The Pope Embraces Mother Earth and Food for Thought

Updated:  The more I read about the Pope and his environmental stance, the more hope and faith I have.  As I watched thousands of menhaden fish dying this past weekend in the rivers near Providence, Rhode Island, I was dismayed at the steps forward and backwards we continue to make in our country's struggle with industries, expansion and development mistakes.  Wonderful new pollution control is in place in Providence, but runoff from fertilizer and who really knows what else  still makes our waters' oxygen level too low for fish to survive.  How disturbing to watch the rowers slap their paddles through gulping  and dead fish.  But, at the same moment, the environmental management team in Rhode Island was trying to decipher the cause.  And if reports are correct, the fish could not leave the rivers for better waters because of the resurgence in the population of bluefish at the mouth of the rivers waiting to eat the menhaden.

 Some more interesting news on the intersection of faith and food, on feeding the masses and finding mass that feeds the soul!

" Slow Food founder and president Carlo Petrini was surprised last year when he picked up his phone and find Pope Francis on the other end. That conversation, about their own mothers' excellent cooking, lead to Carlo Petrini writing the reading guide to Pope Francis' unprecedented, official statement (papal encyclical) released last month. The Pope urges everyone - regardless of faith - to understand the moral imperative to recognize and address climate change. These outspoken, charismatic, and unconventional global leaders seem to have nothing and everything in common. Yeah, this could be the start of a remarkable friendship."

Here's a snippet of Papa Carlo's take on Pope Francis's encyclical: "though the premises are harrowing, it is joy that prevails: the joy of believing in revolutionary change..
"What kind of world do we want to leave to those who come after us, to children who are now growing up?” is the question put forth boldly in the Pope's words.

The Pope's encyclical letter, Laudato Si': On the Care for Our Common Home, was released with concern for nature, water, environmental education, justice for the poor, commitment to society, and interior peace.

“The Encyclical takes its name from the invocation of Saint Francis, “Praise be to you, my Lord”, in his Canticle of the Creatures. It reminds us that the earth, our common home “is like a sister with whom we share our life and a beautiful mother who opens her arms to embrace us” (1). We have forgotten that “we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.” (2).

"Several main themes run through the text that are addressed from a variety of different perspectives, :

*the intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet,

*the conviction that everything in the world is connected,

*the critique of new paradigms and forms of power derived from technology,

*the call to seek other ways of understanding the economy and progress,

*the value proper to each creature,

*the human meaning of ecology,

*the need for forthright and honest debate,

*the serious responsibility of international and local policies,

*the throwaway culture and the proposal of a new lifestyle ."

Garden Green Angels was inspired to see the mention of environmental education as a key component of this conviction.
We thought we would close up shop for the summer months here, but maybe we still have nature and garden calling!
 Welcome to summer!

Three Dynamic Days of Garden Education, Nature Field Trips, and Garden Tours


The National Children and Youth Garden Symposium will start in July in Austin, Texas. If you have never attended, it is an exciting program that offers time to acquire and inspire knowledge, tools and ideas for food, garden and nutrition projects and programs that connect kids to nature.Join in Austin, Texas July 9-11 for the 2015 National Children & Youth Garden Symposium (NCYGS), with local co-hosts the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center and the International Junior Master Gardener Program.

NCYGS is the only national event of its kind where you can network with like-minded teachers, garden designers, community leaders, program coordinators, and others involved with connecting kids to the natural world. NCYGS 2015 attendees will be able to:
Explore topics ranging from curriculum to program management to garden design & maintenance during three dynamic days of educational sessions, field trips, and expert keynote presentations.
Experience Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center including the recently opened Luci and Ian Family Garden, a native plant garden for families and a pilot project of the Sustainable SITES Initiative.
Learn about the newly released International Junior Master Gardener Program’s “Learn, Grow, Eat, & GO!” curriculum and research program.
Enjoy Austin, "Live Music Capital of the World", and its booming arts, culture, and local foods scenes.
Share ideas, success stories, and inspiration with like-minded colleagues from across the nation.

In between annual symposia, keep up with the latest in youth gardening when you subscribe to our free, daily, international, online newspaper, The Youth Gardening Gazette.

NCYGS 2015 attendees will be able to:
Explore topics ranging from curriculum to program management to garden design & maintenance during three dynamic days of educational sessions, field trips, and expert keynote presentations.
Experience Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center including the recently opened Luci and Ian Family Garden, a native plant garden for families and a pilot project of the Sustainable SITES Initiative.
Learn about the newly released International Junior Master Gardener Program’s “Learn, Grow, Eat, & GO!” curriculum and research program.
Enjoy Austin, "Live Music Capital of the World", and its booming arts, culture, and local foods scenes.
Share ideas, success stories, and inspiration with like-minded colleagues from across the nation.

In between annual symposia, keep up with the latest in youth gardening when you subscribe to our free, daily, international, online newspaper, The Youth Gardening Gazette.

Email education@ahs.org or call (703) 768-5700 ext. 121 with questions. And watch highlights in the video below from the 2014 Symposium held in Columbus, Ohio with local host Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.


Among the wonderful side programs featured: 
Staff from the Sustainable Food Center’s Grow Local program will lead attendees on a tour of school and community gardens they’re involved with as part of the program’s work to offer local residents the knowledge and resources necessary to grow their own food-part of the SFC’s larger work toward a food-secure community where all children and adults grow, share, and prepare healthy, local food. We’ll start at the J.P.’s Peace, Love, and Happiness Foundation Teaching Garden, SFC’s home garden for classes, student field trips, and tours. Then visits to Blackshear Elementary School Garden, Kealing Middle School Garden, and Festival Beach Community Garden will highlight more of the exciting and inspiring local growing projects sprouting up all over Austin like Blackshear Bridge, the unique neighborhood-school partnership that is building a food hub with the public elementary school, local historically African-American university, and nearby city housing community, and Festival Beach’s collaboration with the Multicultural Refugee Coalition to provide refugee families with garden plots at no cost.

To register for the National Children and Youth Garden Symposium  Click here to register and tell them you were reading GardenGreenAngels.blogspot.com

Edible Spring Greens in the Garden and Secret Trellis Projects

How many glorious hours of sunshine are there in a day?  Wish there could be 20 hours of light and warmth because of all the catching up these New England plants have to do in the next few weeks.
Up close and green.  The garden is full of spring flavor to try.
We've got a plethora of cilantro, sorrel, lovage, rhubarb in the garden.  The 'glorious greens' we like to call them.  One of the first recipes from the spring garden is the use of garlic greens, the tops of the garlic bul that's growing underneath the soil.  


Just pick some spring herbs from the garden,  mix in a food processor with a little  olive oil and salt and  celebrate 'spring' on toast or pasta.
This week, just as we were planning our recipe for the school garden, the New York Times published a yummy recipe for garlic greens toast.  The students loved the idea of picking the greens, crushing the leaves with rolling pins and mixing it all together with olive oil and butter.  We smeared it on loaves of french bread and used a panini press to sizzle and crunch the bread.
A wonderful reward for their hard work.


A-frame trellis made from cattle panels
Now, as we begin to plan for a vertical garden for small space areas, I received an email with great ideas for using an old garden standby.  The cattle fence, which is a sturdy framed wire square of sixteen feet lengths, can be use to bolster any gardens output.  It works as a giant trellis or can be bent for framing.  The great ideas for cattle panels from Bonnie plants will be a sculptural addition to the climbing garden.
Courtesy of Bonnie Plants
The Arch Trellis: Create extra garden space putting this support over a garden path. Each arch is made from a single cattle panel that has been bent, anchored, and attached to four 4-foot pieces of rebar, one on each corner. The trellis holds plants up to capture the sunlight while the gardener stands below to pick the produce.
 The Vertical Tre
Courtesy of Bonnie Plants
The Vertical Trellis By getting plants off the ground and onto a trellis, you leave room for other plants, meaning you can grow more in a small garden bed. Be sure to place the trellis on the north (or east) side of the bed so it does not shade shorter plants.

New England Snowy Dreams of Seedlings

Dreaming of the Garden on a Snowy Bay Day

The snow is swirling outside, covering my tracks out to the chicken house as quickly as I step out of them.  I have covered the Southern Magnolia 'tree-lings' (baby 1-year old trees) with an old wheel barrow, trudged out to the compost with way too many days of peels, skins and eggshells in my trusty coffee can container.  (Oh what do those k-cup users do without a big old coffee can for their compost?)


Will she ever run again to the Farmer's Market??
Now is the time to order all our seeds and tubers.  I have been lucky to be remembered by pals who sent me the local university seed sharing program.  Through donations from local vendors, they are able to offs non profits and schools seed packets from the previous season.  They are still plenty viable and offer communities a good chance to try out some new seeds that they normally couldn't afford. Check out your local Agriculture college for seed bargains.



Time to plant them is a ways off, but be on the lookout for good planting containers.  Yes, again those coffee cans, plastic pastry and salad containers, cookie and cake containers from the big box stores like BJ's and Sam's.  The ones with the clear cheap plastic tops are perfect 'greenhouses for seedlings.
Ah, I saved this pepper plant from the cold winter and it is rewarding me with flowers and peppers every day this winter