Garden & Wellness Report, Early Fall 2016

Garden Report

We have harvested over 2,000 pounds of produce this year! 

Thank you to the volunteer groups who supported our garden in September:

9/11 Service Day with Franklin Academy Middle School

In partnership with ActivateGood, Alliance hosted a 9/11 service day on Friday, September 9th. We are so grateful to have been able to work with such a terrific group!  Thirteen volunteers assisted with garden tasks; we weeded, pulled up old crops, harvested, prepared raised beds for new crops, and re-mulched the pathways of the garden.

Garden Workday Volunteers

Thank you to those individual volunteers, as well as the youth groups, churches and businesses who have volunteered in our garden!  In September, we had the pleasure of working with Franklin Academy Middle School students and RSM.  Thank you for helping us clean out our summer garden and prepare the beds for fall vegetables! 

Our fall and winter garden is underway! Here's what we've been planting:  Carrots, radishes, turnips, rutabagas, kohlrabi, kale, collards, lettuce varieties, spinach, mini broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, as well as red and green cabbage!

Thanks to funding from the City of Oaks Foundation (Urban Agriculture award), we have extended the water line in our garden. Our next step in irrigation is to install a drip hose system. We hope for this to be completed by the end of October.

Plans for a pollinator garden are in the works, as well! Our hope is that this garden will bring even more beauty and environmental education to Alliance's community garden.


Wellness Program Report

Cooking Matters

Cooking Matters is a cooking and nutrition course that helps families plan, shop, and cook healthy, nutritious, affordable, and delicious meals.  Alliance Medical Ministry is a site for this free, six-week program, coordinated with the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle.

At the first Cooking Matters course, Alliance patients learned about cooking and food safety, cooking terminology, how to read food labels, and how food portions have changed over the years.

Patients prepared a Coconut Corn and Kale Chowder soup with a side of some homemade whole wheat oat and millet bread.   We hope you will enjoy the recipe!

Coconut Corn & Kale Chowder

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Makes approximately 6 servings


1 medium whole leek, cleaned and chopped (or substitute with onion)
2 cloves garlic, minced (more to taste)
1 jalapeño pepper, chopped
4 small red potatoes, cleaned and thinly sliced (you can use other types of potato, too)
1  15-ounce can of low-sodium chickpeas (garbanzo beans) or other bean of choice (navy or great northern work well), rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen corn
1 14-ounces can lite coconut milk
1 ½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth, divided
¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
Black pepper to taste
½ tsp. salt (or try no salt)

*This recipe is very flexible with substituting and adding vegetables. Add some leafy greens (like kale) to add some flavor and even more nutrients!


1.        In a large soup pot, sauté leeks, garlic, jalapeño, and potatoes in ½ cup vegetable broth over
         medium-high heat until vegetables are tender.

2.        Add chickpeas or desired type of bean, corn, coconut milk, and remaining vegetable broth.

3.        Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 minutes until potatoes are tender and soup has thickened.

4.        Serve hot.

At the second Cooking Matters class, participants learned about the similarities and differences between fresh, canned, and frozen fruits and vegetables. They also discussed shopping for seasonal produce, learning how to make easy substitutions in recipes, and the importance of choosing whole grains.

The cooking portion included preparing a dish that incorporates fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This has definitely been the best recipe yet! Our pineapple quinoa stir-fry included carrots, celery, bok choy, green onions, hot and sweet peppers, peas, peanuts, quinoa, garlic, basil, and ginger. Check out the recipe below! Please note that this recipe is very versatile. You can easily add or substitute ingredients.

Pineapple Quinoa Stir-fry

Makes approximately 4-5 servings



1 cup quinoa, well rinsed and drained
1 cup pineapple juice (to reduce sugar intake, water or low-sodium vegetable broth can be used)
1 cup cold water
1/3 tsp soy sauce (low-sodium)

4 ounces cashews or peanuts, raw and unsalted
3 TBSP peanut oil (to make this oil-free, substitute it with water or vegetable broth)
2 scallions, sliced thinly (regular onions are a great substitution)
2 cloves garlic, minced (or more to taste)
1 hot red pepper, sliced into very thin rounds (optional)
½- inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 cup frozen green peas or cooked edamame
½ cup fresh basil leaves, rolled and sliced into thin shreds
2 TBSP finely chopped fresh mint
10 ounces fresh pineapple, cut into bite-size chunks (about 2 cups)
3 TBSP vegetable stock (low-sodium)
3 TBSP soy sauce (optional)
1 TBSP mirin (optional: this can be left out)
Lime wedges for garnish


1.       Combine the quinoa, juice, water, and soy sauce (optional) in a medium-size pot.

2.       Cover, place over high heat, and bring to a boil.

3.       Stir a few times, lower the heat to medium-low, cover, and cook from 12 to 14 minutes until all
         the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa appears pumped and slightly translucent.

4.       Uncover, fluff, and let cool.

5.       For best results, place the quinoa in an airtight container and refrigerate overnight. If you’re in a
        hurry, chill the covered quinoa for at least an hour. When ready to use, break up any chunks of the
        cold quinoa with a fork. (Optional: you can use the quinoa right away & the result is still great!)


1.       Use the largest nonstick skillet you have (at least 11 inches in diameter) or a wok.

2.       Have all of your ingredients chopped and easily within reach.

3.       Place the cashews or peanuts in the dry pan and heat over low heat, stirring them, until lightly
        toasted, 4 to 5 minutes.

4.       Remove the cashews or peanut from the pan, raise the heat to medium, and add the peanut oil,
        scallions, and garlic.

5.       When garlic starts to sizzle, add the sliced hot pepper and ginger. Stir-fry for about 2 minutes,
        and then add the bell pepper and pea or edamame. Stir-fry for another 3 to 4 minutes, until the
        bell pepper is softened and the peas are bright green.

6.       Add the basil and mint, and stir for another minute before adding the pineapple and quinoa.

7.       In a measuring cup, combine the soy sauce (optional), vegetable stock, and mirin. Pour over the
       quinoa mixture. Stir to incorporate completely and coat the quinoa.

8.       Continue to stir-fry for 10 to 14 minutes, until the quinoa is very hot (it helps to use two
        spoons/spatulas to scoop the quinoa around).

9.       Serve with lime wedges, if desired.

Seed to Supper

Alliance Medical Ministry hosted its fall Seed to Supper course from August 9th to September 13th. We had a total of 14 fantastic graduates! Community members and patients gained valuable information and hands-on experience with gardening basics. Alliance partners with Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and NC Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners to educate patients and community members on the process of creating and growing their own gardens. Upon completion of the course, all graduates received basic tools, organic fertilizer, seeds, seedlings, compost, and continued support.

Interested in the next 5-week Seed to Supper course? Contact The Community Garden & Wellness Program Coordinator.

Chair Yoga

Chair yoga continues every Thursday evening from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. at Alliance, taught by instructors from You Call this Yoga. Patients have had great success in taking a step towards bettering both their physical and mental well-being. The class is taught in English and Spanish.

Walk with a Doc

Walk with a Doc is a great way to get up and get moving while engaging with Alliance's providers and getting to know other community members. Join us every fourth Thursday from 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. at Alliance. This month's walk with be held on Thursday, October 27th.  The walk is just over one mile, and water and snacks are always provided! Please note: due to the holidays in November and December, Walk with a Doc will take place on the third Thursday at 5:30 PM. Please be sure to check Alliance's upcoming events page to keep up-to-date on weather-related cancellations.