Nourish – July 2019

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Supporting our Pollinators: MGANM June Meeting Notes

Supporting Our Neighbors

Supporting our Pollinators: MGANM June Meeting Notes

By Nancy Larson, MG

We had a successful educational meeting and a big turnout with 50 people present. About 1/4 of the people were from the general public and the remainder from the Master Gardener Association.  Michelle Worden, our outgoing president, welcomed everyone and gave an overview of what a Master Gardener is and what it is that we do.  She added the summer’s up-coming schedule of events for anyone who can attend and then welcomed to the podium Nate Walton, MSUE Entomologist.  

Nate talked about all the common pollinators in our gardens and then gave a very informative lecture on our bees; the different types; their life system; their identity as social or solitary nesters’; and their need to continue their life cycle. Nate taught us about their needs for food, water and shelter and how we can assist them in that, and then he introduced Barbara Backus, Master Gardener.

Barbara shared how her team of five started and finished three projects within the city’s gardens.  Barbara and her team re-cultivated a garden at Hull Park and two gardens at Clinch Park with pollinating flowers. They used Lynn Steiner’s “Landscaping with Native Plants”, and bulletin”Attracting Beneficial Insect with Native Flowering Plants” (MSU #2975 and #3314) for their design layout. Barbara recommends using these resources for native flowers.  

Barbara also said that starting a project is very easy and she shared the steps to start your own:

  1. Apply to the Master Gardener program to start a project, with Nate’s help. You must have an educational aspect to your project, i.e. the signs.
  2. Go to the city to request garden space.
  3. Ask the city for funding to buy flowers and signs.

Barbara said the city is thankful we are there to help with the gardens and they are supportive of the work that we do.  She also indicated the city has more land that they are willing to let Master Gardeners re-cultivate with flowers. 

The program ended with many questions and happy faces wanting to get into the dirt again.

Tomato Seedlings, by Michele Worden

Supporting Our Neighbors

By Michelle Worden, AEMG

In April, we welcomed Sarah Rautio from MSUE to our monthly meeting to learn about the Growing Together Program, and some amazing local food donation gardens.  Wonderful work is happening at Leelanau Christian Neighbors food garden and Leo Creek Preserve. As spring finally turns to summer, I know they would love any volunteers to help teach the public how to grow their own food.

Food pantries often hand out seedlings, like these tomato seedlings pictured, that pantry clients can plant in the ground at home or put in pots.  Tomatoes are a good source of lycopene and vitamin C.  This can be an important source of nutrition for people experiencing food insecurity, since they lack access to fresh fruits and vegetables.

Tomato Seedlings, by Michele Worden

If you are a home food gardener, consider sharing your bounty with your local food pantry or meal site.  A list by county can be found at http://northwestfoodcoalition.org/.

If you are a volunteer at one of our MG volunteer project food gardens – thank you!  And don’t forget to weigh the produce and report it to the Growing Together Initiative to fight food insecurity.

If you are not able to do either of these things, consider donating money to the Farm2Neighbor program of the Northwest Food Coalition, which supports the local farm economy and feeds our neighbors by buying local fruits and vegetables and giving to area pantries and meal sites.  More information is from an article from the Record Eagle below:

Forum: Support local farmers, neighbors in need

By Kris Thomas

Jun 6, 2019

(Reprinted with Permission)

We know that the freshest, most nutritious food available is the food that’s grown by our local farmers. Providing residents in Northwest Michigan with a vast array of fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the growing season is a commitment our farmers have made to support the health and well-being of our community.

We also know that many of our neighbors that utilize our area food pantries and community meal sites struggle to put food on the table to feed their families. And being able to purchase locally grown fresh food, which is often more costly than processed food, simply is not an option for them.

Lack of access to healthy food has a profound negative impact on the lives of our food insecure neighbors, because it makes them more susceptible to many health-related issues, including diabetes, heart disease and obesity. And it is much more difficult for those in our community living with these health-related issues to be successful in many aspects of life.

In an effort to improve the health and well-being of our community by providing greater access to locally grown food, four rotary clubs in Northwest Michigan joined forces and in January 2018, donated more than $20,000 to the Northwest Food Coalition to create the Coalition’s Farm To Neighbor Fund. All donations to the fund are used to purchase produce from area farmers for distribution at food pantries and meal sites in the five-county Grand Traverse area. Since January 2018, thousands of pounds of carrots, parsnips, turnips, radishes, asparagus, tomatoes, green beans, potatoes, pears, acorn and butternut squash and apples have been purchased directly from local farmers and enjoyed by our neighbors in need.

With the growing season upon us, contributions from our community for this very important program would be greatly appreciated. To support the Farm To Neighbor Fund, please go to https://www.nmcaa.net/farm2neighbor.asp. If you’d like to learn more about the Northwest Food Coalition, please go to www.northwestfoodcoalition.org.

Thank you for your support. Your generosity will be felt by many.

 

About the author: Kris Thomas is a member of the Benzie Sunrise Rotary Club. Since leading a food security study for her club in 2014, she has volunteered in different capacities to alleviate hunger in northern Michigan, including working with Food Rescue and the Northwest Food Coalition.

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