The U Dig It Community Garden is a membership based organic garden that was established in 2011. We’re located behind the United Methodist Church of Ludington. Garden boxes are provided for personal use in a organic and sustainable environment. We depend on our members to volunteer by maintaining the garden boxes, grounds and equipment. Our journey with AFFEW began in January 2022!
In addition to personal boxes, we work directly with our local food pantry Lakeshore Food Club. We provide healthy produce in support of food security for our community. In 2021 our members and Grow a Box Gardeners donated one third of the produce to Lakeshore Food Club!
This year with the help of Michigan State University Extension we will introduce the U Dig It! Gardening Series. This educational series is for our members and the community. In addition we’ll host the Dig It! Youth Summer Series for 7-11 year olds. This is an interactive program run by AFFEW and MSU that grows, tastes and donates produce to our community. They also learn and experience a variety of aspects about nature, birds and our environment.
Interested in becoming a member of UDICG? Existing members will be contacted in early March to retain their beds. We are excepting request for new members, Garden Box Sponsors and Grow a Box Gardener. Please fill out the 2022 New Membership Request form to get your name on the list.
Our Mission To educate its members and the general public in healthy eating by promoting sustainable practices through organic farming, composting and environmental education for children and adults. Through volunteerism and donations from our gardeners, one third of the produce is provided to support food security for our community.
Help support AFFEW and UDICG by becoming a member or making a tax deductible donation!
The AFFEW board held its annual meeting via zoom on November 11. Julia Chambers, AFFEW President gave the annual report and board elections were held. Julia Chambers, Cathy Horowski, and Dave Masten are were re-elected for a two year term. Chuck Klopinski was thanked for his year’s as treasurer and Marie Quillan was welcomed as the new treasurer for AFFEW.
Thank you also to Art Hirsch who shared his presentation and knowledge on microplastics. The recorded presentation is below.
Microplastics in the Great Lakes
Art Hirsch will discuss the sources, impacts, legislation and mitigation actions to address microplastics. Microplastics in the Great Lakes is an emerging water quality issue that has the potential of impacting human health and the aquatic environment. It has been estimated that microplastics are consumed by the US population at a rate of 5 grams per week; this is weight of a credit card. Microplastics are found in our food, water and even beer along the Great Lakes. Fish are ingesting microplastics that causes them to starve. Over 22 million pounds of plastic enter the Great Lakes every year and Lake Michigan is the #1 source.
Art Hirsch is a former environmental consultant with over 30 years of experience. He lives in Boulder Colorado and spends his summers in Pentwater, Michigan. He is originally from North Muskegon, Michigan and he received his Bachelor of Science degree from Michigan State University and a Master of Science degree from the University of Colorado. His expertise is in the areas of water quality, stormwater management, sustainability and environmental impact assessments. He is a member of the Climate Reality Project founded by former Vice President Gore and the For the Love of Water organization located in Traverse City and the Great Lakes Plastic Pollution Solutions Coalition. He is currently working on the Enbridge Line 5 Shutdown, GHG reductions associated with transportation, oil and gas operations and microplastics.
One of the most powerful steps you can take to improve your health, boost energy levels and reduce your impact on our environment, is to move to a plant-based diet. Many scientists praise the health benefits of transitioning towards a plant-based diet over meat and processed foods. Moving in this direction can help achieve better health and easier weight management while enjoying a variety of delicious meals. And living in Michigan, many resources for locally grown vegetables and fruits are available right here in our community.
The best part, you don’t have to completely change your diet to make a difference. Start off by making adjustments to some of your favorite recipes. Try adding rice, beans or other hearty vegetables in place of meat in a soup or casserole recipe. Substituting plant-based milk alternative in your recipes and for daily use is just one small way you can have an affect. As you become more accustomed to these changes, you’ll find plant-based meals can be just as delicious, healthier and have less impact on our planet.
View the presentation by Dr. Bob Breakey on Plant-Based Health from AFFEW’s November 12, 2020 VIRTUAL Annual Meeting.
Dr. Bob Breakey’s Eight Keys to Health and Success
Eat for Health | Choose abundant vegetables, whole grains, fruits and all types of beans, along with some nuts and seeds (including 2 TBSP of ground flax seeds) daily. Minimize, and ideally eliminate, animal foods – meat, dairy and eggs — and minimize refined sugar, oils and other processed foods. Fill your pantry with health supporting foods and make a conscious choice to eat when you are hungry and to choose foods with both great taste and great nutritional value.
Drink Water| Water is our natural beverage and thirst quencher and makes up about 70% of our bodies. Beverages with caffeine, alcohol, sugar, fat and/or a host of artificial ingredients slow you down, interfere with sleep cycles, increase the risk for obesity and should be enjoyed only on occasion.
Avoid Cow’s Milk | Cow’s milk and its associated foods: Cheese, yogurt and ice cream, are derived from “nature’s perfect food for baby cows” and are a totally unnatural component of human nutrition. No other mammal drinks milk after infancy, and most of the world’s human population has “lactose intolerance” meaning they get diarrhea and bloating right away if they drink milk. Cow’s milk is more than half fat, high in saturated fat and cholesterol and most of the rest (70%) is sugar. Milk proteins contribute to allergy, autoimmune disease, chronic kidney disease, mucus production, acne, osteoporosis and the promotion of breast, colon and prostate cancers. Cow’s milk always contains bovine estrogen and is nearly always contaminated with antibiotics, growth stimulants, bovine leukemia virus, pus cells and environmental toxins. Many other non-dairy alternatives are now readily available (i.e. soy, rice, coconut, cashew, flax or almond “milks”, cheeses, yogurts and ice creams). Calcium needs are easily obtained by eating “beans and greens”.
Eat Fiber | Health supporting whole foods contain dietary fiber. Avoid white bread, white rice and white pasta that are just metabolized quickly to sugar once they hit your digestive system. Whole grains like oats, brown rice, and whole grain breads, pastas and cereals are much more slowly digested providing consistent energy for your cells and abundant additional nutrients. They also support healthy bowel bacteria that help with hormone balance, detoxification of several toxins, overall colon health and immune function. Eat a broad variety of whole plant foods for the greatest effect and lower your risk of diabetes, heart disease and several cancers. Think “fiber in every bite” with plenty of vegetables, fruits, beans and whole grains while avoiding animal and processed foods that are devoid of fiber.
Be Active | Walk, run, dance, swim, jump, cycle, skate, ski, lift or whatever else gets you moving. Play and make it fun! Make daily physical activity a regular part of your routine and aim for 150 minutes of moderate exercise per week (think an average of 30 minutes 5 days/ week). Choose activities you enjoy that help you stay with your plan. Use stairs instead of elevators, park further away when you drive, and whenever you get the chance, “take the scenic route” under your own power.
Your Environment Matters | Avoid poisons and contaminants in your body by not smoking anything. Also, avoid even second or third hand smoke or tobacco exposure of any kind. Avoid other “recreational drugs”—they are a “dead end”. Choose foods low on the food chain and eat organic when practical. Use a good solid carbon water filter for clean drinking water and limit the use of pesticides and other toxins in your home environment.
Sleep Well | Plan time for 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night and develop good sleep hygiene habits: Develop a “wind down routine” an hour before bedtime with relaxing activities (no TV or Internet), a regular rising time each day, avoid caffeine, nicotine & alcohol, use your bed for sleeping only, limit naps and control your sleeping environment. With a good restful night’s sleep, you will enjoy more energy, improved concentration and better overall health.
Make Time to Relax & Play! | Stress is a part of life, but you can manage and harness it for the good by finding balance, prioritizing your responsibilities, setting and writing down challenging but attainable goals and making time for whatever form of adventurous play and/or peaceful relaxation that will help you to optimize your enjoyment. Make time for laughter, love and being with friends, family and others who share these same goals!