By Erin Dodds, Chairman of the Green Committee
What are your resolutions for 2017? My favorite goals are the ones I set with my children. Kids love to feel like they are part of important family decisions and I find it easier to stick to resolutions when there are little eyes keeping me honest. This year, my girls and I have committed to spending even more time planning our meals around locally available meat and produce, and we are already making plans to expand our kitchen garden this spring. What are some small steps you and your family can take to be greener citizens in 2017?
Recycling and composting are hot topics in the PIFS classrooms right now, so ask your child if he or she would like to do more of that with you at home. If you really want to have some fun, you might want to consider composting with worms. Yes, WORMS! Just before the holiday break, we expanded our composting initiative at PIFS and added worm composting to the Science Room. If you aren’t ready to welcome the little wrigglers into your family, feel free to make frequent visits to the Science Room with your child to see what our worms are up to. For those of you ready to take the plunge, check out these worm bins you can start at home.
Do you and your PIFS student want to explore gardening together this summer? Growing your own produce is a wonderful commitment to your family’s nutrition and to the environment as a whole. A recent study led by David Cleveland at the University of Santa Barbara found that for every kilogram of vegetables you grow yourself, you reduce greenhouse gas emissions by two kilograms, compared with buying produce from a store. Modern Farmer recently ran a great article on this: Are Backyard Gardens a Weapon Against Climate Change?
What We Are Reading
This is one of my favorite non-fiction books of all time. I reread it every spring! It’s an easy read because Barbara Kingsolver can write about anything and make it riveting. Many of you may recognize the author’s name from the world of fiction, but this is a fascinating look at Ms. Kingsolver’s personal life and family. For one year, she and her family committed to eating only food they could grow or raise on their own or purchase from a local farmer. This book is what originally inspired me to change our family’s eating habits and highlighted the importance of supporting local farms and the farmers who work tirelessly to grow food for us.
What We Are Cooking
In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, featured above, Barbara Kingslover includes delicious family recipes from their year eating only locally grown or raised food. Here is an appropos recipe we enjoy from the chapter, “What Do You Eat In January?”
Butternut Bean Soup (serves 4)
- 1½ cups dried white beans, soaked overnight and drained
- 3 medium Portobello mushroom caps, sliced (optional)
- 6 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon thyme
- 1 tablespoon sage
- 4 teaspoons rosemary
- 2 butternut or hubbard squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
Combine beans and spices in a large saucepan, add water to cover amply, and simmer for 30-40 minutes, until beans are tender and most water has cooked off. Add mushrooms toward the end.
While beans are cooking, drizzle a large roasting pan with olive oil and arrange squash skin side down. Cook at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, until fully tender when pierced with a fork.
Remove from oven and serve each half squash filled with a generous scoop of bean soup.
Field Trip – Friday, February 10th @ 9:15 a.m.
We are thrilled to announce a really fun opportunity coming up for us next week… Mike Geller, of Mike’s Organic Delivery, will meet us in his pop-up market to speak with us about local farms, eating sustainably, and the farmers he works with. He’ll have cold brew coffee and a few other goodies for us to sample, plus we will have time to shop the market and load up on fresh items for the weekend. The best part is, he plans to donate 10% of the proceeds back to PIFS!
Save the Dates
Tuesday, February 7 @ 11:30 a.m.
Guest speakers Orla Cashman and Steven Bennett
“The Effects and Management of Screen Time”
Tuesday, February 14 @ 8:45 a.m.
Green Committee meeting