Sunday, November 16, 2008

Turf has a new partner and program space
Beginning in January 2009, Turf will be working with St. Raymond Community Outreach (SRCO) to secure a healthier food system in Parkchester. SRCO, a community-based organization in Parkchester that helps residents build a better neighborhood, is an ideal partner for Turf. Located on Metropolitan Avenue in the hub of Parkchester, SRCO has a long history of serving the community through its program for youth. Turf looks forward to holding community workshops at SRCO and working with teens in their afterschool program!

Turf Brunch

Today Turf had its first brunch! Turf Dinners and Brunches are times for Turf Volunteers to discuss upcoming projects, delegate tasks, explore fundraising ideas, and cook together. For our first brunch we made a vegetable lasagna that was packed with organic vegetables from Union Square’s Farmers Market. The lasagna took less than an hour to make and was delicious! This brunch was also important because it helped volunteer fine tune their cooking skills which they will apply to upcoming Turf cooking workshops for youth and families in the community. These workshops will give residents information on where they can buy farm fresh produce and involve residents in hands on cooking activities designed to encourage using more fruits and vegetables in meals at home. Below is lasagna recipe which can be substituted with fat free or soy cheeses.

Garden Full of Goodness Lasagna


2 cups thinly sliced zucchini
2 cups thinly sliced yellow squash
1 cup thinly sliced carrot
1 cup thinly sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, diced
1/2 green bell pepper, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1 (14 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1/2 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup sliced fresh basil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese softened
3/4 cups small cottage cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
8 oven-ready, "no cook," lasagna noodles
12 slices provolone cheese, thinly sliced
2 cups shredded mozzarella


Combine zucchini, squash, carrot, mushrooms, onion and peppers with water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Drain well, and reserve. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, basil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, cottage cheese, and eggs. Stir together.
Spread 1/3 of the sauce evenly over bottom of a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Place 4 uncooked lasagna noodles on top of sauce. Do not overlap noodles. Spread 1/2 of cream cheese mixture over noodles. Cover cheese mixture with 1/2 the vegetable mixture, more sauce, and top evenly with 6 slices provolone cheese and 1 1/2 cups mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers with 4 noodles, rest of the cream cheese mixture, vegetables, sauce, and remaining cheeses. Place in oven for 35 minutes or until lasagna is hot and bubbling.

Let lasagna stand for 10 minutes before serving.

***This recipe is from the Food Network Channel

Friday, November 7, 2008

On Agriculture: What will Obama presidency mean to agriculture?

***From Agriculture Online (11-5-08). Go to link while active.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Can

Turf’s mission is to empower and support community residents through the process of improving the health their neighborhood. In this work, there are several challenges around addressing social and economic issues affecting the community and with bringing people from various backgrounds and experiences together to make change.

Last night was a victory for many people who could not imagine a black man as president, but wanted to believe it could happen with Obama; saw that Obama beyond his racial identity brought a message of change and a different kind of government; and/or just thought Obama was the best candidate.

People voted and made it happen.

President-elect Obama drew from his experience as a community organizer and included people who are normally marginalized from or skeptical of the political process into his campaign. President-elect Obama is also just enough of a politician to understand that he needed the support of his opponents to win and therefore invited them along the way (to get to know him and his vision for the country) during his campaign.

So what is next? We have to keep the momentum and use the same vigor we used to elect President Obama to make changes around us. We can learn from his way of looking at social and economic issues from multiple perspectives to find solutions and begin to question and respond to challenges in our own communities. We can vote not only for presidents, but become more active in local politics to improve our schools, healthcare for families and the elderly, opportunities for housing and employment opportunities for the disadvantage, and the environmental health of our communities by voting for borough presidents, city council members, and mayors that will advocate for the issues important to us. We can become leaders of social change ourselves.

Yes we can. We did it. And there is so much that still needs to be done. Let’s keep going!