Friday, Aug. 2, 2013
In South Louisiana vegetable gardens are as much of a household staple as a well-seasoned black iron pot. Gardening, like canning and preserving, is a Southern tradition that not only fulfills the need for food, but many outlets, including social, recreational and health.
“For my family, it’s important to me that my daughter knows where food comes from. In today’s pre-packaged, processed culture, I want to instill in her the values of hard work,” says Valerie Broussard Boston, a mother and a Ph.D. student at UL Lafayette. “When I was a kid, we always had a garden, and watching food grow and harvesting it was a wondrous thing. I want my daughter to know that feeling. Also, it’s cost-effective and it’s your own edible science project.”
For some, peace of mind is an important reason for buying locally produced foods and growing edibles. Factory scandals and food-borne illnesses resulting in recalls and sickness have become more frequent throughout the world, causing an increase in the number of people consuming locally grown and raised foods.
Regardless of the reasons for gardening, urban garden plots now provide 15 percent of the world’s food. The rapidly growing slow foods movement, including initiatives like Michelle Obama’s White House garden and the Grow Food, Not Lawns campaign, is contributing to the popularity of backyard gardening. And like consumers, even restaurants such as The Saint Street Inn and Social Southern Table & Bar are planting and harvesting and purchasing herbs, peppers, and more for use in their kitchens.
“Having local produce on our menus means that items are fresh, usually picked the afternoon before or the morning of delivery,” says Ashley Locklear, forager for the Link Restaurant Group and longtime local foods supporter. “It is also about flavor. Not only does local arugula have a spicier, more peppery bite than its conventionally shipped counterpart, it also means the product was harvested at its peak. The quality of product being picked at its peak will hold up better to all the different stages of preparation before reaching [the] plate.”
But growing produce can be time-consuming and sometimes difficult and frustrating, so new options have become available for those without the know-how, time or drive to nurture a garden. In the past few years, several locally owned businesses specializing in sustainable gardening resources been established in Acadiana.
“There is plenty of space in our own yards and properties to grow food,“ says Justin Price, owner of Backyard Harvest, a sustainable gardening and landscaping company in Lafayette. “We need to get over the idea that food comes from somewhere else and realize we can and should do it ourselves and support local producers.”
Backyard Harvest, established in January 2011, is the perfect service for those lacking a green thumb by providing guidance for every stage of the gardening process from concept and establishment to harvest and cleanup.
“We offer raised bed vegetable garden installation with irrigation, garden consulting, rework/renovate existing beds for ornamental or edible, planting and consulting for edible landscapes and wildlife habitats, along with complete landscape installation and maintenance for residential or small commercial,” says Price.
Price is passionate about growing food, a trait common among the other sustainable gardening services in the community, including Arcadius Acres, Mark Hernandez Gardens, Sankofa Earth Farms and The Urban Naturalist.
“Growing our own food gives us the most nutritious vegetables and fruits,” says Price. “It reduces dependency on the industrialized food system that is harming human health and the environment. It brings us back in touch with some essential things in life — where food comes from, the mini ecosystems that support our food supply and generally being outside and getting in touch with nature. Not to mention it is a healthier pastime than watching TV.”
Tyler F. Thigpen is a wetland ecologist and president of Acadiana Food Circle (www.AcadianaFoodCircle.org), a community-based nonprofit that connects local food producers to consumers.
Louisiana moved up a slot to 48th in the ranking of healthy states — once again, thank God for Mississippi! — so all this frettin’ about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s refusal to expand Medicaid per Obamacare ... fuggidaboutit! We don’t need Medicaid no more!
The Denham Springs woman who placed Christmas lights in the shape of a butter finger on her roof in a display of anger directed at neighbors has doubled the trouble for the 2013 holiday season.
The New Orleans architect behind the 1984 World’s Fair also left his mark on Lafayette.
Laid back vibe just right for NOLA Bowl
The 30-second commercial, to run around the state, is the Democratic senator's first TV spot in her bid for re-election to a fourth term.
It's a number that has edged up but falls far short of the thousands who are eligible for subsidized coverage.
A group of mostly higher education leaders will make recommendations to state lawmakers about how to tweak the policies governing tuition rates charged at the state's public colleges.
Week long specials and a ribbon cutting celebration held in Parc Lafayette
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Fort Worth company's new facility at Lafayette Regional Airport will build helicopters primarily for the export market.
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Move over Hooters — there’s a new breastaurant coming to town.
Hashtag, retweet, like, share and do whatever else it takes to get in good today with the jolly man in red.
That would be Congressman John Fleming talking about Sen. David Vitter.
The alleged mastermind behind the bribery scheme that went on for four years under DA Mike Harson’s nose isn’t just schizophrenic, bipolar and recovering from mini strokes; he now says he has cancer.
Louisiana's higher education leaders are trying to work out a financing deal to keep the state's public colleges from running low on state cash to operate their campuses.
With their latest triumph, the Saints left little doubt about how tough they are to beat in the Superdome. Unfortunately, two of their remaining three games are on the road.
The festival is scheduled for March 21-22 in New Orleans.
NOLA Bowl ready prints
For the first time in at least five years, retired teachers, state workers and school system employees could see an increase in their pension checks.