Welcome to CENTRALPosts. This space is a place to explore ideas from our different initiatives and working groups. You will find entries from our Matthew 25 working groups focused on Dismantling Structural Racism and Eradicating Systemic Poverty, as well as entries by the Earth Care team.
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The weather so far in May has been really crazy, tempting us to plant our tomatoes and annuals. Hold off on those warm season vegetables and annual flowers for several more weeks. Nighttime temperatures should be consistently in the 50s, which, hopefully will be in late May.
When you do plant out your vegetable garden, consider interplanting with companion plants. Companion plants are plants that complement one another in terms of growth and production. For example, one plant may attract an insect that might protect a companion plant. Another plant may act as a repellent for a bug that might be harmful to the plant next to it. Some of the more common beneficial flower companions are marigolds, nasturtiums, alyssum, and zinnias. They attract beneficial insects and deter unwanted pests. Vegetables like tomatoes do well with basil. Radishes interplanted with other vegetables work as a trap crop to flea beetles.
There are also vegetables that should not be planted with each other. Beans and peas, for example, do not do well with onions and garlic. Potatoes may stunt the growth of summer squashes. And tomatoes do not do well with cold crops like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, kale, and kohlrabi.
It is a good idea to lay out your garden on paper before planting so that you can take advantage of companion plants and what vegetables not to plant with others.
In June we will look at warm season vegetables and what to do with those pesty pests in your vegetable garden!
Generational Poverty is defined as a family having lived in poverty for at least two generations. It’s often more, a long-term pattern. It is important to understand the difference between Generational Poverty and Situational Poverty. A person can experience situational poverty when their income and support is decreased due to a specific change, such as job loss, divorce, death, etc. While there may be a domino effect caused by this one significant change, families tend to remain hopeful, knowing this is a temporary setback.
This typically is not the case with generational poverty. Poverty in general is lacking financial resources to meet basic living requirements. Generational poverty is often challenged with other types of poverty as well, educational poverty, nutritional poverty and/or lack of family or community support. These can combine to create the damaging outcome of generational poverty, which is often hopelessness. Hopelessness is the key factor in creating the cycle from one generation to the next. Without hope and the belief that life can be better, the motivation and energy needed to break the cycle are very low.
People caught in the cycle of generational poverty are focused on surviving. They are focused on the issue or challenge facing them today. It may be money for food, finding a place to live, dealing with family member’s issues, unresolved health issues, child care, etc. Often these problems are urgent. The concept of planning typically doesn’t exist, in part because planning is tied to the belief that the individual has sufficient control of their life. In comparison, generally, middle class values encompass education, work and being perceived as a productive member of society. Also, counterproductive traditions may be passed down, such as low emphasis on education, health or stable relationships.
Many studies show that growing up in poverty hinders a child’s emotional, cognitive, and behavioral development, and children raised in poverty generally have lower lifelong educational and professional attainment compared with children raised out of poverty.
This disparity is due in part to the fact that children raised in poverty have access to fewer resources than other children. Low-income children typically live in underserved, disadvantaged neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are marked by overcrowded and underfunded schools, by a lack of healthy food sources, by higher pollution and crime rates, and by fewer parks and recreational opportunities.
Almost all of the psychological issues with generational poverty are centered around finances. Many parents work multiple jobs just to make ends meet. This lack of a fundamental resource - money - creates a “scarcity mindset”. The people trapped in poverty struggle to think of the future because they are so focused on surviving for the next few days or weeks. In this mindset, neither adult nor child are thinking about college, careers or higher achievements. Even if they are, they often feel that these dreams are unattainable to them, and their lot in life is to just try to survive.
Living in constant worry about money can also cause toxic stress which can damage the learning, behavior and health of people living with it. For children, the effects span their lifespan.
One of the most effective ways to break generational poverty seems to be education – helping these families find hope in their future and providing them with the path to reach those new dreams. Ending generational poverty requires many different programs, services that help end generational poverty from preschool to vocational training to housing assistance to food assistance and education. Basic courses like financial literacy and soft skills training make a huge difference.
By providing education, training, financial and nutritional support and a little human kindness, we can help break the cycle of generational poverty.
Each year, in the weeks leading up to April 22 (Earth Day) people across the U.S and the world join together to encourage action and participation in initiatives that focus on the urgent need for environmental justice, sustainability, and climate solutions. In this moment in our country’s history we are experiencing three great overlapping challenges: a pandemic sparking an economic downturn causing more families to go hungry, racial injustice awareness rising, and the climate crisis worsening. We have an opportunity to address all of these issues with one focus – our food practices. Food is the place where each of us intersects daily with God’s gifts of sun, water, soil and microbial magic. We have a sacred duty to be stewards of the Earth that supports all life, for all God’s creatures and for future generations. Supporting food justice, reversing climate change, and protecting God’s gifts of clean air and water are central to this duty.
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
NIV Genesis 2:15
Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?
NIV Matthew 25:37
This week around Earth Day, we are going to start exploring how our food systems and practices contribute to injustice and to climate change. The Earth Care team invites you to join us in the following during Faith Climate Action Week (April 19-25):
- Register for a free home viewing of the film Kiss the Ground. Kiss the Ground is a new film about how regenerating the world’s soils has the potential to rapidly stabilize Earth’s climate, restore lost ecosystems, and create abundant food supplies. This film explains why transitioning to regenerative agriculture could be key in rehabilitating the planet, while simultaneously invigorating a new sense of hope and inspiration in viewers. Watch the trailer and register to view the film here. Watch it with your family anytime between April 10 - 25.
- Join us for a Zoom discussion about the movie "Kiss the Ground" Monday, April 19 at 6:30 with guest panelist from Ollin Farm - Project 95. They are joining us to share about regenerative farming here in Boulder County. Register to receive your link to the Zoom discussion here.
- Join us for one of our small group field trips to visit our neighbor store Simply Bulk Market (right across the street from CENTRALongmont). Learn why buying in bulk is good for you and the planet. Receive a $5 coupon to use at the store to start you on your buying in bulk journey. Multiple times available April 19 - 23. Email Jennifer if you are interested in joining us or sign up for one of the time slots here!
- Commit to growing an extra row or two in your home garden to share with the food insecure for our new Giving Gardens initiative, or support the new congregational Giving Garden.
- Join us for a special Earth Care worship service on Sunday, April 25.
To learn about small changes that you can make in your daily life that will make a difference or to learn more about the movie Kiss the Ground, please expand the offerings below.
Join us for our movie discussion on April 19th and let's talk about this! What specific actions can we adopt that might help address food insecurity, food waste and negative climate impacts from our food choices? Register to receive your link to the Zoom discussion here.
What if there was a simple solution that could help balance our climate, replenish our freshwater supplies, and feed the world? That solution is right under our feet.
Kiss the Ground is a new film about how regenerating the world’s soils has the potential to rapidly stabilize Earth’s climate, restore lost ecosystems, and create abundant food supplies. This film explains why transitioning to regenerative agriculture could be key in rehabilitating the planet, while simultaneously invigorating a new sense of hope and inspiration in viewers.
Thanks to a special arrangement with Kiss the Ground and Ro*co films, Interfaith Power and Light will offer a free online viewing period for home viewing from April 10 through April 26. All viewers must register with IPL. Once you register you will receive a link-to-view for three different versions—the full-length film (84 minutes), a grower version (45 minutes), and an educational version for schools (45 minutes.)