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Why we grow food …

The Community Garden at Holy Nativity, in the Westchester neighborhood of Los Angeles, has been producing abundant harvests every week since June 2008.
1)

Social justice.

The harvests from the Community Garden at Holy Nativity are donated to needy local families via Food Pantry LAX. Before we began bringing fresh, organicallygrown fruit and vegetables, the Food Pantry was distributing primarily dry and canned food, with occasional „fresh‟ produce that was considered „past the point of sale‟ and donated to the Westside Food Bank. As we deliver the fresh produce week after week, we have met some of the recipients. Many are severely disabled persons, who do not have adequate resources for their long-term disabilities and are unable to work. Many others are families, including small children. With the economic downturn, food bank demand is high and increasing. This land – which once was unused lawn – is now feeding people.

2)

Education.

We are at a point in human history when times are changing dramatically. You may not realize it right now, but we all need to be growing food. The industrialized agri-business system is a fragile system that may collapse in the near future. We need to be growing food where people live. It takes time to learn the skills of tending the soil, building up the populations of soil organisms, bringing mistreated urban land back to fertility. It takes time to grow a gardener, to know what to grow, when to harvest, what to do when. And here in L.A. the process is still being discovered. In Southern California, high-intensity food gardening year-round in urban spaces has never been done before. Gardens like ours are pioneers, inventing the process. Every month, we teach food gardening classes from our site where we encourage local food gardeners to share tips and resources.

3)

Community.

Something fabulous happens when people work the land together. At the Community Garden our “work” days are warm and wonderful opportunities to connect with dear friends. Over time the bonds have grown and new projects have sprouted. As humanity moves into this vastly changed future, we will need local community ties – community is your safety net for survival through turbulent times. Gardens are only one way to build it, but they sure are a fun way!

4)

Connection.

We have observed that when people get their hands in the soil -- literally “touch the earth” – something begins to change in their perspective. They begin to glimpse the interconnectedness of all life, and humanity‟s interdependence with the ecosystems of the earth. As city-dwellers, we are starved for this touch. And that lost connection is at the root of the abuse our culture is foisting upon the planet. At the Community Garden, we try to help people reestablish this precious connection.

Environmental Change-Makers The Community Garden at Holy Nativity 6700 West 83rd, Westchester/L.A. 90045 www.EnviroChangeMakers.org

6)

Peak oil preparedness.

We‟ve said that “times are changing” and this is precisely how: Humanity has recently passed the peak of global oil production; we are now burning our way into the declining second half of the irreplaceable planetary oil supply. Everything in our contemporary society – from transportation to agriculture to food processing to plastics to consumer goods to the “growth” of the economy – is desperately dependent upon oil. As the repercussions of peak oil worsen, the supermarket/warehouse/industrial agri-business

system is in very serious jeopardy of collapse. Climate change is worsening the vulnerabilities of the massive system. And the costs of climate change plus the costs associated with declining oil supply are driving food prices out-of-sight. Food shortages are a very real possibility. Food shortages often bring riots and violence. Within this mega-city with 11million fellow citizens, if we are to have any hope of maintaining peace, we MUST create local food security. We need to cultivate many, many more food gardens within the city footprint. Will you help?

We won‟t kid you: Building a new food garden is a big project. It is a lot of work. But it is a very fulfilling project. And right now we have no choice – our local communities need to build up the local food supply. In addition to garden classes open to the general public, we offer support for prospective community gardens. We can gather our Garden Team and share with you what has worked and not-worked for us so that your garden team may learn from it. We also offer community garden resources and Southern California-focused food gardening resources online through our website. Garden class information http://EnviroChangeMakers.org/ECM.calendar.htm Food gardening resources for Southern California, including community garden resources http://EnviroChangeMakers.org/CommunityGarden.htm

Environmental Change-Makers The Community Garden at Holy Nativity 6700 West 83rd, Westchester/L.A. 90045 www.EnviroChangeMakers.org