Stefanie Stauffer battles against Old Man Winter and the first frost as she systematically harvests the remainder of her ripened heirloom tomatoes and peppers.

Stauffer, the owner of Nightshade Farm Industries in Ann Arbor, yields heirloom varieties in an organic, small farm setting to produce flavorful salsas and hot sauces.

She began growing her own produce when she suffered from a foodborne illness after a trip to Albania.

“When I was there, I got really ill from a foodborne stomach parasite,”  Stauffer explains. “I couldn’t eat processed foods anymore.”

According to the USDA Census of Agriculture, there are 969,672 female farmers nationwide as of 2012. Females in agriculture account for 31 percent of the nation’s farmers and have a $12.9 billion impact on the U.S. economy. Continue reading


Get Your Bump in Gear


On Jan 16, Andrea Wright performed a strenuous strength training workout at Trufit Fitness Studios in South Lyon, Mich. A mere two days later, she gave birth to a healthy baby girl named Bella.

Wright, a high school English teacher, has been a conditioned athlete for many years. She has competed in CrossFit competitions and has always held herself to a high athletic standard. Like most expectant mothers, she consulted with her doctors before she continued with a rigorous exercise routine. All three doctors provided different advice but came to a comparable conclusion, working out while pregnant is completely safe and suggested.

“One said that my workouts were fine and I could keep doing them, but if I had difficulty breathing I should stop and rest. Another said I was fine with doing anything. The last doctor said not to lift anything over 65 pounds,” she laughed as she shared a video of her with a baby bump pressing 95 pounds above her head. “All of them said to never start a new workout program if I wasn’t doing it before pregnancy.”

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, women with healthy pregnancies are encouraged to engage in aerobic and strength-conditioning exercises throughout their pregnancy like swimming, indoor cycling, walking and light strength training. Pregnant women should avoid exercises that have a risk of falling like skiing and horseback riding or sports like softball or volleyball. Doing approved exercises during pregnancy has few risks and can benefit most women by preventing gestational diabetes, reducing backaches and improving sleep, just to name a few.

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