They have ridden over 11,000 miles, all in the name of food justice. The scooter dudes, Dan and Myles, two guys from Augusta, Maine are traveling through 48 states and gathering all the “best practices from food justice non-profit organizations in each state,” said Dan Emery, the creator of The American Community Project. “Everyone should have access to fresh healthy food and no one should go hungry.”
The entire goal for the American Community Project is to understand how people are overcoming the problem of food scarcity and to raise funds for organizations that are combatting this challenge in each state. ACP is championing fundraising for LA Green Grounds and 47 other non-profits. That is right, two scooter dudes, traveling across the entire United States are raising awareness, money, and morale everywhere they go.
Dan, a former credit union employee with a vision to see fresh food available for every one and Myles, the dude who lost over 100 lbs. by changing his diet and lifestyle, are in the South Los Angeles food desert sitting at a kitchen table that is covered in fresh fruits and veggies from the home garden.
The home of Roberto, Sandra, and their little 3 year-old light, Lee, they are La Green Ground garden recipients whose entire yard is edible. “We wanted every plant in our yard to be edible and now it is,” said Roberto. After gardening steadily for just two years, Sandra and Roberto are “feeling the rhythm of the earth,” said Sandra.
The four of them are discussing the benefits and impact of urban gardening, eating from the yard and reducing the intake of fast and store bought food. “If you spread wood chips or manure over the top of your soil,” said Roberto, “it retains water longer and we only have to water once per week.”
The little things that are captured in these conversations are gems for people who “have no idea how easy it is to grow your own food,” said Sandra, who at one time could not even keep houseplants alive.
The sun is dipping into the horizon and the weather is starting to cool. The conversation moves outside and Lee grabs a small metal basket and begins to pick some tomatoes for supper. While Lee is dancing with glee picking tomatoes, taking bites out of some, and placing others in the basket, Roberto starts tapping on these enormous watermelons. “It’s hard to tell when to harvest these but let’s choose one,” said Roberto.
Sandra walks inside and grabs a scale, a normal scale that humans use to weigh themselves and the family game begins, “I say it’s 20lbs, said Dan. Myles guesses, “it’s about 45 lbs. Sandra guesses next, “It’s 55 lbs.” Finally Roberto picks it up and says, “It’s about 70 lbs.” Quite a spread of guessing and the camaraderie in the air is that of a close knit family, even though Dan and Myles just meet this family.
The tomatoes are all picked, along with some basil and a light snack is eaten in the dimming candle lit night, as the conversation deepens about food justice. There seems to be “a need for more farmers markets or more awareness of the current ones,” said Roberto. The Crenshaw Farmers market is open on Saturday from approximately 10am to 3pm “but not that many people know about it, it’s never that full,” said Sandra. They start to discuss current promotional implementations and other ways to promote local, organic food.
These conversations are triggering awareness and that is what the world needs, “people need to be aware of the opportunities and the ways in which they can easily transition to healthy eating,” said Myles. Myles lost his weight on the most strict student diet. His secret, “Kimchi, a lot of Kimchi,” he said and chuckles.
The night draws closer and little Lee is tired, Sandra lays her down and the conversations turn into salutations. The scooter dudes hit the door; rev up their engines, with the next stop Portland, Oregon.
Another family to meet, another organization to learn from and trade stories with, and food justice to fight for, American Community Project hits the road, again.
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THANKS to our supporters for a successful 4th consecutive season! LAGG takes a well deserved hiatus from digging July-August and will resume Sept. 2014-June 2015 for our 5th season. Over the summer months we’re busy with community outreach to scout new garden recipients for the next season.
Happy Summer Harvest, to all our urban gardeners.
~L.A. GREEN GROUNDS.
PLANT IT, GROW IT, FEED YOUR FAMILY, FEED YOUR HOOD!
A diverse group of volunteers, neighbors, family and friends assemble each month Sept.-June to create these edible gardens throughout south Los Angeles.
We bring tools, seedlings, fruit trees, native plants and food for our garden party, which we call a Dig-in.
At every Dig-in, we collaborate and create change–one lawn at a time.
LAGG volunteers spend approximately 6 hours working hard to install each edible garden. Plant it!
3-4 months after installation, LAGG volunteers visit recipients.
At each follow up, we teach recipients how to harvest and maintain their new edible, urban gardens.
LAGG gardens are beautiful, plentiful and inviting. They are always in front yards and visible to the neighborhood.
This creates community and inspires other to grow their own.
Recipients are happy to share their bounty with family, friends and neighbors. With L.A. Green Grounds, you can turn your grassroots into fresh fruits!
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LA Green Grounds is out ripping up grass and reshaping the lawns of Los Angeles residents. Meanwhile, Elon Schoenholz a local photographer decided to show us what the transformation process looks like.
His time lapse video of the beautification process puts an 8 hour day into 1 min, enjoy!
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Thanks to ALL who came out in person and spirit!
The 3rd and Final Edible-Beautification Project.
Where: Crenshaw High School
5010 11th Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90043
Monday, January 20, 2014
When: 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Sponsored By Mother of ManyADD A COMMENT
Are You Home for the Holidays?
In the Giving Spirit?
Do You Want to Make a Difference?
Then Join L.A. Green Grounds “FEED YOUR HOOD” Holiday Dig-in.
With our help, the Love Lifted Me Missionary Baptist Church will have a new garden to serve as an Edible Community Garden for 20 families living in the local neighborhood.
WHEN: This Saturday, Nov. 30th. 9:30am-3:30pm.
WHERE: Love Lifted Me Missionary Baptist Church
ADDRESS: 6501 Crenshaw Blvd LA 90043.
LAGG needs your help this Saturday:
1) Grab your digging shovels and garden tools and come out and Dig-in with us!
2) Drop off a new or used garden tool to donate to the new garden!
3) Drop off store bought food, dessert, and drinking water and make it a festive occasion for our hard working volunteers!
4) Drop off vegetable seedlings, seeds, and organic fertilizer!
It’s a Community Holiday Celebration!!
Please Come participate or drop-off donations on Saturday only.
A GREAT BIG LAGG “THANK YOU!” AND HAPPY HOLIDAY!
It was a long wait – even in Council chambers – but well worth it. The full council (with exception of Jose Huizar, not in attendance) voted “Yes” to the staff recommended, Bureau of Public Works approved new parkway ordinance — residents may now plant whatever they want, including edibles. They would still be bound by existing street safety requirements just as the off-loading setback for passengers, proper distance for visibility at intersections, driveways, 36″ height limits, no continuous hedges (access issue), etc.
The Council is giving staff time to come up with a good fruit tree list – trees that wouldn’t cause safety problems. And we have already submitted a list with justification to them for consideration. The City has been amazingly accommodating, seems to realize the importance of the public’s need for good, safe food, readily accessible. One councilmen suggested that people should first maximize their other space before going to the parkway. But the new change is truly amazing (for a bureacracy) in its simplicity. Yay for government bodies when it all works well!! Call your councilman and thank him.
Thanks to all the supporters of urban agriculture, who came out in an impressive number.
Next goal – access to vacant, abandoned lots for re-purposing as parks, gardens, including edible gardens.
Florence Nishida – Co-Fonder LA GREEN GROUNDS2 COMMENTS