Monday, February 28, 2011

Intern dinner

Intern dinner

Local greens in salad
Mashed sweet potatoes
Our collards sautéed with Crushed peppers and garlic
Baby reds with our dill and parsley 
Dumpster dived vegetable curry



Saturday, February 26, 2011

Grow Dat with OSBG



The youth of Grow Dat payed us a visit today for a compost & verma-compost workshop today. The Grow Dat Youth Farm project has grown out of a partnership between the Tulane City Center, New Orleans Food and Farm Network and City Park. We hope they come back again soon!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Helping Hands

Here are photographs of just a few of the helping hands that made the workshops at Our School at Blair Grocery successful today.  What a great way to kick off the conference weekend! Thanks to everyone for their hard work and dedication, especially our friends at Growing Power.  See you guys again tomorrow for more learning experiences.





























Please contact Kacie Fayard at klfayard@gmail.com for information regarding the usage or reproduction of these photographs.

Growing Power Workshop Weekend Photos (part 1)

Today was the first day of Our School at Blair Grocery's Workshop Weekend with Will Allen and staff from Growing Power.


With well over 100 participants, we introduced our school as a powerful and innovative place of learning and growing for the "Good Food Revolution". Participants toured our space and learned from staff and students about the work we do...


...and participated in workshops on composting, hoop house building, mushroom growing, youth empowerment and more!




Because growing good food starts from the ground up, we spent a lot of time working with Will Allen and learning about the importance of compost and how to get the richest soil possible in order to maximize production.





And we are really excited about the progress we made today on our new giant hoop house that will be completed by tomorrow afternoon.







Thank you to everyone who joined us today. We look forward to seeing you back tomorrow for more amazing work that we can do together.


If you participated and have more pictures of the day's event please send them to Kyle at kmeador@ces-nola.org. We'd love to share those too!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

"I Am" by Anthony Johnson

 I AM

I am a black man with special wants
I wonder when my people going to wake up and see the world for what it is.
I hear sirens thru my neighborhood.
 I see my family being lost in the world.
I want to put an end to this madness.
I am a black man with special wants.
I pretend that I live in a pure and perfect world.
I feel the tears of men kind as they drop to the ground.
I touch the hearts of people nearest to me.
I worry that one day I would be alone.
I see my parents trying to give me and my sibling something they never had.
I am a black man with special wants.
I understand one man can’t save this world because the problems grow too large.
I say that if we work together as a unit that we can change the world.
I dream of random stuff.
I try to not to fall back into old habits and lifestyles.
I hope we will come to realize the wickedness in the world.
I am a black man with special wants.


Anthony Johsnon is a 16 year old student at Our School at Blair Grocery.
   

Monday, February 14, 2011

It Takes a Village, Not a Tiger

by Katha Pollitt for The Nation


Click here for a link to the original article.


Are you a tiger mother, a soccer mom, a helicopter parent, an attachment mom, a permissive free spirit who just wants your child to be herself? Congratulations. Your kids have a good chance of turning out reasonably well. Not because you are a parenting genius who has hit on the perfect method but because you have the time and energy and cultural capital to give your child what he needs to be successful in today’s world no matter what child-raising method you choose. You are probably not, for example, poor, homeless, functionally illiterate, socially isolated, an addict, in prison, living in substandard housing, working three low-paid jobs—or unemployed for life. You have books in your house, and probably a computer too. You know enough to help your child with homework—and if not, you have the money or networks to find a tutor. You feel comfortable volunteering at your child’s school, being in the PTA, calling the principal, going to parent-teacher conferences. You can afford to take your child to the doctor and the dentist for regular care. If your child should happen to get arrested, as quite a few do—if he’s caught with pot, say, or spray-paints graffiti, or jumps a turnstile—there’s a good chance that the charges can be made to go away, or at least not become part of his permanent record. Your ex may have run off with your best friend, your apartment may be too small, you may hate your job—but you are still a white-collar, college-educated, middle-class person. And that makes all the difference for your children.


The biggest barrier to educational achievement today is not any of the things the media talk endlessly about: poorly prepared teachers, badly run schools, too many tests, low standards. It’s child poverty—which, like poverty in general, has just dropped out of the discourse. The Democrats don’t talk about it, except to wag the finger at deadbeat dads and teen moms, and the media don’t talk about it except in the context of crime or individual triumph. In fact, from the coverage you’d think our current crisis chiefly affected the middle classes—office managers, newly minted lawyers, college grads who have to move back in with their parents—when actually the unemployment rate for people with college degrees is 4.2 percent, which is where it was for all Americans before the recession. By contrast, for those with only a high school diploma unemployment is 9.4 percent; for high school dropouts it’s 14.2 percent. And those figures measure only those actively looking for work, not the millions who’ve given up or have never held a job (some 16.5 percent of black men over 20). All those women pushed off welfare, called success stories because they got a job as a receptionist or a security guard or a clerk, with supposedly the hope of something better to come? Forget them.


Inconveniently, though, the poor and near poor, whom we don’t care about, come attached to children, for whom we supposedly have some concern. So how are the kids doing?


Some facts from the National Center for Children in Poverty: one in five families is food-insecure, i.e., they don’t have enough food for everyone in the family at least some of the time. Health? Poor children are far more at risk than better-off kids: from secondhand smoke (32 percent vs. 12 percent of nonpoor children), low or moderate levels of lead in their blood (30 percent vs. 15 percent), lack of health insurance (16 percent vs. 8 percent) and lack of dental care (18 percent of poor kids hadn’t seen a dentist in the past year vs. 11 percent of nonpoor children, which is bad enough). Poor children are more likely to have asthma (18 percent vs. 13 percent). They are more likely to have missed five or more days of school for health-related reasons (20 percent vs. 15 percent). Twice as many poor parents report that their child has “definite or severe” emotional, behavioral or social problems (10 percent vs. 5 percent). Poor kids are also more likely to be obese, to get insufficient exercise, to be diagnosed with ADHD or other learning disabilities and to have mothers who are in poor health themselves. No wonder they are less likely to be described by their parents as being in very good or excellent health (71 percent vs. 87 percent).


Poor children’s home lives are more precarious. Almost one in five children in poor or low-income families had moved in the last year, which means disrupted schooling and stress. In 2007, 1.7 million kids had a parent in prison, including one in fifteen black children. In 2008, around 460,000 children spent time in foster care. In 2009, 2.2 million were being raised by grandparents or other relatives.


Poor kids are more likely to be raised by single mothers and to have parents who didn’t finish high school or go to college. Even just living with other poor people seems to harm kids. Those who live in disadvantaged neighborhoods have lower reading scores; so do low-income kids who go to schools where the student body is 75 percent or more minority. Most black and Latino kids attend such schools. By the age of 2, poorer children have fallen cognitively behind those from wealthier families.


We’re looking at millions of kids, disproportionately black and Latino, who face a wide range of serious difficulties: how can that not affect their ability to do well in school? Moreover, the number of poor and near poor children is growing. In 2009 more than 1.2 million children entered poverty, even as school budgets are being cut all over the country: classes are getting bigger, teachers are being laid off, extracurriculars are being cut. You can see why the schools say they can’t do it all.


The parenting wars look like they are about children, but really they are only about each parent’s own child. That’s why they serve such a useful social function. Without them we might have to think about the frightening place America is becoming for ever more millions of kids. Who knows? We might even feel that we should do something about it.



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

REGISTER NOW FOR GROWING POWER WORKSHOP WEEKEND TODAY!

Don't miss out on the opportunity to participate in the Growing Power Workshop Weekend February 19-21 when we host Will Allen at Our School at Blair Grocery.

Follow this link for registration details:
http://www.osbgrotc.blogspot.com

SPACE IS LIMITED - REGISTER TODAY!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Harvest in Hammond

Every week for the last month or so we have been harvesting greens from our farm partner Sunflower in Hammond.  We hope to keep this relationship alive as her farm and her projects develop alongside ours.


Garden rows made from clay soil, sand, manure, and saw dust.  And on the rights an herb spiral!


Arugal, baby mustard greens, and green onions!

Foods Corps! Grow for it!


The folks at Food Corps have reached out to OSBG to spread their message!  Would you love to grow food in school gardens and be supported to do it?  If you are interested in this work please please please check out the information below.



 FOODCORPS RECRUITING FIRST CLASS OF SERVICE MEMBERS FOR SCHOOL FOOD SYSTEMS
FoodCorps, a brand new and much anticipated national service program, opens applications for its first class of service members.  Those selected will dedicate one year of full-time public service in school food systems – sourcing healthful local food for school cafeterias, expanding nutrition education programs, and building and tending school gardens.
FoodCorps is a scalable solution to the national obesity epidemic. Since 1980, the percentage of American children who are overweight or obese has doubled. With one in four U.S. children struggling with hunger and one in three obese or overweight, FoodCorps addresses the root cause of both: access to healthy food.
FoodCorps seeks up to 80 young men and women with a passion for serving their country by building healthy communities.  Beginning in August 2011, service members will get their hands dirty in one of 10 states: Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina or Oregon
Applications and more information can be found at www.foodcorps.org.

Contact:
Debra Eschmeyer
debra@foodcorps.org, w: 419.753.3412, c: 419.905.8612

FOODCORPS RECRUITING FIRST CLASS OF SERVICE MEMBERS FOR SCHOOL FOOD SYSTEMS
NEW YORK CITY – (February 8, 2011) — Today, FoodCorps, a brand new and much anticipated national service program, opens applications for its first class of service members.  Those selected will dedicate one year of full-time public service in school food systems – sourcing healthful local food for school cafeterias, expanding nutrition education programs, and building and tending school gardens.
FoodCorps is a scalable solution to the national obesity epidemic. Since 1980, the percentage of American children who are overweight or obese has doubled. With one in four U.S. children struggling with hunger and one in three obese or overweight, FoodCorps addresses the root cause of both: access to healthy food.
“We’re on the lookout for hard-working young leaders who believe healthy food should be available to every child,” said Executive Director Curt Ellis. “Being part of FoodCorps is a chance to make that vision a reality for kids in this country—and to have fun in the process.”
FoodCorps seeks up to 80 young men and women with a passion for serving their country by building healthy communities.  Beginning in August 2011, service members will get their hands dirty in one of 10 states: Arizona, Arkansas, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina or Oregon
FoodCorps recognizes though broad in its reach, America’s obesity problem does not affect all parts of our country equally. First, there are geographic patterns to its severity. High rates of childhood obesity plague whole regions, particularly the American South: North Carolina 18%; Arkansas 20%; Mississippi 22%. Zooming in on a map of American obesity, there are also localized geographies in crisis: rural communities in Oregon where children are twice as likely to be overweight as their counterparts in healthy Portland; and small-town kids in Iowa who, despite living amidst the nation’s richest topsoil, lack regular access to the fresh fruits and vegetables required for a healthy diet.

In addition to geography, there are demographic and environmental patterns associated with the epidemic, including: 1) Ethnicity: in Michigan, 42% of African-American children are overweight or obese, compared with 28% of non-Hispanic Whites. In New Mexico, American Indian kindergarteners suffer obesity at three times the rate of non-Hispanic Whites. 2) Poverty: in Massachusetts, wealthy Arlington maintains a 10% childhood overweight and obesity rate, compared to 47% in impoverished Lawrence. In the Tohono O’odham Nation in Arizona, where annual per capita income is uniquely low––$8,100––rates of Type II diabetes, diagnosed in children as young as six, are estimated to be the nation’s highest. 3) Food Insecurity: in Maine, where 1 in 5 children are at risk of hunger (the highest rate in New England), a low-quality diet puts the same kids at heightened risk of obesity.

“Schools––their classrooms, cafeterias, and playgrounds––are the logical frontlines in our nation’s response to childhood obesity,” said Debra Eschmeyer, FoodCorps Program Director. “More than 31 million children eat school food five days a week, receiving more than half their daily calories from school food programs. What we feed our children, and what we teach them about food, affects how they learn, how they grow and how long they will live. Considering that when last studied, only 2% of schoolchildren met the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the nation’s school food environments have significant need for improvement.”

America’s sweeping epidemic of childhood obesity requires us to martial a national response. The known geographic, demographic and environmental hotbeds of this epidemic are strategic places to concentrate our work. Accordingly, in partnership with Host Sites in the ten states identified above––Arizona (Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health), Arkansas (Arkansas Children’s Research Hospital), Iowa (National Center for Appropriate Technology), Maine (University of Maine Cooperative Extension), Massachusetts (The Food Project), Michigan (Michigan State University), Mississippi (Mississippi Roadmap to Health Equity), New Mexico (University of New Mexico), North Carolina (North Carolina State University and North Carolina 4-H) and Oregon (Oregon Department of Agriculture)––a new national service program, FoodCorps, stands ready to bring significant assistance­­: a “troop surge” for healthy kids.

 “We’ve heard from young people around the country interested in developing knowledge and skills in farming, food systems and public health,” said Cecily Upton, FoodCorps Program Director for Sites and Service. “FoodCorps will connect these young leaders with hands-on experience and the opportunity to change our food system for the better.”
Applications and more information can be found at www.foodcorps.org. The FoodCorps recruitment video, created by Peabody-winning filmmaker Ian Cheney (King Corn) can be viewed and embedded from the site as well.
ABOUT FOODCORPS:
FoodCorps is a new national service organization that seeks to reverse childhood obesity by increasing vulnerable children’s knowledge of, engagement with, and access to healthy food. Service members build and tend school gardens, conduct nutrition education, and facilitate Farm to School programming that brings healthy, affordable local food into public schools. The program also trains a cadre of leaders for careers in food and agriculture. FoodCorps was developed with funding from AmeriCorps and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, in partnership with Occidental College, the National Farm to School Network, Slow Food USA, The National Center for Appropriate Technology and Wicked Delicate, as part of an open planning process that engaged thousands of stakeholders from around the country. www.foodcorps.org
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 Check it out and Grow for it!