Monthly Archives: May 2014

On The Move


Two weeks down and a fifth of my summer internship is over, as it’s crazy how fast time goes especially since I feel like I’m just getting started (which we are to some degree). We had a board meeting with the Arlington and Alexandria Coalition for the Homeless (AACH) and discussed the growth we plan to implement in the program this coming year.

Later on we had our biweekly meeting with the group of highschoolers that included gathering all the necessary paperwork for camp, skyping with a former professional football player (Euro football), and a very tasty taco dinner.

More recently I ventured to my first Rec Center and we did a little project on electro-magnetism with the kids. This was my first encounter with the kids at Mount Vernon Rec but not my last as the container gardens are almost ready to be shipped out to the different sites allowing the kids to help grow their own pizza (1)

One of the things I have noticed from hanging out with Reggie are the many different meetings that he is invited to like the All-staff Parks and Rec meeting we had in the Lee Center the other day, and then a Regional 4-H meeting in Harrisonburg yesterday (I’m not sure on the titles of these meetings btw).

Volunteer Spotlight: Roger Brown

Each month Extension’s financial education program is profiling an outstanding volunteer. To nominate someone, please email Megan Kuhn at

Name: Roger Brown
Lives: Arlington, since 1975
Works: Retired U.S. Census Bureau civil servant

Roger Brown has volunteered as a Master Financial Education Volunteer since October 2011. He recently taught financial management classes at Arlington Correctional Facility.

Master Financial Education Volunteer Roger Brown

Master Financial Education Volunteer Roger Brown

Q. What would people be surprised to learn about you?
A. I do tai chi. I can say hello and goodbye in 20 languages.

Q. Why do you volunteer?
A. I believe you should give back. It’s very rewarding to help others, especially people having a hard time.

Q. Why is financial education important?
A. People need to know how to manage their spending so they can live within their income. They need to control their expenses to minimize the amount of credit they need.

Q. What is your favorite part about volunteering as a financial educator?
A. Kids’ Marketplace. [Editor’s note: Kids’ Marketplace is a financial simulation adapted for elementary and middle school-aged children.] When kids understand how their parents manage their money, they appreciate their parents more.

Q. What’s been the biggest challenge as a volunteer?
A. Volunteering at the Arlington Correctional Facility. You’re teaching in a cell block. There are guards. It’s a challenging place to teach a class even though the need is great. I wasn’t sure I was going to do it. I recommend it. You’re helping people who really need it.

Fairlington Day Festivities

Virginia Cooperative Extension participated in Fairlington Day this past weekend. Agents and volunteers showcased Extension Arlington’s many faces by preparing delicious healthy eats, giving tours of the food gardens, organizing 4-H kids’ activities and providing information on the many great programs we coordinate. Getting out into the community and sharing information is what we do so if you have an event coming up that you would like us to participate in, please get in touch with our Marketing and Communications Associate,


Summer 4-H Intern and Pizza Garden Ready to Go!


Well, I would just like to start by introducing myself as the future weekly blogger for the summer. My name is Monte McCarthy and I am rising junior studying Environmental Economics in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech, and currently interning with the Alexandria extension agency under a Mr. Reginald Morris. Hopefully my blog posts will encapsulate our weekly goals and accomplishments and keep our readers in the loop for the summer!


My first day (May 19) I sat in on the bi-monthly ELC board meeting to debrief of the nova agent’s recent activities, and helped put together a green house in preparation for some 4-H kids. The end goal for these kids will be to use and grow their own pizza ingredients. These plants will include tomatoes, peppers, oregano, and basil, and eventually be used to have a pizza party at the end of the season. Not that we’re pizza masters, but I’m sure the finished product will be one of the better pizza pies the kids will have!


All in all it was a welcoming inauguration as we continue to set up for the approaching wicked-fun summer camp in Front Royal.


Enjoy Dark Leafy Greens

May is the time to buy fresh leafy greens at your local farmers’ market or grocery store in Virginia. Kale, spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard and many more; leafy greens are packed with vitamins, minerals, fiber and phytochemicals. If you have a spare spot of earth, consider growing your own, too.

The recent Master Food Volunteer cohort enjoyed making and eating a fresh kale salad. Kale is high is vitamins A, K and C, and provides potassium and calcium as well. Try this recipe for a tasty way to incorporate this powerhouse vegetable into your diet.

MFV logo

Kale Salad with Citrus Vinaigrette

Serves about 6, 1 cup per serving Ÿ Prep time: 20 minutes Ÿ Cook time: 0 minutes


2 bunches kale (12-14 ounces)

For Dressing:

2 teaspoons green onions

½ teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 Tablespoons, fresh orange juice

2 teaspoons pure maple syrup

6 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil



  1. Wash and dry the kale leaves. Strip leaves from stems. Finely shred leaves with a sharp knife. Place in a serving bowl.
  2. To prepare the dressing, mince green onions. Put all the ingredients in a glass jar with a lid, and shake until emulsified.
  3. Add enough dressing to coat the kale lightly. Massage the dressing into the kale leaves with clean hands to soften the leaves.
  4. Add your favorite salad fixings.
  5. Can be made a day or even two ahead.


  • Use Tuscan, lacinato or dinosaur kale
  • Optional add-ins: toasted pine nuts or sunflower seeds, pomegranate seeds, dried cranberries, crumbled feta, chopped avocado, cooked quinoa.


Newly Minted Master Food Volunteers Graduate

During March some 26 trainees gathered each Friday at Fairlington Community Center in Arlington to become Master Food Volunteers (MFV). Participants were treated to a variety of seminars given by a number of Family and Consumer Sciences Agents, with some travelling from as far as Roanoke and Blacksburg, to share their knowledge.  Katie Strong from Arlington and Nancy Stegon from Prince William County led the course, which covered wide-ranging topics including nutrition, physical activity, safe food preparation, shopping on a budget and food allergies.

Cooking lunch was one of the group’s favorite activities each week. Trainees learned how to make nutritious meals, with an emphasis on using whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Instructors guided them on how to follow hygiene and food safety guidelines, right down to the correct way to wash dishes.  Qualified volunteers provided much welcomed assistance during the four weeks of the course.

The trainees were a diverse group, although most seemed to share a strong predilection for quinoa.  After all passing a test and the training hours requirement, the graduates are all set to provide at least thirty volunteer hours over the next year. They will assist with different activities around the region, such as nutrition education, cooking demonstrations and farmers’ market displays.

If you are interested in becoming a MFV, the next training course will take place in Fairfax, starting on October 3, 2014.  See this link for more details