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August 2017
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Cranberry part of Hoosier history

Native pucker — Cranberries once flourished in northern Indiana, where they grew in bogs and wetlands. Photo courtesy Michigan Department of Agriculture

Native pucker — Cranberries once flourished in northern Indiana, where they grew in bogs and wetlands. Photo courtesy Michigan Department of Agriculture

When we think of traditional Thanksgiving foods from the Hoosier garden, corn, squash, beans, apples and pumpkin come to mind.

But, if we transport ourselves back 150 years, we had wild cranberries (Vaccinuim macrocarpon) harvested from bogs and wetlands in the northern part of Indiana at the meal.

These acidic, ruby fruits are an important part of American history. Native Americans called the native cranberry sassamanash and reportedly served it at the famous Massachusetts meal known as the first Thanksgiving.

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Edible plants at the White House and your house

Eat the View — Whoever wins the White House will be invited to eat food grown on the White House lawn. Photos courtesy Roger Doiron/EatTheView.org

Eat the View — Whoever wins the White House will be invited to eat food grown on the White House lawn. Photos courtesy Roger Doiron/EatTheView.org

We expect change in the White House with this election and some of us are looking for more than a new occupant. We want a new view.

Meet Roger Doiron, who about three months ago launched Eat the View!, a Web-based drive that encourages use of edible plants in high impact, highly visible places, beginning with the White House lawn.

Previous residents grew food crops and allowed animals to graze on the White House lawn, said Doiron, founder of Kitchen Gardeners International, which is devoted to people who love to grow, cook and eat their own food.

“What we’re trying to point out with our campaign is that edibles have been an important part of the White House landscape in the past starting as early as the year 1800, when President John Adams moved into the White House as its first occupant. We’re not talking about a new idea, but dusting off an old one and making it new again. Growing fruits and vegetables at the White House made sense before and, given the changes taking place in our world, it makes sense again,” Doiron said.

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More gardeners will grow food this year, survey says

With food costs on the rise, more people will plant vegetable gardens this year.

Thirty-nine percent of gardeners planned to spend money on vegetable and fruit plants, according to the 2008 Early Spring Survey conducted for the Garden Writers Association by TechnoMetrica, a market intelligence company in Oradell, N.J.

That’s up from 32 percent in 2007 and 28 percent in 2006, according to the annual GWA surveys.
GWA is the sponsor, too, for Plant a Row for the Hungry, a 14-year initiative that has put more than 12.8 million pounds of food on the tables of individuals, families and others who don’t have enough to eat.

The idea is simple and easy — when plotting your vegetable garden, Plant a Row for the Hungry by designating a section for food that will be donated to a soup kitchen, food pantry, church or other organization that feed the hungry. If you grow your food in containers, you can designate one for feeding the hungry.

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Sustainability goal of urban farm project

An urban farm program has germinated in Indianapolis, and like gardens everywhere, it holds seeds of hope, sharing and knowledge.

The program is the brainchild of Matthew Jose, a North Central High School graduate who attended Wesleyan University in Connecticut for a year before dropping out to work on a farm in Massachusetts.

Once his hands got dirty, Jose, 24, just never stopped. He worked in community garden projects in New York City and Portland, Ore.,before returning to his Hoosier roots and a job with Purdue University’s Marion County Extension Office, where he’s been about a year.

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