for the treatment and prevention of stretch marks on the skin.
  • One of the most well-known uses is as a face mask, which allows the skin time to absorb all of the goodness contained in the plant. A great simple mask recipe is to take some honey and add a little moringa oil to it – warming it very slightly. Relax in a bath while your skin soaks up all the moringa benefits.

So in conclusion, there is a wide range of uses for Moringa oil and the many nutrients it contains which support the repair and renewal of human cells, making it an ideal ingredient not just for your overall health, but also for your appearance.

If you want more information on Moringa Powder, Oils, or just want to understand Moringa in more detail, visit– where they have more than 20 in-depth articles covering a wide range of moringa benefits.

Dr. Jim Ken, Co-Founder

Thank you, Dr.Jim Ken, for sharing useful herbal information. I always enjoy learning about another plant that offers many benefits. I wonder if they can grow Moringa in the south here on the east coast? If anyone has any information about growing this tree here on the east coast, we would enjoy hearing from you. And, all comments are appreciated.

Enjoy. Judith




Blog: Sustainable Cookware with Beatriz Garcia





Beatriz Garcia is my guest blog post writer this week. She reached out to me recently about sustainable cookware and I found her information useful. We often look at packaging as sustainable or not but what about our kitchen cookware? Summer is also a time for weddings and purchases for college dorms. I happen to be a fan of cast iron. Yes, they are heavy but I find them easy to clean and I like the even heating. What type of cookware is your favorite and why? Beatriz and I would love to hear from you.

Beatriz Garcia found out about the sustainable side of cookware when researching healthy cookware for her site Clan Kitchen.  You can find her writing there in the rare moments she isn’t busy looking after her family. Beatriz is keen to cook healthily and sustainably, but also has to balance this with quickly cooking foods her kids want to eat!


Whatever material you choose, you need to beware of the coating. If, for example, you want to avoid Teflon, then you should look for “PTFE free”.  Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) is the active ingredient in Teflon. Unfortunately, many pans are advertised as PFOA free. This is not helpful – PFOA was banned years ago. Other chemicals are now used to manufacture PTFE!  Unfortunately, when reviewing different pans, I’ve found many ceramic or stone pans actually have a coating that includes PTFE. People buying those bands could be misled by this. I certainly wouldn’t expect a ceramic or stone pan to include Teflon. Dr. Mercola, the number one holistic wellness expert, and site in the world, says this about Teflon coatings:

“In fact, the convenience of a nonstick or stain-resistant surface comes at a steep price, as such chemicals persist in the environment, are contaminating water supplies and have been linked to developmental problems, cancer, liver damage, immune effects, thyroid problems and more.”

My advice here is that if you are buying a pan that advertises itself as non-stick; check if it is PTFE free. If it doesn’t state PTFE free, then it probably does have Teflon. This is especially the case with ceramic, stone, aluminum pans, or any pan with a special coating. Here’s the problem with coatings in general: They wear away over time. And when they wear away, the pan loses any non-stick properties it had. The underlying layer/body of the pan is also exposed. This is often not healthy. For example, Aluminum exposure may cause Alzheimer’s. Once the coating of any pan starts to chip, I’d recommend throwing it away. And here we are back to the durability issue!  One coating that you can repair is the seasoning on cast iron or carbon steel pans. 


It’s not just the energy used in creating the pan that counts, but also the energy used every time you cook with it! The miles per gallon metric for cars is unachievable and unrealistic. But at least it allows you to compare different cars. Yet cookware doesn’t come with anything like that. How can we compare?  The overall conductivity of each material to get an idea of which cookware is best. This isn’t perfect, but it’s something. 

Examining this factor suggests copper and aluminum top the charts, followed by cast iron. Stainless steel is the worst of the typical cookware metals. You don’t normally expose food directly to copper or aluminum for safety reasons. One option is a copper or aluminum core to help conduct and spread the heat. Some pans even have a copper bottom. I can’t imagine a layered pan would make the job of recycling any easier though! 

This might also depend on how you cook though. Cast iron is in the middle of the conductivity range and takes ages to heat up. But there is a way around this! Heat the cast iron pan before putting the food on it, then turn it off the stove when the food is almost ready. The pan keeps its heat a while and carries on cooking. With a little bit of practice, you can get the timing right on this. 

What Next? 

So, you’re sold on sustainable cookware but you’re not sure what to do next!  Perhaps you don’t have money to just go and buy another cookware set.  Keep using the pans you have for now, and watch out for my next article, where I will give you 10 tips on how to buy and afford, sustainable cookware. 

Thanks, Beatriz, for sharing the above information on how to look at our cookware sustainably. Next week Beatriz offers 10 tips for buying sustainable cookware.

Remember your comments are appreciated.

Enjoy. Judith


Blog: Anthropocene: How are Humans Influencing the Planet?

Ellen Bennett, featured in this TED Talk gives us hope. There are many stories and articles about our climate, for the most part, highlight existing problems. We get tired of that approach in our news, right? I know I do. Ellen offers a different approach, one that proves to be more sustainable.

She mentions Anthropocene. I wondered what that meant as my podcast guest this week, Alaya Young, founder of the 1 million redwood research and planting project mentions that too in her work.  So I looked it up and found this site and hope-filled talk about changing where we place our attention: Are we going to focus just on the doom and gloom or the stories filled with imagination, practicality, action, and innovation that are working today? We need both for balance but she offers 5oo seeds she found around the world; projects initiated that are sowing the seeds of sustainability and regeneration, changing community life for all.

But let’s step back a moment. Anthropocene relates to or denotes the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. Anthropos means human with the root, cene ( the standard suffix for epoch in geological time). The current epoch we are in is known as the Holocene Epoch of Quaternary Period which began approximately 10,000 years ago. I don’t know about you, but for me, the important point to remember is: overall, how are we affecting our environment from all levels of progress during our current epoch, and what will the future consequences be?

I love how Ellen Bennett’s pathways to sustainability include positive stories. Humble listening is a key point that enables us to connect the dots in innovative ways for regeneration; one seed becomes one project at a time just like Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt project in Kenya. I hope my podcast series contributes too. It’s been my deepest desire to highlight positive ways that folks are impacting today. And, what we can do on a daily basis in the midst of our lives to make a difference today.

Enjoy this TED TAlk. I hope you come away inspired to know that at the grassroots levels folks are finding ways to innovate and create a healthy, regenerative world for all. Pretty cool! Your comments are always appreciated. Thanks. Judith



Podcast: Holistic Nature of Us: Meet Ayana Young

Description: Ayana Young is deeply concerned about environmental issues, including social justice, ecology, and land-based restoration. She has been the force behind a native species nursery and research center, including the establishment of the 1 Million Redwoods Project, and the film when When Old Growth Ends. Ayana is a podcast host on “For the Wild,” a weekly show featuring thought-leaders at the forefront of an environmental, artistic, scientific, political, and cultural shift.
Join us for discussions about her projects and how nature is teaching her and her team to have patience, slow down, and immerse within the community of plants.

About My Guest: Ayana Young is a podcast and radio personality specializing in intersectional environmental and social justice, deep ecology, and land-based restoration. With an academic background at the intersections of ecology, culture, and spirituality, Young was studying at Columbia when the Occupy Wall Street movement began and amid the burgeoning resistance in Zuccotti Park, she co-created the Environmental Working Group. Since then Ayana has been the force behind a native species nursery and research center, including the establishment of the 1 Million Redwoods Project, which was acclaimed as the most-backed farm project in Kickstarter history, the film When Old Growth Endsan ode to the complex interweaving of the irreplaceable Tongass National Forest during its last stand as a distinctly wild place in Southeast Alaska and the For The Wild podcast a weekly show featuring thought-leaders at the forefront of an environmental, artistic, scientific, political and cultural shift.

Transcript: Ayana Young