Thursday, March 3, 2011

Cultivating a Healthy Community

A few weeks ago I found my Spring 2011 edition of The Herb Quarterly waiting ever so patiently for me in my mailbox.  I was so excited!  I sat down and began to thumb through the pages to get a general overview of the exciting things I was about to learn and as I turned to the last page and began to read, an overwhelming sense of urgency came across me.  You see, this article was not just your everyday Garden "How-to", it was a beautiful piece on a non-profit organization by the name of Hope Outreach and I would love to share with you the important information I took from this.
Hope Outreach is a nondenominational nonprofit in Oklahoma who is dedicated to helping disadvantaged people become self-sufficient.  Five years ago they opened a day care center for the homeless population of Enid, OK.  But providing housing and food for these people just wasn't enough for them so they turned a city block into an herb, vegetable, small fruit, and flower garden called Faith Farm, and encouraged the homeless to work in the garden as they also wanted to empower these individuals emotionally and psychologically.  Faith Farm director Kate Morrison says their mission is to teach skills and repair self-esteem through teamwork and social interaction.  She is quoted as saying, "So much of building self-esteem is cause and effect, and a garden provides a way to show that.  If you water and care for something, you will have a harvest.  For people who haven't had a lot of positive reinforcement in their lives, a garden shows them that they can have success."
I finished reading the article and I thought to myself, “WOW! What a positive and creative way to help those less fortunate and to not only help them, but to help the community”.  That is why I am so passionate about being a part of Urban Seeds.  We have such a drive for educating Evansville on the positive impact of teaching sustainable living, organic gardening, recycling and healthy eating.  We have chosen to focus our efforts on the city’s school age children as we believe that setting a good foundation in their sense of health and well-being, their environment and their overall self confidence will not only build a healthier, more informed adult but cultivate a healthier community.
We are embarking on an incredible journey and would love for you to come along for the ride!  Urban Seeds has been awarded a grant by the Welborn Baptist Foundation and our goal is to increase access, awareness and utilization of locally grown and prepared food options by providing routine educational opportunities to youth and their families related to container, urban, and community gardening, fruit tree and bush care and cooking classes, implement a Garden to School pilot in collaboration with two area schools through their cafeteria and curriculum/extracurricular programming, initiate Farm to School discussions between local growers and area schools and serve as a technical advisor to the development and sustainability of the Glenwood Farmers Market project.
If you would like to find out more information about our project and how you can get involved, please visit our website at

Peas and Love,
Nicole Cornett
Vice President

Saturday, January 22, 2011

75 things you didn't know you could compost!

The basics of composting are simple. Most people know they can compost fruit and vegetable peels, leaves, and grass clippings. But what about that tea bag you used this morning? Or the fur that collects in the brush when you groom your cat?
The following list is meant to get you thinking about your compost possibilities. Not every item on the list is for everyone, and that's fine. Imagine how much trash we could prevent from going into the landfills if each of us just decided to compost a few more things.
Here are 75 ideas to get you started.

From the Kitchen

  1. Coffee grounds and filters
  2. Tea bags
  3. Used paper napkins
  4. Pizza boxes, ripped into smaller pieces
  5. Paper bags, either ripped or balled up
  6. The crumbs you sweep off of the counters and floors
  7. Plain cooked pasta
  8. Plain cooked rice
  9. Stale bread
  10. Paper towel rolls
  11. Stale saltine crackers
  12. Stale cereal
  13. Used paper plates (as long as they don't have a waxy coating)
  14. Cellophane bags (be sure it's really Cellophane and not just clear plastic -- there's a difference.)
  15. Nut shells (except for walnut shells, which can be toxic to plants)
  16. Old herbs and spices
  17. Stale pretzels
  18. Pizza crusts
  19. Cereal boxes (tear them into smaller pieces first)
  20. Wine corks
  21. Moldy cheese
  22. Melted ice cream
  23. Old jelly, jam, or preserves
  24. Stale beer and wine
  25. Paper egg cartons
  26. Toothpicks
  27. Bamboo skewers
  28. Paper cupcake or muffin cups

From the Bathroom

  1. Used facial tissues
  2. Hair from your hairbrush
  3. Toilet paper rolls
  4. Old loofahs
  5. Nail clippings
  6. Urine
  7. 100% cotton cotton balls
  8. Cotton swabs made from 100% cotton and cardboard (not plastic) sticks

Personal Items

It might be a good idea to bury these items in your pile. Just sayin'.
  1. Cardboard tampon applicators
  2. Latex condoms

From the Laundry Room

  1. Dryer lint
  2. Old/stained cotton clothing -- rip or cut it into smaller pieces
  3. Old wool clothing -- rip or cut it into smaller pieces

From the Office

  1. Bills and other documents you've shredded
  2. Envelopes (minus the plastic window)
  3. Pencil shavings
  4. Sticky notes
  5. Business cards (as long as they're not glossy)
  6. Receipts

Around the House

  1. Contents of your vacuum cleaner bag or canister
  2. Newspapers (shredded or torn into smaller pieces)
  3. Subscription cards from magazines
  4. Leaves trimmed from houseplants
  5. Dead houseplants and their soil
  6. Flowers from floral arrangements
  7. Natural potpourri
  8. Used matches
  9. Ashes from the fireplace, barbecue grill, or outdoor fire pit

Party and Holiday Supplies

  1. Wrapping paper rolls
  2. Paper table cloths
  3. Crepe paper streamers
  4. Latex balloons
  5. Raffia
  6. Excelsior
  7. Jack o' Lanterns
  8. Those hay bales you used as part of your outdoor fall decor
  9. Natural holiday wreaths
  10. Your Christmas tree -- chop it up with some pruners first (or use a wood chipper, if you have one)
  11. Evergreen garlands


  1. Fur from the dog or cat brush
  2. Droppings and bedding from your rabbit/gerbil/hamsters, etc.
  3. Newspaper/droppings from the bottom of the bird cage
  4. Feathers
  5. Alfalfa hay or pellets (usually fed to rabbits)
  6. Rawhide dog chews
  7. Fish food
  8. Dry dog or cat food
I know that the longer I've had a compost pile, the more likely I've been to take a second look at something I was preparing to throw in the trash. "Hmm. Can I compost this?" is a frequent question in my house. And, as you can see, it's surprising how often you can answer "Yes!"
(By Samantha, selected from Planet Green Blog)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

February 10, 2011 Meeting
Please mark this on your calendar as this meeting will be full of information that you will not want to miss!  Please be thinking about what you feel you can contribute to our organization or if you know someone who would be interested in holding a position.  We will be discussing this in further detail at the meeting as well. This meeting is going to be jam-packed with information so come prepared with your notebook and pen!  We are requesting an RSVP to this meeting so we know how many to plan for.  You may RSVP to this meeting by emailing us at  

Educational Learning Series
We are very pleased to announce that we will be starting a monthly Educational Learning Series beginning in February 2011.  These classes will range from how to start seeds indoors, building a raised garden bed, making your own baby food to cooking classes and more!  These classes will be held at Central Library on Saturday mornings from 9am-11am.  Please visit our webpage at to get in-depth information and to RSVP.  If you have a specific request or would like to teach a class, please email us and we will do our best to accommodate.

March Meeting
Our next organizational meeting will be held at Oaklyn Branch Library on Thursday, March 24th at 6:30pm.  Please plan to attend as we will be discussing Board nominations, our upcoming Garden Party and Fundraiser and many more items on the agenda.  Please RSVP for this meeting by emailing us at

Monday, January 10, 2011

January Newsletter

2011 is going to be an exciting new beginning for Urban Seeds!  

We are very excited to share the changes we have in store for this year and get your input as well.  We will be holding our first meeting of 2011 on Thursday, February 10th at Oaklyn Branch Library at 6:30pm.  Please mark this on your calendar as this meeting will be full of information that you will not want to miss!  Spread the word and invite your friends, family and co-workers as well....the more the merrier!

We also need to get back to the basics and rebuild our Board.  Please be thinking about what you feel you can contribute to our organization or if you know someone who would be interested in holding a position.  We will be discussing this in further detail at the meeting as well. 

This meeting is going to be jam-packed with information so come prepared with your notebook and pen!  

We are very excited about 2011 and hope to see you at the meeting!!!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Planning your garden in town

So you want to have a garden? Well, the best thing to do is first figure out where? If you live in Evansville, IN, chances are the soil has lead and mercury in it, so you may want to get the soil tested. If that isn't an option for money or time purposes, you have other options.

Container gardening:

Growing food in containers is easy and cheap. Anything will make a great container. Recycled 2 liter or plastic 1 gallon milk containers with the tops cut off work perfect. If you don't have them, look in your neighbors reclycing box. Please ask first. I'm sure they wouldn't mind. It's just trash to them.

Then make sure you order good seeds. has heirloom seeds. Heirloom seeds have been saved over generations and are NOT genetically modified. They are fairly inexpensive as well. Start out with a few containers of things you like to eat. Tomatoes, squash, pepper and greens are all easy to grow in containers. Whatever you decide on, make sure you start small.

Today is a great day for getting those containers ready. It's time to begin! You can get organic potting soil at your local Rural King or at Lowe's. Or call one of the local gardening shops. They may have that as well.

This is the first step for container gardening.

Planting come this weekend. We palnt by the Moon. I will explain that at a later date.

Lasagna Gardening:

Lasagna gardening is a method using your yard, but making sure the soil is safe without testing or tilling. Tilling is bad for the soil in my humble opinion. It kills good bacteria, worms, and just make things harder. To begin a lasagna garden, you will need a 1-0 x 10 area in your yard. Start small if this is your first garden.

You will need:

Cardboard boxes- enough to cover the area you plot out (no waxy ones please), they repel water which is something your plants will need.
Newspaper - no shiny ones. They are not good ink and they also repel water sometimes.
Leaves, (preferably mulched and lot's of them.
Peat Moss
Compost or organic potting soil. You can use composted (3 - 5 year old cow or horse manure as well. ) Lot's of farmers will give it away. Just make sure it is old enough or will be burn your plants and kill them.

Here is Patricia Lanza's instructions. She wrote the book, so go with her instructions.

Now just have fun! That's what gardens are all about. Oh wait.... the food will be fabulous!