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30 November 2011

Occupy Your Life

Hi folks fresh from being evicted by the Los Angeles Police Department, v.2.0.

Some of your are needing bail and some of you are missing stuff and some of you have your pride a little dented, but you were good. All eyes have been on you for several months and (after a long silence the media finally figured out you were there and worth reporting). You made a big statement about the 99% and the 1%. Now that your encampment is gone, I wonder what's next for you?

Already I've heard reports that some of you are showing up in a park near downtown LA with tents and camping gear to carry on delivery of the message. Some will carry on – and maybe a few new folks will join them – but the demonstration, despite your words to the contrary, cannot go on until things change. 'Things' take very long to change. You have lives you must continue and a camping expedition won't contain that for very long.

I have 'occupied' for a very long time. It's different for me. I believe you when you decry the mon ey in politics and the lame economic system that has developed to make the rich richer and keep the poor downtrodden and full of sugar and TV. Yet, my occupation has been doing something that allows me to live my life on a daily basis, participate as little as possible in the oppression you decry and to fight for economic change in a way that is ongoing and sustainable.

I garden.

I save my own seed.

And I don’t shop where I believe my money is going to further oppress people from anywhere in the world. I may not be right all the time, but I make a concerted effort to be informed and try to be right.

It doesn't get me on TV and reporters don't come around and poke mics in my face and ask insipid questions. I am not a media event and what I do doesn't feel all that revolutionary because I just go about living my life. Yet the damage I do to the system is real and sustainable day in and day out. And I'm not alone.

So, dear occupiers, I invite you to join me in an occupy that requires you to change as much as the system you want to change, for, in fact, didn't Gandhi say, “Be the change you desire?” The changes that have to be made have to go beyond using a credit union instead of big national bank (thank you for that one, by the way). It means changing your food market – the way you consume and the way you recycle and your entertainment source.

It means going local. All the way.

Local banking. Local food sourcing. Local music – the band down the street. Live music from your neighbors. Local art. Local energy. Local travel. Nothing is more local than your own garden. Local is everything 'they' don't want. Local is real. Local is powerful. Local is hope. Local is community. Local is support when times suck. Local is celebration when life is abundant. Local is an economy. Local is a farmers' market. Local is a seed bank. Local is a party, not affiliated with politics or national agendas. Local is someone you can talk face to face with. Local is kissing. Local is a hug. Local is smelling the flowers. Local is asking why there are no bike lanes. Local is eating bread fresh from the oven. Local is looking into someone's eyes and touching their core – or letting them touch yours. Local is personal. Local is a solution that solves many problems. Local chews up liars and spits them out. Local celebrates the local garden. Local tastes fresh. Local looks you the face and asks for a buck. Local pats you on the back and says thanks. Local smells like a rose. Local means you need to stand up for peace and safety. Local means you can't hide behind being one of the great unwashed mass. Local means you either really care or you're just full of shit. Local means you give to your favorite local charity. Local means you can say hi to someone you know (fine, thanks, how 'bout you?). Local means more Mom and Pop shops and less K-mart and Walmart. Local means the profits stay local. Local means no McDonalds. Local means organic. Local means less is more. Local means economics as though people matter. Local means here.  Local means now.

Not everything can be local – just try to get me to give up my coffee. But I can get coffee that shows some respect to the folks that grew it. The bottom line is, we have to live a conscious life. No longer can the boob tube show us an ad and we run out to buy the latest piece of crap. Today, we honor ourselves and our earth by turning away from the consumptive creatures of need we have been, into producers and creators of the life we wish to live and wish to export to the world around us.

So, are you willing to truly 'occupy' the spaces of your own life? Are you?

There is much to be done today. Lets get busy!


28 November 2011

I'm Already Thinking of Tomatoes....!

Aren't you?  The day is not far off when seed starters will be starting seeds of tomatoes (my first seeding out is in January!) and, because I order my tomato seeds online, yes, it is the beginning of tomato season for sure.

I don't count on getting tomatoes like these at The Learning Garden...
Seed Savers Exchange posted a link on Facebook which lead me to another link where I found Tomato Fest online, listing the Top Ten Tomatoes for 2011, based on their sales last year.  Before you go there, let me warn you, if you are gardening along the coast (Sunset Zones 22 and 24) you can drool over the beefsteak tomatoes all you want, but be advised, they can be dicey in our ocean influenced climate.  Even though I have proven this wrong once, I have proven it right more than once and I still hold to the thought that large tomatoes do not set fruit well in our climate because they need 85° over a 24 hour period to set fruit.  That is hard to count on when the ocean flow in the evening often chills us down into the 60's.  Having said that, you can now go and lust over these varieties.  Hey, buy the seeds and give them to a friend in Pasadena for Christmas.  How thoughtful!   Then show up in harvest season...  Heh heh...
Also note, along with this post at Tomato Fest, there is also a sale on tomato seeds.  How convenient!  Yes, give tomato seeds for Christmas to everyone (well, at least the locals) and enjoy the excess from several friends and neighbors - take note of what was grown and attend the Seed Library Of Los Angeles meetings (next one December 17th at The Learning Garden) and let them show you how to save the seeds for yourself and the library!
We hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday and all are looking forward to a warm and loving December holiday season.  For all who want to enjoy a stress free moment in December, The Learning Garden hosts a Winter Solstice celebration, starting 6:30 PM on the 22nd until the fire goes out.  Bring something warm to drink (we'll have tea and coffee for those who bring their own cup) and maybe a sweet treat, we'll have a fireplace and a ceremony to enjoy.  No gifts, no cards, nothing special to wear (but something warm is a must!), and no stress.  Just come out and observe this important end/beginning on the calendar with peace and reflection.  
What a concept!

The Calendar of Events At The Learning Garden