Monday, March 23, 2009

Gardens, Health, & Hunger. The Basics.

Food is big news. In the United States, whether its kids going hungry on weekends (illustrated by Community Cooperative Ministry's support of Backpack Food Programs), the high demand food pantries are observing for their services, or sustainable eating issues like recent campaigns to "Eat Fresh, Eat Local", food is the center of attention. Food has become complex. Sometimes going back to the basics is not such a bad idea. 

When I was a kid, we had a garden. We didn't spray it with chemicals to keep out the weeds, my brother and I got to pull the weeds out with our hands. We grew a variety of vegetables and ate them fresh over the summer and then canned or froze the excess for winter.  Probably due to all the pulling weeds out with my hands, I bought my food from a store when I became an adult. Although easier on the hands, I realized it was expensive and after having children of my own, realized more than ever how scary much of the food out there really is in terms of where it comes from and how it is grown.  Hence, my back to basics idea. Grow your own food. 

Not only families benefit from this idea, but some non-profit food pantries are realizing it is a great way to offer fresh fruit and vegetables to communities in need. It can be a source of food, learning, and volunteer opportunities for all. The Volunteer Way in New Port Richey, Fl uses a hydroponic garden to grow fresh vegetables to supplement their food bank. Organizations like
Sustainable Table offers an introduction into sustainability. There are also fantastic websites likeNoFearEntertaining offering healthy recipes for your new locally grown fruit and vegetable score. 

The number of ways gardening, sustainable living, and alleviating hunger can be partnered together are huge and exciting. Check out Oregon Food Bank's Learning Garden. Become empowered! Oh, and gardening gloves are recommended.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bartering, Trade, & Recovery


An interesting story was reported on CNN about the comeback of one of the oldest means of exchange, bartering. Bartering groups, associations, communities whatever form they take are on the rise. The International Reciprocal Trade Association provides information regarding ethical standards and practices. Websites like Merchants Barter Exchange, OurSwaps, U-Exchange, and Swap Tree all offer a different spin on direct exchange of goods and services.

Not only individuals but businesses and non-profits can find this concept useful. Determine what you have to offer and what you need and go for it. Barter Notary Public services for some needed landscaping, etc. Be innovative and creative and you may find bartering is a really good deal.

In the meantime, Florida, like many states, is currently waiting for the stimulus money to reach the people who need it. Governor Crist has given the go-ahead and has stated the money should be available by the end of the month. Today it was announced that a website will be set up to track this money so taxpayers can see what and where projects are being funded. The website provides a map that will apparently allow you to click on each county to see specific details of the money trail. Go to Non-profits need to be diligent about following these dollars to see if opportunities arise for assistance with programs. More to come on this topic.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Be Fearless Like The Homeless World Cup (Promote with Video!)

I know it is Friday the 13th but don't be afraid. In fact, take a lesson in fearlessness from the individuals in the above video. My husband and I were channel surfing not too long ago and came across a show on ESPN about the Homeless World Cup that this video highlights. We were blown away by this amazing event. The Homeless World Cup is an international soccer tournament held annually between teams of players who are homeless and excluded from society. The thing is, these people are unreal soccer players. They are destitute and living in extreme poverty and still play soccer with amazing passion and skill. Through this event, players get the opportunity to represent their country and change their lives and the lives of others forever. The project has inspired other soccer projects across the world with over 25,000 homeless individuals participating throughout the year. In 2008 the first Women's World Cup was held in Melbourne! Learn more at

Another great way to learn more about The Homeless World Cup is to view their YouTube page at Many videos like the one above are available to tell a firsthand, compelling story related to the event. They are inspirational to say the least. Using YouTube as a way to promote non-profit organizations and the cause they are supporting is an effective method of conveying your message to a large and diverse audience. YouTube offers a designated Non-profit Channel that provides a venue for delivering your non-profit's message to the world's largest online video community. This allows you to use your non-profit's branding, run video campaigns and offers several other innovative ways to spread awareness. Read more about this opportunity at Come on now, try it, be fearless!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Pledge To End Hunger

Hunger is affecting increasing numbers of individuals in our communities. We must continue to spread awareness of this issue to try and find solutions. A recent New York Times article highlighted a local town, Lehigh Acres, Fl, as one of the hardest hit areas in the country. In the article, Charlotte Rae Nicely, executive director of Lehigh Community Services discussed how more people were going hungry and demand for food assistance was increasing at her food pantry. Some food pantries report an increase in demand of up to 75% and requests are from people of all races, ages, and backgrounds: You can support a local southwest Florida foodbank like the Harry Chapin Food Bank at: or Southwest Florida Outreach Food Pantry at

Tyson Foods has started a website designed to shine a bright light on this issue of hunger in America. Click on Pledge to End Hunger on the left of this blog or go to and take the pledge to end hunger. By making the pledge, Tyson will donate 35lbs of food product to those in need. This is an equivalent of 140 servings! This is such an easy way for individuals to make a difference so give it a try. Pledges are made online and you can share the link with others to help Tyson reach their goal of 1000 pledges. After the goal is met, a very LARGE truck will deliver 140,000 meals to the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas in Austin, TX! YeeHa!

As of this post, 439 pledges have been made securing 61,460 meals. Help Tyson share the wealth by sharing this blog and encouraging everyone to help end hunger now.