Tag Archives: gardens

Celebrate Earth Day with Green Eating Habits – Being Earth Friendly with Food

Earth Day is a great time to celebrate our beautiful planet, but we can learn green eating habits that help the earth every day.  Michigan State University Extension can help you eat greener.

 

Reduce your food waste by purchasing food around meal and menu planning.  Katherine Hale, Extension Educator says, “This can help reduce your daily stress by planning out meals ahead of time and reduce your food budget by buying only what you need.”  Plan your meals around what is left in the refrigerator and also plan meals to cook once but eat several times with a new meal plan.  Hale likes to steam a large amount of vegetables at one time and then use broccoli or cauliflower in salads or additions to pasta dishes later in the week or as a take to work lunch.  By having meals planned you can reduce the amount of food that spoils or gets thrown out.

Start a compost pile of vegetable scraps and if pre-cooked vegetables get old, just add them to the compost pile.  You will reap a wonderful soil amendment for growing future plants.

 

Buying what is in season is usually less expensive and you can buy in larger quantities, blanch if necessary and freeze for later use.  This reduces the packaging that comes with multiple smaller packages.

Use real dishes instead of paper and cloth napkins to reduce your daily waste.  Eating at home as a family encourages family time and conversation while also reducing calories and packaging from fast food restaurants.

 

When cooking, try doubling recipes and you can freeze or repackage in reusable containers to eat for lunches and meals later in the week that will save you time by just reheating.  For example, try roasting several chicken breasts at one time – you will use less energy cooking once, and use this protein source for chicken sandwiches for lunch or add the chicken to pasta later in the week.  These methods require a little more planning but will save time and energy when you can get several meals out of cooking just once.

 

Take advantage of end of season price reductions on tomatoes and other vegetables that can be made into chili recipes and spaghetti sauce that can be frozen or canned in reusable containers.  You can save money and increase health by buying real food and less packaging that produces less waste.

 

You can eat greener every day and be earth friendly.  Celebrate Earth Day!

 

 

 

10 Strategies to Eat Local

There are ways you can eat healthier and inexpensively this year. Michigan produce will be available soon. Asparagus, strawberries, peaches, tomatoes, sweet corn and apples at peak freshness bring smiles to our faces. The smells and taste keep us coming back for more. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have those great flavors all year long? Well, you can! Michigan State University Extension recommends several strategies you can use to plan for local food all year long that will help you eat healthier and save money.

1) Plant herbs in small amounts in windowsill gardens every three to four months and use in meal preparation. Dill, Basil, Parsley, Rosemary, and Thyme can be used fresh or dried.
2) Preserve food in a variety of ways starting with making small batches of jams or jellies. Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and cherries can be made into jam and then used as toppings on ice cream, desserts and on muffins and toast.
3) Freezing vegetables and fruits can be a quick preservation method if you have freezer space – I prefer this method for making strawberry or raspberry jam, tomatoes and peaches. This method is especially quick if you have a large quantity of ripe produce that needs to be preserved as soon as possible and does not require a lot of equipment. Freezing vegetables for soups, sweet corn, and broccoli after blanching can give you a variety of produce to eat next winter.
4) Canning tomatoes, salsa, spaghetti sauce and green beans are great ways to enjoy the bounty of summer when you follow approved home canning methods (see the National Center for Home Food Preservation for the latest guidelines).
5) Try your hand at drying vegetables and herbs. Vegetables that are dried can be stored in glass jars or plastic bags which could save valuable freezer storage.
6) Explore making pickles, pickled beets, and relish which are all great additions to any meal.
7) Grow your own vegetable garden in large yard or small spaces. Find great resources at MI Garden.
8) Find a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in your area and sign up to receive a weekly share of produce that a farmer grows and you pick up once a week. Check Local Harvest.
9) Shop at the local Farmers Market or find a farm stand near you. Locate one at Local Harvest.
10) Pick Your Own orchards and farm operations are a great place to show the kids how food is grown and harvested. Visit Pure Michigan to find one near you.

Choose one strategy or a couple of these ways to get one step closer to eating local.

Starting A School Garden

Michigan State University Extension is hosting Starting and Sustaining the School Garden on January 31, 2013 from 8:30 to 4 p.m. at the MSU Tollgate Education Center in Novi.

Teachers, Food Service Directors, Parents and other volunteers can come and find out all of the essentials to growing a successful school garden.  This workshop will work for community and faith-based gardens as well.  Katherine Hale, Extension Educator with Michigan State University Extension, says, “Teachers may want to extend their classroom outdoors but may not feel confident about gardening alone.”   This workshop can help give them the resources and tools to be successful.

Research is demonstrating that students who plant and harvest their own fruits and vegetables are more likely to eat them (Cornell, UC Berkley, UC Davis), and garden-based learning can make a positive impact on children’s academic performance (Klemmer et al. 2005).  Math and science skills are used in gardening along with scientific methods of investigation and experimentation.  Equally important for youth is the lesson on understanding how food gets from seed to table.

Participants will learn,  “how to choose the best site for their garden, how to improve their soil, selecting the best vegetable crops that will mature in spring or fall when school is in session, how to conduct regular garden maintenance, how to incorporate the garden into school curriculum and much more”, states Hale.   Sessions will be taught by MSU Extension Educators and Master Gardeners.

 The workshop is $65 and will run from 8:30-4 p.m.

 To register go to Garden Training    or email:  halek@anr.msu.edu or call 586-469-5180