Month: October 2013

Canning our Crops

As autumn brings in the colder weather, our youth interns expressed an interest in learning how to make use of our leftover crops. We decided to do some canning with a bumper crop of tomatillos and make Salsa Verde.

Salsa Verde is an oven roasted salsa cooked and canned in a hot water bath. It was so fun to watch the youth learn how to can. After the salsa was finished, we decided to make pesto from our basil for use in winter cooking events. Thanks to First Lutheran Church for allowing us to make a wonderful mess in their commercial kitchen as we cleaned, chopped and prepped for canning. It was a terrific morning!

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Celebrate National Apple Month

October is National Apple Month! To celebrate, try this amazing apple recipe from Cooking Matters.

Baked Apples


6 apples
6 Tablespoons shelled walnut pieces
6 Tablespoons raisins
2-3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon (or to taste) ground ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 Tablespoons butter
1/4 cup water
1 lemon, cut into small pieces
1 cup plain or vanilla non-fat yogurt (optional)


1) Preheat oven to 375°F.
2) Wash and core apples, leaving them whole and unpeeled.
3) Mix together walnuts, raisins, brown sugar and spices in a small bowl.
4) Take a small amount of this mixture in your fingers and stuff inside each apple. Dab apples with about 1/3 teaspoon of butter.
5) Cover bottom of a pan with 1 inch of water. Place the lemon slices and apples in the pan. Cover with a lid or aluminum foil.
6) Place in the over and bake about 40 minutes, until apples are tender but not broken.
7) To serve, spoon warm, syrupy liquid from pan over apples. (Or you could serve baked apples with yogurt on top.)

Urban Roots Tip: You can also add oatmeal to the stuffing mixture of the apples (in which case you’ll need a couple of extra apples to fit all the filling) and you need to pour some more liquid in the apple to help cook the oatmeal. You can use either water or 100% apple juice. This is a great way to add some more whole grains (the oatmeal!) into your diet.

Visit Cooking Matters for nutrition facts about this recipe.

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Visiting our Produce at the Walker

Visit the Urban Roots produce this weekend, October 12-13, on the Forager’s Circle inside the Walker Art Center!

Urban Roots teen interns and program staff made a visit to the Walker Art Center yesterday afternoon to view the exhibit, Fritz Haeg: At Home in the City, which explores the connection between people’s use and relationship with plant materials and other organic derived products in mostly urban environments around the world.

The exhibit traveled to Minneapolis this year, carrying with it an archive of produced materials from other cities on display. Each weekend a selection of organic materials such as produce, flowers and herbs are displayed on wooden pedestals on the circular rug in the gallery. Currently, Urban Roots was selected to provide materials from our gardens for the exhibit space! We provided beautiful garden goodies such as purple pac choi, mini orange bell peppers, dried sunflower heads, thai basil, eggplant and more.

It was very fun to visit the exhibit with some of our intern group. The space is very welcoming as you are able to take your shoes off and drink tea, or knit a creation on the rug. There was also a large scale map of the city where visitors can pin areas in which they grow food in the city to map the scale of production. We put our six pins down on the East Side — after much deliberation as to the exact locations. After participating in the exhibit, we roamed some other galleries and enjoyed the beautiful sunshine in the sculpture garden. For many of the interns it was their first visit to the Walker Art Center and a great experience to bring them there! We hope you visit the exhibit this weekend.

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Our Produce Now Resides at the Walker

Edible garden crops as art? They will be this October at the Walker Art Center this and Urban Roots is involved in the exhibition. Our produce has settled in as an elite member of edible foods used in an art installation.

Check out the Fritz Haeg: At Home in the City exhibit from October 10-13 on the Forager’s Circle inside the Walker Art Center to view our selection of youth-grown produce on display.

On October 10th Urban Roots staff and youth participants will be visiting the exhibit after school and touring the gardens on site. We are excited to see our hard work as a work of art!

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Bryan and Ly’s Epic Quinoa Salad

Makes 8 (1 cup) servings

Dressing Ingredients
¼ cup hoisin sauce
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
2 tsp. chili garlic sauce
2 tbsp. rice vinegar

Salad Ingredients
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups packed shredded kale leaves
1 cup red cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup red grapes, halved
½ cup chopped cucumber
¼ cup chopped fresh mint
4 cups mixed spring greens
½ cup roasted & salted sunflower seeds

1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. While quinoa is cooking mix all dressing ingredients in large bowl.
2. When quinoa is finished cooking rinse with cool water and drain well.
3. Place quinoa in bowl and toss with half of dressing. Add kale, tomatoes, grapes, cucumber, and mint. Gently stir until well blended. Serve on top of spring greens. Drizzle with remaining dressing and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.

This recipe was created by two Urban Root interns, Bryan and Ly, for Roots for the Home Team. Roots enables high school students in the Twin Cities to create and sell healthy, delicious salads at Twins games. To learn more about Roots for the Home Team visit

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Career Profile: Conservation Scientist

What does a conservation scientist do?
Conservation scientists work to manage, improve and protect the country’s natural resources. They work with governments and landowners to use and improve the land. Some conservation scientists advise farmers and ranchers about using agricultural resources. Some conservation scientists specialize as soil or water conservationists and work with soil erosion, water contamination or management of resources.

What type of schooling do I need to become a conservation scientist?
Usually, conservation scientists have a bachelor’s degree in rangeland management, agricultural science, natural resource management or environmental science. Generally a graduate degree is not necessary. Conservation Scientists also typically have a background in geographic information system (GIS) technology and other forms of computer modeling.

What types of skills are best suited to becoming a conservation scientist?
Analytical skills: Conservation scientists must evaluate the results of a variety of field tests and experiments, all of which require precision and accuracy.
Critical-thinking skills: Conservation scientists reach conclusions through sound reasoning and judgment. They determine how to improve forest conditions, and they must react appropriately to fires.
Decision-making skills: Conservation scientists and foresters must use their expertise and experience to determine whether their findings will have an impact on soil, forestlands or the spread of fires.
Interpersonal skills: Conservation scientists need to work well with the forest and conservation workers and technicians they supervise, so effective communication is critical.
Physical stamina: Conservation scientists often walk long distances in steep and wooded areas. They work in all kinds of weather, including extreme heat and cold.
Speaking skills: Conservation scientists and foresters must give clear instructions to forest and conservation workers and technicians, who typically do the labor necessary for proper forest maintenance.

What is the job outlook for conservation scientists?
About 74 percent of all conservation scientists work in government. Employment for conservation scientists is expected to grow by about 12 percent over the next decade, which is about as fast as average for all occupations. A large number of new jobs will be found in governments. The median annual wages for conservation scientists was $60,160.

Information from and

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