Marion Institute Blog
GROW Education has built 30 new raised beds between Trinity Elementary and New Bedford High School. As summer starts there are community gardens planted at 12 schools around the city and crops are already starting to come in. All of the building and planting work for these gardens was done by students, teachers and volunteers. GROW is also excited to work with two paid New Bedford High School students over the summer months to tend the gardens.
The new garden at New Bedford High School was especially fun because the students took control of the construction process, assembling the beds, moving the gravel and topsoil, and deciding what to plant. This garden, which is our biggest yet, will have large beds for fruit trees, medium sized beds for vegetables, and some smaller, decorative beds for flowers.
Here's a photo from a recent Renaissace Community Garden planting:
This student recalled her summer visit to Cape Verde as she harvested kale, she told me in Cape Verde "farms are everywhere" She is pictured here with her other grandmother who lives locally. Moments like this make my day!
-Zoe Hansen-DiBello, GROW Education Program Director
GROW also partnered with Not Your Average Joes restaurant for a healthy cooking demonstration at Pacheco Elementary. Students and neighbors turned out to learn about their community garden, and to get some tips (and samples) for a healthy summer menu. Here are a couple of photos from the event:
We are proud to announce the addition of two new Greenhouse Initiative projects to our MI family! We enthusiastically welcome our new partners and look forward to collaborating with them on local and far-reaching efforts.
Since 2009, Mass in Motion New Bedford (MiM NB), funded by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health has been making policy, environmental, and systems changes to encourage residents to eat healthier and be more active. Working with partners from a variety of sectors, including health care, private business, government, education, and non-profits, MiM NB’s mission is to promote healthy eating and active living throughout the city.
The purpose of the Mass in Motion New Bedford Municipal Wellness and Leadership Initiative is to implement local policy, systems and environmental change to prevent and reduce overweight/obesity, chronic disease and associated risk factors and to create healthier communities. Interventions will focus on healthy eating, active living, and promotion of healthy and safe physical environments. The initiative is municipal lead with the creation of a multi-sector partnership to develop and implement the community-level strategies.
Some of the current efforts in New Bedford include:
• Farmers Market
• Subsidized Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in NB Housing
• Safe Routes to Schools
• Complete Streets, including the NB Bicycle Committee and the Southcoast Bikeway Alliance
The farmers markets in the city have been a popular initiative for area residents to access healthy food. The acceptance of SNAP benefits is a great addition to the market (2015).
Lawrence Arts House in the city of Lawrence, MA, is an expressive arts studio serving as a home for authentic expression and creative change. They offer both structured and free-style activities for art participants to create and explore through a variety of mediums in a safe, nurturing environment.
The Arts House is organized in a way to meet youth where they are, find and develop their passion, and introduce them to a variety of artistic mediums to build their sense of self, and sharpen creative thinking, leadership and action.
Why not try a new water sport and add some excitement to your summer? According to a study published in Psychological Science, learning a new skill that takes you out of your comfort zone will keep your mind sharp as you age. Water sports are also a great way to spend time in oceans, lakes, and rivers, increasing your sense of kinship with and appreciation for the wild.
We recently spoke with Hoyt Hottel of Xtremely Board in Dartmouth to get the lowdown on two popular water sports: traditional surfing and stand up paddleboarding (SUP). Here's what Hoyt had to say:
Surfing vs. Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP)
What does it take to get started in each sport?
The most important thing in either sport is desire and time. Lessons also help, especially with surfing. If you plan to buy equipment, prices of SUP boards range from about $700 for heavy yet durable plastic ones to around $1700 for carbon ultra light or carbon epoxy combos. Surfboards range from $175 used to $900 for a fancy new long board. Most SUP boards average $1000 including a paddle and most new surfboards average $600.
What are the fitness benefits of each?
The fitness benefits are off the chart for all water sports. No gym or exercise can condition you for the real thing quite like the real thing!
Note: Both surfing and SUP are great for cardiovascular fitness as well as for leg and core strength, since you will use those muscles to balance when standing. Traditional surfing is also a great strengthener for the shoulders and back.
Additional benefits of both activities are improved mood and stress relief. There's truly nothing better than spending time in the water to boost your spirit.
Where are the best places to go?
The best places to SUP are the calm places. Nearly every harbor has a calm side to it. Rivers and lakes share a calmness as well. As for surfing, tide, swell direction and wind directions effect all breaks differently. In the Northeast, Dartmouth to Rhode Island are best for south swells. For east swells Cape Cod is best. For north swells New Hampshire is best.
What is important to know about water etiquette?
Water etiquette is complicated for both surfing and SUP surfing. But it is a silent language that is global! No matter where you travel, you don't need the local language as long as you are following proper etiquette. In short: Never let go of your board and always look before you go. If you are going left, look to the right at the last second to make sure no one is coming. When going right, look left first.
Can I surf with a SUP board?
Many people ask, "Now that I own a SUP, can I surf with it?" The answer is yes. However, there has yet to be a harmony between SUPers and Surfers and for several pretty legitimate reasons:
1. Competition for waves
Surfers put their time in. They figure out how to surf (not easy) and they can only surf in certain places due to the coastline picking up swell in some spots and not in others. SUPers can go any place, including spots that surfers cannot, due to the volume of their boards. Also a SUP can paddle faster and catch more waves. This can get very frustrating for surfers if the guy on a SUP is being a "hog" This is done by simply taking all the waves. Its not very cool. All the surfers are quite capable of surfing on a SUP. They simply choose not to.
2. Potential for danger
SUPers don't know how to surf yet, and the ocean is dangerous all by itself! Current contours, rocks, hazards, etc. Best behavior and good etiquette keeps everyone safe.
When a new SUPer decides to paddle out at a surf spot, he or she is extremely dangerous. The larger the board, the harder it is to hold onto. If you let go of your board you are putting others in danger. No one wants to get hit by a ten foot board! And a ten foot board with a ten foot leash can reach a long way!
So if you want to surf your SUP, its best to learn how to surf first. It's safer and you will have a better time. In the surf zone, surfboards are much easier to handle, maneuver, change directions, duck under incoming waves, carry, and transport.
Get in the water and try something new!
Bottom line: if you want to increase your health and happiness, get out in the water and try something new this summer.
Dandelion greens are well-known for their nutritional benefits and are often used as food in salads, sautees, or smoothies. But have you thought about eating the lovely yellow flowers themselves? Dandelion flowers are bittersweet in flavor and have antioxidant properties that can help to support the immune system, maintain eye and heart health, and boost your mood.
Dandelion flowers can be satueed, added to salads, steeped as tea, or even pickled. And if you want to get creative, here are two innovative and beautiful recipes to try this summer, courtesy of Ashley Nunez at Gather and Roam.
Gluten-Free/Vegan Dandelion Flower Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
3/4 cup garbanzo bean flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup sunflower oil
1 cup water
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup maple syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cup dandelion petals (only the yellow, the green parts of the flower add bitterness)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine the flours, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the oil, water, vinegar, vanilla, maple syrup, and lemon juice until thoroughly blended. Slowly add the flour mixture until no clumps are remaining. Add in the flower petals until just blended through.
Divide the batter evenly among 12 lined or oiled muffin tin cups. For a decorative touch, sprinkle some petals on the tops of the muffins (they will fluff up in the oven!). Bake until tops are golden and firm to the touch, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool out of the baking rack, and enjoy!
Gluten-Free Coconut Dandelion Flower Cake
5/6 cup brown rice flour
1/3 + 1/6 cup millet flour (or can use wholly brown rice flour if preferred)
2/3 cup garbanzo bean flour
1 1/3 tsp baking soda
1/3 tsp salt
1/3 cup sunflower oil
1/6 cup coconut oil
1 cup water (can also substitute milk for a slightly richer cake)
1/3 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/3 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup maple syrup
1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1 cup dandelion petals (only the yellow, the green parts of the flower add bitterness)
1 1/2 sticks of unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup coconut oil (in softened, but still solid state)
4-6 tbsp raw honey (dependent on desired sweetness)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Generously oil two 9-inch cake pans with coconut oil. Set aside.
Combine the flours, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside. In a large bowl, combine the oil, water/milk, vinegar, vanilla, and maple syrup until thoroughly blended. Slowly whisk in the flour mixture. Add in the coconut and dandelion pets and mix until just blended through.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans (you will need two as it will overflow in one pan) and bake until the cake springs back when you press the center with your finger; about 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack until you can handle it, then remove from the baking pans and cool completely.
To prepare frosting, use a mixer or wooden spoon and beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add in the coconut oil and mix until thoroughly combined. Add the honey to taste (you may want more or less depending on your preference) and frost the cakes once cool. This will be a very loose frosting, so be gentle when spreading it on. For decoration, gather extra dandelion petals or coconut flakes and sprinkle on the tops and sides. Enjoy!
**Note on Dandelion Flowers** Please only harvest dandelion flowers from a reliable area you are sure has not been sprayed with pesticides. Unfortunately this rules out most public spaces and roadsides, but dandelions abound in most nooks and crannies so happy hunting! And if you happen to have extra petals, they make a wonderfully bright and cheery sun tea. Simply place them in a jar filled with water and let it sit out in the hot sun for a full day to enjoy.
What motivates us to turn good intentions into action? Angela Silva, Marion Institute's Accounting Manager, shares how she decided to become a "Big" sister and what she has learned about gratitude and compassion in the process:
How long have you been a "Big" sister?
I met my “Little”, Stephanie Nicole, in December 2012 and shortly after, I officially became her “Big”. My colleague, Zoe Hansen-DiBello, introduced me to the program. Zoe was a “Big” to Stephanie Nicole’s younger sister, Stacy. When Zoe would arrive to pick up Stacy at her home, she learned that Stacy had an older sister and thought how wonderful would it be for her to have a “Big” as well. I have always wanted to contribute to my community and this was a small way for me to have a large impact. I just had to step up!
What kinds of things do you do with your “Little” sister?
We have done all sorts of fun things together, from cooking to eating out at local restaurants; walking on the beach to spending time by my Aunt’s pool (that’s been a favorite of ours!). We’ve gone ice skating, glow in the dark miniature golfing and taken many trips to eat yummy ice cream on hot days. We’ve worked on homework and school projects together. We have also spent a lot of time talking and getting to know one another.
Has this program changed you in any way?
Before signing onto this program, I was unsure of whether or not I would be able to fully commit to it due to time limitations, capacity and just ‘life’. Something many of us, I’m sure, can relate to! The program requires a commitment of at least one year of mentoring and sharing four hours per month with your “Little”. This short amount of time has been instrumental in my life and I’d like to believe in my “Little’s” as well. It has taught me how important it is to find that time and space to dedicate your energy to a worthy cause that has the potential of having long term positive ripple effects. My “Little” has taught me more about gratitude and compassion than I can imagine. Not only am I there to serve and be a positive role model to Stephanie Nicole, we have built a friendship too. This experience has taught me about trust, how to build it and how important it is in life. Without trust, we wouldn’t have the relationship we have today.
“We often think trust is built by grand gestures at crucial moments in our lives, but trust is typically built with simplicity and small actions…It’s very clear. Trust is built in very small moments.” – Brene Brown
How do you think the program has changed or influenced your “Little” sister?
I believe it has shown Stephanie Nicole and her family that there are people right here in their community that genuinely care and want to make a difference. I remember the eye opening conversation we had about “volunteerism”. It was interesting to see their reaction when they realized I was not being paid to be a Big Sister, but doing this because I truly care and want to make an impact. Through this relationship, I feel that Stephanie Nicole knows that she can trust and rely on me for many things.
What would you say to those who are thinking about doing this or a similar program? Why should they take the plunge?
Do it! Sign up and make that difference! As part of the program, I’ve experienced firsthand how much of a positive impact you can be as a mentor. Statistics show that children who take part in some form of mentoring programs are less likely to get involved in adverse activities, including skipping school, doing drugs and using alcohol. As you can imagine, there’s a constant need for mentors in our communities. There’s currently a “waiting list” of youth. They need YOU and are WAITING for YOU as a mentor! For more information, visit their website or contact Deanna or Whitney at 508-990-0894.
- 1 of 118