Meet the Spring 2019 Intern!

Hi! My name is Samiyah Siddiqi and I’ll be interning with Urban Harvest this Spring 2019! I’ll be assisting and educating in community gardens, school garden programs, farmers markets and more! My intention with Urban Harvest is to learn and understand how an organization focuses on improving a communities outlook on nutrition, encourages a healthy sustainable lifestyle and allows access for healthier options through an interactive, fun and free cost!

 

I was previously employed at Ben Taub Hospital in the Houston Medical Center, where I worked as a Nutrition Advocate. I educated patients on their individualized therapeutic diets and provided information on how patients can make healthier decisions when choosing what to eat. I am now completing my dietetic internship at the University of Houston in hopes of becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.  I chose Urban Harvest to complete my community rotation because I stand firmly in what they do. As someone who is apart of the Houston community, the diversity, difference in socioeconomic statuses, and health disparities this city carries is heavy. I think it's our job as community members to help raise awareness about the importance of nutrition and healthy eating through inclusive and interactive community gardening. 

 

I am excited and hopeful in bringing people from different walks of life throughout the Houston area to learn and understand how easy and fun it can be to make healthier choices when deciding what to eat! 

 

By: Samiyah Siddiqi

Gregory Lincoln's Cultivated Classroom Archived in Smithsonian

Thanks to the efforts of The Garden Club of Houston, Urban Harvest's Cultivated Classroom at Gregory Lincoln Education Center has been accepted into the Archives of American Gardens, an archive maintained by the Smithsonian Institution. The garden was submitted because of its importance as an educational resource for kids, especially underprivileged students, and because of its wide influence as a demonstration garden for schools in the greater Houston area and beyond. 

The Archives is a collection of photographs and records documenting historic and contemporary gardens, allowing landscape designers, historians, and more a resource for research.

The database can be seen at www.siris.si.edu, and portions of the Cultivated Classroom will be available for viewing.

Photo by Fran Brennan Photography

Thanks, for Helping us Grow!

2018 saw a very productive year in Youth Education. From the birth of new school gardens, like Mading Elementary, to the actualization of long-term plans atschools like Gregory-Lincoln Education Center, Urban Harvest created the next chapters in the future of youth gardening education and food security in the city of Houston.0

 

Pergola build at Gregory-Lincoln (sponsored by Indigo/Momentum).

 

 

 

 

(top) Fruit tasting at Buffalo Creek Elementary (sponsored by BASF).

(r) Harvesting at Gregory-Lincoln EC-PVA.

(above) Garden build at Mading Elementary (sponsored by Kroger).

A big shout out to our many school supporters including AARP, BASF, CASE HCDE, COH, Frostwood PTA, The Garden Club of Houston, Garden Oaks MM PTO,  H-E-B, HISD After-School Programs,  HISD Health Medical Services, Kinder Foundation, Indigo/Momentum, Kroger, Laurenzo ECC PTA, Lift Memorial, Rummel Creek PTA, TBG Planners, Whole Kids Foundation, and Wilson Montessori PTO.

 

 

 

We Need More Pesto!

You know things are going well when your students are begging for more of your basil pesto.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello there! My name is Allyson Schaefers and for this Fall semester I will be serving as the Nutrition Intern at Urban Harvest. I'll be spreading nutritional knowledge in the after-school garden programs, community garden events, and more. My main goal is to help kids learn how to take a vegetable from their school garden and enjoy it on their plate. I will be accomplishing this mainly through recipe demonstrations and tastings utilizing vegetables and herbs grown straight from the school gardens.

I've recently moved to Houston from Dallas where I was working as the kitchen manager of a small business making all-natural frozen treats. We primarily sold to schools who provided the treats to students at lunch, giving them a fun and easy way to eat their fruits! Now in Houston though, I am working towards my Master's in Public Health, more specifically health promotion and nutrition. As part of my program I am to complete an internship with an organization in Houston that allows me to apply my classroom work to the real world. I am so excited to have found this opportunity with Urban Harvest that allows me to combine my love of gardening and cooking and share that with kids. I especially value Urban Harvest's mission to serve kids in communities burdened by disparities such as food deserts.  

While I will be working mostly with youth in the Houston community during my internship, I'm dedicated to making the healthy choice the easy choice for people of all ages. Eating a nutritious meal doesn't have to be complicated if you just know a few tips, tricks, and some cheesy jokes. Now, lettuce turnip the beet!

- posted by Allyson Schaefers

Growing Tasty and Healthy Food

by Mike Serant

Only with Organics can we grow the best tasting and healthiest food possible. The Law of Nutrition states; ‘When any organism is fed the highest nutrition possible, that organism will hit it’s optimum potential and have the least amount of problems’. This is true be it plant, animal or human. 

We can change all that by ‘Going Organic’. And, by simply following Natural Law we get excellent harvests and delicious foods that are safe. Organics programs are easier than going chemical and we feel much better about them. There is a science called Biophlage that tracks the DNA connection between plants and humans. Quite amazing to know that we are related to plants and when we take care of our plants they take care of us. A wonderful book that helps to explain this is ‘Your Brain on Nature’ by Dr. Eva Selhub. Dr. Selhub will be coming to Houston via OHBA in January 2019. 

It is important to note that all chemical fertilizers provide poor nutrition to plants and hurt soil health. Soil health and plant health are directly tied together. We want a fertilizer that improves both. Also recognize that chemical fertilizers only provide up to 7 minerals, but plants need at least 52 to be healthy and the human body has 79 elements in it. When we feed plants only 7 elements, there is a tremendous disconnect with what is required for good health.  

Remember, ‘we are what our plants eat’. When plants are grown with chemicals, malnourishment sets in and the plants become susceptible to pest insects and diseases. The chemical industry answer to this is to spray poisons on the plants. That poison doesn’t go away and when we, as humans, eat malnourished foods that have poisons sprayed on them, we too, get sick. Another great note for Organics is that when plants get a full load of minerals their flavonoid metabolites are enhanced, and flavonoids are another way or saying flavor. That’s why well grown Organic foods always test better.

A simple, non-fail Organic food growing program is as follows –

·      Start with a well drain planting area with composted top soil

·      Add 4 lb of a quality Organic fertilizer per 100 sq ft mixed 1’’ – 3” into the soil. Re-apply every 3 months

·      Plant transplants or sow seeds as season dictates

·      Water the plants or seeds in with a liquid fish + seaweed combo

·      Mulch the area with aged native mulch

·      Spray the plants every 2 – 4 weeks with a fish + seaweed combo

Urban Harvest does a magnificent job of helping us all to be healthier. From their planting guides, to their classes, to their Farmers Market to their 100 + community gardens, Urban Harvest makes life better. As society we are only as strong as our weakest link and we want all humans to be healthy; thriving on a dynamic planet.

Mike Serant has supported Urban Harvest since 1996; is co-founder of OHBA, www.ohbaonline.org, a 501(c)3 Organic education provider; and since 1988, the manufacture of MicroLife Organic Fertilizers, www.microlifefertilizer.com.

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