One of the most satisfying vegetables to grow, radishes are ready to harvest within three weeks of planting. They are also a very good source of vitamin C helping to rebuild tissues and blood vessels, and keeping bones and teeth strong. And this is how the Spokane Radish Tikkun Olam project started.
Congregation Emanu-el, Spokane, Washington's Reform community's Tikkun Olam committee was looking for a project. It had to be something that would create a positive impact in Spokane, something that could be done in a few hours one day, something that families with small children and elderly members could participate in ... gardening.
Thousands of people in Spokane are hungry for fresh nutritious food. Hunger and a lack of nutritional food contribute to obesity and diabetes. In 2007, 1 in 10 Spokane County adults cut or skipped a meal because they did not have money to buy food. Among these adults, 41% acknowledged that this occurred every month. (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, 2007).
Large areas of Spokane are considered food deserts, areas where people live more than 1/2 mile from a grocery store where they can buy fresh fruits and vegetables. (USDA, Access to Affordable & Nutritious Food: Measuring & Understanding Food Deserts and Their Consequences, 2009).
The need is clear but what to offer?
Radishes are a natural choice because they are so fast and easy to grow. And so we decided on two boxes of dirt and plants. It starts by recycling liquor boxes, which are sturdy and plentiful. Filling them with dirt from the store bought with donated money, llama manure and composted wood chips donated by volunteers. Into one box goes radish seeds and two sunchoke bulbs (Jerusalem artichokes, which my father says are neither from Jerusalem nor artichokes). I grew them all last summer and left them in the ground till April 30, when we dug them up and replanted them for Spokane families.
Many people have never heard of sunchokes but at one time that was also true of potatoes.
In the 1600's the Russian Orthodox Church banned potatoes simply because they were not mentioned in the Bible. A particular fan of the potato, King Frederick II of Prussia, fed them to his troops. However, when he offered them to his subjects during the 1774 famine, they refused this relatively unknown food from South America. Frederick's new approach was to declare the potato a royal vegetable and place guards around royal potato fields. Before long, there was a huge underground market in potatoes and everyone started growing them.
Today, the relatively unknown, Sunchoke or Jerusalem Artichoke has the potential to feed many people in a nutritious way.
Originally Posted in Our Community of Humanity at Inner Child Magazine
The Resilience, Beauty and Healing in Natural Diversity
There is power in droplets of time that change the flow of life. Moments in the future where I will dig deep for the strength to finish the hundredth Montana mile on my bicycle this summer.
Moments in the past when I felt the exhaustion and exhilaration of the fifty-third Connecticut mile on Hazon's New York Ride while raising money for sustainable agriculture. Then five pounds lighter I rode 71 New Hampshire miles along the coastal waters enjoying that diverse interface where the particles of sand and earth meet waves of water.
Moments in the present as I train for a 3300 mile bicycle ride across the United States. June 13, 2013. I will dip my bicycle wheels in the cold Pacific waters near Seattle and set off across the Cascade Mountains for Montana, Michigan Maryland and points East before riding into Washington DC to the shores of the Atlantic.
My goal is to cover all the ground between the oceans on my bicycle, stopping along the way to talk to people about what they love in their land, their perspective on how to share something wonderful and beautiful with generations to come. I will connect and converse about how we can feel the comfort in the similarities we share, while noticing and learning from our differences thus creating the kind of community we each want to live in.
Environmentalist and author of The Fifth Sacred Thing, Starhawk said, "Value diversity—for diversity creates resilience."
I ride to honor the diversity around me in the natural environment, in the people I meet and connect with in a way that passengers in a speeding car cannot and to feel the inner changes that happen when you wake up in a different place every morning for nine weeks.
I ride to share in the beauty of this land, to feel the cool breeze as the sun soaks the earth and plants like tiny wizards change light energy and water into a colorful array of physical matter. I ride East with the prevailing winds, to feel a push from Mother Nature and see the summer move through the mountains and the plains.
I ride to raise money for sustainability. This ride is supported by Hazon, which means vision in Hebrew. Raised funds will go to start up community supported agriculture programs (CSAs), which make available to families and children local, wholesome vegetables and fruits. Last summer through my local CSA, I ate organic Connecticut grown watermelon, squash, mixed greens, dinosaur kale, heirloom tomatoes, and even more unusual things like the fractal-shaped romanesca, which is like a swirling green cross between a cauliflower and broccoli.
In my own home garden I have the usual beets, tomatoes, peas and lettuce and the unusual antioxidant rich goji berries, lemon cucumbers and large sweet Japanese pears that I became so fond of while living in Japan.
Hazon also supports educational programs for school children, giving them an opportunity to see a compost pile full of wiggling earthworms creating rich dark soil, and get up close to chickens and goats. They learn how to feel and see when a watermelon is ripe.
I believe we protect and value what we see as beautiful and I wonder how a child who has never picked an organic carrot, washed off the dirt and taken a golden carotene rich bite will care where their food and their children's food comes from. I wonder if they can even imagine what they are missing in a world without "fresh".
What do you see as beautiful? In my life off the bike, I have an Integrative Medicine practice in West Hartford, CT and consult in physical therapy, chiropractic and massage clinics around the world. I use hands-on techniques and other forms of alternative medicine to decrease pain and help people see and move more easily. My clients report improvement in their eyesight as well as a growing awareness, consciousness and insights into ways to heal and share the life they want with their family and community.
I ride for my own healing, weight management and health. My grandfather died of diabetes. My uncle lost his leg to this disease shared by 18 million Americans. Avoiding their footsteps at age 55, I enjoy bicycling, eating healthy, creating opportunities for mindful self-awareness and reconnecting with the rhythms in my life.
Diabetes is linked to a loss of sensation, a loss of vision captured by the retina, plagued by neuropathies, and a failure to connect to the rhythms of life — the rise and fall of blood sugar, the chase of insulin up and down the curve, the restful recovery period of sleep followed by alert, creative, productive wakefulness, the cycles of flow creating sensation from the toes to the eyes, and the rise and fall of hunger balanced by mindful eating.
How did you sleep last night? Did you wake up refreshed and feel energetic and creative? Are you ready to contribute to your community and enjoy the abundance in your life?
I believe that people, who feel better, make better choices for themselves, their families and their communities. I want to be a part of a community where everyone feels good, has lots of energy and knows how to enjoy the beauty of nature, the strength of relationships and the abundance of life that we each hold in our own hands.
Kimberly Burnham, PhD (Integrative Medicine)
860-221-8510 phone and what's app. Skype: Kimberly Burnham (Spokane, Washington)
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See her list of publications including her latest book of brain health meditations, Awakenings: Peace Dictionary, Language and the Mind, a Daily Brain Health Program.
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I am looking for guest blog opportunities and a position as poet-in-residence. My current project is writing dictionary poems using words in different languages for the English word "peace." You can read some of my poems on Poemhunter .
As poet-in-residence I would write poems on different words in different languages and broadcast them throughout the social media blogosphere. Each poem would link back to your site where the word or language appeared.
I would expect some sort of stipend and a six month to one year placement. Please contact me for details if your organization is interested in having a poet-in-residence to help get your message out. Nervewhisperer@gmial.com
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