All posts tagged local events

NEST … with a few books we’re enjoying + happy 1st day of spring

Happy 1st day of Spring! We’re anxiously awaiting garden time and more outside time in general. As you can see below we couldn’t wait any longer to start planting seeds. Every square inch of sunny space is taken up by seedlings waiting to get outside. Gardening is a lot of work but each year I get more and more excited about it. It really feeds my soul to be in the dirt and the science is there to back that up. Here’s a great article to get you inspired about gardening. I love the harvest “high” they talk about. I can really relate to all of the mental benefits.



Here are a few books we’ve been enjoying from the library lately. With avid readers in the house we’re there at least once a week so it’s pretty easy to have a running list of books on reserve.

Pascual and the Kitchen Angels by Tomie DePaola … so many of his books are favorites of ours. In this one Pascual, a young boy, joins the Franciscans and is told to cook for them but doesn’t know how. Kitchen angels come down and cook for him while he spends his time in prayer. We can all glean valuable lessons from this book. Now, if we only had kitchen angels to deliver our freshly cooked meals! That sounds heavenly.

Here’s a long list of Tomie DePaola books to look for at the library. So many good ones!

The Gardener by Sarah Stewart. So many great themes in this book and perfect for spring. It’s a heartwarming story of life’s struggles and new growth – garden growth and personal growth. My little gardener girl loves this one.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind  by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer.

I heard about William Kamkwamba and his windmills a few years ago but just recently found the picture book explaining the story and then the kids and I watched his very first TED X talk. If you haven’t seen the TED X talks with William Kamkwamba, watch this one first. Now watch this one, 2 years after the first! The boys were very inspired by William and his determination and inquisitive ways. Next, Jack plans to read this one.


Blue on Blue by Dianne White with illustrations by Beth Krommes. This one has rhymimg text describing a thunderstorm with incredible artwork by the Caldecott Award Winner Beth Krommes.

Here’s a little description of scratchboard art, the technique that the illustrator uses to create her highly visual artwork.



To get into the Spring spirit we went to volunteer with Clockwork, at Cultivate KC. Just the thing to kickstart the gardening bug! We helped out at their Gibbs Road Farm transplanting seedlings to larger pots and preparing an area for a cover crop of clover. I’ve written about this fantastic urban farm catalyst for Kansas City here before, if you would like to know more about their mission.

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Cultivate KC also hosts Urban Grown, a fantastic garden tour featuring Kansas City urban farms and farmers and the dates for the 2015 tour are set for June 27-28th. This is such a fun tour, I always learn so much!


Dates for upcoming Local Food Expos and Transplant Sales

Kansas City’s Eat Local and Organic Food Expo

March 28, 2015
9:00 am – 2:00 pm
Johnson County Community College (JCCC) Gym 

April 11, 2015
9:30 am- 2:30 pm
MCC Penn Valley Community College Gym

Gibbs Road Farm Transplant Sale, Saturday, April 25, 2015 8:00 am – 1:00 pm
The Bad Seed Transplant Sale, Friday April 18th 4-9 p.m.
Enjoy this 1st day of Spring and chime in with any children’s books you’ve been enjoying lately.
– Julie

NOURISH … gleaning food for society of saint andrew | SOSA

NOTE : SOSA West has closed doors. The new local Kansas City Gleaning organization is called After the Harvest



This summer we have had the chance to volunteer a few times for Society of Saint Andrew’s (SOSA) and it’s such an incredible organization doing so much good. SOSA is a national organization but they have a regional office here in Kansas City. They work with local farmers who donate extra food they grow or sometimes farmers that grow food solely for donating to SOSA. Then they rely on volunteers to come and glean the food for donation.  How great to be able to harvest and donate freshly grown food, that would otherwise go to waste, to food pantries as an alternative to the more common boxed, canned, and processed food. They LOVE to have families come and help with collecting food from the farms and it’s a great way to teach children about where their food comes from. So far we have helped prepare a field for planting watermelons that we will soon be gleaning from and we have gleaned lettuces, swiss chard, kale, and turnips. Groups that volunteer can decide if they would like to take the food to their own church food pantry or SOSA will take it to a pantry in need right after harvesting the food. The times that we have collected, we were able to take food directly to a local food kitchen and experience first hand who would be nourished by the food that day.

If you are interested in volunteering for SOSA, contact Karin Page through this website for SOSA west (the regional office) and ask to be added to their emails. If you are in another area of the country visit their main website here and find out how you can help. They are also willing to come and speak to groups before volunteering to engage interest and then they will send out emails for upcoming opportunities. Right now is prime time for harvesting so much in our area along with gleans at apple orchards and pumpkin and squash farms. Anyone local has probably heard of Carolyn’s Country Cousins. In November, they have their annual million pound squash glean where they take the harvested squash to food banks throughout the great plains and they really need volunteers for this.

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Taking a break to taste some turnips.






This fantastic Farmer, Joe Jennings(farmer joe), in the background donates an extremely large portion of what he grows. He is always there working when we arrive and continues to work while we glean. He believes in giving what you have to receive all that is good and often asks “Who have you helped today? If you haven’t helped anyone, you haven’t helped yourself.” He also offers a CSA subscription where you can come and pick your own vegetables and fruits throughout the season whenever you would like. If you have an interest you can contact Karin Page through SOSA for his information.


Sometimes, after gleaning, the kids have the opportunity to weigh the food and write down the amounts so that SOSA can track how much food has been harvested.

Below are just a few current requests for volunteers from their current newsletter. These are such fantastic ways to connect with your family and friends and build a nourishing community. Again, please contact Karin Page at SOSA if any of these sound interesting to you.

Apples: August – November: Sign up Now to glean! Starting this weekend we will be gleaning apples until the first freeze.  Please help us save millions of apples this year by getting your school, scout troop, rotary club, church, synagogue, youth groups, business, food pantry, family, friends, neighborhood, to help us pick apples. The apple trees are at orchards and homes in Overland Park, Olathe, Bonner Springs, Weston, Kansas City, KS, and Independence and Lexington, MO.  Please contact me and let me know what day (Monday through Saturday) that you’d like to glean!

The MILLION Pound Squash Glean: November 3rd – 9th. NOTE THIS INFORMATION IS FROM LAST YEAR.

Please SIGN UP in advance for this glean – we will be at Carolyn’s Country Cousin Pumpkin Patch Sunday through Saturday, Nov. 3rd – 9th.  We will have semi-trucks from foodbanks all over the Great Plains states coming to get squash. I need at least 1,000 volunteers over this 7 day period to make this happen!  See the attached flyer for more information.

2 acre Sweet Corn Glean in Bucyrus, KS (25 min south of KC).  Possibly Saturday, August 10th or Monday August 12th (or maybe even the Friday before) we will be picking corn in Bucyrus, KS. This farm is just 1.25 miles from exit 223, so it’s very easy to get to and it’s not far from KC.  Please clear your calendars for this glean. We can get this easily if we had 100 volunteers.  You know the drill: we need pickers and drivers! Tell everyone you know!

Virtual Volunteers Needed. We need one person to help us keep track of Table Captains and attendees for our “After the Harvest” Breakfast in October. We will be starting to recruit attendees, as soon as we find a willing volunteer to help us keep track of names and e-mail addresses of attendees in an excel spreadsheet. If this is your cup of tea, please let me know ASAP.

Help us find volunteers. We need people to help find volunteers (calling scouts, schools, churches, pantries, etc.) to notify them of our upcoming apples and squash glean.  Please let me know if you can help us!

Thanks SOOOOO very, very much for helping us save this nutritious food and get it to people in need!  This year we have saved over 823,380 pounds, but I’d like to make it an extra 2,000,000 with apples and squashes!

So many great ways to help…please pass this on to any groups or families that you know that might like to be involved with this fantastic organization.


NEST + NOURISH … with urban grown farms and gardens tour | kansas city

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It is so incredible to see how much this event has flourished over the years and excited for the kickoff this weekend. Check here for event listings and like the Cultivate KC facebook page for updates on events and special features on participating farms. Order tickets for the tour here.

This is a great event to participate in and to immerse your children in the workings of local urban farms. If you are not from Kansas City be sure to check on your local urban farm network and tour a farm or maybe even volunteer. Some farms are more than willing to offer some nice healthy veggies as wages for a little work on the farm!

If you are not able to make it to this event seek out another way for your children to explore a local farm, or your own backyard, and learn a little about how healthy, sustainable food is grown. HINT : children tend to like food that they grow themselves!

– Julie