Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tribute to Paul Newman


Local Matters of Columbus Ohio

Local Matters is a nonprofit organization working to expand the availability of local food in the community of Central Ohio and making the harvest of this food supply system equally accessible to everyone.
Our belief is that everyone has a right to eat flavorful, fresh, locally grown food that is produced in a sustainable manner. Our definition of a sustainable food system is one that “meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
I have accepted a position at Local Matters and am honored to contribute my energy to such a powerful, community changing organization. Columbus Ohio is fortunate to have citizens like Michael Jones, Susan Weber and Norween Warnock working relentlessly for many years to make this a healthy city. If you would like to learn more about Local Matters or support us read more at;


The Paul B. Redman Youth Gardener of the Year! Amber Rollie!

We are all so proud of Amber Rollie who stands out in the Weinland Park neighborhood as a youth leader and community organizer. The Godman Guild T.E.E.N. Program hired her as teen staff to work in the garden with me. Over the years she has grown and I know that the garden was a venue for her to practice her leadership skills. She is currently attending Wright State University and hopes to receive a degree in Social Work! Way to go Amber and thanks to Growing to Green for recognizing her achievements!

Urban Farmers Market this Saturday!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Butterfly Garden Grant

Special Project Learning Tree GreenWorks!
Butterfly Garden Grants are available for teachers and students participating in MonarchLIVE: A Distance Learning Adventure!Through MonarchLIVE, your classroom can join a series of free live, interactive field trips that follow the magical migration of monarchs. Learn more about MonarchLIVE below. As a lead partner in MonarchLIVE, PLT is providing special GreenWorks! service-learning grants to participating teachers. Grants of up to $1,000 are available for schools to create butterfly gardens in their schoolyard or community. For more information about the GreenWorks! Butterfly Garden Grants, please visit www.greenworks.org .

The annual migration cycle of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is one of the most spectacular natural phenomena in the world. Every year, millions of monarchs migrate thousands of miles from Canada and the United States to overwinter in the mountain peaks in the states of Mexico and Michoacán in Mexico. This magical journey, deemed an “endangered natural phenomenon,†is dependent on conservation of habitats in all three North American countries – United States, Canada, and Mexico.During the 2008-09 school year, take your class on FREE live, interactive field trips that follow the magical migration of monarchs. Monarch curriculum materials that meet the national science education standards are available online to teachers. In February 2009, join us in Mexico where we will talk with scientists studying monarchs and learn about local people who are preserving winter habitat.
MonarchLIVE Kickoff October 10, 2008 Join us in Virgnia as we kick off MonarchLIVE with experts and scientists. Webcast and satellite broadcast, Noon - 1 p.m. Eastern Time
In the Mexican Mountains February 17, 2009Visit with Mexican and American biologists who study the monarch’s winter habitat.Webcast and satellite broadcast, Noon - 1 p.m. Eastern TimeCommunity Conservation in MexicoFebruary 19, 2009Monarchs overwinter in a remote area of Mexico, and communities there are working to conserve this rare habitat.Webcast and satellite broadcast, Noon - 1 p.m. Eastern Time
Little Spaces; Big Results May 19, 2009Butterfly gardens can be created everywhere! Join us in Chicago to learn how small garden plots can have big results for both butterflies and people.Webcast and/or broadcast, Noon - 1 p.m. Eastern Time
Building the PopulationMay 21, 2009Visit Minnesota to learn about monarchs' summer behavior and population growth, citizen roles in monitoring the population, and threats to monarchs.Webcast and/or broadcast, Noon - 1 p.m. Eastern Time
Monarchs in CanadaMay 28, 2009Monarchs depend on healthy habitats in three countries, and Canada provides a welcome summer home to thousands.Webchat, Noon - 12:30 p.m. Eastern Time

For more information, call (800) 609-2680 or e-mail info@pwnet.org
US Forest Service- International Programs and Conservation Education Prince William Network, Prince William County Public SchoolsMonarchs in the ClassroomUS Fish and Wildlife ServiceProject Learning TreePartners in Resource Education (BLM, EPA, NEEF, NOAA, NPS, NRCS,USFS, USFWS)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Plant A Row for the Hungry

Community Gardens at Franklin Park Conservatory Plant a Row for the Hungry Initiatives Help Local Food Banks
© Christine Eirschele Aug 30, 2008

Plant A Row for the Hungry supports community gardens at Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio. These initiatives provide fresh food to the Mid Ohio Food Bank.

Community garden programs like Growing to Green, located at Franklin Park Conservatory, is a grass roots initiative. Located in Columbus, Ohio, Growing to Green teaches local citizens to become gardeners while they grow food for their families. Bill Dawson, Coordinator of Growing to Green, started with the program in 2000. Today, the program has three community garden systems each donating a percentage of their harvest to a soup kitchen, food pantry or through the Mid Ohio Food Bank.

Community Garden Programs
The demonstration garden is located on ¼ acre of land within Franklin Park Conservatory. Visitors to the conservatory will see examples of growing vegetables, herbs, edible flowers and fruits. Plants are grown in two raised beds, some with heirloom varieties, and demonstrations like composting techniques. This garden donates 95 percent of the food to local pantries and 5 percent goes to the cafe at the conservatory.

In Columbus, there is a community garden with 18, 16’ x 8,’ plots designated for citizens. When renting these plots, gardeners agree to donate a percentage of the harvest to a local food bank of their choice.

Out in the community there are an additional 100 gardens. In these, gardeners stick to the “one-third rule.” A third goes directly to the gardener; another third donated to the food bank and a third is sold, using the money to improve the gardens.

Mr. Dawson sees an upward trend in vegetable gardening. Since starting Growing to Green, he estimates the number of garden plots expand 15 – 20 per year. Community gardens empower people improving lives through access to healthy food, outdoor exercise and provide a way to help others.

Mid Ohio Food Bank
The Mid Ohio Food Bank’s 2006 statistics indicate they provide 43,000 meals for hungry people each day, helping more than 193,000 people per year. This is a 44 percent increase since 2001. They deliver food to more than 530 soup kitchens, food pantries and shelters in central Ohio.
In Ohio, 70 percent of emergency food programs are conducted by faith-based initiatives. Ninety-three percent of food panties have volunteers; all volunteer staffs run 69 percent of these organizations.

Plant A Row for the Hungry
The Garden Writers Association started Plant A Row for the Hungry in 1994. The purpose of PAR is to encourage community gardeners to donate their surplus food and help feed America’s hungry.

The concept is simple, a gardener plants an extra row of vegetables, herbs or fruit then donates the extra to their local food bank or soup kitchen. It is estimated that for every one-pound of food donated four meals are made.

Franklin Park Conservatory
The Franklin Park Conservatory, built in 1895, is set on 88 acres of land in Columbus, Ohio. The Conservatory is a collection of botanical greenhouses and outdoor display gardens. Plant exhibitions and educational workshops are offered yearlong to the community.

Community Gardeners Share Bounty

Gardeners share bounty
Saturday, August 30, 2008 3:21 AM By Rita Price THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH

Linda Casto works in the garden at Glenwood United Methodist Church on the West Side. Although their garden is flood-prone, she and Dominic Verrilli have grown and donated hundreds of pounds of produce to neighborhood food pantries.

It hardly seems possible to improve upon a ripe, sun-warmed tomato straight from the garden. But Linda Casto and Dominic Verrilli know how to make the fruit even sweeter: Give it away.
The two tend a sprawling garden on a flood-prone patch of ground at Glenwood United Methodist Church on the city's West Side. They grow food to feed the hungry, sending hundreds of pounds of fresh produce to neighborhood food pantries.

"It feels good," Casto said.

Home gardeners with excess harvest can help, too. Instead of tossing -- or cursing -- surplus zucchini and cherry tomatoes, community-gardening advocates suggest donating. Area food pantries continue to face record demand, and fresh produce is always needed.

The Mid-Ohio FoodBank can link local growers and donors with a pantry near them, said Evelyn Behm, senior vice president of food and strategic initiatives.

"We'll make matches," she said yesterday. "We're trying to enhance the quality of food at pantries. Fresh fruits and vegetables are something that many families don't have access to."
Behm said the produce supply at Mid-Ohio, which provides food to hundreds of central Ohio pantries, has been good this summer. But the number of families who need food shows no sign of easing.

During the first six months of this year, demand jumped 14 percent over the same period last year, Behm said.

Gardening for the needy is a welcome next step in the community-gardening movement, said Bill Dawson, coordinator of the Franklin Park Conservatory's Growing to Green program.
"In the last couple years, church gardens have really taken off," he said.

Plant a Row for the Hungry, a national campaign by the Garden Writers Association, also encourages growers to plant extra for giving.

And homeowners shouldn't forget their fruit trees. "Don't let it fall in the yard and rot," Dawson said. "Collect it and take it to the pantry."

Casto said she and other church members started the garden after a former pastor challenged them to find new ways to reach out to their community, which includes many low-income, immigrant and refugee families.

"People were very enthusiastic," Verrilli said.

Organizers secured grants and plant donations; church members also were offered separate plots in exchange for a promise to donate at least 10 percent of their harvest.

"It's good fellowship," Casto said. "We can laugh together. Sometimes we cry together."

One dark day in early June, Verrilli climbed atop the water tank and took out his cell phone to call Casto. The garden, shed and greenhouse were 6 feet under water. "It's gone," he said.
That likely won't be the last time they face temporary ruin, Casto figures. But hope, and sometimes tomatoes, spring eternal.

Help the hungry: To make a donation or find an area pantry in need of fresh produce, call the Mid-Ohio FoodBank at 614-274-7770.