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.
Casual cool for Thanksgiving
Shop Lafayette goes strong
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
A divided 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a Lafayette district judge’s ruling absolving the co-owner of a New Iberia accounting firm of liability in an embezzlement case.
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By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
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The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
“I am only getting a little nervous about two projects — the proposed Sasol GTL facility [not the new ethylene plant] and the proposed G2X facility — both in Lake Charles. They need a hefty difference between oil and natural gas prices to make sense.”
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Lower oil prices also might slow the growth of oil production in parts of the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it will no longer be so profitable.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
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After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.
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