Green meals and children work well together. Kids can work with various houses of worship and community centers to help grow vegetables and fruits in the back yards of these houses of worship to feed the hungry.
There’s a national green revolution in traditional holiday festive meals served by a wide diversity of houses of worship on the grounds of the various houses of worship. The practice is spreading and is called the greening of the traditions along with other titles. On one side, local ingredients are sought. On the other side, communities usually have very successful diverse ethnic markets specializing in imported foods from a wide variety of countries.
For example a house of worship can grow a particular vegetable used in meals for various ethnic communities celebrating their holidays. That way, kids learn about other people’s customs or their own. For example, back in 2010, Sacramento’s Congregation B’nai Israel, a synagogue, served parsley grown in the synagogue’s own recently planted garden. See the March 29, 2010 Sacramento Bee article by Carla Meyer, “Food for Passover goes eco-aware.” Apply that to any house of worship of any faith or community centers in the secular form, and a public house where people gather for socializing or other meetings that has land around it can grow food for the hungry of that community or town.
On the White House lawn, Michelle Obama a few years ago, according to a March 19, 2009 article started growing a White House organic victory garden. See the article, “Michelle Obama to grow White House organic victory garden.”
Nearly all family members as well as the grounds crew and kitchen staff cares for the garden. The 1,100 square foot plot features a wide variety of vegetables, herbs and fruits to include 55 varieties of vegetables, a patch of berries and two bee hives for honey, according to that article. The organic seedlings were started at the executive mansion’s greenhouses. “Total cost for the seeds, mulch,” and other garden tools, added up to only $200.
Start a food garden at your own house of worship yard
You, too can start a garden at your house of worship backyard, if the soil is clean enough to grow food. To learn how, see the USDA’s article, Filling the Hunger Gap: All Kinds of Projects for All Kinds of People [PDF].
In Sacramento, the parsley grown in Congregation B’nai Israel’s garden was dipped in salt water as part of the Passover Seder a few years ago. The parsley symbolizes rebirth and the spring season. On a modern note, the greening of houses of worship by serving eco-aware food also reflects, according to the Sacramento Bee article, “the evolution of food associated with Passover.”
It’s an eight-day festival that encourages spiritual renewal. Although the holiday commemorates the Jews’ escape from the bondage of slavery in Egypt, for everyone globally, the holiday encourages renewal, recycling, and eco-awareness, such as the greening of the food.
For that matter, each year, St. Patrick’s day also might represent the greening of the food as well on an eco-awareness note. For more information on the greening of the food, check out the food blog by Ron Eshman called Foodaism.
What’s upcoming in May are various national months, which can be the reason to celebrate by planting a food garden in a place where people meet.
The symbol of the spring, summer, Memorial Day, the greening of the food garden in the various houses of worship as a motivator also is about liberating consumers from the bondage of eating only from the industrial food system when there are so many other choices in how you ‘green’ your food. So why be a slave to a diet that’s not making you well?
As tradition meets eco-awareness, the movement is about substituting healthier foods for traditional foods that may not be that healthy. The Seder, for example has dietary rules. But it allows the vegetables to be organic, for example.
Make food for children a reason to be eco-aware, to see social responsibility
The idea is to take all holidays and/or feasts for all religions and see how you can make food eco-aware, taking in the idea of social responsibility as your garden grows ‘greener,’ in the symbolic sense. Passover, and all the other holidays of March and April now unite a variety of peoples that also celebrate “the wearing of the green,” with those that also celebrate “the planting and eating of the green.”
Show kids responsibility for planting green gardens that feed the hungry. Community urban gardens have caught on so well with the idea and the evolution of dietary traditions that even houses of worship are planting their own gardens with food served to the congregants. Might this idea spread globally? Even the White House now has its own organic vegetable garden on its grounds. The goal is to use local ingredients. It’s also about sustainability.
A green garden of sustainability and eco-awareness
Speaking of eco-awareness and the recycling of seasons, see the website of the Sacramento Biofuels Network. It’s about turning waste vegetable oil into a clean fuel for any diesel engine. Always call first to make an appointment when and where you can recycle your used vegetable oil.
For example, what do you do with vegetable cooking oil after you fry your holiday deep fried foods? You can now recycle your used vegetable fryer oil for local renewable biofuels production through Sacramento’s community recycling network called Cooking Oil Recycling Campaign or CORC. See the website, Sacramento Biofuels Network: Recycle Your Used Fryer Oil for Biofuels.
Recycling vegetable oil that gets turned into biofuel
After you let the vegetable oil cool to room temperature after frying, drain it back into the container you purchased the oil in or a similar clean, leak proof container and drop it off at one of the following locations, and one of the locations happens to be a church parking lot. But again, always call first to make sure someone is there to help you. Call the Arcade Baptist Church at 3927 Marconi Ave, Sacramento.
You’ll need an appointment to make sure someone will be in the parking lot to take your oil and recycle it. You have to call first to make an appointment when someone can be there. If you live in other areas of Sacramento, there also are other locations you can take your vegetable oil to for recycling. But always call first to make an appointment and to see whether the recycling is still being done at the various locations. The other locations are listed at the Sacramento Biofuels Network website. In your city, you can set up a place to collect and recycle cooking oils. Check with your local houses of worship whether their parking lots can be used for recycling on a day when the religious services are not going on.
So think of the various houses of worship as either planting food or recycling vegetable oil. And spread the word about going greener. It’s a liberating experience to work with children in your own city to make gardens greener.