danicawaters.com

a personal collection of original music, photographs, observations and other random stuff that happens inside my head…

You are currently browsing the la vida verde category.

Urban Organic Gardener- Mike Lieberman

I love creative people.  Seriously.  They make my world happy.  And I am sooooooo jazzed to have found this site!  Urban Organic Gardener features great ideas from a fellow city-dweller (here in Los Angeles, nonetheless!) bent on celebrating the organic farming tradition no matter WHERE you live.

I’m so excited, I actually went out and purchased six – yes SIX – different tomato plants I thought I didn’t have room for on my landing.  To heck with that!  I’ll just hang them from the rails!

In my perfect world, I would pay Mike Lieberman, creator of the website Urban Organic Gardener,  HUGE dollars to take his ideas to schools and summer camps everywhere.  I can tell from his writing and his simple but super-effective style that he’s got the STUFF – that je ne sais quoi – that would resonate and truly inspire kids of all ages to get involved in actively raising their own food.  Check his ideas out  here.

How is it that we have disassociated ourselves from our connection with the earth, from the magic that transpires when our fingers connect with seed and soil?  It is one of the most basic and essential functions of our humanity.  My heart breaks when I read how our genetically modified food, our pesticide-laden, wax-covered  crops, are sending our world population into an ever-enlarging downward spiral.

But on the upside, I’ve been fortunate enough to have have witnessed the IMMEDIATE behavioral change in inner-city children of poverty within half an hour of serving them fresh vegetables and non-processed, home-cooked fare.  Their sense of relaxation and well being, along with their increased ability to focus on the tasks at hand was unmistakeable and remains unforgettable.  I wish I could tell you how many times principals, teachers, and others go out of their own pocket to try to provide this “luxury” for the children who are hurting the most.

We have an opportunity here.  It’s time we replace the typical,  “bean-seed-in-a-styrofoam-cup-for-a-grade-on-a-science-experiment” mentality towards gardening in our schools.   We need to restore the magic.   That method should be replaced with the combined effort of raising a salad garden, or a salsa garden, or something that allows the children to take the harvest and make something of it – even if it has to be hung from the rafters.  I say we tie in a quick lesson on economics, and compare the cost of planting & maintaining organic gardens with the cost and environmental impact spawned by trucking, by preservation, by going to the grocery store.

I do believe that our reconnection to that which nourishes and supports us is essential to our survival on many different levels.  I am heartened when I read about how people who are mentally injured – be that through exposure to war, drug addiction, or genetics gone awry – find peace and a sense of purpose through the gentle, quiet, spiritual act of connecting with the land.  Imagine if we could empower our homeless to maintain self-watering or  “hanging gardens” planted on the vast expanses of chain-link fences throughout the city.  Imagine if we could empower them to grow food for themselves – out of containers that would otherwise occupy landfills across the nation. It may not be perfect, but it’s a heck of a lot better than what we’ve got going now.

My endless thanks to people like Mike, whose ingenuity and determination expand our horizons in the simplest ways and break through the illusory limitations we’ve become so accustomed to accepting.  You inspire me to no end.

Posted June 4th, 2011.

1 comment

The Big P (Picture) Project

“Through personal preference, presence and persistence we can piece together the big picture and initiate the public paradigm shift needed to transform our population to one with a positive impact on our planet, people and pocket-books”

Whew. That’s a lot of “P’s”.  But it takes a lot of “P’s” to put together a project about the big Picture.  No pun intended.  I have another personal  P I’d like to add to the pile:  PROUD.  I’ve known the creators of The Big P Project since they were in Colorado gradeschools.  It takes a lot of courage to pack up everything you have, leave everything you’ve known behind, and start a new life in a big city like Los Angeles.  It’s especially daunting when it seems like the prevailing consumer-crazy lifestyle stands in stark contrast to everything you believe in.  But rather than turn tail and head back to the mountains, founder Madison Moross has (with the help of co-founders Phannie Haver  and Nick Ware) created a website dedicated to enlightening the rest of us on how we can be more intelligent and conscious consumers.

“In our current, highly-consumptive society, we are quickly degrading the resources and biodiversity in which human vitality depends. As our society becomes more specialized and technologically efficient, we are both becoming increasingly disconnected from ourselves, our community and our relationship with our natural habitat.  We seem to also be becoming less able or interested in the related consequences.  Trying to distinguish how humans can restoratively be a part of rather than impair this is important part of our long-term mission… Conscious consumerism is the intentional purchase of products and services that the customer considers to be made ethically. This may mean with minimal harm to or exploitation of humans, animals and/or the natural eco-system, and strict withdraw of purchases that don’t meet this standard.”  (The Big P Project) 

It makes me happy to see so many members of Generation Y care so deeply about our connection to each other and to the planet that supports us all.  Their enthusiasm and commitment has inspired me to make my own personal pledge and take action to eradicate all harmful chemicals from my cleaning arsenal.  I should have done it a long time ago – you can read about my adventures here.

Check them out – join them on Facebook – make your own pledge.  I guarantee you’ll come away feeling a heck of a lot more empowered.

Posted June 3rd, 2011.

1 comment