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Making It Grow
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Amanda McNulty of Clemson University’s Extension Service and host of ETV’s six-time Emmy Award-winning show, Making It Grow, offers gardening tips and techniques.

Making It Grow Minutes are produced by South Carolina Public Radio, in partnership with Clemson University's Extension Service.

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  • If you go to mig.org and watch the Nov. 9 show, you’ll learn about Food Share and how getting fresh food to people became even more critical during the pandemic. When people get their box every other week, they get recipes, too. Forty percent of us have gained weight during the pandemic; lack of exercise, eating “comfort foods,” and finding it harder to get fresh foods. The meal we cooked on that show was delicious, and I looked at the Food Share website to see if I could find more recipes. Boy, oh, boy -- what a treasure trove. I’m going to start fixing some of these meals, get healthier suppers for my family, and expand my repertoire and recharge my interest in cooking at the same time. Who can resist “garlic smashed sweet potatoes with parmesan cheese?”
  • Christa Gonzalez of U S C Medical School, Columbia, joined Clemson’s Rural Health Agent Ellie Lane on a recent sMaking It Grow program talking about how access to fresh food and its preparation are critical for our citizens’ health. One in eight South Carolinians has been diagnosed with diabetes and each year a larger percentage joins that group. Gonzalez and Lane talked about the Food Share program available in most of our state – every two weeks participants get a box of fresh food – and recipes on how to prepare healthy meals with those items. Gonzalez leads the culinary medicine program at the medical school in Columbia –all students get some instruction in that topic. Extension’s Rural Health agents have on-going programs helping people control diabetes and hypertension; knowing about Food share can be part of that work.
  • Food Share began in Canada and has now spread across our country as the need for affordable fresh, healthy food has become more critical. Food deserts affect many rural or inner-city areas, and with the pandemic, all these problems have been exacerbated. Thanks the U S C school of Medicine, a grant from Blue Cross/Blue Shield, and a cadre of local volunteers, people in many areas can get a small or large box of fresh, healthy food every two weeks. Two persons involved came to Sumter recently to explain how citizens with chronic health problems can make improvements to their lives using this program -- and we fixed a delicious, healthy meal from a Food share box. If you’d like to see that episode, go to mig.org and watch the Nov. ninth show.
  • On a episode of Making It Grow show Christa Gonzalez, director of Culinary Medicine for the U S C School of Medicine, Columbia, and Ellie Lane, a member of Clemson’s Rural Health Team, told us about Food Share. This program helps people access fresh healthy food, which has become challenging as people have lost their jobs, given up work to care for children, and faced difficulties shopping safely. Every two weeks, people get a box of fresh food, much of it from local farms. The price is discounted for SNAP recipients– a twenty-pound box is super affordable at ten dollars. All of this is to improve health – diabetes and high blood pressure affect huge numbers of South Carolinians – so each box includes recipes for a healthier lifestyle – and the one we cooked was so good I’ve made it three times since then.
  • Spartanburg Extension horticulturist Drew Jeffers joined Making It Grow recently to discuss the South Carolina Certified Landscape Professional certification program. Extension experts present self-paced, on-line trainings on such topics as turf selection and maintenance, proper planting techniques, tree selection and installation, disease and insect identification and control, as well as irrigation and environmentally sustainable practices.
  • One older lady told me she was hesitant to try it but ended up going back for a second helping.
  • World-renown geneticist, Clemson’s Stephen Kresovich, and other research faculty will combine their crop-breeding talents to develop varieties that will allow South Carolina farmers to produce vegetables in the face of extreme changes in temperatures, rain and drought challenges, and other environmental pressures.
  • Clemson and the Swink family are joining forces to combat this problem. The family has made a gift of three million dollars to develop vegetables with resistance to higher temperatures and other factors that limit yield.
  • In recent years, changes in climate have resulted in high night-time temperatures and dramatically reduced the fruit set of many of our important vegetable crops. When it is seventy-five degrees or higher at night, many crops will not pollinate – there maybe vigorous, well-tended plants in the field that are covered with flowers, but the pollination process is impeded by those high thermometer readings.