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Food For Thought September 8, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Exercise & Fitness, Food & Drink, Health & Wellness, Nature, Sustainable Living.
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On State House grounds across the country, lawns are being ripped out and bed replanted with vegetable gardens and fruit orchards. 

The trend, which started in Vermont, is catching on and “gaining ground” in other states, like California, Wisconsin, and Iowa:

* In 2009, Montpelier, Vermont became the first capital in the country to dedicate a portion of its State House grounds to the production of food for the hungry.  Since then, hundreds of pounds of lettuce, carrots, beets, beans and peas grown on the State House lawn have been donated to local food banks and soup kitchens, sending a clear message to all Vermonters: there is a better way to provide healthy fresh food to those in need.

The Vermont State House Food Garden hasn’t cost taxpayers a nickel. All seeds, seedlings and tools were donated by local businesses and schools, while the program itself was launched by a small citizen’s group called the APPLE Corps, whose mission it is to propagate food gardens on public, corporate, and private lawns throughout the state.

* Within days of the planting of Vermont’s garden, California First Lady Maria Shriver planted a vegetable garden at Capitol Park in Sacramento, with all the food feeding the homeless.  In 2010, Shriver and her supporters added a fruit tree grove that will yield almonds, apricots, plums and cherries for public consumption.

* This year, Madison, Wisconsin transformed a portion of its Capitol grounds, as the state teamed with a local citizen group called Community Groundworks to harvest a bumper crop of cucumbers, kohlrabi, Swiss chard, corn and more.

* In Des Moines, Iowa’s capital, fruit trees are finding new homes in parks, and at shelters and schools, and officials even have plans to grow them as street trees. In time, free Iowa apples will be as close as outside your front door.

* Municipal officials have also spearheaded public produce gardens outside city halls in Provo, Utah; Portland, Oregon; Bainbridge Island, Washington; and Baltimore, Maryland, with the food offered free to the public and community food banks.

* Some of these gardens were inspired by First Lady Michelle Obama’s veggie patch at the White House. That garden sends an inspirational message to be sure, but could there be more significant federal food reform coming anytime soon?  My response is, “Don’t hold your breath.”  We simply can’t expect Capitol Hill to act as quickly as City Hall.

To read the full article:  Food of the People, by the People (Darrin Nordahl)

For more information on the efforts of APPLE Corps in Vermont:  Vermont State House Food Garden (right here on WordPress!)

Fun with Words: Ackcessory September 8, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Word Play.
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Ackcessory \ack-cess-ory\ n.  1 :  something neither helpful, nor essential  2 : a serious fashion faux pas or blunder

Fashion Consultant:  Bill the Cat

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Related posts:  Fun with Words: Sarchasm * Absolute Balderdash * Fun with Words: Misfits * Fun with Words:  Acklimate

Graphic: Guy Berkeley “Berke” Breathed

Chimps Deserve Better Art Contest September 8, 2010

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Nature.
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Are you or do you know a talented young artist?

If so, you may be interested in the HSUS Chimps Deserve Better Drawing Contest.

Patrick McDonnell, illustrator of the “MUTTS” comic strip, will choose two grand prize winners from among the finalists.

Kid-friendly facts about chimpanzees (from HSUS):

* Chimpanzees are great apes, as are gorillas, orangutans, bonobos and humans.  Great apes do not have tails and monkeys do.

* It is estimated that 50 years ago, there were about 1 million chimpanzees living in Africa. Now, chimpanzees are considered endangered with as few as 150,000 left in the wild.

* By the age of 3, chimpanzees are as strong as an adult human but only weigh about 30-40 pounds.

* Like humans, it has been shown that chimpanzees experience emotions like joy, anger, grief, sorrow, pleasure, boredom and depression. They also comfort and reassure one another by kissing and embracing.

* Chimpanzees can live to be more than 50 years old.

* Some chimpanzees have learned to communicate using American Sign Language, symbols and computer graphics.

* Chimpanzees use tools. In the wild, they pound nuts with sticks, and use stones like hammers, probe for honey and insects with twigs and grass stalks, pry open ant nests with small branches and get water from hollow trees by using wads of crumpled leaves like a sponge.

* Chimpanzees will nurse on their mother for five years and do not become adults until they are 13 years old.

* Chimpanzees can recognize a chimpanzee they know just by looking at a photo of that chimpanzee’s rear end.

* There are more than 1,000 chimpanzees in laboratories today. About 600 other chimpanzees have been retired to sanctuaries.

For more information about the wonderful sanctuaries in the U.S. which are caring for chimpanzees, visit: Volunteer at a Chimpanzee Sanctuary

Have FUN creating for the Chimps Deserve Better Art Contest!