Hello DIG-gers! We hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. On November 15th we got to go visit the Hawtree Creek MS students once more. As always we had a fantastic time with the kids there. This time around we made hummus with them, talked about the importance of organic composting, discussed what we were going to be up to in the coming months and had them fill out a sheet to find out what they wanted to grow in their beautiful garden area in spring and summer of 2017.
First thing we did was have each student list ten things that they would truly enjoy starting from seed and then transplant into the garden when the weather was right. We have the kids saving toilet paper and paper towel rolls for the planting process to begin this winter. On December 8th when we visit again we are going to announce the top picks from the group and discuss a game plan with them to get things going.
After they all had filled out their sheets we made hummus together. Chickpeas are a main ingredient in hummus 1 cup of chickpeas contains 15 grams of protein as well as fiber, manganese and folate, a healthy protein source for any vegetarian or anyone cutting back on meat products for what ever the reason. We blended them with olive oil and tahini, tahini is made from sesame seeds, these are what I like to call super seeds! They contain so many beneficial vitamins and minerals; calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, manganese, copper, zinc, fiber, thiamin, vitamin B6, folate and protein. Now although very healthy we like serious flavor at DIG Farm so of course we added fresh garlic and cilantro to the mix. Garlic contains a compound called allicin, not only is it responsible for the potent smell of this member of the allium family (closely related to onions, shallots and leeks) it also has very potent medicinal properties; with very few calories it is a fantastic source of basically everything we need to be healthy and happy. One of the best things about garlic is it's ability to really boost your immune system, regular usage can cut back cold and flu symptoms by up to 70% when consuming just 2.5 grams a day. Cilantro's deep-green leaves possess good amounts of antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins and dietary fiber and helps to reduce LDL "bad cholesterol" levels in the blood. It always brings so much joy to us to make these healthy snacks with the kids, only about 3 out of almost 30 students had ever had hummus! We enjoyed watching them have it on fresh bread and sliced organic carrots and cucumbers.
At this point we have shared a lot about hummus, but you may be wondering where the other humus comes from in the title of this blog. Well its all about composting. Compost is a key ingredient in organic farming. At the simplest level, the process of composting requires making a heap of wetted organic matter known as green waste (leaves, food waste) and waiting for the materials to break down into "humus" over a period of weeks or months. The best compost comes from both brown and green matter. Brown matter consists of lots of things that end up in landfills such as dry leaves, straw and hay, shrub pruning's, pine needles/cones, chopped twigs/branches, wood ash, newspaper, shredded paper ( avoid glossy papers), shredded cardboard, corn stalks, dryer lint (from natural fibers), sawdust from untreated wood and shredded brown paper bags. Green matter as well ends up contributing to the overwhelming amount of waste in the world, things like table scraps, fruit and vegetable scraps, fresh grass clippings, lawn and garden weeds (providing they have not yet gone to seed), flowers, seaweed and kelp, chicken manure, coffee grounds and filters, tea leaves in bags or loose, corn cobs and garden waste. We enjoyed talking to the kids about setting up composting at the school for the garden, encouraging them to save waste from the cafeteria and home to help the garden thrive this coming growing season.
We are so looking forward to returning in just two weeks and bringing our good friend John Denizard with us to make another healthy and delicious meal with the students, announce the items we will be planting for the upcoming season, talk about a great school program called Carton to Garden where they we will be able to enter to win several different grants to expand the already amazing garden area and just spend more time with this fantastic group of young adults!