January '17 Garden and Wellness Update - Jesse Crouch

We're only a few weeks into 2017 but the new year is already bringing us hope and excitement, and we are looking forward to making this year a wonderful one! We'll be introducing bees, a hoop house, and more perennials, including asparagus, blueberries, strawberries, figs, and pears!

With carefully coordinated wellness outcome tracking, we will be able to hone in on patient impact of new programs like the Million Step Challenge and the Diabetes Prevention Program.  We look forward to expanding our offerings of Seed to Supper and Cooking Matters, and continuing yoga, a patient favorite.  Follow all the happenings each month through this blog!

"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step". - Lao Tzu

Garden Flourishes Despite Wild Temps

Despite the early January snow that blanketed the Alliance Community Garden and the single-digit temperatures, our spinach, arugula, kale, carrot and beets survived, insulated from the single digit temperature by the snow and their row covers.  We even had a few special four-legged visitors to the garden during those snowy days!

In the wake of the snow storm, we're excited for our new plantings!  The Kirk of Kildaire Presbyterian Church's Community Garden donated strawberry bush seedlings, which we have transplanted in the back of the garden.  After a successful germination test, snap pea seeds are in the ground; in a few months, they'll be covering our bamboo trelis.  We'll be excited to see the "fruits of our labor" in a few months!


Wellness in the Works

Weekly yoga and diabetes education continued in January, and we are gearing up for exciting spring initiatives, including the launch of the Million Step Challenge and kick-off of the Diabetes Prevention Program. 

Alliance Medical Ministry is excited to participate this Spring in the Million Step Challenge with WakeMed Hospital!  The Million Step Challenge begins on March 1st, with Alliance medical providers each leading a team of ten patients to reach one million steps by June 15.  Each day, patients and providers will aim to reach 9,000 steps to achieve this goal!  Alliance will offer a weekly "Walk with a Doc" to help our teams achieve their goals, and encourage community members to jump in and offer support.  Alliance competes with teams from WakeMed Hospital, Advance Community Health, and the Open Door Clinic.  The team with the most steps at the conclusion of the challenge WINS!  We're excited to be more involved in our patients' exercise routines and to see what we can accomplish together through the challenge!

February will also kick off our new Diabetes Prevention Program in partnership with the YMCA, led by former Garden and Wellness Coordinator, Ashley Toscano.  In this 12-month program, pre-diabetic Spanish-speaking patients will work to achieve the goals of losing 7% of their body fat and exercising 150 minutes each week.  For a portion of the program, patient participants receive YMCA gym memberships and are encouraged to exercise with friends and classmates.  We'll check in on their progress over the course of the year!

Cooking Matters kicks off the winter six-week program this week, teaching nutrition to participating patients as well as skills to cook, meal plan, and shop for healthy food items on a budget.  Be sure to follow weekly updates and recipes on the Alliance Facebook Page: facebook.com/alliancemedicalministry 

Peace be with you fellow travelers!