Archive for the ‘Farm & Garden’ Category

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

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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Eating Local: Find a Farmers Market!

Do you know where to find your local farmers market?

You can find names and locations — both of markets and the farms themselves — at http://www.localharvest.org. Even if you live in an urban area, you might be pleasantly surprised by your local food options.

Different vegetables have different growing seasons … what’s your favorite vegetable of June? Take our poll below!

Farming Outside the Box: Global Buckets

What Can You Do with Two Buckets, a Pipe and a Cup?

The Buster brothers of Boulder, Colorado can efficiently grow fruits and vegetables of any kind. The 17 year old Grant Buster and the 15 year old Max Buster decided to try and mimic the EarthBox design with what they call, “locally sourced free or low cost recycled materials.” They have since created Global Buckets, which utilizes not much more than a pair of five-gallon buckets, ten cents worth of PVC pipe and a plastic cup (video after the jump)…

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