A recipe for health!

The Cancer Resource Center is pleased to present this article to promote colorectal cancer awareness and prevention. This article will concentrate on prevention strategies focused on something we all enjoy - food! To discuss screening recommendations and options for colorectal cancer, please contact your health care provider. If you are seeking a health care provider, contact the Ukiah Valley Rural Health Center at 707-463-8000 or the Mendocino Community Health Clinic. For more information regarding colorectal cancer or any other cancer, please contact the Cancer Resource Center of Mendocino County by clicking on this link, or at 937-3833.

A nutritious diet is recommended beginning in childhood. It is not too late at any age, however, to make dietary changes as a way of reducing risk factors associated with colorectal cancer. The nutritional guidelines outlined in this article are reccommended prevention strategies in lowering your risk factors.

Using the following guidelines as your prevention strategy will not only reduce your risk for cancer, but also improve your general health

1. Eat a healthy diet emphasizing plant foods
- 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day
- Limit meat, avoid processed meats, cured meats
- 3 servings of whole grains
-25- 40 grams fiber daily

2. Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

3. Engage in at least 30 minutes of exercise 5 times per week

4. Get regular colon cancer screenings Studies show a reduced colon cancer risk from eating whole fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and nuts. Health promoting components in these whol foods and good food sources include:
- Phytonutrients- organic plants which can help protect the cells of the colon from damage.
- Fiber- indigestible part of fruits, vegetables, whole grain, legumes, nuts and seeds. Fiber helps move waste through the colon, and some types may help detoxify potential cancer causing substances.
- Cruciferous vegetables- contain anti- cancer properties thought to reduce colon cancer risk. Highest content is in broccoli, cauliflower, kale, cabbage, brussel sprouts, and radishes.
- Colon Protective Foods: Citrus fruits, berries, cantaloupe, papaya, pineapple, tomato, raw pepper, carrots, winter squash, yams, spinach, chard, whole grains, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds, turmeric, ginger, curry.

Studies using supplements have not shown the same preventative benefits as eating whole foods for reducing colon cancer risk. There are probably other unknown benefits in whole foods still to be discovered.

Enjoy the following recipe!
Quinoa Salad with Corn and Black Beans

1 1/2 dry quinoa
1/3 cup finely diced red onion
1 can low sodium black beans
1 cup fresh or frozen sweet corn kernels, thawed
1 cup grape tomatoes


2 TBS olive oil
3 TBS lime juice
2 TBS water
1 fresh garlic clove
1 TBS cumin
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp sea salt
fresh pepper to taste

1. Cook quinoa according to package
2. While quinoa is cooking, prepare vinaigrette by combining ingredients and whisking in small bowl
3. In a large bowl combine cooked quinoa and remaining ingredients
4. Pour vinaigrette over qunioa mixture and combine

Serve and enjoy!

Sharing The Bounty

April 10th is almost here and so is our annual fund raising dinner (also on April 10th..weird)

This years dinner is sure to be just as great (if not BETTER) than last year. This year you can expect to see some local grandiose grains, fervent foraged foods, luscious lemons, ruddy rhubarb, blistering black beans, wondrous wines, and other local ambrosial foods and wines that you might have no realized are from Northern California, let alone our county.

Haven't gotten your tickets yet? Contact our office: 462-2596 x 185 or email us here: Hope to see you there!

Mendo's New Food Policy Council

It's official, Mendocino County has joined the growing number of communities around the country working together to build healthy, community-based, local food systems by creating a local Food Policy Council.

Thanks to the committed efforts of local food advocates in Public Health, The Gardens Project of NCO, School Nutrition coordinators, and many others, the Food Policy Council was born from the planning committee of Mendocino County's Local Food Summit in May of 2010. Seeing the need to continue collaborating and network to develop policies and practices that support a local food system, the group brought the following resolution to the County Board of Supervisors, Ukiah City Council, Fort Bragg City Council, and soon to Point Arena and Willits where they were unanimously approved! To find out more about the Mendocino County Food Policy Council, read Lucy's Something to Chew On article here or contact The Gardens Project.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors hereby recognizes and supports the establishment of an independent Mendocino County Food Policy Council, which will advise the Board on food and farming matters at least twice yearly. The Food Policy Council’s mission is to collaborate with institutions, businesses and the public at large to create a sustainable local food system that reduces hunger, increases health and expands economic vitality. The Food Policy Council will increase food security for all current and future generations, especially the least served, by ensuring the availability and accessibility of a wide variety of local, safe, sustainably-grown and nutritious foods.

Youth Engage and Initiate Policy Change

Twelve local teens from Willits and Ukiah volunteer for the BEANS program (Better Eating, Activity, and Nutrition for Students). They have been busy presenting interactive nutrition and cooking lessons to elementary and middle school students in their after-school programs since the fall of 2010. As the teen peer educators continue their weekly lessons to area students this spring, they have also begun to spend a couple hours a week doing research about access to healthy foods and opportunities for physically active play in our schools and in our towns.

The teens are approaching their research through a process called PhotoVoice. This process involves developing research questions, focusing the research on a manageable topic, teens using a camera to capture their perspectives about food and play access, a peer review of all photos, narrowing the photo selection down, then writing a reflection for each of their chosen photos. The process culminates in a presentation of the photos and essays. The BEANS teens want to make a difference; they want to use this project to initiate some policy change in our local communities.

Teens would like to make presentations of their PhotoVoice projects to their school boards, to the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors, to City Councils, and also to display their work at the Mendocino County Museum and/or the Mendocino County Library. If you have connections or ideas that will facilitate any of these presentations, please email Tarney Sheldon, BEANS coordinator, at .

March Garden Tips

What to do in your garden this month:

Now is a great time to get out in the yard in between the rain showers and refresh your garden. Thinking of expanding your garden?? Now is a great time to add a few new raised beds and to fill them with fresh soil and compost. Consolidating? Try some vertical planting if you are out of room but still want to add new plants this year. Climbing plants such as vining cucumbers and beans are great candidates for vertical gardening. You can use objects that you have laying around the house or yard to create solutions to garden space problems. For example, you can make great plant supports from leftover pig fencing, twine, strips of wood or bamboo.

I also love to add unique plant additions every year to see how they do in my microclimate just south of Ukiah. This year I am trying my luck at Horseradish root.

What to plant? (This is where things get really exciting!!!!!!!)

In March, spinach, radishes, carrots, turnips, beets, peas, lettuce, broccoli, fennel and Asian greens such as bok choy and mustard greens can all be directly sown into your garden.

You can start seeds indoors for onions, lettuce, brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, cabbage, etc.), chard, kale, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, melons, zucchini, summer squash, pumpkins.

This month you can take your lettuce, leeks, onions, brassicas, peas and Asian greens that you started last month outdoors to transplant.

Brighten up your yard and home by starting flowers from seed. You can start Lobella, Alyssum, Limonium, Zinnias, Amaranth, Petunias, Marigolds, Cosmos, Tithonias, Ageratum, Strawflowers, Calliopsis, Cleome, Celosia, Sanvitalia, Morning Glory, Nasturtiums, Dahlia, Heliotrope, Gomphrena, Geraniums, Sunflowers, Impatiens, Nicotiana and Thunbergia.

Final thoughts…

Rain brings weeds! Take a few minutes each morning or evening to pull up a few new weeds in your garden area.

For year round tips on what to plant, click Greater Hopland Planting Guide (Peter Huff and Kate Frey's Monthly Planting Calendar for Inland Mendocino, also found at the "How to - Grow Food" page on The Garden's Project Website).

As always if you have a question about what to do in your garden, there is a tremendous body of knowledge about gardening in California, provided by University of California Cooperative Extension. This site, geared toward the home gardener can be found at

Happy Mendo Gardening!!

New Community Garden in BrookTrails!!

March 8th marked the first day of life for the new Brooktrails Community Garden! At approximately 7:27, after presentations from The Gardens Project and community gardener Tim Ramming, the Brooktrails board of directors voted unanimously to approve the building of a community garden at the old tennis court site on Birch street and to allocate $3,000 towards the project. The board of directors cited the incredible community participation, the self organization principle, donations from the community, and the self resilience of the garden as key reasons to move forward. SanHedrin nursery agreed to donate $100 and 10% off merchandise, Ramming and sons Heating and Air Conditioning is donating $200, W.E.L.L is donating $1,000, Round Tree glass will donate glass for hot boxes, J.D Redhouse will donate at cost tools, the California Conservation Corps is donating hours, and The Gardens Project is donating staff time, compost, and drip equipment.

The Brooktrails gardeners would like thank the above organizations for their support and donations.

The Brooktrails garden would also like to invite everyone who is interested in the garden to attend their next meeting. We are still looking for new gardeners and will select plots and discuss the guidelines that work towards creating a harmonious community. The Brooktrails lodge graciously has agreed to let the gardeners use the atrium room as a meeting space. The next meeting will be on Tuesday, March 29th at 6:30 PM at the Brooktrails Lodge.

Please mark your calendar for our first fundraiser! On Wednesday, April 20th at 7:00 PM. Hosted by the Brooktrails lodge and as a benefit for the new brooktrails community garden, the Benefit Bash will include health conscious vendors, live music, DJ's, and a good time! Look for the Facebook event here:!/event.php?eid=155538991171115

Peas and Carrots,


Something To Chew On - Mendocino Food Policy Council

Below is my latest article from the Ukiah Daily Journal about the formation of the Mendocino Food Policy Council, something which will hopefully affect everyone in Mendocino County. Hope you enjoy it. Horticulturally yours, Lucy

On March 1st, the Board of Supervisors approved a resolution to recognize and support the establishment of a Mendocino County Food Policy Council, which intends “to collaborate with institutions, businesses, and the public at large to create a sustainable local food system that reduces hunger, increases health and expands economic vitality.”

Linda Helland is a Public Health employee who has been organizing with the Food Policy Council since its beginning. Linda is generous of spirit and energy. She chats earnestly with the mail man and rides a bicycle even when the sky is spitting. I asked to interview her for this article, and as she came out to meet me in the foyer of Public Health and escort me back into the bowels of the building, she seemed more tired and stressed than usual. Upon my inquiry, she spoke of layoffs and low morale, program cuts and parsimony. So we made some tea and sat down to talk about the Food Policy Council (FPC).

FPCs are springing up around the country. The first formed 25 years ago in Knoxville, Tennesse, and now there are more than 100 FPCs nationwide, primarily on the city and county level. Increasing numbers of funders are requiring that communities have an FPC to be eligible for grant funding.

The Mendocino County FPC emerged from the Local Food Summit of May 2010. Organizers of the Summit, along with individuals who expressed interest in policy issues at the event, took on a next step of beginning an ad hoc FPC and began meeting for that purpose in August of 2010. Individuals who currently comprise the group represent health, hunger, education, and localization.

It has been exciting for me to watch the Mendocino County FPC form. Initially, the group has been working to craft the operating procedures the body needs: purpose, membership terms and selection, regional representation, etc. The meetings are the best run meetings I have encountered since moving to Mendocino County; productive and pleasant, down to the cheese, mandarins, and personal check-ins. In this well-facilitated context, the group gropes its way through uncharted territory like all worthwhile and creative endeavors must. Linda comments that individuals “bring a lot of wisdom from their past endeavors to the Food Policy Council, making it a pretty fluid, forward process developing operating procedures.” It’s “democracy in action,” she says. It’s freakin’ exciting, I say.

Once the operational procedures are in order, the group aims to expand and tailor membership to include representation of seven geographical regions (Laytonville, North Coast, South Coast, Anderson Valley, Greater Ukiah Valley, Willits, Round Valley) and eleven demographic sectors (Food Industry/Distributors, Producers/Farmers, Health, Institutional Food Prep, Educators, Government, Safety Net Providers Environment/Resources, Labor, Tribal, Economic Development).

On February 16th, the Ukiah City Council unanimously passed a resolution recognizing and supporting the establishment of the FPC. In the near future, Fort Bragg and Point Arena City Councils are slated to do the same.

On March 1st, after hearing from veterans protesting cuts to veteran services, and after touching upon how unfortunate it is to cut family planning services in Mendocino County, the Board of Supervisors made a point to read the FPC resolution, a laundry list of WHEREAS’s enumerating the many reasons local food makes is so abundantly sensible. Supervisor Kendall Smith called it an “important issue of great value to the local economy.”

The FPC is going to advise the Board of Supervisors on food and farming matters at least twice yearly and City Councils at least once yearly. They intend to present research and best practices on food and farming issues, and make suggestions that make economic sense for Mendocino County.

Most initial members are attending meetings on their time card, but Linda mentions the current economic situation is putting a squeeze on members’ resources. Linda says the group’s collective experience has seen that “things don’t tend to last without long term staff”, so the goal of the FPC is to secure funding for part-time staff. Linda adds that the current economic squeeze “also adds urgency to the mission of the Food Policy Council, to keep our money local.”

As I walked out of Public Health, feeling like my feet were treading a chopping block, I concluded that, right now, nothing is more appropriate for Mendocino County than a Food Policy Council. Bill Mollison said: “We’re only truly secure when we can look out our kitchen window and see our food growing and our friends working nearby.” Witnessing the chaos and insecurity this budget debacle is wreaking on people’s lives, it seems like a better time than ever to work together and create something fundamental and enduring; something not so sensitive to the currents of digital finance: a local food economy that will nourish this community through recessions and depressions, through cuts and booms. I hope this Food Policy Council will endure.

Fresh from the Start

Fresh from the Start nutrition and physical activity program is on its 7th class and going strong. So far the young parents at Ukiah High School have made some delicious healthy recipes and explored healthy living in a whole new way. We have done everything from making healthy and easy baby foods to doing mother and child yoga! The teen mothers have loved broadening their cooking skills; preparing easy snacks such as veggie dips and fruit dips, healthy dinners such as turkey chili, and yummy breakfast burritos loaded with fresh vegetables. The teens are learning a lot about the links between their own diets and the diets of their children. The child nutrition segment of the class has been a hit and the teen moms have been really into learning ways to improve their child's eating habits. The teen mothers have now become experts on how to make their own cheap, easy and fresh baby foods from peas, carrots, sweet potatoes and much more, and were shocked to see the price comparison from homemade baby food to jarred baby food.

For the next half of the class we will be focusing on healthy snacks, healthy lunches, and how to eat healthy on a budget. Stay tuned to see how it goes!

BEANS Countywide Meeting

Our county covers a lot of square miles and often there’s a divide between what is happening in Fort Bragg, Willits, and Ukiah. The divide is especially wide for young people because they don’t interact much with other students in other towns other than in sports rivalries. However, it is always heartwarming when groups from various parts of the county get together in one room… we realize that we are a community committed to making this a healthy, vibrant county.

This is especially true for the BEANS teen peer educators because when they get together, they have a lot in common... they are all out in their local schools teaching kids about nutrition, tasty foods, and fun physical activities. So, last week when the BEANS team gathered for a training day at the Willits Kids Club, the sense of community was a given.

The day began with high energy dancing to “Cotton-eyed Joe” and a raucous card game (played with a deck of fruit and vegetable picture cards of course!). The teens then got their hands into some great garden soil from the Noyo Food Forest’s learning garden. Seeds were planted and gardens were planned. Next, the teens learned some chef’s secrets for tasty food shared by Patrona’s Bridget Harrington. The teens then put their effective teamwork and chef’s skills into practice by working together to create a lunch taste test for our midday break. The recipes included vegetable soup, carrot and cilantro salad, and tropical banana treats. The BEANS training day ended with an hour-long fun and games session with physical fitness specialist Laurel Chambers from the Northcoast Nutrition Collaborative in Santa Rosa.

One of the teens’ favorite activities was playing the “Life Cycle Game.” It’s a physically active game that gets people up and moving, learning about the cycle of life from seed to sprout to plant to seed again! People of all ages can enjoy active games like these. The BEANS teens especially enjoy getting up, moving around, and being a little silly as well as a little competitive.

At the end of the day, we all walked away with a sense of connection and common purpose. We all learned something new for ourselves and for our nutrition education work. We will continue to connect on our Facebook group page to share funny stories, helpful teaching strategies, and tasty recipes. Until next time, here’s hoping that all of our seeds sprout and make it into the garden to give us flowers and fruits!

Asparagus- The ferns of the vegetable world

It takes a patiently tenacious gardener to grow asparagus. But, once you plant and establish asparagus beds they keep giving you their lovely ineluctably sweet ferny stalks for years and years. Asparagus is an excellent source of vitamin B6, calcium, vitamin C, and the all important mineral Iron. Not only that, but it looks beautiful in the garden and it's a great way to welcome the spring and erase away any winter petulance that one may have.

Check out the asparagus recipe below for some ways to shake up your use of asparagus.

Asparagus soup
from our friend Emeril Lagasse

- 3 pounds asparagus
- 8 cups broth
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 shallots, diced
- 1 cup minced leeks, whites only
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp ground white pepper
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan (for garnish)


Cut the asparagus tips off, and chop the woody ends off the stock. Cut up the remaining stocks into 1/2 inch strips. In a medium pot bring the broth to boil. Add the woody stocks into the broth and simmer for about 20 minuets, infusing the asparagus flavor into the broth. Remove woody stocks after 20 minuets, reserving the broth. Blanch the tips into hot water for about 2 minuets, remove from hot water.

In a medium stock pot melt butter. Add leeks and onions and cook until tender. Add garlic and cook for about one minute, add the 1/2 inch asparagus stocks and cook with salt and pepper for about 2 minutes. Add the reserved broth from the previous step and cook for about 20 minutes, or until asparagus is tender.

Use a hand blender or put broth mixture in a food processor to make smooth. Add cream and reserved asparagus tips for garnish.

Roasted Asparagus

- 1 pound asparagus
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- lemon juice, to taste
- 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil

Pre-heat oven to 400, rinse asparagus and chop of woody end. Lay the asparagus flat onto a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil over asapragus and roll the asparagus until they are covered with olive oil. Sprinkle garlic evenly over asparagus, and season with salt and pepper if desired. Place in oven for about 10 minutes or until tender. Drizzle with lemon juice before serving.

NFF'S New Executive Director!

The Noyo Food Forest is delighted to announce that our new Executive Director is Linda Pack. Linda comes with proven leadership skills and expertise in management gained from years of experience in local retail, public service and education.

Linda is well known in the community for her commitment to excellence. She was store Manager of Gallery Bookshop in Mendocino, Dirt Cheap in Fort Bragg, and was Artistic Director of Gloriana Musical Theatre from 1980 to 2000.

"I am proud to find such a dedicated group of people to work with," Linda said, referring to the Noyo Food Forest's Board of Directors, staff, and amazing volunteers. " It is a pleasure to see the fruits of your energy and efforts literally feeding and strengthening our community."

Welcome Linda!