Each year, the whole family makes a trip to the annual plant sale held by a local non-profit group called Wasatch Community Gardens. While I contribute recipes to their monthly newsletters, focusing on seasonal produce, and am always happy to connect with the staff and see the dedicated workers in action, the real excitement lies in picking out the vegetables and herbs for our raised planters. There are the stand-bys that make an appearance in our garden each year…zucchini, yellow squash, cherry tomatoes and a wide variety of herbs. But we don’t stop there.
The fun comes when our boys set off to pick out their special vegetable to plant for the year. For the 7-year old (T), the task is a slam dunk. He heads straight to the tomato section (he would happily eat them by the bucketful) and picks out the funkiest looking heirloom tomato plant of the bunch. The 10-year old (M) takes a little more time to make his choice. Sometimes he ends up with a plant that promises to produce deep violet eggplants and other times it may be a spicy pepper (as long as I promise to make salsa).
Of course, the lesson doesn’t really lie in the specific vegetables that fill our garden. Rather, it comes in setting the plant into the soil, in tending and nurturing it and, finally, in harvesting and eating food that grew in our own backyard. It gives my husband and I joy to see them run straight into the backyard after school to check on the plants, and to see their excited faces as they run to the door with a ripe specimen in their hands.
I will admit that we are unlikely to raise chickens in our backyard or to stop buying bananas which have traveled thousand of miles to reach our grocery store. However, I hope we can teach our kids to ask questions about where their food came from, to eat locally as much as possible and to encourage them to support growers who raise and grow food in a sustainable manner.
This Sunday, April 22nd, is Earth Day. In 2011, The Nature Conservancy introduced Picnic for the Planet, a fun event to encourage people to enjoy food and their loved ones while educating them about the benefits of eating sustainably raised and grown food. The Picnic for the Planet event encourages people to consider five things: Eat Local, Eat Smart, Eat Sustainably, Eat Green and Eat Out. People all over the world enjoyed picnics with their family and friends to celebrate the day. This year, The Nature Conservancy is reaching for new heights in their attempt to set a world record for the most people picnicking in a 24-hour period. Head to the Picnic for the Planet website to find out how participate. Scroll down in this post for a chance to win a fun picnic basket put together especially for this event.
Whether you plan to picnic on Earth Day or our planning to spread your gingham blanket on the grass later in the spring or summer, you will need some ideas for salads and sandwiches that are easy to pack and tote in your picnic basket. The recipes listed below are some of our favorites to take on picnics or camping trips.
The giveaway includes the following items (total value approximately $75 USD):
Coleman Collapsible canvas basket lined with gingham fabric
Official Picnic for the Planet merchandise (water bottle, tee, blanket, temporary tattoo)
Reusable bamboo utensil set by To-Go Ware
Peeled Snacks organic dried fruit
Green and Black chocolate bar
Back to Nature crackers and cookies
Burt’s Bees chapstick
This giveaway is open to residents of the United States 18 years of age or older and will be open until Sunday, April 22nd, 2012 at 5pm PST.
The winner will be chosen using a random number generator and will be notified via email, so please make sure your email address is correct. You will have 48 hours to respond to me, or a new winner will be chosen.
REQUIRED: To enter, just leave a comment on this post.
OPTIONAL: To earn additional entries, leave separate comments for each of the steps listed below. If you already follow/”like” The Nature Conservancy or Cookin’ Canuck, just let me know that in your comments.
1. Follow The Nature Conservancy on Twitter.
2. Follow Cookin’ Canuck on Twitter.
3. “Like” The Nature Conservancy on Facebook.
4. “Like”Cookin’ Canuck on Facebook.
5. Share on your Facebook page and leave me the link (click on the time stamp of your “share” to access the link).
For additional chances to win this picnic basket and for some fantastic picnic ideas for Earth Day, be sure to visit these other sites:
Disclaimer: The Nature Conservancy provided the baskets for this giveaway.