OL 301 Assignment Two Discussion
Online Learning: OL 301.
Learn How to Grow a Family Vegetable Garden
Center for Sustainable Development

How You Can Grow a Vegetable Garden: Fresh, nutritious vegetables for your family.

This week’s resources on the Student Resource Page:
OL 301 Assignment Two Discussion
OL 301 Assignment Two Homework Instructions
Introduction to the Basic Concepts of Food Security
FAO: Introduction to a Healthy Diet
Healthy Harvest: A training manual for community workers in good nutrition, and the growing, preparing and processing of healthy food.
USDA MyPlate.

Super Simple Online survey with evaluation: Fruit, Vegetable and Fiber Screener. NutritionQuest.

Assignment Two Discussion: Nutrition, planning and selecting seeds for a nutritious vegetable garden.
This week’s assignment will be part nutrition, part desire and part fun.

This Week’s Goal: Decide what you want to grow and buy seeds.

The desire part is “what would you like to eat fresh from your garden?” That could simply be something absolutely fresh like lettuce. It could simply be that there are things which you can’t find easily at the grocery store—or can’t justify paying for—or you need to buy it in huge quantities. Or it could be a vegetable that simply isn’t available because it’s exotic—like Asian greens, exotic chili peppers, or interesting European herbs.

The fun part is choosing which of these fruits and vegetables to get started with by looking through online seed catalogs—or the seed rack at your local nursery or hardware store. There are an incredible variety of tomatoes, carrots, lettuces, and many other vegetables. So it is a lot of fun to sort through the catalogs or the seed racks and pick out some fun and interesting things to plant.

But where the pedal hits the metal is nutrition. You might have a perfectly healthy diet and your goal for a vegetable garden might be to have access to vegetables that enhance your cooking. But if you are an urban or intercity family, you might be living in a food desert, and you might have a poor diet. So what you need is a combination of something fun, something that will grow successfully for you, AND something nutritious.

A sister course to this one “OL 303 Vegetable Gardens & Community Gardens for Family Nutrition & Food Security” is designed for communities of people in developing nations who don’t have access to a wide variety of food. In that course we actually do a survey with members of a community to find out what their typical diet is, and to find out if they are getting the important nutrition that they need—especially for their children.

I’m including a very simple survey on the Student Resource Page (Fruit, Vegetable and Fiber Screener. NutritionQuest ) so that you can see where your nutritional levels fall.

I’m also going to include on the Student Resource Page several very good resources on nutrition. But I think that you’ll generally find is that children in families at risk are suffering from a shortage of foods full of protein, vitamins and minerals. Healthy vegetables that you could plant could be as simple as tomato, pumpkin, carrot, spinach and other dark green and yellow leaves, and sweet peppers.

If you look through the resources you’ll find lots of ideas of things to plant—and you could modify your choices through what your families like to eat. Maybe you’re from the Caribbean. Maybe you’re from Africa. Maybe you’re from Latin America. Maybe you are from the Middle East. Each of these cultures will have food preferences and you should enjoy the food that you like.

Here is a fun solution from the FAO’s “Introduction to a Healthy Diet”: Eat a colorful diet
A healthy diet has a lot of colors. Especially colorful are vegetables and fruits.
red:                         e.g. tomato, red pepper, red plums, red watermelon, beets
orange:                 e.g. carrots, mangoes, oranges, papaya, pumpkin, sweet potato
yellow:                    e.g. corn, grapefruit, lemon, pineapple, yellow bell pepper
green:                     e.g. avocadoes, green beans, kale, kiwi, leeks, peas, spinach
white:                     e.g. bananas, garlic, potatoes

But today let’s get started with you.
What do you want to do with your garden? Make it fun. Enjoy yourself!

Please move onto Assignment 2 Homework Instructions.