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How You Are Necessary Today--UPDATED with Wheat Street Garden Collage and Video from MLK Day of Service

Posted Jan 21 2013 6:31am
One of the most enduring dream commonalities I have discovered about people is that we want to feel like what we do matters, that we can make a unique contribution to the world's positive energy, that we are somehow necessary . Well, today that dream comes true. Today, what you do does truly matter. Today is the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service, and there are many ways that you can make the world better where you live, and by doing it with others, you help create a truly powerful and positive collective energy. Find a project here. 

Here is what's happening at one of my friend Rashid Nuri's urban farms today, right in the shadow of the Martin Luther King Center for Nonviolent Social Change (that's the  pyramid-shaped building in the back of this photo). 

See these stories I've written about Rashid and his organization, Truly Living Well Center for Natural Urban Agriculture:

Come and Get Some Food  
A Trip to My Friend Rashid's  
And Then I Met Eugene  
Now that Two Impatient Men Have Met, the World Will Never Be the Same  
5 Urban Farming Lessons

Want to make a difference but just don't have the time or ability to volunteer today? You can donate to Truly Living Well here . Here are two other quick and easy ways to make a difference from the comfort of your home. They are both in Atlanta, Georgia, the birthplace of Martin Luther King, Jr., and, like Truly Living Well, they serve as national examples of what is possible with a little bit of money and a whole lot of heart. 

Year 2 (Concrete Jungle helped us Year 1)
1. Concrete Jungle Fruit Orchard

The fun and inspiring volunteers of Concrete Jungle started by gleaning fruit trees that would have gone unharvested and donating to those in need. They then added an urban farm to their mix. They are now raising $200 to plant an orchard in a low-income community to provide a dependable source of fresh food for years to come.  Read the story here and donate what you can. These people are amazing--they helped my crazy band of friends and me with our first fruit tree gleaning two years ago, and I've been following their journey ever since. Considering that we harvest about 600 pounds from one pear tree in less than a hour from start to finish, I know for a fact that fruit trees can provide some major perennial abundance. 

See related stories I've written about fruit tree gleaning:

Shake a Tree and Share. It's as Easy as Pie
1 Pear Tree. 1 Hour. 567 Pounds for Those in Need
A Week of Miracles, Ending with Pears

2. Pine Street Homeless Shelter Rooftop Garden

Farmer D Organics is hoping to provide more raised beds to the rooftop garden at the Pine Street Homeless Shelter and is partnering with Whole Kids and PACT (an organic clothing company) on an indiegogo fundraising campaign to do so. If $2500 is raised before February 28, Whole Kids will provide $2000 more and Farmer D Organics will match 15% of total dollars raised (Farmer D is also donating 20% of all t-shirt sales during the campaign period, and there is a "Change for change" jar in the store to be donated as well). Oh, and you get cool free organic socks and things from PACT, depending on your level of donation. The hope is to expand from the existing 23 beds to 40. Considering that each bed can produce about 2 pounds per square foot per year (64 pounds per 4' x 8' bed), that's a whole lotta' good food potential.  Donate here .

UPDATE: Here is a photo collage and video (with Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have  Dream" speech blasting on loudspeakers in the background) from yesterday's MLK Day of Service at Wheat Street Garden. The pyramid-shaped building in the background is the MLK Center for Nonviolent Social Change.  It was absolutely packed down there yesterday, yet the peace at the garden was palpable.
As Rashid told me, "When you met me, Pattie, I grew food.  Now I grow people."
  MLK Day of Service at Truly Living Well's Wheat Street Garden in Atlanta from Pattie Baker on Vimeo .

Food for thought on a joy-based journey.
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