The 2008 planting season is upon us – pull out your hoes and spades and start that victory garden! Whether you are a seasoned gardener with a yard full of veggies, or you have a window with a few containers, donating some of your harvest to help folks in need have a fresh, local meal will make a difference.
Are you looking to plant something new this year? There is a market for a more diverse selection of produce – beets, okra, parsnips, turnips, rhubarb and (of course) savory herbs! Tomatoes, potatoes, squash, onions, carrots, pepper, lettuce and zucchini are welcome, too.
‘Plant a Row for the Hungry’ (also known as PAR), has been a successful campaign in Bloomington since 2002. Last year alone 21,811 pounds of local produce were donated to the Hoosier Hills Food Bank, the agency that provides food to over 80 non-proﬁt organizations in our community. Since it began in Bloomington, PAR has been the effort of the following community partners: Bloomingfoods, City of Bloomington Parks & Recreation, Hilltop Garden & Nature Center, Hoosier Hills Food Bank, Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard, and Worm’s Way.
What is the Mediterranean Diet?
by Ellen Michel
Studied for the past half century, the Mediterranean diet first gained widespread public attention about 10 years ago, with a presentation by Dr. Walter Willett of Harvard University's School of Public Health. Since then, it has gained recognition as a modern nutritional model inspired by the traditional dietary patterns of some of the olive-growing countries of the Mediterranean basin. In these regions, rates of chronic disease have been among the lowest in the world, with adult life expectancy among the highest in spite of limited medical services.
Based on food patterns typical of Crete, much of the rest of Greece, and southern Italy, the Mediterranean diet emphasizes the importance of regular physical activity (including gardening and walking), and recommends consumption of at least six glasses of water each day. It allows wine in moderation, especially noting the benefits of red wine. Purple grape juice is also very beneficial.
The February day that Chad Roeder, owner and founder of Bloomington Pedal Power, began transporting food for Bloomingfoods, the weather wasn't exactly the greatest. Area schools were on a two-hour delay, and the icy roads weren't yet fully cleared and open.
Roeder sent a message saying that "Everything went great (except for the pesky hail, sleet, and rain)" - a measure of his enthusiasm for his new business.
Roeder has begun transporting baked goods, soups, salads, and sandwiches made in the Near West Bloomingfoods kitchen. They travel via pedal power six blocks east, to the original co-op - a restored carriage house "right up your alley" off Kirkwood and Dunn. At that store, the limited food prep space is used for making fresh sushi, which goes back out to the larger stores.