By Sarah van Gelder
1. From Lawn to Lunch
To convert your sunny lawn to a lunch box, remove turf in long, 18-inch
strips. Cut the
edges of each strip with a sharp-bladed edging tool. While one partner rolls up the grass
like a jellyroll, another slices through grass roots with the edging tool. Remove about an
inch of rooty soil with the top growth. When the roll gets heavy, slice it off and load it in a
To compost the strips, layer green sides together, then brown sides together,
brown-side-up. Cover the stack with soil and mulch (straw, chopped leaves, or shredded
bark) and let stand for 10-12 months. Elsewhere from where you plan your garden.
Make beds 10 to 20 feet long and six to eight feet wide (so you can reach
the center from
each side). Mulch three to four-foot wide paths between beds (grass left in the path will
infiltrate your beds) to accommodate a wheelbarrow. Now fork over the soil strips and
remove as many roots as possible. Aerate beds with a garden fork, sinking it as evenly and
deeply as possible.
Spread on two or three inches of compost, then set plants about six inches
staggered rows. Top with a mulch containing corn gluten, a high-nitrogen protein that
prevents weed seeds from germinating.
-- Ann Lovejoy's Organic Garden Design School -A Rodale Organic Gardening Book
2. Eat Your Vegetables
Some 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions are caused by meat production.
attributes 14 percent of all deaths in the U.S. to poor diets and/or sedentary lifestyles. You
can improve your health and the health of the planet by following food columnist Michael
Pollan's simple rule: "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
3. Party with Your Preserves
Ten quarts of pumpkin puree in the pantry, and not a jar of tomato sauce
left? Throw a
canning swap party. Here are some tips and recommendations from foodroutes.org:
Gauge interest with your friends early on. Then remind them throughout the planting,
growing, and harvesting season to set aside extras for canning and swapping.
Don't be afraid to grow a lot of something.
If you're a budding salsa artist, plant that extra row of tomatoes. Or if you see a good deal
on a box of local pears -- get them.
Try new recipes on your swappers.
Bust out that crazy 5-alarm salsa verde recipe you've always been scared to try. Make
sure to can extra so you can pop a jar open for samples.
Be aware of what constitutes a "fair" trade.
This is simple. You're all friends and canners who know how time-consuming canning can
be. Be open and ask what your neighbor feels comfortable receiving in exchange for one
jar of Grandma Edie's apricot chutney.
Think outside the Ball Jar.
Not everything at the canning swap party has to be pressure-canned or boiled in a hot
water bath. Dried items, homemade baked goods, candies, and homebrewed beer are all
eligible. You'll be amazed by what can be preserved from the season's bounty.
4. Glean Those Fields Clean
A lot of perfectly good food is left to rot in farm fields and under fruit
and nut trees. With a
bit of work, you can gather a group to "glean" this free food, providing fresh, nutritious
food to your community. GLEANING 101
To glean in your area, talk to farmers, gardeners, and orchard owners.
purpose, share a copy of federal "Good Samaritan" law, which protects them from liability,
and ask for written permission to glean.
Recruit gleaners. Family, friends, students, and members of your faith
potential volunteers. You can also put a notice on craigslist, bulletin boards, at farmers
markets, or in the local paper.
Contact food banks, shelters, and other facilities to check on their needs,
and to arrange
On gleaning day, bring collection baskets and buckets, snacks, water, and
necessities that will ensure a successful expedition.
As the day ends, gather your freshly harvested food, thank the landowner,
something to each gleaner, and leave the land in better condition than you found it.
Source: -- Kim Nochi University of Maine Cooperative Extension
5. Shop Outside of Supermarkets
It's easy to see, taste, and feel the benefit of locally produced food,
but for many of us it's
a hassle to locate alternative food sources. Local foods are not nearly as well-advertised
or visible as chain supermarket foods, so even those who want to give locally harvested
food a try may not know where to get it. Here are some ways you can find local food
sources in your area.
Get the lay of the land; consider what types of agriculture are natural
to your environment.
Does your area have a history of blueberry farming or cod fishing? Are there traditional
foods that have been neglected in the fast-food age?
Talk to old timers, ask around at farmers markets, look for road-side food
U-pick places. Watch for hand-painted signs. You may find a wide variety of freshly
harvested foods and get to know new communities and regional traditions at the same
Visit localharvest.org, sustainabletable.org, and eatwellguide.org to find
affordable and environmentally friendly food. -- Heather Purser
6. Start a Community Garden
Start by calling a meeting (or better yet, a potluck) to decide what kind
of garden you
want, what locations might work, and how to manage plots.
Identify possible sites. Look for land that gets plenty of sunlight, has
a water source, is
convenient to get to, and is free of soil contamination. You could consider combining back
yards if several neighbors are involved.
Identify the owner of the land and negotiate a lease long enough to make
it worth building
the soil and the community involvement. Invite immediate neighbors to join.
Test the soil for nutrient levels and contaminants. Clean the site, mark
plots with gardeners'
names, and, if possible, include on-site storage for tools and equipment. Also designate a
spot for compost.
When the first planting season comes around, consider hiring someone to
turn the earth, or
throw a work party to build raised beds.
Meet now and then with your fellow gardeners to swap seeds and seedlings,
produce, and to resolve any difficulties. Have potlucks to enjoy the harvest.
For more ideas, including sample bylaws and insurance policies, go to communitygarden.org
7. Plant a Row for the Hungry
As unemployment rises, more people are wondering how they will put food
on their table.
How can you boost food security at home …
Skip the so-called convenience foods; processed foods almost always cost
for what you get.
Form a buying club to get healthy food in bulk at discount prices.
Grow your own -- start a community garden, or transform your lawn or parking
strip (see #1 and #6).
Buy in season, or harvest and preserve it yourself.
Study (and/or teach) the art of cooking and preserving tasty, nutritious
food on a
8 Contribute something from every shopping trip to local food banks.
Gleen (see #4 above).
Plant a row for the hungry and donate the produce to a shelter, day care
neighbor, or food bank.
Start a food bank out of a faith center or community center if there are
programs nearby (see www.yesmagazine.org/pantry).
9. Make space in your garden for poultry. Get eggs and meat. GUINEA
No food source more local than your hen house. Great biz, too.
10. Share Your Table
The best antidote to fast-food culture is as simple as your table. Invite
friends and a few
strangers to a local-foods potluck. In good weather, eat outside. Share an evening of
conversation and enjoy the good life.
Our POSTER is ANITA SANDS HERNANDEZ, Los Angeles Writer, Futurist, single mother of 4 & Astrologer. Catch up with her websites TRUTHS GOV WILL HIDE & NEVER TELL YOU, also The FUTURE, WHAT'S COMIN' AT YA! & HOW TO SURVIVE the COMING GREAT DEPRESSION, and Secrets of Nature, HOLISTIC, AFFORDABLE HEALING. Also HOW TO LIVE on A NICKLE, The FRUGAL PAGE.* Anita is at astrology @earthlink.net . Get a 15$ natal horoscope "my money/future life" reading now + copy horoscope as a Gif file graphic!
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