Category Archives: Volunteerism

FNCE 2014 in Atlanta, Georgia

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It is that time again with FNCE 2014 (Food Nutrition Conference and Expo) from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  Since this year it is in Atlanta, Georgia, I knew that I needed to come to this incredible conference!  Being a Secretary of NOBIDAN (National Organization of Blacks in Dietetics and Nutrition) – website- www.nobidan.org which is part of the Member Interest Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND.  I had the chance to participated in alot of events that were associated with NOBIDAN.  This year was a historical year because the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has appointed their first African American President-Elect!  Dr. Evelyn Crayton, Ed, RD, LD, FAND who is also a NOBIDAN member was elected this past February 2014 and will start her term on June 1st, 2015.  I had a chance to speak with her and it was such a honor to meet with her!

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This year FNCE there were so many things going on and the speakers were excellent!  One of the speakers that I had enjoyed was Adam Keek who is a Olympic Rower and he explains about using the art of rowing with high performance.  One of the things that he explained about is his disciplines of leadership is to stay focused.  It is not easy to stay focus on a goal let alone training for the Olympics.  He explained how he was able to focus by using the Breakthrough Theory.  For the first 4-5 years you maybe in limbo but with effort time you realize that you need a break through and pretty soon what was hard to do becomes familiar.

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Another thing that Adam discussed about is Eat Well = Be Well.  When you eat well then this will result in your body, mind and spirit in becoming a healthy.  Like the old saying goes “You are what you eat!”

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The last thing that was important to me from what Adam said on the Disciplines for Leadership is finding a mentor.  That is so important to find someone who has

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I really appreciate Mr. Adam Keek speech particularly him closing out this incredible and exciting conference!  His message came at the right time!

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Next year FNCE is going to be at Nashville, TN and I can not wait what is going to happen there!  Hope to see you there!

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Come to the Table – Promedica Presents – Hunger Is A Health Issue – Part 2

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This week at the Come to the Table Promedica Workshop at the Jimmy Carter Center in Atlanta, GA, I had a chance to listen to the panel discussion on what is working and what we need to work on  in the fight against hunger.

Harriet Giles, PHD, Managing Director from Auburn Hunger Solutions Institute and Director of External Relations, College of Human Sciences Auburn University – discuss about the Alabama model delivery trucks for the Summer Children’s Program which provides healthy meals for children during the summer months when school is closed.

Susan Respess – Auburn Hunger Solutions Institute and Vice President of Government Relations of Children’s of Alabama – talked about medical compliance relationship with kids access to food in order to take their medications.

Alexandra Lewin-Zwerdling, PHD, MPA – Senior Adviser, Hunger Impact of AARP Foundation – discussed that the revised version of the My Plate has been very effective in the fight against hunger.  Ms. Lewin-Zwerdling did said what is not effective is that alot of the  50+ years older adult population are having a lack of money,  poor locations and availability to healthy foods.  This population group are usually tremendous effected by the food deserts in their communities.

Duke Storen, Senior Director, Research, Advocacy and Partner Development of Share Our Strength explained that 1 in 5 children have fallen into the category of food insecurity.  What is working to fight hunger is the school breakfast program, WIC, food skill education programs from individual grants and SNAP for low income children. What is not working is less participation in SNAP program.  What could work better is the benefits and funding levels of the SNAP program needs to increase particularly for the out of school time such as after school programs, weekends and summertime.  Mr. Duke Storen explained that there is more poverty is in the suburbs than in the inner cities.  Mr. Duke Storen gave us a Five Points Plan that will assist with eliminating hunger.

5 Points Plan

  1. Screening
  2. Direct Services – Ex. WIC
  3. Leadership
  4. Metric Driven Based Program
  5. Funding
  6. Advocacy

Debbie Britt – Board Member of the Meals on Wheels Association of America (MOWAA) and Executive Director Community & Public Relations, Piedmont Fayette Hospital explained what is working is the collaboration with the communities with transportation issues to healthier supermarkets, helping the community with changing their lifestyle and having physical exercise programs at Senior Centers such as Zumba and providing Meals on Wheels programs.  Ms. Britt did explained what is not working is that hospital not understanding the importance of learning about nutrition and that Medicaid does not pay for nutritional services.

At the end of the workshop, Mike Beier from President and CEO, ContXt, gave us a  Engaging the Community to End Hunger:  Meeting in  a Box  Dialogue game where you can have a engaging group discussion about ways that the community can end hunger.  I can not wait to use this with my clients and community leaders. This one day workshop was a excellent event and hopefully we will have more voices who are willing to fight against hunger  and make it a health issue!

Come to the Table – Promedica Presents – Hunger Is A Health Issue – Part 1

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I had the excellent opportunity to come to the incredible 2nd annual Regional Summit Workshop on Hunger that was presented by Promedia and the Alliance for Hunger.  This workshop was held at the beautiful grounds of the Jimmy Carter Center in Atlanta, GA.  The workshop started off with Barbara Petee who is the Chief Advocacy and Government Relations Officer of Promedia.  She discussed about how obesity ties in with hunger and that hunger is a public health and moral issue.  She stated that the only way to find a solution to end hunger is to address it.

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Next came Lee Hammerling, MD works with Promedia as the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Physician Executive of Promedia.   Dr. Hammerling discussed about Promedia which is a community based, mission driven, non-for-profit business that is employee strategically focused and fiscally sound.  Promedia’s mission is to improve the health and well-being of the communities we serve.   Dr. Hammerling also discussed about public healthcare where the annual cost of hunger to every U.S. citizen is on pace to b e a rough amount of $42,400 per citizen over a course of a lifetime.  The overall cost of hunger to our nation’s amount to be at least $167,5 Billion.  Promedia believes that the healthcare system should take a leadership role – clinically, socially and economically. Dr. Hammerling spoke about how remission key risk factors and social determinants can impact a person’s health. Lack of transportation + lack of food = remission to hospital.

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Audrey Rowe, Administrator, Food and Nutrition Service(FNS), U.S. Department of Agriculture spoke about the FNS Consumer Service mission to end hunger and improve nutrition in America.  She also explained about food insecurities that in about 360,000 households that 1 to more children simply do not get enough to eat.  This is the Healthy people 2020 ten year focus on economic cost, hunger cost and health disparities. Programs that have been fighting hunger for children are the  SNAP(Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) which has been in existence for 50 years and WIC (Women, Infant and Children) which has been in existence for 40 years.  SNAP consist of the Commodity Food Assistance program,  Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act and Health Incentives.  There is also the FINI (Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive Grant Program) which supports projects to increase the purchase of fruits and vegetables among low-income consumers participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by providing incentives at the point of purchase such as Farmer’s Markets and mobile markets.

Next week, I will discuss about the Panel Discussion on what is working and what is not working with the fight for eliminating hunger.

Come to the Table – Promedica and the Alliance to End Hunger

The Jimmy Carter Center in the Atlanta, Georgia

The Jimmy Carter Center in the Atlanta, Georgia

 

During this holidays season, there will be one out of every six people in the United States or more than 50 million people, including nearly 17 million children and 4 million seniors – faces hunger. Hunger is not just a problem in struggling Third World countries.  I was invited to come to the The Jimmy Carter Center in Atlanta, GA  to the Come to the Table – Promedica and the Alliance to End Hunger seminar and I was in shock with everything that I have heard.

There are 10 states with residents who are especially burdened with food insecurity and do not know where they will get their next meal.  The states are Ohio, Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, Alabama, North Carolina, Georgia, Missouri, Nevada and California.  Americans facing hunger have limited budgets and are routinely forced to make difficulty choices with their limited resources.   One of the choices with the most devastating consequences is whether to buy food or the medicine and medical care needed to survive. Underweight babies are also at a higher risk of hunger as they age, further compounding the difficulties they face. Without access to good nutrition, particularly in their first three years of life, these children lack the solid foundation for physical and mental health, educational achievement, and economic productivity.  Adults experiencing food insecurity are at greater risk of developing type II diabetes and more likely to experience mental and behavioral healthy problems, including higher levels of depression and anxiety.

So what can we do about ending hunger?  Well, this seminar is going to answer this question and will show us how we can get involved in to make hunger a health issue that all our healthcare leaders can address to our Congress and other government departments and agencies.  Next week I will talk about the presentations that were discussed during the seminar.

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Food Day 2014

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October 24th, 2014 is a very special day.  You are probably asking why is this day so important?  It is Food Day which is a day to inspire Americans to change their diets and an push to improve our food policies.  This year’s Food Day will have a special focus on food access and justice for food and farm workers.

This annual event involves some of the country’s most prominent food activists, united by a vision of food that is healthy, affordable, and produced with care for the environment, farm animals, and the people who grow, harvest, and serve it.

The typical American diet is contributing to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems. Those problems cost Americans more than $150 billion per year. Plus, a meat-heavy diet takes a terrible toll on the environment.

Eating Real can save your own health and put our food system on a more humane, sustainable path. With America’s resources, there’s no excuse for hunger, low wages for food and farm workers, or inhumane conditions for farm animals.  – quote from Foodday.org

So how can you get involved?  Use this positive movement around Food Day by introducing healthier foods into your diet. Ask your employer to start announcing an office wellness policy or participate in a community supported agriculture program. Or, introduce cooking lessons in your school or start planting a vegetable garden.

I am going to join the Food Day social media pages to spread the word about the importance of start a new food movement!  Let me know what you would like to do in your community on this Food Day!  Check out the Food Day 2014 website for further information – http://www.foodday.org/

The 35th Year Appreciation Celebration of the Georgia Master Gardener – Part 2

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After eating that delicious lunch,  I was ready to walk off the pounds during the afternoon tour.  It was getting hotter outside that our tour guide decided for our group to seek refuge in the USDA Seed Storage Building.  When we got there we were greeted by Dr. Melanie Harrison-Dunn a Geneticist of the Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit.  Dr. Harrison-Dunn explained about her current research priorities are focused on the acquisition of native warm season grass germplasm; germsplasm characterization including genotyping, nutritional analysis, and salt tolerance; and ornamental grass breeding.  Also, in the USDA Seed Storage Building there were more than 90,000 plant samples are part for the Plant Genetic Resources Conservation Unit (PGRCU).  These diverse collections represent over 250 genera and 1,500 species from almost every country.

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The next part of the tour was meeting with Dr. Clint Waltz on the Turfgrass shade research.  Dr. Waltz  is actively researching on evaluating various turfgrass species to the environmental stresses of the Southeastern United States.  These evaluations allow sod producers, golf course superintendents, athletics field managers, other turf professionals and houseowners to make informed decisions about the adaptability of these cultivars.  The plots were developed for low maintenance, low water usage and pesticide input.

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The last part of the tour hearing a quick discussion on ornamental plant breeding process by Dr. Carol Robacker.  Dr. Robacker is the Associate Professor and REI Coordinator of Horticulture.   Dr. Robacker is doing two research projects on breed landscape plants that are adapted to the heat and drought stress of the urban conditions and develop cultivars of native plants.  She also show us her projects include breeding for azalea lace bug resistance in native azalea, and developing improved cultivars of little bluestem, spigelia, abelia, vitex and pearl bush.

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I truly had a great day at the University of Georgia – Griffin Campus and had learn so much  about the research agriculture.  I am so glad that this wonderful place only less than 2 hours away and I will make sure to visit it in the future.

Want to see pictures at the University of Georgia on Griffin Campus!  Click here!

The 35th Year Appreciation Celebration of the Georgia Master Gardener – Part 1

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I was truly honored in being invited to come to the Griffin, Georgia for the 35th year appreciation celebration of the Georgia Master Gardener.  This wonderful event was taken place at the University of Georgia- Griffin Campus which is one of the leading premier agricultural research centers in the region!  Also on this day is the 100th anniversary of the Georgia Cooperative Extension Services which start the Georgia Master Gardener program – 35 years ago.  There was over 200 Master Gardeners all over Georgia that came for this celebration.

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I had a chance to do the research tour of the Griffin Campus where they explained to Volunteer Master Gardeners about everything that is being done in order to improve the agricultural conditions in Georgia.  I start the tour by going on the University of Georgia tram with my fellow Douglasville Volunteer Master Gardener group .  We had a fabulous tour guide Parker Ivey who gave us alot of information about UGA Griffin Campus.  Our tour was divided into 3 tours in the morning and 3 tours in the afternoon,  On this blog posting I am going to discuss about the 3 morning tours.

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First stop of  the tour was the UGA Griffin Research and Education Garden with Tony Johnson.  Tony Johnson, Horticulturist discuss about the research display gardens are trying to recover from the 4 degree temperatures of the severe winter weather months that Georgia and the whole US early part of this year.  The research display gardens sits on 65 areas of land and it is divided into sections.  1. Arbor area, 2. Butterfly garden, 3. Children’s garden, 4. Herb garden, 5. Grandma’s garden, 6. Native plants, 7. Water garden, 8. Perennial garden and 9. a soon to be Asian garden.  These gardens have been in existence since October 1995.  Mr. Johnson made a joke “Anything out of place or is wrong then it is Research fault”.

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Next we traveled over to the raised gardens section where we met up with Bob Westerfield.  Mr.  Westerfield is the Department Horticulture and Program Coordinator of UGA of Griffin and is currently conducting research on raised bed gardening.  The research looks at growing in different types of soil medium as well as different depths.  Everything in the garden (fruits and vegetables) is being grown organically and a slow drip irrigation system is being use with a timer for watering.

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The the last tour for that morning was at the conservation garden with Dr. Kris Braman, Professor of Entomology at UGA of Griffin.  Dr. Braman research is focused on insect plant interactions, especially with the fascinating world of beneficial insects.  It was interesting in learning about the top ten pollinators and butterflies that are needed in a garden.

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During the lunchtime, there were alot of speakers at this celebration thanking the Georgia Master Gardeners for volunteering their time and hours  in this very special program. Dr. Beverly Spears, Associate Dean for Extension, said that there is over 3,200 active Master Gardener in Georgia which covers the time of the 100 Full-Time employees in Georgia.

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Dr. Steve Brown, Assistant Dean for Extension explained about the history of the Master Gardener and he thank all of the help that the Georgia Master Gardeners for contribute to the County with the Cooperative Extension Services.

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Sheri Dorn, State Master Gardener Extension Volunteer Coordinator, explained about the new badges for the Georgia Master Gardeners and that the  Master Gardeners is finally catching up with the technology age with electronic communication.

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It was great to hear these speaker under the back drop of the beautiful Woodroof Pavilion.  This pavilion was used in the 1996 Olympics to showcase agriculture to the world and then after the Olympics it was dissembled and brought to the UGA Griffin Campus.  This pavilion was renamed in honor of Naomi Chapman Woodroof, one of the first woman in the agriculture field (she studied plant pathology) and was the first woman in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences to be hired in 1920’s.  She also worked with Food Sciences and was prominent in changing peanuts from a feed crop to a food crop.  What a incredible woman!!

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Turn in next week when I discuss about the 3 afternoon tour that consist of ornamental plant breeding process, turfgrass shade research and USDA Seed Storage!!

Want to see pictures at the University of Georgia on Griffin Campus!  Click here!

2014 Hydrangea Festival in Douglasville, Gerogia – Part 3

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So many things to do at this Hydrangea Festival!  I had also the chance to visit the Douglas County Master Gardeners Vegetable Garden where the theme of the Wizard of Oz continued with the Scarecrow Exhibit.

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At this exhibit, I had a chance to meet with Marilyn Parker who is a Douglas County Master Gardener and a beekeeper expert.  She was telling me that this was the first year that the Douglas County Master Gardeners Vegetable Garden ever had a bee hive.  She was able to help set this up with the Douglas County Master Gardeners and now this hives holds over 6,000 bees!!  These bee have help pollinate all of the vegetables and fruits in the garden and has increase production in the garden up to 50% !! More produce equals to more donations of food to the soup kitchens in Douglas County!  Click here to view what I had seen in the garden.

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Also close by to the Vegetable Garden was the Master’s Gardeners Children’s Garden in front of the Douglas County Public Library.  It is such a cute and beautiful garden where little children would love to play and explore in.  Click here to view this adorable garden.

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Again, I was truly amazed at the talent of all the volunteers at the Hydrangea Festival.  I am so glad of the huge representation of the Douglas County Master Gardeners at this festival.  I will make sure that I will participate in volunteering next year and I am looking forward to the 8th Annual Hydrangea Festival!  Hope to see you there!

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I have a new press release –  Click Press Release for HEPSA Living Healthy – Denine Rogers RDN – Stone Soup Blogger to view!

2014 Hydrangea Festival in Douglasville, Gerogia – Part 2

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WOW, I feel that I am in my environment when I come to the Hydrangea Festival.  As part of the festival, I stop at the Douglasville Cultural Arts Center to see the art exhibit, the design garden and the butterfly garden (by the Douglas County Master Gardeners).  On this hot sunny day, I decided to stop inside the Cultural Arts Center to view the Georgia Artists with Disabilities Exhibit.  The Douglasville Cultural Arts Center was one of nine sites statewide to showcase this incredible exhibit.  The exhibit featured winners of regional competitions and included 2-d art, fiber arts, photography and sculpture.   The Georgia Artists with Disabilities’ mission is to provide mediums through which Georgia artists with disabilities of the arts.  It also creates public awareness of the artistic skills that these artists have developed by overcoming the obstacles of the disability.   This exhibit was sponsored by the Pilot Clubs of Metro Atlanta which is an organization that promotes participation in civic-service projects which improve the health, education and welfare of all people.  Its goal mission is “full citizenship for people who are disabled”.  Click here to view some of the incredible artwork, sculptures and photography.

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I also had a chance to see the the design garden and the butterfly garden on the grounds of the Cultural Arts Center in Douglasville, GA.  Click here to view what I seen at both of these gardens.

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There is still more to see at this 2014 Hydrangea Festival.  Can not wait to show you this next week!!

2014 Hydrangea Festival in Douglasville, Gerogia – Part 1

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The Hydrangea Festival is back and better than ever !!   This year is the 75th anniversary of  the Wizard of Oz movie and the Ruby Slippers Hydrangea was an appropriate flower to represent in this 7th year of the Hydrangea Festival.  Throughout this Hydrangea Festival there were Wizard of Oz themes sightings everywhere.  In the early summer the Ruby Slippers (Hydrangea quercifolia) is covered with clusters of flowers on stem that are held upright above the foliage.  The flowers open up in a white color but then quickly turn pale pink and then deepen to rose.

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The first place I stop at the festival was the Miniature Gardens Displayed in Wheelbarrow at the Old Douglas County Courthouse’s Museum of History.  The Wizard of Oz theme was everywhere including the Mini Garden Wheelbarrows.  Click here to see the displays.

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The second place I stop was the for the Flower Market and Artists Market.  When I went into the Douglas County Courthouse I was greeted by the Cowardly Loin that was created by Sherry Beggs.  Sherry is a local artist and Douglas County Master Gardener.  Sherry is such a creative person that she made the Cowardly Loin out of a plastic bottle jug, aluminum foil, masking tape, self-hardening clay and acrylics.  Small dried white flowers were used around the mouth and dried hydrangeas were hot glued for the mane.  Most of the plant material was from Sherry’s own garden and as you can see the loin is holding the famous “Ruby Slipper”.  I also had a chance to see the results of the 2013 Standard Flower Show and the other 500 horticultural entries.  I also had a chance to see the table design competition and the artistic crafts in the Court house.  Click here to see the displays.

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So many things to see during this festival!  Next week, I will discuss about the other special gardens and art work that I saw at the Hydrangea Festival !