October 15th, 2013
07:15 PM ET
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The partial government shutdown has left the White House garden overrun with weeds, with fewer gardeners to maintain first lady Michelle Obama's pride.

Regular maintenance has stopped on the garden and only periodic watering is being done, a White House official confirmed to CNN. That's consistent with landscaping being performed on all National Park Service areas crippled by the shutdown throughout the country.
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Filed under: Gardening • Gardening • Michelle Obama • White House


September 13th, 2013
11:15 AM ET
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For more than a decade, Robin Emmons felt helpless as her older brother lived on the streets, eating out of garbage cans.

She tried repeatedly to get him help for his mental illness, but authorities told her there was nothing they could do.

After he was arrested in 2008 for damaging someone's car during a schizophrenic outburst, she was finally able to become his legal guardian and get him into a halfway house with psychiatric services.

But as she watched his mental health improve, she noticed his physical health getting worse.

"I learned that he was becoming borderline diabetic," she said. "He wasn't like that even when he was homeless."

She investigated and found out that the nonprofit facility was mainly feeding him packaged and canned foods because it couldn't afford fresh fruits and vegetables.
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Filed under: Food Deserts • Gardening • Human Rights • Hunger • Urban Gardening


July 15th, 2013
12:10 AM ET
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Editor's note: Darrin Nordahl is the author of "Public Produce: The New Urban Agriculture." Aiming to increase food literacy in America, Darrin also pens the daily food blog Today is...Fava Beans! Follow him on Twitter.

What's better than fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables? How about fresh, locally-grown, free fruits and vegetables, all within an easy walk of your home or office?

Such is the philosophy behind the growing movement of public produce.
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May 8th, 2013
01:33 PM ET
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The San Diego Padres are heating up.

The Major League club has put a new twist on an old baseball drill called "pepper," where fielders surround a single batter who has to hit the ball quickly back to them. (Many teams have banned this game because it can get a little dangerous.)

Now, the Padres are playing pepper in a whole new way.

The team has planted a honest-to-goodness garden of hot peppers in its bullpen at Petco Park. It turns out the sandy soil used in Major League parks is a perfect environment for sowing the seeds of success.
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Filed under: Gardening • Local Food • Sports • Think • Video


Random acts of farming and hope
April 22nd, 2013
10:00 AM ET
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Editor's note: The Southern Foodways Alliance delves deep in the history, tradition, heroes and plain old deliciousness of Southern food. Today's contributor, Emilie Dayan, writes a weekly SFA blog series called "Sustainable South" about food and the environment, nutrition, food access, food justice, agricultural issues and food politics.

Since 2000, Joe Nelson Icet has been advancing on Houston’s Northeastern front. He calls himself a guerrilla gardener. As founder and director of the Last Organic Outpost, he takes abandoned lots littered with trash and turns them into fertile land. Planted off of Emile Street, Icet engages the community in urban farming, his biggest plot in the industrial ruins of the old Comet Rice Mill. In doing so, land in Houston’s Fifth Ward is revitalized through farming.

The mission is simple:
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March 19th, 2013
08:45 AM ET
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Editor's note: Ron Finley is an artist, designer and co-founder of lagreengrounds.org. He spoke at the TED2013 conference in February. TED is a nonprofit dedicated to "Ideas worth spreading," which it makes available through talks posted on its website.

As a lifelong resident of South Central Los Angeles, I refuse to be part of the social system that breeds problems rather than solutions. South Central is a "food desert" where the lack of healthy food alternatives leads to obesity and preventable disease.

I have raised my sons in South L.A., and it is heartbreaking to see so many young kids on a trajectory to nowhere, potential high school dropouts prey to gangs, drugs, violence and incarceration.

So where do we start to create positive change?
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Filed under: Gardening • Gardening • Local Food • Urban Gardening


Resettled refugees set down new roots
November 27th, 2012
05:30 PM ET
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Eden Grinshpan, hosts "Eden Eats" on The Cooking Channel. Read more about #Giving Tuesday

About six months ago, I found myself standing in the middle of the International Rescue Committee’s New Roots community farm in the City Heights section of San Diego. It was there that I met Luchia, a refugee from Uganda who now lives with her daughters in City Heights. She is one of the strongest, most determined women I have ever met, so beautiful and proud.

She was there to meet me, show me her garden plot, and then, take me home to cook traditional Ugandan fare. When we met it was actually a little chilly out and her natural instinct was to wrap her arms around me, making sure that her scarf was wrapped around me too. Needless to say, it was an instant connection and she welcomed me within a heartbeat.

Over the past five years the IRC has been building its New Roots program – a program which connects refugees, newly arrived in the United States, with the land and helps them integrate into their communities. To date, the IRC has been able to establish community gardens and farms in 11 of the 22 cities where they help refugees restart the lives.
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October 16th, 2012
01:15 PM ET
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Miranda Lynch believes a vegetable garden has the power to revolutionize a community.

It's the idea behind of Isipho, the nonprofit organization Lynch conceived when she was just 12 years old. It all started in 2008 when her father, Tom, won a trip to South Africa at an auction.

The father-daughter adventure began with a stay on a wild game reserve in KwaZulu-Natal. Assuming it would be the only time he and his daughter would set foot in South Africa, Tom wanted Miranda to see more than the commercialized landscape of the reserve.

"It was important, as she was turning 13 that year, for her to see that the world that she knew was not the entire world," Tom says.
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Filed under: Charity • Food Politics • Gardening • Gardening • Hunger • News • South Africa • World Food Day


September 1st, 2012
03:00 PM ET
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After some pressure from the online home brewing community that included a petition on the White House website and a Freedom of Information Act request, the Obama administration gave in Saturday and released its homemade beer recipe.

In a post on the White House Blog, head chef Sam Kass posted the recipes for two beers brewed on the grounds of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, the White House Honey Ale and Honey Porter. Both beers are made using honey harvested from the White House bee hive.

Read - White House releases much-anticipated beer recipe on CNN Political Ticker and see Sam Kass' full post on the White House blog

Previously - Inside the White House garden: a conversation with White House chef Sam Kass

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Filed under: Beer • Bees • Campaign Trail • Gardening • Politics • President Obama • Sip • Urban Gardening • White House


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