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Coastal Waters


Schools Serve Students Actual Food

Okay, we're cheating on the topic this time.  Our flimsy tie-in to water is that the woman behind this story is named Alice Waters!  There are some connections to water, but we'll leave it to you to make them.  We were just so struck by an article in the Christian Science Monitor that we thought you might like to hear about it.  (By the way, The Christian Science Monitor is a great paper that you don't have to be a Christian Scientist, a scientist or a Christian to read.)

Many schools around the country are recognizing how many of our school-age children are overweight and are making changes to improve the quality of their food intake.  Many of them are pulling out the junk food vending machines and soft drinks.  Some are making efforts to prepare and serve healthier food for the kids.

The "Wave Award" goes to Alice Waters who founded the Chez Panizze Foundation, which has committed to raise $4 million to jumpstart a new School Lunch Initiative for Berkeley California's public schools.  The idea is not just to feed the students better, it is to put the district's 10,000 students on a path of lifelong healthy eating habits.  California has passed a law going into effect in 2007 that sets limits on the sugar and fat content in foods and what drinks can be sold in schools.

The Initiative is working to introduce fresh, locally grown food - preferably organic.  And they'll actually cook it at the schools. 
Backers point out that spending more on nutritious lunches now means spending less on healthcare later.  Some disagree that it really is any more expensive.  Professor Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition and public health at New York University says "You can bring in healthier food at the same price as junk food.  Often cheaper."

The Martin Luther King Middle School has had a garden planted and harvested by students for 10 years now.  They also have a kitchen where the students exercise culinary skills as part of their curriculum.  Writing, theater, science and math are integrated with the gardening and cooking - so the young people learn how to integrate it all into their lives. 
Most of the district's elementary and middle schools now have gardens, and more will add kitchens this year. 

One of the most wonderful outcomes of programs like this is the conversation around the table when the kids sit to eat.  Waters says students are thirsty for the sit-down meal experience. 
When students were asked what they did at school that they don't do at home, they said "Cook together and eat together." 

We at are strong believers in systems thinking.  ML King School is putting it into action by teaching through an integrated program.  More are moving toward this approach.  Preparing and eating healthy food is hugely important; and still only a part of the power of this program.  One of the great things the students will learn by their own experience is that everything is connected.  They should be able to apply this understanding in many ways.

What a great direction for our schools to be taking.  We should be doing more of this at home too.  What young person could you be gardening and cooking with?  Are you taking the time to cook real food and talk over a meal with the important people in your life?

Thanks for reading.  We'll be talking to you again soon.


The Curve of Time:  The Classic Memoir of a Woman and Her Children Who Explored the Coastal Waters of the Pacific Northwest, by M. Wylie Blanchet 

This is really fun read that tells the story of a brave woman who lived with her children on a boat all summer every summer.  They traveled up and down the coast of British Columbia in the 1920s and 30s. 

Here's a sort-of typical out-take - selected to give you a feel for how the book reads: 

"The swells had an entirely different feel about them than the waves. Not dangerous exactly, but relentless - an all-the-way from-China kind of feeling about them.  Whatever the sea was doing, I felt that I should like to locate that inner passage as soon as possible.  Here were cliffs at the moment, so it probably started farther along. I didn't care for the unexpected breaking and spouting of the breakers on a calm surface - breaking on something we couldn't see. We rounded another cape with a great mass of kelp off it.  Then I made out a line of kelp extending along the coast as far as the eye could see. From where we were it looked much too narrow to be the Indian passage. Jan went up on the bow, and I worked in closer. It began to look wider and there was evidently a reef underneath or alongside the kelp.  Then we came to a gap with no kelp and evidently no reef -nothing that would bother us anyway. We slipped through on top of a swell... and here certainly was the Indian channel.  It seemed deep right up to the shore, and about thirty feet wide. What low water would show we couldn't tell. There might be no room for the boat at all - the Indians might only use it at high tide....At least the wide kelp bed broke up the swells and none was breaking on the shore."

Ms. Blanchet was facing such adventures in a modest 25-foot cruiser (purchased in 1923) filled with five children and sometimes a dog.

Among the many delightful stories are their interactions with different people living in very isolated circumstances along the inner waterway. They are invariably unique and colorful characters. They also visit old abandoned Indian villages and she has some great stories about them. Her tales of being among the killer whales - the orcas - are fascinating. They have curious run-ins with animals on the shore. The whole book is filled with delightful little anecdotes - like the time her little boy was having trouble sleeping so she whistled a little duck over to sleep with him.

If this is the type of story you enjoy - this is a great one.

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Thank you for reading The Waterfall.

                       Celebrate Water.  Filter Water.  Save Water.




Chlorine on Plants & Soil?


Stop watering your gardens with chlorinated water! Click on GardenMate to learn about water filters to clean the water for your yard.

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Water Tips
Ayurvedic medicine (from India) says that it is better if you don't drink very cold water while you are eating. It puts out the 'digestive fire'.  (Make sure it's clean water.)


Adaptable Garden Sprinklers Put Water Just Where You Want

Noodlehead Sprinklers have flexible tubes at the top so you can water just where you want. They are terrific for odd-shaped spaces. Click Noodleheads to learn more about how to save water

Water In The News

Surfing Record:  Surfers set a new record when 46 surfers all rode the same wave at Manly Beach, near Sydney Australia.  It took 10 tries.


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Salty Water:  Maricopa, Pinal and Pima counties in Arizona accumulate 1.75 million tons of salt per year from the Colorado, Salt and Verde rivers. Southern Arizona's share will rise to about 200,000 tons when the city ramps up to full use of its Central Arizona Project water allocation over the next few years. The Colorado River gets much of its salt when farmers irrigate crops and the water washes into the river through underground calcium deposits. The Salt River sends sodium salt - the kind in your salt shaker - to Phoenix from springs in the White Mountains. "Originally those salts would have been carried out to the ocean," said Thomas Poulson of  the Bureau of Reclamation. Tucson and Phoenix also import sodium through tens of thousands of water softeners, that keep calcium salt from clogging appliances but dump sodium salt into sewers. In Phoenix , 26 percent of the salts in waste water is from home water softeners, the study found.  That's a lot of effort to clean water.           from a story by

                          B. Poole, a Tucson Citizen 

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No Clown Water Fights

The clowns from Zippo's Circus in England have been warned to stop throwing water at each other, which violates a drought order restricting non-essential use.  Save water you clowns!

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