Tuesday, December 10, 2013

We Can All Be Eating Well

I'm off on a tangent.   Having seen the documentary, A Place at the Table, I'm having lots of troubled thoughts about the state of nutrition in the USA, especially the terrible eating habits of so many children.
Many of our people live in rural or suburban areas.
Many enjoy the presence of pets.
The pets get fed.
Many have some space that could be dedicated to a small or even a large vegetable garden. This is even possible in urban areas.
I believe we need to reintroduce the concept of home gardening, of raising pets for food (chickens for eggs and eventually for meat, rabbits for meat... )
This has become "trendy" for wealthy suburban families. This used to be normal for almost everyone when we were an agricultural society.
Is it not time to help us become a bit more self-sufficient by learning how to plant some vegetables, some fruit trees or bushes, to raise small livestock, to harvest what we have sown and what we raise?

I think about the small "vegetable garden in every school" project we started in Stamford,CT in 2010. This is a small step toward educating our children about the methods of raising vegetables, how food is grown, what it takes from seed to harvest, and how to cook with the vegetables we grow. These baby steps lead to awareness, self-sufficiency, and a great deal of pride in the accomplishment of producing a tangible food with one's own hands and work.

I think about organizations like Heifer,Int'l which provide a goat or a cow or a dozen chickens, etc to a family in a Third World country in order to improve their lives. This is what we need in the USA. We need to grab the older folks who had Victory gardens during WWII and have them teach their grandchildren before they pass on. We need to resurrect our attachment to the earth, to the microbes, the insects, the birds and bees that make our growth cycles possible. We need to protect these same species from the pesticides and herbicides that are killing them and destroying our soil and invading our food and bodies. We need to touch the earth and let it feed us again in small spaces. The mega-agricultural factories have divorced us from our food source and impoverished our health and our land.
How uplifting to produce some home-grown vegetables, how satisfying to eat what we produce without harmful chemicals, how healthy a lifestyle we could be promoting.

How do we get this message out? Let's get growing!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Winter is for the birds...

I love the gentle quiet that winter provides. It's time to take a look back at what worked well, what needs tweaking, what we can hope to do next spring. And a time to be grateful for the space winter opens up in our minds and hearts.
So, the birds....
Our school garden club made some simple pine-cone feeders with peanut butter and bird seed.
pine cones, string or yarn, peanut butter, tongue depressors, bird seed, newspaper, patience
                                              Spread newspaper on table (We forgot this.).

 Tie string to pinecones.                                          
        Smear peanut-butter on cones.
Dredge cones in bird seed.
Hang cones from tree.
                                                 Watch the birds discover the feast.