Expanding our Vocabulary, Gardens, Diet and Celebrations

Guess the Pulses Game for Community Events

This blog post was written by Patrice Powers-Barker (Family and Consumer Sciences) and Amy Stone (Agriculture and Natural Resources), Extension Educators, Ohio State University Extension, Lucas County

In the Midwest region of the United States of America, located on the western basin of Lake Erie, Lucas County Ohio is home to over 436,000 people. Our rural farmers traditionally corn, soybeans and wheat. Both rural and urban farmers, as well as home and community gardeners grow a variety of vegetables. Those cool-season and warm-season vegetables grow throughout the spring and summer as well as in late fall and early winter with the assistance of season extenders.

In our community it is not unusual to find pulses as an ingredient in household and restaurant dishes such as soups or chili, baked beans, refried beans, hummus or black-eyed peas. Although we might serve them as part of a meal we don’t tend to use them as the main dish. The most common place to purchase pulses is at the grocery store, either in cans or in bags. In Lucas County vegetable gardens, pulses are not as common as other vegetables such as green beans, tomatoes or greens.

The very first thing the United Nations 2016 International Year of Pulses presented to us was a new vocabulary word. Many recognize the food items “dried beans, peas and lentils” but “pulses” was a new way to condense those five words. The Ohio State University (OSU) Extension office staff in Lucas County (Cooperative Extension) read about the 2016 International Year of the Pulses and appreciated the online resources to make the theme applicable for our county. We share our modest story as a way to say “Thank You” to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations as well as partners with the UN International Year of Pulses Steering Committee.

Celebration of the 2016 International Year of the Pulses in Lucas County Ohio:

  • Promoted a partnering organization’s spring class on growing pulses in the garden
  • Pulses were a theme for newspaper articles, blogs and social media posts
  • Master Gardener Volunteers used pulses as the theme for their annual summer picnic that included education, recipes and games
  • Our game of the year was “guess the pulse” used at different community events including our county fair and local farmers markets
  • Encouraged new foods and recipes using pulses for health and enjoyment

As much as we’ve enjoyed learning and sharing in 2016, we recognize that one year is not long enough to explore all of the resources, opportunities and recipes that highlight pulses. In the garden or field, pulses are an annual plant but we value this topic as a perennial educational opportunity. We have already begun planning for 2017 and how we will continue to emphasize pulses as part of our education and outreach in Lucas County. First, a dedicated team of Master Gardener Volunteers will utilize presentation materials on how to grow pulses to offer some community classes to gardeners next winter and early spring. The Family and Consumer Sciences Educator will use pulse recipes as examples at all applicable nutrition classes as well as with emergency food pantries in the county. Across our program areas, we will design an educational social media campaign for two local face book pages with a focus on pulse gardening and nutrition with timely topics for the four seasons of Northwest Ohio.

We authored this blog on expanding our vocabulary, gardens, diet and celebrations to say “Thank You” to our international community.

  • Thank you to those who grow pulses for us to eat and enjoy 
  • Thank you to those who research how to best grow pulses and the impact on our lives and environment
  • Thank you to those working for food security in local neighborhoods and around the world 
  • Thank you to the pulse blog authors for sharing your inspiring stories, videos and photos
  • Thank you to the United Nations for featuring the 2016 International Year of the Pulses 

Just as any seed is planted with care and hope, we plan to utilize the 2016 International Year of the Pulses as a “seed” for future work that will continue to grow and flourish in Northwest Ohio.

The views expressed here belong to the speaker and do not necessarily represent FAO’s views, positions, strategies or opinions.


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