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“When the root is strong the fruit is sweet.” ~Bob Marley

Christopher and I became founding members of the Prairie Roots Food Cooperative this evening. After an event of information via emcee Dr. Gretchen Harvey and many other amazing people, entertainment from Sarah Morrau, drinks courtesy of the Fargo Beer Company and appetizers from the Green Market Kitchen, I was hooked. Of course, they had me at hello… when we moved to Fargo almost three years ago I was extremely disappointed that we didn’t have a food co-op in the area. Since that time finding healthy organic food for my family has become like a scavenger hunt. I find a few things here and a few things there. I’m unbelievably excited that a food co-op is so close to becoming a reality.

As local organic farmer, Mark Askegaard, succinctly put it: “Good food is not processed food”, and we need to “bring a sense of social justice back to our food system”.

Prairie Roots Food Cooperative is dedicated to building a healthy community by providing access to natural, organic and locally produced food and you can become a member-owner too. For more information, visit and join me in making a difference in our community.


Editor’s Note: Each Tuesday My Green Side brings Simple Tips for Green Living toThe Christopher Gabriel Program.We also highlight a favorite green site each week. You can stream the segment at approximately 1220pm (central) every Tuesday or, if you’re in North Dakota or western Minnesota, listen on your radio at AM970 WDAY.

GREEN TIP: Make informed choices to reduce the amount of pesticides you and your family are eating. Buy organic produce whenever possible, it’s healthier for you and the planet.

Each year the Environmental Working Group (EWG) publishes the Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides. The guide is developed based on data from nearly 96,000 tests for pesticide residues in produce. There are two lists.The “Dirty Dozen” lists produce varieties that have most pesticide contamination so you should always buy these organic or avoid them. The other list is the “Clean 15″, the produce the EWG has found to have the least pesticide contamination.

Get the guide at

We’ve talked about avoiding toxic chemicals while Greening Your Lawn. We don’t want pesticides entering our bodies through our skin and we certainly don’t want to injest them. The EWG points out that there is a growing consensus in the scientific community that even small doses of pesticides and other chemicals can have adverse effects on health, especially during vulnerable periods such as fetal development and childhood.

The bottom line is that when it comes to pesticide use, there is more to consider than just the residues that you are ingesting. Although peeled foods such as mangoes, avocados and kiwis may spare the consumer from significant pesticide exposure, it is possible that large amounts of pesticides and herbicides are used on the farms from which these originate, contaminating groundwater, promoting erosion and otherwise damaging local ecosystems. To help promote the health of the planet as well as your own health, it’s best to buy organic whenever possible.

DIRTY DOZEN – Buy These Organic

  1. Apple
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines
  7. Grapes
  8. Sweet bell peppers
  9. Potatoes
  10. Blueberries
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale/collard greens

CLEAN 15 – Lowest in Pesticides

  1. Onions
  2. Corn
  3. Pineapples
  4. Avocado
  5. Asparagus
  6. Sweet peas
  7. Mangoes
  8. Eggplant
  9. Cantaloupe (domestic)
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cabbage
  12. Watermelon
  13. Sweep potatoes
  14. Grapefruit
  15. Mushrooms

Source: and

My Green Side’s weekly web pick:

Eco18 is a collective of creative writing individuals with a common goal—to live a healthier more natural lifestyle. From diverse backgrounds, cultures and interests, their combined expertise, humor and opinions will explore green and sustainable in a practical, fun way.

No judgments, no preaching just an exploration of doing a little bit, everyday to make our world a better, cleaner place for the generations to come. It’s a learning process for everyone.

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The girls and I had a fun field trip this week to the Plains Art Museum. This was our first time visiting the museum and we were so impressed with the space, the exhibits, Cafe Muse and the many knowledgeable staff members.

Our main reason for the visit was to see The Birdhouse Project. Awesome.

Architects sometimes move outside of designing buildings to design objects that meet other needs. During the display of The Birdhouse Project at the Museum from March 4 through 10, architectural students will showcase the design needs of a completely different flock.

Second-year architecture students at NDSU research and interpret the design theory and methodology of a specific Pritzker award-winning architect. Simultaneously, they research the dwelling requirements of their “client” – a particular bird, owl or bat that dwells in a house and is specific to this region. Students then translate the Pritzker architect’s philosophy into the design and construction of an inhabitable house for their chosen bird.

Competition requirements include the creation of a useable house as well as a graphic component with information on the Pritzker Architect and the specific bird/bat/owl.

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Ronald McDonald House Charities are near and dear to our hearts. Christopher’s father was one of the original founders of the nation’s first Ronald McDonald House, located in Philadelphia.

We know that families are stronger when they are together, and their presence helps a sick child heal faster and cope better. ~Ronald McDonald House Charities

Christopher was the fundraising games host and auctioneer for the 2011 Sweetheart Ball, benefiting Ronald McDonald House of the Red River Valley (Fargo) and I was honored to be his date.

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A couple weekends ago we paid homage to the age old rite of visiting a local pumpkin patch (a different one from last year). We went with a dear friend and her daughter (one of Little Greek goddess’s best friends). The weather was gorgeous and, except for the ravenous mosquitoes and a wagon tipping incident, we had a great time!

Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile. ~William Cullen Bryant

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by Wendy Gabriel

Instead of putting Caleigh back in a traditional school environment, we made the decision to homeschool her this school year. First Grade commenced at the Gabriel household on Monday.

I never teach my pupils. I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn. ~ Albert Einstein

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by Wendy Gabriel

My parents have an organic farm in the St. Croix Valley region of western Wisconsin. It’s a place where I feel like I can truly breathe. Everything in my life suddenly falls into the proper perspective the minute I drive up the long, winding driveway. Worry and stress melt away as I’m greeted by the natural beauty of the land.

Laugh as much as you breathe and love as long as you live. ~Anonymous

Where do you go to just breathe?

Some of my favorite photos and photo blogs:
Twilight Earth’s Photo Sunday
Mother Nature Sunday Gallery: Beaming Flowers from Love Earth Always
Photo Terri
True to Words’ Friday Photography
Twin Cities Photo Blog

by Wendy Gabriel

WOW! It’s been a busy summer so far. We’ve fit a lot of fun into a month and a bit. Here’s a recap:

There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart. ~Celia Thaxter

We’ve been to the Mall of America, had a lovely visit (in Fargo) with my sister and her family, attended my nieces graduation at the Target Center in Minneapolis (added bonus, got to see Target Field up close on our way to and from the graduation), spent time at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s farm in Wisconsin, spent a few days with our whole extended family relaxing at a hotel with a waterpark, Caleigh attended her first basketball camp (and loved it) and then more time at the farm. Add to all that: fun playdates, gardening and a lot of playing outdoors!

The summer night is like a perfection of thought. ~Wallace Stevens

In summer, the song sings itself. ~William Carlos Williams

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass on a summer day listening to the murmur of water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is hardly a waste of time. ~John Lubbock

Summer afternoon – summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language. ~Henry James

Some of my favorite photos and photo blogs:
Twilight Earth’s Photo Sunday
Mother Nature Sunday Gallery: Beaming Flowers from Love Earth Always
Photo Terri
True to Words’ Friday Photography
Twin Cities Photo Blog

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by Wendy Gabriel

We’ve made it to the end of the school year and Caleigh is now an official kindergarten graduate!

All I really need to know… I learned in kindergarten.  ~Robert Fulghum

The beginning: Photo Friday – First Day of School

The last day of kindergarten:

We all love her kindergarten teacher, her classmates, her classmates families and everything about her school. I feel extremely grateful that we were able to find this school and have become part of it’s family especially since we are so far from our own.

We are so proud of our graduate and are looking forward to a fun summer.

In summer, the song sings itself. ~William Carlos Williams

Some of my favorite photos and photo blogs:
Twilight Earth’s Photo Sunday
Mother Nature Sunday Gallery: Beaming Flowers from Love Earth Always
Photo Terri

Sam Can Shoot

Twin Cities Photo Blog


My baby turned 3 years old this week. It truly seems like she was just born yesterday. This was our first birthday party in our new city and our first party without Grandma, Grandpa, cousins, aunties and uncles so I wanted to make it extra special.

Here’s a look back: Photo Friday – The Baby

Our local Rainbow Play Systems lets you rent out their showroom for parties. We had the run of four amazing play structures, a trampoline, an adorable playhouse and a party room with kid-sized chairs and tables. The smile on the birthday girl’s face was worth the price of admission.

As a mother, my job is to take care of what is possible and trust God with the impossible.

~Ruth Bell Graham



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