I recently had the opportunity to get to know Nikki and Ian, new residents of Warkworth. While preparing their lot for a new home, they are living in one of the apartments on Main St. and have been enjoying the raised bed gardens. Nikki, who has her own green living blog at www.greenmoxie.com, sent the following comment along with photo of her ‘community garden salad’.
Warkworth has a number of talented organic market gardeners, and Abundance turned to one of these, Barbara Klatt for a planting plan. The individual raised beds are themed (eg. salad garden, herb garden, root garden, ‘pizza’ garden) and Barbara’s plans maximize the variety of vegetables planted in each 4’x4’ box.
Planting was done in a blaze of activity with the help Peter Brackenbury’s students from Percy Centennial PS. All five boxes in town where planted in about an hour, while the three new ones at the school where planted at a later date.
While a few of the tender plants had to be replaced following the late May heavy frost, all boxes are now looking great with seeds sprouting and tomatoes, basil and peppers established and growing.
These are the Warkworth Community Gardens. As you walk to the bank or the library stop at the planters and pull a weed or two, tie up a sagging tomato, deadhead the flowers, but most of all enjoy the produce. Pick what you need for a salad or tomato sauce. Any produce not consumed by the community will be harvested for the Seven Hills Community Food Bank.
Eat green! Eat healthy!
It was clear from the time that the competition was presented to the students that they were excited and very motivated by the challenge. The class was given about 10 days to research their recipe, assign tasks within the team and to develop the rating criteria. Students were encouraged to select healthy recipes that incorporated ingredients from all food groups. We were very encouraged to note that the final ingredient list for the pantry had about twice as many vegetables as any other food good.
Given the size of the teams, and the space restrictions in the church kitchen, only two team members were allowed in the kitchen or the ‘pantry area’ at one time. There was plenty of scurrying to and fro by team members – even a mad dash up Main St. to pick a bit of mint from the Community herb garden. All the while judges circulated amongst the teams, observing how they worked and offering the occasional bit of professional advice.
Once the hour prep time was up, two members of each team presented their dish to the judges, explaining why they had chosen that recipe and commenting on any challenges their team had faced while preparing it. The room fell silent and 30 students watched with great anticipation as the judges tasted each dish, completed their evaluations, consulted amongst themselves and made comments to each team.
Although the judges selected a runner up and first place team, in the end every team was a winner and all the students clearly gave their best and prepared some fantastic meals. We look forward to working again with Mrs. Anderson’s students next year and to another Master Chef challenge.
For another take on this event please visit this link: http://www.insidebelleville.com/news-story/5681698-master-chef-challenge-a-hit-with-percy-centennial-students/.
As with all Abundance Project initiatives, a critical aspect of this program was to provide the participants with healthy eating choices and the opportunity to learn basic kitchen skills. Every week, the participants had 20 to 30 minutes of kitchen time to prepare things like fruit kabobs, muffins, and granola bars.
Each week a special story was selected and read with the group which tied into the kitchen activity. For the final week, the kids were read Stone Soup, and then went on to assist in the preparation of a vegetable soup to be served to their parents and family the final evening.
Judging by the enthusiastic response of participants and parents, it is most likely that an After School program will run again next school year.
A reminder that the Abundance Project has a large dehydrator available for use by anyone in the community. As our summer growing season comes to an end, dehydrating is a great way to preserve herbs, tomatoes and fruits.
The dehydrator is located at St. Paul’s United Church. A daily usage fee of $5 will be charged to cover electrical use.
To book the dehydrator, please fill out this form explaining your needs.
Dehydrator Rental - Expression of Interest
Photo Credit: Dried Thai Dragon Peppers by Flickr Azadam
On August 8th, the participants from the wild edibles hike regrouped for part two of the workshop. Over the last six weeks, we’ve been tending to our plantain infused olive oil, in preparation for the final product. Joy and Joanna of Pure Joy Herbal Creations led the group on another hike to scope out how the wild herbs had grown over the summer. After the hike, we made a healing salve, using our plantain oil and beeswax. Such a simple process for this incredibly useful herbal remedy.
Broad Leaf Plantain
Often considered a weed, plantain holds powerful skin-healing properties in its broad, heavily veined leaves. It’s been used medicinally for centuries and is considered to be almost a cure-all. Plantain is very high in beta carotene (A) and calcium. It also provides ascorbic acid (C), vitamin K, and a bunch of other notable chemicals. These give plantain mild anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti-hemorrhagic, and expectorant actions (a medicine that promotes secretion to treat coughs). There are a few ways ways to use plantain leaves- as a tea or tincture, healing salve, an oil infusion, or even just by rubbing the leaf on effected areas of the skin. The natural antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of plantain leaf make it great for healing wounds, itchy skin, or pain associated with skin problems. Some other uses for plantain include:
- speeding up cell regeneration
- skin softening
- treatment for lung conditions such as bronchitis or asthma
- easing skin inflammations (perfect for eczema and psoriasis)
- soothing stings, bites, scrapes, cuts, rashes, ringworm, and poison ivy
- soothes sunburns and windburns
- relief from pink eye
- an alternative to lotions to soothe babies’ sensitive skin
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