Thursday, July 16, 2009

Community gardens, a growing trend

It's homegrown and you can do it with your own hands
By Mary Reid Barrow
The Virginian-Pilot

Bean vines are being trained on string to grow from the ground up and twine around the umbrella spokes – a bean pole of sorts.

Other whimsical touches dot the paths , vegetables and flowers on the 20-by-20-foot plot of land that the couple rents for $400 a season.

Several times a week, Friedman and Schaefer travel 25 minutes from their home on Broad Bay Island in Virginia Beach to plant, weed and enjoy their “great little spot in the country,” as Friedman calls it.

Theirs is one of 13 organic garden plots at Pungo Naturals Farm at 1813 Gum Bridge Road. Owners Linda and Kevin Sullivan not only rent plots but also grow organic produce for Community Supported Agriculture baskets.

Spurred on by trends across the country , including Buy Fresh Buy Local and the Slow Food movements, along with symbols like Michelle Obama’s vegetable garden at the White House, Pungo Naturals and several other community gardens of sorts have sprouted in the area this year.

The economy’s downtown, a desire to reduce one’s carbon footprint to protect the environment, concern for food safety, and cravings for tasty fresh food drive folks to pick up hoes and work the earth themselves.

Food safety is one of the aspects important to Schaefer.

“I do think people should be aware of where their food comes from,” she said.

That was one of many reasons that Virginia Beach Horticulture Extension agent Susan French urged the Virginia Beach Master Gardeners to plant a demonstration vegetable garden at the Virginia Beach Farmers Market in Virginia Beach.

“Last year, I was inundated with calls from individuals seeking information on vegetable gardens,” French said.

People were not only interested in food safety, she said, but they also wanted to save money. Many had a heightened environmental awareness, and almost everybody was interested in providing good, nutritious food for their families.

See:Community gardens, a growing trend

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Can Turmeric Relieve Pain?

One Of The Most Versatile And Powerful Medicinal Herbs
KNN Staff

The health benefits of turmeric are extremely well known, stretching back to ancient times. Turmeric has a long standing reputation as a potent medicinal herb capable of improving NUMEROUS health conditions.

Turmeric has been the subject of a sizable amount of research into its potential as an anti-cancer agent as well as its tumor suppressing properties; anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidant capacity.

But There's MORE! Additional health benefits of turmeric are observed through its pain suppressing ability. Most of the studies to date have been on animals however Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine have recorded the medicinal health benefits of turmeric in humans over a long period of time.

Studies suggest the most recognized health benefits of turmeric to be:

-Treating digestive disorders
-As an anti-inflammatory agent (e.g. treatment of osteoarthritis)
-Treatment of arteriosclerosis – may cause a reduction in bad cholesterol that can lead to blockage of the arteries.
-Preliminary studies suggest a potential treatment for certain cancers – breast, colon, prostate and skin (only low-quality studies in humans have been conducted)
-Reducing activity of roundworms and intestinal worms
-Protection from liver disease
-Preventing bacterial infection in wounds
-Healing wounds
-Eye disorder – possible (natural) treatment for uveitis

Turmeric health antioxidant capacity was examined as part of a German research study during 2003 (Screening pharmaceutical preparations containing extracts of turmeric rhizome, artichoke leaf, devil's claw root and garlic oil for antioxidant capacity).

Besides being used for its therapeutic activity, turmeric is also extremely popular as a food additive (spice). It has been used in Asian cookery for thousands of years.