Why should you eat your reds? Because they contain lycopene and that greatly reduces the chance of prostate cancer. Greens helps you build healthy cells and genetic material while orange fruits and vegetables provide support to your immune system to name a few. The Nutrition Rainbow demonstrates how the color of food is linked to specific health benefits. A good way to get more colors into your diet is to grow-your-own.
I just recently completed an all encompassing gardening class called Backyard Food Production. It was offered through the UCLA Extension at my favorite place, The Learning Garden on Venice High school. Each student was allotted a 7 foot x 5 foot plot and we were able to apply our learnings from the course to our garden. Like other students, I decided to combine plots with the neighboring student and we had a “huge” 14 foot x 5 foot plot. Fennel, beets, three types of lettuce, broccoli, peas, carrots, daikon, kale, cilantro and radishes were growing. I was amazed at how a garden this small was able to subsidize or even eliminate the need for a trip to a farmer’s market or grocery store produce section.
Another way to save money while gardening is to garden with a community. After being on the waiting list for three and a half years, a plot at Ocean View Farms community garden finally opened up. Besides the lettuces, kale, cilantro, carrots, cabbage and strawberries currently growing from seed, seedlings and transplants from other gardens, there is more space for family favorites like a blueberry bush or two, tomatoes, basil, cucumbers, peppers oh my! The list can go on and on but could require a few more plots. Since the GreenUp! Garden (pictured below) has been planted there even more ways to save dough.
When your community garden yields a bigger bounty than can be consumed, gardeners can donate this extra produce to a local food bank. Another way is to share the bounty with your garden neighbors. I was gifted a beautiful head of romaine lettuce and various tasting of unique lettuces, one of which was one of the spiciest food I have ever eaten.
Just the other day, a gardener one plot up the hill gave me a large bunch of Rainbow Chard. I have a hard time refusing garden fresh produce, especially for free but have been a bit intimidated by chard’s thick texture when eating it raw. I once had grilled romaine so why not grilled chard? It was an easy internet search to find the simple recipe for Grilled Rainbow Chard. Just toss chard with a little bit of oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill on higher heat and remove once they start to wilt. It was one of the best cooked greens I have ever had and will now pay a little more attention to the chards in all colors.
On one final yummy note, a GreenUp! Community member and former personal chef, Monique, is hosting a cooking class for parents this Tuesday March 19th at 7:00 PM, Kitchen Magic: Creative and Wholesome Cooking Class For Parents
A playful and resourceful cooking class for parents. You will learn: delicious recipes that contain surprising nutrient super heroes, tips and time-saving products to make organic cooking an affordable breeze, and how to discern your child’s eating “type” to ensure success! Recipes/dishes include: “Veggie” Sliders, Sweet Potato Corn Dog Pops, Chocolate-Cinnamon Cauliflower Pudding, and more!
$45/person including food, recipes, nutritional handouts, product recommendations and most importantly, wine! Proceeds go to A Kids Place located at 12306 Venice Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90066. Reserve here.