Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Notable November

The Green LIONS Garden Group has had an exciting end to November. We welcomed two very special guests to join us and share their knowledge and passion with the students.

Last week we welcomed Bruce Rozeboom of Fruitive and his wife to share their juicing skills with the students. Not only are they committed to using fresh fruits and vegetables to make delicious healthy juices and smoothies but they are also avid environmentalists and supporters of local farmers like our own Farmer John of New Earth Farm.

Bruce kept the students interested with a vast array of environmental lessons like how to help the planet through their food choices. He taught them how to choose produce in the grocery store by the numbers on their labels. Fruits and vegetables come with tags that have a 4- or 5-digit code and this code helps determine how they were grown. If your produce label has 4 digits, it means that the produce was conventionally grown, not organically grown. If the label has 5 digits, and begins with a 9, it means that the produce was organically grown. Remember “Nine is Fine”. A 5-digit code that begins with an 8 indicates that the produce was genetically modified. See this link for further explanation on how to read produce labels, http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/2009/04/how-to-read-produce-sticker-organic.html.

The highlight of the meeting, however, was the smiles on the faces of the kids as they sampled the delicious juices and smoothies served up by Fruitive. They shared their Pineapple Express Juice and Peaches & Greens Smoothie menu features and received multiple “more please!” requests. Many of the students who didn’t think they liked greens were happily surprised at how they could enjoy them in a smoothie. The Pineapple Express Juice is made with pineapple, pear, ginger and aloe vera. The Peaches & Greens Smoothie is made with frozen peaches and bananas, orange juice, almond milk, spinach and featured our own garden kale from the LIONS Garden. Yum!

We also enjoyed kale chips made two ways. One with our LIONS Garden kale baked with olive oil, sea salt and pepper, and one from Fruitive made with New Earth Farm kale dehydrated with a sauce made of soaked cashews, sunflower seeds, and flax seeds, nutritional yeast, sea salt, paprika and zucchini. Both were delicious and soon devoured!

Visit Fruitive at Hilltop to enjoy their amazing juices, smoothies and salads! www.fruitive.com

Yesterday we welcomed another guest, Master Nurseryman, and Linkhorn grandparent, Marie Dills. Ms. Dills oversaw the commercial division of Winesett Nursery for years before moving on to work at the Virginia Beach Virginia Tech Agricultural Station’s Entomology Department as a “Bug Scientist”. Ms. Dills taught the students about beneficial bugs and insects and their purpose in our gardens and environment. She brought her personal preserved bug collection and the kids were enthralled.

Bugs are an important part of the life cycle in helping either bolster “producers”, plants that “consumers” can eat, or acting as “detritivores”, a type of decomposer that helps to break down dead plant and animal material. Worms also act as detritivores and the students took home a couple of worms each from our worm bin in a mini composting system in a jar. We layered sand, garden soil and compost to make a temporary habitat for the worms. We covered the jar with burlap for breathability, wrapped it in newspaper to keep our the light and the students can observe the worms at work churning up the layers over the next couple of weeks. Then they’ll release the worms back into a garden or yard into their natural habitat.

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