Why the purple….

The purple today is all about grown ups stepping up and doing what we can to tell kids who are bullied for who they are that life does get better – after school – when you are on your own, surrounded by people who love you for who you are, your family and your new chosen family.

You will find the right mix of people and your joy.

You might have to move from where you are but you will find them.

We all did.

Stick around for it.

For those that are bullying but especially the adults that are sending their children messages that it is OK to hate, OK to discriminate, OK to judge a person on their looks, their skin color, their size, their gender, their orientation, their money, their ability or disability and not their hearts and minds – It is time to grow up.

Talk to your kids tonight. It’s not a “normal part of childhood” to kill yourself or want to kill or harm yourself.  Those adults that are saying “kids will be kids” – are complicit. Those of us that think it’s “just a right of passage” or that terrifying people to conform is OK need to wake up.

Bullying today is not like it used to be – it’s 24/7 these days as kids act out in anonymous packs online. Check out youtube comments on any disabled child’s page, any child perceived to be gay…and you’ll get just a taste of how horrible the children have become. It really is different. Because of the way the net is, it is cumulative. It rarely goes away. For a child who is already struggling it can send them over the edge. Kids need to know we get it.

The bullies aren’t to blame though…We show them how to do it every day by creating second and third class citizens of the LGBT community or the disabled community, the Muslim community… the list, of course, is much longer…

For any kid you know that seems to be struggling with this… send them these links:

http://www.itgetsbetterproject.com/

http://thetrevorproject.org

And put some purple on your profiles… Write a note about what you went through as a kid and how it got better. Make a video or just reach out to a kid you know who might be feeling outside of all the good things in life…Let them know you get it and that it does get better.

Advertisements

Project: How to Grow A Pizza Garden – A Great Idea for the Kids in Your Yardshare!

Note: Posted as a guest post at the most awesome chicken site run by my friend Orren Fox. Please visit Happy Chickens Lay Healthy Eggs to satisfy your poultry keeping curiosity! Orren is raising chickens and honey bees. He’s thirteen years old but, he’s my teacher when it comes to happy chickens! Love his tagline: “There’s a Fox in the henhouse!” Read his blog! Kid with tomatoes You like pizza, right? Here’s a cool project for you and your buds and BFFs to take on this Spring – a pizza garden! There may be no more spaghetti trees left in the world but, you can grow a pizza…kind of! There are a few things you guys need to know before starting a new garden, so let’s start this right. Great gardens depend on gardeners who know what zone they live in and what kind of soil they have. We all live in different zones. A zone is about the kind of weather you have, how early fall frost comes and how late you might get a killing frost in spring. Where I live, it’s not a good idea to plant until after Memorial Day. If you plant too early you may lose all your baby plants to a bad night of frost! That is a huge drag so figure this out before you start planning your pizza garden. Find your hardiness zone then come back here…

OK got it? Write that down in your garden notebook! It will be important when you are finding seeds. Keeping a garden notebook is useful to you if you keep gardening. You can use it to remember what works best where you live. Now let’s learn how to test your soil type. You can start seeds inside way before that though. It’s a good idea to get a jump on the season and have strong teenager plants who can handle the summer much better than the babies. There are three main types of soil: clay, sand and loam. So go to the area in your yard where you want to plant your pizza garden. Dig down about 2 inches and grab a handful of soil. Try to roll that hand full into a ball.

  • If you have sandy soil you won’t be able to form a ball at all, it will just fall apart.
  • If you can make a ball about the size of a big grape you have clay soil.
  • If your ball holds together a bit but, is kind of crumbly and comes apart when you stop squeezing it’s loam soil.

Here’s a way to fix most soil types – but this fix takes months so you need to plan in advance. Sometimes you need to add a little bit of this or a little bit of that to make the soil ready for planting. If you don’t have a lot of time do some research on sustainable and organic methods to correct your soil type. OK, there’s no such thing as a pepperoni bush and most of you don’t have your own cow to milk to get your mozzerella. But you can grow most of the veggies that make it taste so crazy good! So what do you need to grow in a pizza garden? Let’s make a list:

  • the alliums: onion and garlic
  • herbs: parsley, oregano and basil
  • bell peppers
  • tomatoes

Sounds very doable! Garlic is important and onions as well, even if you don’t like them on top, they make the sauce sweet. When you sauté onions they caramelize which is a fancy way of saying they become a sugar. When sugar is heated up but not burned it turns to “caramel,” which is what those chewy candies actually are – cooked sugar!

Onions and garlic are the more complicated part of the garden. Usually people plant most onion and garlic “sets” in the fall of the previous year, so it’s a little late for 2010. Mushrooms are a whole other project. NEVER pick them from your yard. They can be poisonous! Here are some onions you can grow from seed in some zones: Italian Red Onions (Flat of Italy) or Ringmaster Onions (Great for onion rings too!) Plant them about four feet or more from your tomatoes and herbs. For now you might want to just pick up garlic at the store, unless your parents already know how to grow it. For next year, make a note you will want to find a good seller for garlic “sets,” and plant them in October. You might want to find an organic seed grower that is close to you. Try Local Harvest for seed sellers near your zip code. Most of the links for seeds here are from Botanical Interest.

So where does all that red sauce come from? The lycopene in tomatoes makes them red, and it’s also really good for you. It’s the same stuff that makes carrots orange, and watermelons pink. But it’s not in cherries. It helps your cells repair themselves and keeps your eyes strong. Growing tomatoes is pretty easy and they taste SO much better than the ones you get at the store. There are three types of tomatoes: slicing tomatoes, cherry tomatoes and paste tomatoes. Paste tomatoes are the kind you use to make thick yummy spaghetti and pizza sauce. So here are the top paste tomatoes. San Marzanos are from Italy the home of spaghetti and pizza! Amish Paste tomatoes will also work. If you can’t find either of those look for a “paste” type tomato that grows in your hardiness zone.

OK onto the herbs, herbs are a big part of making pizza so tasty. You’ll want to grow oregano, parsley and basil. The best oregano for pizza is a variety called “True Greek Oregano.” It’s a perennial which means it comes back every year if you live in zones 4-9. Basil is an awesome annual. Annuals need to be planted with new seed every year. You can use it in the sauce or on top of the pizza in big whole leafs.

The classic real Italian style pizza is just mozzarella, big basil leaves, tomato slices or small cherry tomatoes and a little olive oil. A green pizza sauce called “pesto” is made with tons of fresh basil a little olive oil and a cup or so of roasted pine nuts. We grow a lot of basil every year and freeze tons of basil pesto sauce. Just put a ton of basil and a little olive oil in a blender or food processor and blend it up, then put it in small containers in the freezer. Tastes like summer in the middle of winter! YUM!

There are a ton of basil types to grow but, for pizza, you really want one of these types: Genovese or Italian Leaf Basil. Growing tomatoes and basil close together is a classic “companion planting” combo. Basil and tomatoes kind of love each other. Maybe it’s a just a serious crush. Who knows really? They are happiest when they are hanging out together. Plant three basil plants for every one tomato plant. Don’t tell basil but, parsley likes tomatoes too! You can plant this in between to your tomato plants, as well. We just hope it’s doesn’t make basil jealous! There are a few kinds of parsley. One kind usually ends up on the side of the plate to make it pretty and the other kind is the stuff that tastes so good. Parsley also is a good breath freshener so if ever Uncle “Bad Breath” Bob needs a bit of something to make their breath sweeter, you can sneak him a sprig of parsley without telling them “Hey Dude, you really need a breath mint.” – because that’s pretty rude.

Bell Peppers are a controversial topic. Some kids love them. Some kids hate them. They are easy to grow and love a hot climate. Fire roasted red bell peppers are delish on pizza. The peppers caramelize like the onions and garlic do and become very sweet! Try that technique ONLY with your parents close by. If you live in a hot place by the sea you may be able to grow an olive tree and make your own olive oil. That’s kind of a long time to wait for pizza though!

Here are some more links to help get you growing! Seed List (Follow link then scroll down – seeds are low on these pages) San Marzanos Tomato Amish Paste Tomato Cherry Rainbow Mix Seed Oregano True Greek Seed Genovese and Italian Leaf Basil Italian Flat Parsley Italian Red Onions Ringmaster Onions

More Helpful Links: Pizza Crust Making Video Pizza Crust Recipes Pizza Sauce Recipes Pizza Stone for the Oven Method Build a Pizza Oven

UPDATE: Hyperlocavore.com is no longer in service.
No yard? No problem. Visit hyperlocavore.com a yard sharing community. We work to hook neighbors and friends up in yard sharing groups – makes gardening more fun and less expensive! We’re here to help you get going. Join us. It’s free. Then send an invite out to your friends (with your parents permission of course!) on the site and set up a pizza garden group! You can even post blogs, pictures and videos to show off your pizza garden project! Happy Digging! Liz McLellan hyperlocavore.com a yard sharing community because everyone love a homegrown tomato!

 

100 Reasons to Become a Hyperlocavore.

First a definition, a hyperlocavore tries to eat as much food as close to home as possible, in order to reduce the food miles that his food travels. It is an extension of the term locavore. A locavore typically tries to eat seasonally within 100 miles of her home, to reduce food miles and to develop the local economic base. A hyperlocavore therefore wants to bring food even closer. And what’s closer than your neighborhood? We have a time crunch, we have land and property that is loosing value fast, we have kids who don’t know where their food comes from, and we have a climate crisis.

Hyperlocavore.com, a social network, is here to help facilitate yardsharing. Yardsharing and group growing is new. It’s different from a community garden – but the site (hyperlocavore.com) can be used to create and manage one. A yardshare might be an arrangement between an elderly couple and a young one to grow more food cheaply for both. Or friends who live in an apartment and a friend in the burbs to save money and food miles.

This is a list of the reasons I think group gardens and yardsharing is an idea whose time has come. The links hide some people, websites and imagery that have inspired me to build hyperlocavore.com. Have fun exploring. Every reason is not meant to appeal to everyone. See if just one make sense to you! Then join us to explore the possibilities. The site is free, and you do not need to commit to anything to participate. It’s new to most of us. It’s up to you what makes sense for you and yours. We just hope to inspire and facilitate. If you agree with more than two of these, you just may be a hyperlocavore!

(A note: I’m a North American, citizen of the U.S., so this certainly reflects some of my perspectives and biases. Please contact me if I’ve got something really wrong, I’m happy to discuss any concerns!)

Happy Growing!

  1. You want to taste those real tomatoes you’ve heard so much about.
  2. You want to decrease your reliance on fossil fuels.
  3. You want to teach your kids where food comes from.
  4. You want the smell of soil in your nose.
  5. You want to pick your salad from your porch.
  6. You want your neighborhood to have positive street life.
  7. You want to be less isolated.
  8. You want to build food security into your life.
  9. You want to get more sun!
  10. You want to develop some upper arm strength.
  11. You want a hotter bootie!
  12. You want to help that nice old man down the block. He works too hard!
  13. You want your neighborhoods to have cheap access to healing herbs!
  14. You want to be a farmer but you have no farm.
  15. You want your high cholesterol to go down!
  16. You miss the family farm.
  17. You especially miss the rooster on the family farm.
  18. You want to lead and not to follow!
  19. You want to be more independent.
  20. You want to show em how it’s done!
  21. You want to walk out the door and eat mangoes!
  22. You want your children to be sustainably self sufficient.
  23. You want your children to eat their veggies.
  24. You want to involve your family in a group activity.
  25. You can’t live without fresh organic veg, and it seems to be getting too expensive!
  26. You want to do something with your friends besides drink beer.
  27. You’ve never been able to find that Hatch chili from where you grew up.
  28. You want to shorten the distance from farm to plate.
  29. You have a brown thumb and want to know what that’s all about.
  30. You have a yard that is full of weeds.
  31. You want to reduce the chemical load on your body.
  32. You think the lawn is a sign of all that is wrong with America.
  33. You hate mowing.
  34. You know that cute chic down the block is a big freakin’ hippy but you wanna get to know her betta anyway.
  35. You know that dude down the block is a big freakin’ hippy but you wanna get to know him betta anyway.
  36. You took Obama’s call to service to heart.
  37. No one sees your gardening triumphs.
  38. You want to lessen your ecological footprint.
  39. You look around and you see your neighborhood dying, and you want to do something.
  40. You have been blessed and you want to express gratitude.
  41. You remember what the neighborhood was like when people talked.
  42. You need to pay it forward.
  43. You need something to do besides what you been doing.
  44. You want your food to taste as good as Gordon Ramsey’s.
  45. You don’t have a farmers’ market near you.
  46. You can’t get into the local CSA – It filled up fast!
  47. You work too many hours and need some help in your garden.
  48. You have physical limitations, and a garden and could use some help.
  49. You are a former hedge fund manager with a lot of time on your hands now.
  50. Your kids need to get moving.
  51. You really need a new set of friends.
  52. You know it’s the end of the world as we know it, and you want to feel fine.
  53. You want to quit talking the talk and start walking the walk.
  54. You want to simplify your life.
  55. You find no joy in fragging any more.
  56. You are an exceedingly cheap bastard, and want to save even more cash.
  57. You are sick of living on Top Ramen.
  58. Yes we can!
  59. Si, se puede!
  60. Chop wood, carry water.
  61. You’ve been saving seeds, but have no place to plant them.
  62. You want to surprise your hard working single mom with regular homegrown fruit and vegetables.
  63. You are unutterably bored, filled with ennui, and about to jump.
  64. Om, nom, nom, nom.
  65. You want to live more like the rest of the world.
  66. You want the suburban wasteland to become juicier.
  67. You can’t afford the gas to get to the market, and your veggie ride isn’t road ready yet.
  68. The bodega in your neighborhood doesn’t carry anything but candy, cigarettes, and booze.
  69. Guerilla gardening just isn’t giving you the thrill it used to…sigh.
  70. The force is strong with you, little one.
  71. You are actually serious about this “reliance on foreign oil” thing you keep going on about.
  72. Better jam.
  73. Better pie.
  74. Better chutney.
  75. Fresh eggs! Like still chicken butt warm fresh.
  76. You really need to step away from the computer.
  77. You actually do have a vitamin D deficiency from lack of sunshine.
  78. You’re afraid of the veg your freegan roommate brings home.
  79. You’ve never actually tasted a fresh vegetable, ditto fruit.
  80. You decided you didn’t like vegetables when you were 6, you stuck to your guns but you’re a big girl/boy now.
  81. You are down with the peak oil hypothesis, and want to stop freaking the f$ck out.
  82. You want to find like minded people and be useful.
  83. You’ve got a hankerin’ fer something really dirty.
  84. Your grandmother, who has been dead for 8 years keeps coming back to you in dreams – She reminds you there is an elephant in the root cellar. You want to sleep more soundly.
  85. You really, really like potlucks.
  86. You want to grow enough extra to donate to the homeless shelter.
  87. You take the very long view.
  88. Your houseplants are telling you to get out and make new friends.
  89. You’ll be damned if your gonna spend five dollars for a sack of potatoes !
  90. You think that you are surrounded by ugliness, and you’re right.
  91. You will simply die if you don’t have a St. Germaine cocktail and the godforsaken town you live in has no reputable supplier of elderflower liqueur. You are therefore, desperate enough to make your own.
  92. You walk softly but carry a giant gourd.
  93. You have a lot of stuff, but you feel empty.
  94. Your country has been embargoed by the rest of the world and you are hungry.
  95. You want to live the good life, not that one! This one!
  96. You want to make it easier to cook at home.
  97. You really want to slow down but don’t know how.
  98. You want to see this, not this when you go outside.
  99. The spirit of true community has filled your heart and you want to fill your days differently.
  100. One word – zucchini.

Join us at hyperlocavore and find or start a yardsharing group in your neighborhood. You don’t have to have a yard to share or a green thumb – This is a learning community.

* OK I admit there are a few repeats. I said the same thing a few different ways… Use the comment to add your own!