Jennifer's R.O.a R. on living green.

Recycle, Organic, and Reducing


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Organic gardening at Queens University of Charlotte, NC

I’m excited to share Queens University students progress growing an organic garden this Fall 2014.

Queens University organic garden is growing spinach and lettuce for the dining hall. Fall semester 2014

Queens University organic garden is growing spinach and lettuce for the dining hall. Fall semester 2014

IMG_2402U.S. Green Building Council student group built five raised beds this summer. Local businesses helped make this garden a reality. Valley Crest Landscape Design donated the irrigation system. Lowe’s Hardware on Iverson Way gave us a discount on building materials. Henson’s Inc. who is a leader in wood waste recycling donated mulch and compost.

Organic Foods: Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables can help you stay healthy this winter.

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I came across this article and felt my readers would benefit from it. I truly believe food can protect the body from illnesses. My personal experience with my family and myself is to eat lots of vegetables and fruits to stay healthy.  I love all vegetables and fruits but my kids do not. During the fall and winter, my kids and I take extra vitamin A & C,  along with seasonal vegetables. I have given some photos of vegetables and fruits with their nutritional value.

Gardening in the winter months can be difficult unless you have a green house.  Lettuce, tomatoes, and cucumbers are usually not in season. I love salads and try to support local farmers but in the winter it’s challenging to buy local salad stuff.  I do not like to buy vegetables that are shipped from long distances.

Solutions to eating seasonal vegetables can be soups, casseroles or baking them.  I love making soups during the winter.  Eating soup during cold freezing weather makes me feel warm inside.  Squash makes great soups and casseroles. Below are descriptions of different squashes.

Please click on the link to learn more on seasonal fruits and vegetables for the winter “Eating seasonal fruits and vegetables can help you stay healthy this winter” posted by Kelly Fitzpatrick on September 23, 2013.  

squash

According to Self Nutrition Data (2013), “cauliflower is a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Magnesium and Phosphorus, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Vitamin B6, Folate, Pantothenic Acid, Potassium and Manganese”.

Read More http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2390/2#ixzz2hwqbrw4n

Natural way to stay healthy this winter.     grapes

         Grapes provide excellent source of  Vitamin C & K.

kiwi

According to Nutrition Data (2013), Kiwi is an excellent source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol), Potassium and Copper, and a very good source of Vitamin C and Vitamin K. Read More http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1934/2#ixzz2hwuqcrD1

Do you feel the same way about food

protecting the body from illness? 

Please share your opinions.  Your comments make a difference.

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“O” for Organic in Urban Farming

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Continuation on organic foods.

My first post shared my reasons why organic foods are beneficial to your health.  This post has an inspirational touch to it.  My focus for this blog  is to connect with non-profit organizations, blogs with similar interest, but most importantly, educate individuals about recycling, organic farming and reducing energy.

My first experience with gardening took place when I had my first child, Harrison.  My son has cerebral palsy from premature birth.  He has physical limitations which caused developmental delays.  I noticed he did not like sand, dirt or grass. This motivated me to expose him to gardening so he could gradually get over his sensory issues.  Since Harrison could not walk or run like other children, I thought gardening would be a great way for him to spend time outside.  We started with just planting flowers. Eventually, I got brave enough to plant tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins and watermelon, which I do not recommend planting as a beginner gardener. Tomatoes are difficult to grow and require lots of attention. Pumpkins and watermelons need lots of room to grow because they are long vines. Cucumbers were the only vegetable that survived my first garden experience. Cucumbers grow fast and they do well in NC or SC.

Despite my failure growing tomatoes, pumpkins or watermelons the thrill of growing something excited me.  I was hooked on gardening.  Planting and watering seeds with my son was priceless.  My son went to a special school with other special needs children.  During his time at Easter Seals UCP developmental center, I met parents with children who had autism.  Some of these parents truly believed processed foods and sugar were causing their children to have extreme behavioral episodes.  After several doctor appointments and therapy sessions, these parents were able to control their children’s behaviors through healthier diets.  Listening to parents explain those diets got me thinking about food.

Could food really cause mental health issues? 

Fast forward to now, I truly believe food contributes to mental illnesses and other health issues that children or adults struggle with.  My passion for organic gardening continues to grow.  Each summer I try new ways to grow organic vegetables.  I spend time reading books like the Farmer’s Almanac. Watch gardening shows on T.V. or YouTube videos.  Below is a video on Urban Gardening in Southern California.  The farm is in the middle of a urban neighborhood with the highway behind the house.  A father transformed his entire yard into a farm because he did not want to give his children chemically enhanced foods produced by BIG BUSINESS.  The farm is self-sufficient and makes money to feed the animals. I hope this video inspires you to start the gardening process. Video was produced by Food Abundance Academy who’s mission is stated below:

Solving hunger worldwide by facilitating local food hyper-production. 

If millions of people grow abundant food locally, hunger doesn’t stand a chance. Become part of the solution:

SEE the Future. FEED the Future. CHANGE the Future. Now go grow some food!

Anyone can do it, once you learn how.

  • 12,199 subscribers
  • 1,241,083 views
  • Joined Mar 16, 2012

http://youtu.be/NCmTJkZy0rM

Questions to ponder:

  • Is raised bed gardening difficult?
  • What are the initial cost to start a small garden?
  • How do I find literature about organic gardening?

I have included links to websites that can get you started.  Remember gardening is “ART”.  Seth Godin writes in The Icarus Deception people need to challenge their comfort and safety zones by questioning everything. “We settled for a safety zone that wasn’t bold enough, that embared authority and compliance” (Godin, 2012, p.3).   Conventional methods of producing foods  is our comfort zone which stems from the industrial age of big business, big machines making fast quantities more efficiently.  Godin suggests we “seek out questions, not answers” (p. 58).  Organic gardening is my way to connect the untested and personal truth of ART.  Hopefully this post will encourage readers to seek out new ways to buy or produce foods which will benefit our communities health mentally, physically or behaviorally.

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“O” in ROAR stands for Organic.

Over the past ten years, I have come to understand the word organic and what it really means, and why it’s more expensive then other foods. The reason I wanted to know more about organic foods was due to cost. My budget could not afford to buy all organic foods. Every time I went to the grocery store, I would continually get upset about the cost difference Why? I had to find out more.

Organic foods cost more because it’s not the norm. BIG BUSINESS farming has dictated the way we buy our food, the prices we pay and the way its transported. Local farmers struggle to produce large quantities of organic foods which increases the demand and the price. Not using conventional methods like pesticides creates challenges for farmers who grow organically because the farmer has to find alternative methods which are time consuming.

Once I realized the reasons for higher prices then I learned about the health benefits of organic foods. Reading every piece of literature on organic foods brought me to a decision. My decision was to be as organic as possible, regardless of price, because my health was the most important thing in my life. I’m a mom of three children,a wife, a sister, a friend and active citizen.

Today’s post shares my views on why individuals need to pay more attention to food labels. Understanding the health benefits for eating organic can actually save you money. How? I truely believe pesticides, fertilizers and genetically modified foods are a major reason for increase in cancer, obesity and other illnesses.

This year I turned 40! As my birthday year…. was fast approaching, I reflected on my health. My best friend of 30 years was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. After long talks, she shared with me her doctor’s recommendations. Get off sugar, eat organic and try to eat unprocessed foods. Wow! All the literature I’ve been reading is actually true. This is the reality we live in. CANCER is ramped among kids, young adults and people who don’t smoke. How can this be affecting so many people? I honestly think it’s our food.

Today cancer researchers believe pesticides are one main cause for the increased cancer. Research has been done on the effects of pesticides on the human body for years, but now more studies are showing the possible cause and effect, pesticides have as it relates to cancers.

According to EPA,”Health Problems Pesticides May Pose Laboratory studies show that pesticides can cause health problems, such as birth defects, nerve damage, cancer, and other effects that might occur over a long period of time. However, these effects depend on how toxic the pesticide is and how much of it is consumed. Some pesticides also pose unique health risks to children”. http://www.epa.gov/pesticides/food/risks.htm

This summer was my first time growing green beans, cucumbers, tomatoes and basil with no chemicals. I’m proud to say “I grew beautiful organic vegetables all summer long with no help from pesticides”. I can only imagine the health benefits. Using chemicals to kill bugs or disease cannot be good for the vegetable either. Why do we garden with pesticides in the first place? My opinion is BIG BUSINESS, which means MONEY. When farmers can produce faster growing foods and not bother with natural ways to kill disease or bugs, then the natural process is stripped away from that vegetable. Nature is amazing powerful thing that should not be taken for granted. We cannot manipulate nature to make enormous amounts of foods and justify the reasons for doing so because of population. America makes more food than any country but we still have starving people.


Here is a link to Mayo Clinic’s website on organic food versus conventional foods (BIG BUSINESS)
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/organic-food/NU00255

Why should we live green? Because I feel living green each day is about choices.

Questions to ponder:

  • Do you feel organic foods are beneficial to you?
  • Do you think spending more now on healthier food will reduce your future health cost?

        We can choose whether to buy organic or support local farmers in our area. We can choose not to support Big Business Farming. We can learn to grow organic vegetables in our own backyards, on rooftops, side of our houses, in community parks or anywhere you can build a raised bed garden. Learn more at Friendship Gardens http://www.friendship-gardens.org

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