Let the Solutionary Summer Commence

By: Eli Shepherd from Iowa City Summer of Solutions

The end of fall marked the rekindling of planning and organization. Winter came and plans were made, the leadership team organized. January rolled around and said team journeyed to Chicago for several days of intensive and enlightening training. Spring brought both metaphorical April showers and May flowers as plans and programs were dreamed up, debated, shot down, and solidified. Participant applications and grants alike came sporadically. Now it all comes down to summer.

The turning of the calendar to June marks the start of the Summer of Solutions. So, while program leaders like myself, Nick, and Kate (our 2013 leadership team) are scrambling to master our trainings and tie down the loose ends before our June 10 start date here in sunny, flooded Iowa City, I thought I would share an anecdote and a recipe from here in Iowa City!

The Three C’s: Community, Carrots, and Black Beans?

This summer our garden project Iowa City Roots will be cultivating community and carrots, cabbage, celery, cauliflower, collards along with numerous other non ”c” vegetables. Speaking of non “c” vegetables we hope to cultivate a few black turtle bean plants in the spirit of an Iowa pioneer in the black bean field, Jason Grimm of Grimm Family Farms in North English, Iowa. He is a farmer by hobby and is expanding his not-so-typical Iowa crop at the encouragement of Scott Koepke of New Pioneer Food Co-op’s Soilmates school garden program. Scott keeps a ziplock bag of not-so-typical Iowa seeds over his desk with the words “to be grown locally” scribbled on its exterior.

Cool Backyard Kale, Cucumber, and Strawberry Smoothies

Kale HarvestThe Red Russian Kale plants in my backyard hit their first harvest point just yesterday on the first of June. In order to maximize your nutritional value intake and total harvest be sure to harvest your kale frequently by cutting off mature leaves from the stem frequently and consuming them as immediately as possible thereafter. I love to throw kale bunches into the blender with a few fresh fruits to make some de-licious smoothies. Here’s a quick recipe idea for y’all. Just blend it all together at once and enjoy!

SONY DSCLocal Ingredients:

5 slices cucumber

5-10 leaves kale

1 handful strawberries

Other Ingredients:

1 banana

10 oz orange juice

861446_173818179432187_71111045_oAuthor: Eli Shepherd just finished his junior year at Iowa City City High School, and he is a program leader with Iowa City Summer of Solutions.  He is also the founder of Foliage Skateboards, “an environmentally-friendly, community-focused skateboard company.”

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