Nutrition Facts: Nuts

Go Nuts.

Eating a small handful of nuts several times a week can reduce your risk of heart attack and heart disease by up to 50%!  But keep in mind that nuts are high in good fats. So don’t just add nuts to your snack list or you might gain weight by adding good fats to the bad fats that are in most unhealthy snack foods.  Instead, replace unhealthy snacks with nuts like almonds, walnuts, cashews or brazil nuts to reap the benefits of these nutrient-packed foods. Click here for more information…

Read in Under 60 seconds: Check out the nutritional facts of almost 100 different nuts at the USDA National Nutrient Database. Just type “nuts” into the Keyword(s) line and click submit.

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TGC News: FAO’s new School Garden Teaching Toolkit!

FAO’s new Teaching Toolkit

The Food and Agriculture Organization has just released a new companion guide to the “Setting Up and Running a School Garden” manual, which features eight comprehensive, step-by-step lessons for teachers to implement in their class-gardens.

The lessons contain information on everything from garden planning and produce marketing to seed sowing and composting. Each lesson is divided into informative sections: teacher’s notes, objectives, technical content, lesson preparation, lesson activities, lesson follow-ups and guides all geared toward a hands-on learning experience.

The goal of the lessons is to try and “engage learners actively and encourage them to observe and experiment. The reflective element of experiential learning – monitoring, reporting, recording, reviewing, discussing, and listening to others – is built into the lessons.”

Above all, the lessons force students to consider the quality of their own diets, but they also enable the students to make healthy changes to their eating habits. This is a must-read for teachers who have or are considering starting a school garden. It will save hours of logistical planning and provide an excellent jumping-off point for teachers’ own lessons in gardening.

Learn more about the guide whose creed is…

“Tell me, and I will forget.
Show me, and I may remember.
Involve me, and I will understand.”

Attributed to Confucius, 450 B.C.

Click here to see an online version of The Teaching Toolkit

or

Click here to download a PDF file of The Teaching Toolkit

FAO in Haiti: Donate a Fruit Tree

Fruit Trees for Haiti is an initiative of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). A donation of five dollars can purchase an avocado, mango, or other fruit tree seedling for a Haitian school. The donation also covers a small amount of fertilizer, as well as watering and weeding costs for the first year. FAO hopes this project will improve children’s health and help restore the country’s degraded environment.

Click here for more information.

In the News: Herbicide-Resistant Weeds

In early May, we posted a story about herbicide-resistant weeds on the TGC blog. Concern has continued to grow throughout the scientific community, and the Associated Press recently published an article on Roundup-resistant species.

Introduced in the 1970s, Roundup has long been a staple tool of pest management for American farmers. Though Roundup is a chemical herbicide, it was widely considered less toxic than its predecessors. It also allowed farmers to reduce tilling, a significant step toward curbing erosion and fuel consumption. As many as ten plant species have evolved to survive Roundup application, however, and many are concerned that farmers will turn back to less eco-friendly methods of weed management.

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Recipe Box: “Sassy Salsa”

From Colonial Trail Elementary School

TGC garden site in Glenn Allen, Virginia (USA)


Ingredients:

2 ½ cups chopped tomatoes
½ cup chopped jalapeños (without seeds)
½ cup chopped green peppers
¼ cup chopped onion (yellow, white or red)
½ tsp crushed garlic
¼ tsp lemon juice
¼ tsp white vinegar
Salt & black pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in a bowl. Serve chilled with tortilla chips. Enjoy!


Farm & Garden: Compost in the City

Last week, The Washington Post printed a column on the value of compost in urban environments. The following question was sent to Nina Shen Rastogi, an environmental writer based in Brooklyn, New York and columnist for Slate Magazine:

“I live in an apartment in the city with zero outdoor space, and I don’t have any plants that would benefit from compost. Is there any reason at all, then, why I should be composting my food scraps?”

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Farm & Garden: Vermicomposting

Vermi-composting, also known as worm-composting, is the process of using worms to break down waste into soil-enriching compost. The worm castings contain humic acids that enrich soil and act as a natural pesticide. Worm-composting is easier to maintain than your typical outdoor compost bin system (the worms do all the work for you), and it proves environmentally friendly by reducing the waste that would otherwise go to landfills.

To get started, follow these instructions from Nancy Kreith, a master gardener with the University of Illinois Extension, and TGC’s Chicago-area Coordinator …

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