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In the midst of the toxic atmosphere of Watts, seeds are sprouting, organic gardens are thriving, young people are discovering a vocation, and healthy, whole foods are becoming part of everyday life. Anna Marie Carter, "The Seed Lady" of Watts, brings organic food and gardens to the people of South Central Los Angeles
If you could imagine a place that has the highest crime rates, the largest drug saturation, the greatest welfare recipient population, and the fastest HIV-positive infection rates in one of the richest cities, in the richest state, in the richest country in the entire world, then you could begin to imagine Watts, California—a district in South Central Los Angeles. My name is Anna Marie Carter, but I am also known as “The Seed Lady” of Watts. I am a certified Master Gardener through the University of California. I practice direct action by building free, organic gardens for people who suffer from HIV/AIDS, cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and other illnesses. My advocacy takes me to drug/alcohol/mental health facilities, community centers, schools, inside of housing projects, and to shelters that house women who are returning to our community from prison. I teach people how to grow their own food, organically. But that is not all I teach them. The environment in Watts is toxic. We are told not to drink the water. The air is polluted, and there is not much rain. Multi-generational gangs, multiple drug usage, carnal value systems resulting from being institutionalized by the welfare system for generations, and low morality all add up to no self-esteem, depression, overcrowding, crime, and escapism through unprotected sex and drugs. Where there seems like there is no hope, there is no reason to be happy or to act decently or to dream. External forces dictate here. I have yet to meet a drug addict who harvests his own drugs. There are no coca plants or poppies growing here. All this madness is imported by the tons to this community—daily! The health of the community is further jeopardized by the lack of real food. The food available in South Central Los Angeles is genetically engineered, pesticide-laden, hybridized, and irradiated. The majority of people here eat food that is bagged, bottled, canned, boxed, or frozen. A majority of this food comes from South America and Mexico through free trade agreements. We do not even get food grown in California. DDT is still widely used in Latin America. There is no access to whole foods here. The highly processed food and low-quality meats affect the health, both physical and mental, of everyone here. I had an organic vegetables, seeds, and plants store many years ago on Crenshaw Boulevard. The first day I went to open the front door and I looked behind me and there stood three little boys, lined up in a row, like they were in the army. I opened the door and they came in, after saying “Good morning,” and proceeded to take all my plants outside and set up the organic vegetable and flowers stands for the day. They were sent to me by a higher source. I taught them many things. We planted tomatoes out back that grew over seven feet tall. The boys sold the tomatoes and used the money for school clothes and supplies. One even paid his mother's utility bills. They are grown now, but when I see them they kiss and hug and thank me. After I graduated as a Master Gardener, I began my internship at the former Watts Family Garden. We lost the battle to save the garden from sale, so I took my newly formed garden club into the city of Los Angeles' recreation center
inside the Jordan Downs Housing Projects. Here we taught a class called the “Value of a Seed,” taking the children to the gardens and planting the ingredients that go into pesto, salsa, coleslaw, and other products. We taught the children how to design recipes and logos for their food products. With the help of donations to the Watts Garden Club, we bought our own center in the heart of Watts in 2002. At the Club, we have our own Community Supported Agriculture project (CSA), which provides fresh farm produce to the invisible populations here, and we operate our own produce stand and farmers' market. We train youth in agricultural entrepreneurship (which include classes in manners, grooming, hospitality, and vendor education). We teach “The Value of a Seed” on organic gardening and creating value-added products. Participants in the “Made in Watts” class make their own bath products for sale to our community. The “Organic Greenhouse” class teaches people to grow lettuce, herbs, and flowers indoors. The center will soon have a greenhouse in the courtyard. “The Kitchen” covers vegan and vegetarian cooking. We also hold anti-drug/gang rallies, HIV support groups, and holistic workshops. We involve the community in garden construction, and we network with other low-income communities of color. We have over 200 students at our center, and we go out to where people are to plant gardens and teach classes. One of the students in the Watts Garden Club is a young man we will call David. He has never met his father, who is serving a life sentence in prison. His mother is on drugs and his stepfather is a drug dealer. David is hyperactive and cannot stop moving his hands. He is asthmatic, uses an inhaler, and takes Ritalin. At 11 years old, he is a prime target to join a gang. He is talkative and likes to use his hands. I taught him how to build containers and plant herbs, flowers, and vegetables. He learned how to ask retailers if he can beautify their landscape with his creations. He has a picture book of his work and is always very successful. Now the biggest hurdle to clear is his inability to save. We also offer think tank sessions at the Garden Club. Here we plant the seeds of change, knowledge, and remembrance by facing our history and tasting the bitterness of slavery, oppression, injustice, and self-hatred. We take these emotions, bond with each other like never before, and then, fast-forwarding to the 21st century, we take a full assessment of where we stand today, here in Watts, California. In a circle, with the help of a facilitator, we have two-hour jam sessions that make the sweetest music—the sound of thinking people who are awakened fully to the calling of addressing our communities' problems and creating viable solutions. We are networking and forming alliances to initiate direct action to expedite change. If you look at history, you can see it takes only one person to change an environment—one person who takes a stand, an advocacy, an action. It takes only one person to change the entire world. Once upon a time we were taught here in Watts “Power to the People.” I have lived through that to tell you what I know for sure, and that is People are the Power. And it only takes one—you! Find your true path by preserving your health and your environment. Eat organically and do not smoke. It does not matter how pretty you are, where you live, how many degrees you have, or what you drive, if you don't start saving this planet, soon you won't have anywhere to live.
Watts Garden Club
c/o Anna Marie Carter P.O. Box 431312 Los Angeles, CA. 90043 Watts Garden Club is a Not-for-Profit, Grassroots, NGO. All donations Tax Deductible We are a "GREEN POWER MOVEMENT" We do not discriminate against anyone, never have and never will! PEACE Our Founder is Anna Marie Carter aka "The Seed Lady of Watts.
2010 is Ms. Carters 35th Anniversary of serving the State of California teaching organic, holistic community. With many awards over the years, Ms. Carter is especially honored to have received an award from the Dali Lama at the World Festival of Sacred Music at UCLA. Her service award was a tray, reminding her to continue to serve the people. Starting the Watts Garden Club and then advancing to the Zenzale Projects, Ms. Carter will be retiring in less than 24 months. As a retired, disabled, senior citizen, Ms. Carter wishes to realize her dream of "Ghetto Organics in the Organic Ghetto". Turning down an offer of 10 Billion dollars a year from the Peoples Republic of China to "sell out", give up her name, product lines, likeness, soul and spirit, Ms. Carter is determined to create healthy, natural products "In the 'Hood, For the 'Hood, By the 'Hood". "If I can give everyone on my block a job, to create products that we use that are healthy, I will be successful in creating a better community, where I live, breathe and sleep! That's what I call "Blooming where you are planted! I am looking for interested green job trainees in Detroit, Watts, West/East Oakland, and South Los Angeles who believe we can create holistic products, green jobs and organic community all at the same time! This is our time NOW!" In our fundraising products section, you will find new exciting healthy products designed just for you! Each product employs someone that is considered "unemployable". 50 percent of sales are donated directly to the Zenzale Projects that feed people in the 'hood, create more products and our main objective - SAVING SEEDS! Real food for real people - heirloom, organic seeds for our gardens, and for our future ancestors to experience REAL FOOD! ~ As a response to the People of the United States Of America, who contact us daily horrified at what they are learning about our food supply being contaminated by "Bio-Tech" companies, we say "Stop staring into the "screens", go outside and start growing more of your own food organically!" YOU CAN MAKE THE CHANGE NOW! Take responsibility for your own organic nutrition and stop blaming "Bio-Tech" for your obesity, hypertension, depression, and hunger! Get your neighbors to grow food and share it with one another! Involve the seniors and children on your block.
Create small CSA's and Farmers' Markets. Cook together, eat together, share! Become active by SAVING SEEDS EVERYDAY! The average person throws away over 100 seeds a day! SAVING SEEDS, then planting seeds to make more seeds is your key to greatness and freedom. Practice self-liberation! Teach yourself how to do what needs to be done - READ, GO ONLINE, ASK SOMEBODY! Stop crying about what "Bio-Tech" is doing and start doing something to save yourself NOW! Your lack of involvement in the Organic Movement is what is creating "Bio-Tech". YOU ARE THE PROBLEM! You keep eating their food! So, stop crying and become a "soulutionary"! YOU ARE THE SOULUTION! Get busy! No more tears, period! People are the Power! ~ PROJECTS: We currently have 15 projects around the World. All tax-deductible donations are excepted by the Village Health Foundation c/o Watts Garden Club.
1. Grandma's Hands - 12th year. We deliver food from local organic artisan bakers, farmers fruit and food from local farmers' markets to Grandmothers who feed their children’s children in and around the City of Los Angeles Housing projects in Watts, a district in South Los Angeles. To the Grandmothers it is a huge blessing and the children get proper nutrition. We need trucks and gas. 2. Organic Gardening Projects in the Nickerson Garden Housing Projects. Our students trained at the Watts Garden Club, assist their neighbors on Saturday mornings for 2 hours on how to start and maintain their tiny garden plots outside their front and back doors. Bring organic nutrition to their fingertips and creating oxygen in an extremely polluted area of Los Angeles! We need stipends for Student Workers. 3. Organic Gardening Projects in the Jordan Down Housing Projects. 4. Organic Gardening Projects in the Avalon Garden Housing Projects. 5. The Secret Healing Garden at Permaculture West.
We now have a propagation facility in West Los Angeles. We need funding to teach permaculture courses to teachers that will be willing to go into the inner-city to help the children and adults learn how to grow more of their own food organically! 6. Browns Eagle Ranch - Texas.. We have been blessed with a donation of an 87 acre ranch in Texas. We plan to build an organic ranch for children from all over the world to come experience rural life with learning about science, organic agriculture and physical fitness. We need tractors, irrigation systems. and housing to get started. 7. B & B Farm in Mississippi. 25 acres of land donated by Mr. Ben Burkett of Petal, Mississippi. We plan on growing organic herbs, flowers and seeds for our value-added product lines. WE START PLANTING MAY 15th! All Funds have been secured for this project. 8. Science Lab at Central High School - LAUSD We are developing a lab to investigate all junk food sold in our community for gmo's, toxins, contaminates, pesticides and other toxic substances so we can report our results on our website to the World. Goal is to try to create more scientists from the inner-cities, while giving people 21st Century knowledge about what they are eating! We need money for analysis and equipment. Also, for field trips and stipends for student that do extra work! 9. Village Health Foundation – Our fiscal sponsor wishes to expand the Alternative Health Care Clinic to include Western Medicine, and to add two mobile health units to service our community. We will be joining the Village Health Foundation in the future by adding Ayurevedic Medicine practitioners from the Watts Garden Club. Large cash donations are needed. 10. Nino Y Ninas – Our first year of educating other low-income communities of color, outside of Watts, with populations of Caucasian, Hispanic and Asian was at Chico Y Chicas in Highland Park. They were really shocked to see African-Americans with organic classes, produce, plants and soil. They encouraged their children to come and learn and we loved getting to know everyone! We believe we left them with a good impression about "Watts". We wish to move to another primarily mixed low-income community of color in Southern California to teach more classes - Let us know if your community is interested. Donations needed. 11. Ghana Project – This project is very sensitive. We have interns there teaching women how to make organic products and how to take them to market. *UPDATE: ONE OF OUR INTERNS HAS RETURNED HOME WITH GOOD NEWS FROM OUR HOMELAND! WE PLAN TO RETURN TO NETWORK IN OR AROUND DECEMBER! Funds needed for our Interns expenses. 12. South Central Farmers Collaboration -. While City of Los Angeles City officials tried to "divide and conquer" us, when the farmers where being kicked of the 14 acres on Alameda, we formed an unbreakable bond. Watts Garden Club provided community security for the farmers with safe passage to and from all of our farmers markets.
In addition, Our founder Ms. Carter worked side by side at our farmers' markets cooking and promoting the South Central Farmers produce to help them raise both organic awareness and financial income so that they could become sustainable and expand. 85 acres are now donated to the South Central Farmers to grow even more food organically. We join them in fundraising, plan to sharecrop with them and raise awareness to everyone to help to clear the land and buy water pumps for their wells to irrigate the land. HELP US! These people feed us! Funds for tractors, water pumps, labor/clearing of the land, planting, trucks! *UPDATE - THE SOUTH CENTRAL FARMERS HAVE THE WELL FLOWING !! BLESSING FROM ABOVE! WE LOOK FORWARD TO SHARECROPPING VERY SOON! 13. Seed Banks – We are building heirloom, organic, originator seed banks for our future ancestors to know what real food from the 21st Century is. Nobody is saving seeds for the people. We have to do it for ourselves! HELP US! Donate seeds, save seeds, share seeds! Funds for fire-proof containers and stipends for students who archive seeds. 14. Brooks Family Farm -. Cuba, Alabama. Trial 2 acre farm in 2010 specializing in organic beans. The beans that we sell online next year will come from this farm. Funds for tractors, field labor at harvest. 15. Watts Garden/Mudtown Farms Project – We got our garden back! After 10 years of fighting, The Watts Garden is BACK! Thanks to the leadership of Tim and Janine Watkins of WLCAC and the Community of Watts, Micheal Ableman and our Seed Lady - WE WON the battle to SAVE OUR GARDEN! Many California Growers are donating beautiful flowers to celebrate the rebirth by donating to the Watts Garden Club so we can build a BEAUTIFUL children's garden! Any volunteers to join us in planting "Seeds of Justice, Seeds of Hope"? We pray to God to help us, give us strength and encourage everyone to help us to help ourselves! Together we RISE! CLASSES at Watts Garden Club http://www.wattsgardenclub.net/Classes.html ~
` Your Local FOOD BANK Needs You Please help. Thank YOU! http://foodbank77.insanejournal.com http://nielzekock.insanejournal.com http://food2bank.insanejournal.com
Organic Gardening for VICTORY
Books: Growing Without Digging; by Esther Deans Square Foot Gardening; by Mel Bartholomew How to Grow World Record Tomatoes; by Charles Wilber Lasagna Gardening for Small Spaces; by Patricia Lanza Edible Flower Garden; by Rosalind Creasy Designing And Maintaining Your Edible Landscape Naturally; by Robert Kourik The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming; by Masanobu Fukuoka Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World; by Paul Stamets Leaves of Life, Therapy Garden for People with Disabilities; by Esther Deans Worms Eat My Garbage; by Mary Appelhof
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Food not Lawns
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proverb: GOOD FOOD is GOOD MEDICINE <> Garbage in, garbage out. Why be Sick? eat Local Fresh Organic food http://www.localharvest.org organicconsumers.org http://livingnutrition.com http://www.wellbeingjournal.com http://stevitastevia.com `
Proverb: A good person leaves an inheritance to their children’s children. What kind of inheritance are you leaving?
JOURNEY TO FOREVER
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