With Karen Fields' help the potatoes were cooked and cooled down enough for the wrap up session as we talked about what we had done together this season and what to look forward to in the fall garden.
Children as a species have traits to be respected and cultivated. Nourished they will grow, allowed to find their strengths they will prosper. We hoped to provide that opportunity for the children who came to garden with us, they certainly gave us much more than we imagined, they gave us hope in a future with them in it.
There were a lot of children who came to help us in the garden and many of them may convince their parents to start their own gardens this fall or next spring. Please parents if you have not had your yards tested by EPA for lead, make that call and get on the list. Find out if your yard is "garden safe" and if it is not, have EPA get rid of that contaminated soil and bring you and your children clean soil for their garden. EPA is not sampling for other metals, but the mining waste that contains lead can contain many other hazardous metals, those will be removed along with the lead when it is hauled off. Cadmium and arsenic are metals we don't need, and can be found in the mining waste that could be laying around your property. Note that number to call is 1-800-533-3508, the answering machine waits for your message.
The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality will be making sure that yard work is done and it is up to us to make sure it is done right. Soon there will be a new number and a new contact person, but for now be sure and ask for Bob Sullivan when you make your call.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention explains that your "Built Environment" includes the physical makeup of where we live, learn, work, and play—our homes, schools, businesses, streets and sidewalks, open spaces, and transportation options. The built environment can influence overall community health and individual behaviors such as physical activity and healthy eating.
Our built environment means our school grounds have been tested for lead and several had to have their playgrounds dug up and removed because they were loaded with lead. Daycares and parks have been tested, those that needed it were also cleaned. All home properties in Ottawa County are eligible and should be evaluated and yards removed while this opportunity is available for free!
This Built Environment has to begin with clean soil, that should be a priority. All of the homes that have been taken down around Miami, leaving open spaces could become neighborhood playgrounds or gardens should be evaluated and calls made to put them on the "list," too. Let's make sure we have the safest environment we can have, from the ground up. These children expect us to do right for them.