Who says gardening aint gangsta?!

"Food is the Problem, and food is the solution" says Ron Finley, a local man that lives in South Central Los Angeles.  He says in his city, more people are dying from the "drive thru's" then the "drive bye's".  Ron wanted to solve a problem that he saw in his area. 
He used to have to drive 45 minutes round trip just to get an apple that didn't have pesticides in it.  In the parkway in front of his house, he built a garden in it.  Its the city's property, but they said he has to take care of it.  So why not plant a garden there!? 
Ron Finley and his group the "L.A. Green Grounds" who are a "pay it forward" group comprised of local farmers/planters created the garden for him.  His group goes around planting gardens in vacant lots and different places around South Central LA. 
People ask him all the time "Aren't you afraid that people will steal your plants"?  "Hell no I'm not afraid!...That's why its on the street!...that's the whole idea...I want them to take it, and at the same time I want them to take back their health". 
Ron Finley's plans aren't only to build blocks of gardens around town, but he wants to turn shipping containers into healthy cafe's around the area.  He has trained local kids to learn the trait of gardening.  Wants them to turn to something like this to get their minds off the street life and to learn a life skill that could take them somewhere.  He wants kids to feel the joy, pride, and honor in growing your own food. 
According to Ron, if you want to meet with him to discuss things, then there's only one place to meet him....bring your shovel to his garden :-)  Personally I love his ideas, and love his vision.  Do yourself a favor and watch this video.
Have a great day, and let the good news be yours,

Strawberries are a super food

  • Published in Health

Many folks in central Virginia look forward to picking their own strawberries. Others are happy to pick them up in the produce section of their favorite grocery store. Either way you pick them, that luscious red fruit is full of nutrients and is considered a super food.

Super foods are those that provide health benefits which go beyond providing basic good nutrition. These foods may reduce risk for cancer or heart disease. They can enhance overall health, strengthen our bodies and possibly even slow down the aging process.

Super foods are nutrient dense in that they provide extra nutrition for fewer calories. Some are also high in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, vitamins and minerals, but low in saturated fats, trans fats or refined sugars. They also may contain phytochemicals, colorful plant pigments, that can be helpful in preventing disease.

Many foods including oatmeal, salmon, beans, nuts, kale, avocados and sweet potatoes are also regarded as super foods, so it's important to eat a variety of colorful foods daily.

"But berries are some of the most powerful super foods," according to Reza Rafie, a horticulture specialist at Virginia State University.

Rafie, his staff and students are involved in research to extend the growing season for berries, including strawberries. Through the use of protective shelters called high tunnels, they protect crops from pests, diseases and extreme temperatures, extending their growing season.

"More people are interested in fresh produce over processed or frozen fruits," Rafie said. "Consumers are willing to pay a higher price for fresh produce. The longer growing season is a win-win situation for growers and consumer alike."

We enjoy the fruit; the small farmer earns profits, which in turn helps the economy.

The United States is the largest strawberry grower in the world, with most being grown in California. Florida and Oregon are big growers as well. Rafie reminds us that super foods are best when they're fresh. "If they have to travel a long way, they're still good, but they're higher in nutrients if they're local."

That's another reason to head out to Virginia's local berry farms.

Enjoy your super berries, but don't limit them to dessert. My family's favorite treat is still "Pink Drinks." Just toss 1 percent milk, crushed ice, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a bit of Splenda, and a bunch of strawberries in the blender for a yummy smoothie.

Try the Strawberry and Spinach Salad recipe as a way to make strawberries and other super foods part of your main meal. Or for a healthy snack enjoy 1 cup fresh strawberry halves for only 49 calories, 0 grams fat, 12 grams carbohydrate, 3 grams fiber, 2 grams sodium, and 20 milligrams calcium.

Strawberry and Spinach Salad

The dressing for this salad is sweet and a bit pungent. You can make it sugar free by substituting Splenda for the sugar. Or if you're pressed for time, use fat-free poppy seed dressing or your favorite low-fat or fat-free vinaigrette dressing. Whichever dressing you use, pour it over the salad right before serving to keep it from wilting the spinach.

Makes 6 servings

2 teaspoons poppy seeds
¼ cup white sugar (or Splenda)
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup water
1½ teaspoons dried minced onion 
5 ounces baby spinach, rinsed and dried
1 quart strawberries, cleaned, hulled and sliced
¼ cup sliced almonds, toasted

Prepare the salad dressing by whisking together the poppy seeds, sugar, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, water and minced onion in a bowl. Cover and chill at least one hour before serving.

Combine spinach, strawberries and almonds in a large bowl. Pour dressing over the salad right before serving and toss. (Or place salad in 6 individual bowls and allow each person to add their own dressing).

Nutrients per serving for salad only: 72 calories, 2.5 grams protein, 3 grams fat, 11 grams carbohydrate, 4 grams fiber, 18 milligrams sodium, 54 milligrams calcium.

Nutrients for 1 cup salad dressing made with sugar: 473 calories, 54 grams carbohydrate, 28 grams fat. Dressing made with Splenda lowers it to 278 calories, 4 grams carbohydrate with 28 grams fat. Per tablespoon, made with sugar: 30 calories, 4 grams carbohydrate, and 2 grams fat. Per tablespoon, made with Splenda: 18 calories, 0 carbohydrate, and 2 grams fat.

Adapted from recipes found at Allrecipes.com



Sawyer, Mary-Jo.  "Strawberries are a super food". Times Dispatch. 6 June 2012. Web. 

View original healthy news article at timesdispatch.com:


Subscribe to this RSS feed