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Food Pantry, Bottle, and Jail Gardens; Better World Books; and the Paradigm of Abundance

Posted Mar 11 2012 8:43am
The "spring is heeeeere" bird is up early every day (which you may remember from the very first chapter of my book ), proclaiming this clearly obvious news here in metro-Atlanta.  Forsythias, cherry blossoms, pear trees (pictured is the pear tree from which we harvested 567 pounds of pears in an hour to donate--I've already asked permission to do that again this year), and daffodils have all bloomed, the first of the hairy vetch is flowering, and now, with Daylight Savings Time adding an hour of light at night, we'll be eating again in the backyard before long, surrounded by my little urban farm, from which I'm currently easily harvesting a fat colander of greens every day.  My teen, who is researching colleges, is suddenly realizing that having access to this fresh, daily supply of healthy food actually matters, and is starting to notice which schools have farms and gardens, and which don't.

And so, eyeing the hammock and knowing that heat will roll in soon and the trees will leaf out and provide much needed shade, and a book and I will curl up and nap right there, I focus intently on bringing my current projects in for a landing, and deciding what my next steps will be.

1. Food Pantry Gardens.  I was honored to speak at a big cathedral in Atlanta yesterday about the food pantry garden (along with the food pantry directors, Mary Louise and Kathy, who are two of my favorite people in the world).  The workshop attendees are all interested in starting their own church-property gardens, and my hope is that I provided just a little bit of extra knowledge and inspiration to help them make that happen.  A woman named Vilma came up to me at the end and said, "I want to start a garden, but I don't have the physical capability to do it.  What should I do?"  As she seemed computer-savvy, I suggested she start a blog and send it to me, and I'd send it out via social media and we'd see what happens.  People fall from the sky, I told her.  Resources appear.  The world's energy conspires in your favor.  Just start.  Just take an action, any action, and let the beautiful flower of change unfurl.

2.  Jail Gardens.  The other presenter (along with the co-directors of the food pantry and me) was DeDe Harris from the jail garden I visited a couple of weeks ago.  I am working on an article about jail gardens, and let me just tell you this: my findings are mind-blowing.   Yes, yes, there are all the touchy-feely parts of gardening, but there are also hard facts about the cost-savings to taxpayers in reduced recidivism, shortened sentences, lower food service costs, and monetary value of donations to those in need in the community.  This may be the biggest topic onto which I've stumbled yet.  And someone with some particularly pertinent expertise and resources is interested in possibly exploring this a bit more with me.  Stay tuned about this one.  3. The "Wine and Dine" Bottle Garden Project.  The recycled wine bottle fundraising project for the food pantry garden is yielding some very interesting results so far.  Vases are starting to come in from the artists.  Pictured are some from an artists retreat created by members of the church where the food panty is located, and ones from my friend, Nancy Shevitz .  I asked Steve Penley , on a lark, if he would paint some, and his wife said he would (I am not sure if Steve is aware of this yet!).  My friend, Farmer Sue of the Art Barn of Morning Glory Farm , offered to paint some as well, so I cut, cut, cut yet more bottles this week.  Home gardeners are being recruited now to fill the vases with herbs and flowers for the sale.  When and where that will be, we don't yet know.  Perhaps simply through social media, with a pickup hour or two at the church.

4. "My Own Bottle Garden" Passion Project.  And so, from my trust-the-journey playbook of "one thing leads to another," this is how the bottle garden project is starting to morph in my life .  My teen has volunteered me to make them with women at a homeless shelter, and this gets me thinking . . . (always dangerous).
5. Better World BooksI was recently selected to be a Change Agent with Better World Books, which is the largest online bookseller for good (and a certified B-Corp) that donates book-for-book for every book sold and supports literacy programs close to home and around the world (and never, ever, ever sends one single book to a landfill, where millions currently end up right now).  It is currently rolling out its Drop Box Program beyond metro-Atlanta and Indianapolis to include Tampa, St. Pete, Sarasota, Orlando, Jacksonville, Ft. Lauderdale (Florida), Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, Austin (Texas), Raleigh-Durham (North Carolina), Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus (Ohio).  If you are within an hour radius of these cities, you really do need to see this .  
I expect churches and schools to be lining up on waiting lists for these FREE high-quality, tamper-proof, sensor-monitored drop boxes before long.  I love this company, I love what we are doing, I love that we can provide some passive income to support school and church gardens (or whatever your organization's passion projects are), and I'd love to help you get yours. I created this site to give you all the details you need .   Contact me here .  And congrats to Simpson Elementary in Peachtree Corners, Georgia (the newest city in the United States!) for adding a Better World Books Drop Box to its recycling efforts and planning a big Earth Week book drive around it.  Smart!
And so, as Willy Wonka liked to say, "Yes.  Good.  Off we go!"  And as my friend, Kathy, from the food pantry, likes to say, "You can choose to live in the paradigm of abundance."
I choose that.

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